Fans of comic heroes everywhere have their favorites, and the rivalries between these same fans in both camps can be utterly exhausting to the point of wanting to find a nearby sandbag bunker and military helmet to wait for the shots to finish!
Over the many months since I have been contributing to the Superheroes community here at MoviePilot, I have met with this same sort of resistance from both kinds of fans. You have the fans that will swear by wearing the red 'S' for Superman, the Bat-Signal logo for the Dark Knight, or perhpa the emerald lantern insignia for the Green Lanterns of old and new if you are of the DC camp persuasion. Then, for those that perfer Marvel and what I like to call the 'Darth Mickey Consortium', you have the fans that sport the round shield bearing the Star and Stripes for Captain America, have plastic metal repulsor lift glove replicas or masks for Iron Man, or they go around screaming 'I Am Groot!' to show support for their favorite galactic guardians.
Demi-gods, mutants, aliens, super-powered humans with massive strength, crimefighters of every variety.....everyone has their own personal favorites.
But, as this war is going on, the real question still remains: who will end up winning the war?
At this point, it's all up to the fan base, and from what I have seen and experienced, we're looking at the great Mexican stand-off. Fans from both sides are still hard at it, along with everyone in either camp from the owners on down to the guys that actually write and create the characters. DC is always releasing at least a few features Direct-To-Video throughout the year or the release of a new show (ie the massive intake that they have been doing with both the Batman, Justice League, and Teen Titans, just to name a few), with the occassional one or two big-screen films interspersed. Then you have Marvel who has teamed up with their studios as well as ABC for their shows and movies (ie Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, the upcoming Agent Carter on ABC this January, Disney XD's Marvel Universe, which includes Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriors, Avengers Assemble!, and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H), followed by a barrage of movies for everyone that lasts through the entire year.
But, Marvel has been enjoying a lot of continued success so far. Most especially with Guardians of the Galaxy winning the top fan pick here at Movie Pilot and among critics. But, how long will this success continue? Eventually, like anything, the gravy train on biscuit wheels eventually runs out of steam and then what are they going to do? This is what I can foresee (not right away,anyway), but at some point. As it is Stan Lee and the other guys at Marvel have not been happy enough to share their cookies with the rest of the kids on the playground. (Although, there was one time in the 90's, but I will get into that in a minute.) Therefore, it's almost as if DC has viewed their competitor as the 'Bully on Mulberry Street' but they still keep trying. Not only them, but others, such as independent publishers like Dark Horse (the creators of much of the Star Wars comic universe and the comic sensation-to-film starring Jim Carrey, The Mask). But, due to continued popularity, Marvel keeps being the king of the hill and the most recognized of the lot of them.
For this to happen, Marvel is going to need to make some serious mistakes. So far, that has not happened. But when it does, here are the reasons of why and how DC could see an upswing in their fan base if they can keep track of Marvel:
1) Marvel sold out for the money, and eventually, that money will run out along with their creative juices.
Now that Marvel has Disney's backing, they have a lot of money and a lot of resources at their disposal. But, even with that money, that also means that Disney has a lot of say in how things are being done. Now, while the MCU films are kept very, very close to Marvel canon, there are a lot of other things that they have produced that do not, such as the various series that have been created for Disney XD that have been created that I spoke of briefly above. They also are forced (I am sure) into creating more family-friendly fare for the younger kids that are not exactly canon (and not to mention EXTREMELY PREACHY!) in order to keep their new taskmasters happy. I have commented a lot about Disney as of late, with many merely saying that they are merely 'Marvel's new distributors'. Whether that is the case or not, it still stands to reason that with Disney being the be-all of family entertainment companies and the fact that Marvel was bought out and merged with them, they would have quite a bit of say as to how Marvel would do things. It was the same way when they bought Pixar and the exclusive rights to air Peanuts specials on their networks. It all boils down to a classic phrase from the Disney classic Aladdin: 'He who has the gold makes the rules.'
If Marvel should ever balk at this for reasons of creativity or money or any other reason, it would leave DC a door wide open to try to gain the top spot as the fan favorite.
2) If you do too much of 'more of the same', it ends up being the same flavor that any comic book fan boy will quickly grow tired of...
Marvel and DC are both very notorious respectively for this problem. But, Marvel is slightly worse than DC in that it always seems to stay with its mainstays just a little bit more than DC. What franchises do we see the most of from them? There's Avengers, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and then the various spin-offs in both animated and live-action formats. DC has the same problem, with their animated and live-action formats that I have stated above also. But, where DC is coming alive is that they are branching out into other heroes now that have laid dormant for a lot of years or were never conceived of except in brief interludes on various series that they have produced over the years. Now, with the success of their shows on CW (The Flash, Arrow, and Gotham), they are fast creating a fan-base that could cause some turbulence on the television airwaves and give Marvel perhaps a slight cause for pause. While Marvel remains the staple for most fans, DC is producing shows from an array of different perspectives other than secret agents that are out protecting the world while the heroes are away.
3) You produce too fast and too many in too short a time, the engine runs out of juice
Marvel has already given its lineup up until 2020 (to the contributor that gave this information, thanks!), and so far, it is the same routine. The only few new characters that they are giving their own movies to are Ant-Man (soon to be released) and Black Panther (2017), but both are connected to....... yep, Avengers! Again, back to more of the same. DC is doing Batman vs. Superman, Justice League, and the Batman reboots, but at least they are not going to be consistently running the train on full throttle! On top of that, the only non-Avengers titles that have been released by Marvel or are in production are are/were the two Ghost Rider films starring Nicholas Cage and the up-and-coming Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the next two years, Dead Pool starring Ryan Reynolds, and so forth. DC has had some success with its Green Lantern (also starring Reynolds) and the upcoming Suicide Squad which many fans are already buzzing about here at Movie Pilot. But, we also cannot leave out the upcoming Sandman starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt coming in 2016. Talk about a battle between him and Doctor Strange at the box office!
4) Both camps have a lot of heroes that have yet to make a large-screen appearance......
DC and Marvel have both had a very large and vast history within the halls of comic-book history. They have had many heroes that prospered and many heroes that failed. But, even with those failures, there is still a lot of fans out there, whether of a cult following or not, that would love to see these same heroes be given the same shake as their popular and more-notorized brethren. Marvel has not impressed upon this quite as much, but DC has at least been trying to make the attempt at it. On several of their animated video releases, they have included shorts that delved deeper into the origins of some of their lesser characters that they felt deserved at least some recognition (ie Green Arrow and the Spectre). I had found both to be interesting. Also we cannot forget Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold (read this one religiously when I was a kid), where they often introduced some of the lesser heroes like the ones that I just mentioned and all it did (at least for me) was accent and give the stories more depth. So, with Marvel not following thisproven formula, it will have them running back for Mjolnir or screaming 'HULK SMASH'!
and last but not least the last one, but it can be a double-edged sword for both of them.......
5) You take too long making anything, the fans will immediately lose interest...........
The basic fact of any comic, whether it goes to the movie theater or not, is the fans! While making a movie is not as simple as snapping one's fingers and presto like Zatanna or Doctor Strange, there is such a thing as taking too much time. It seems that DC and Marvel do send a lot of time creating a great movie, but when almost all of the time is spent doing special effects and less story, then it can sometimes not make for a great movie. Special effects are fantastic, don't get me wrong, but in the same token, there is also the depth of story that moves these mythos' along. Marvel has proven that they have solid special effects but their stories do not blend in with the story, but actually gravitate around it. They are still great, but it's like eating an artificail piece of candy sometimes. DC, on the other hand, has more depth but less special effects. They take their charcters and actually develop them with the action rather than have the story be an afterthought. Between the two, there is no happy medium. One is out to prove dominance with its action while the other is out to prove how important story is. It's like Rhyme and Reason are having a battle, and they are out to prove how much more important their scope is. This is why there are two different camps and why there are two different kinds of fans. But, with all of this, it still almost looks like nothing more than one-upmanship of one over the other, which takes more time and effort than is needed. But, it is also the nature of the business.
DC still stands a solid chance of overtaking, but it would take a lot for that to happen. While I am a fan of both camps (which is traitorous to a lot of die-hards that I know), I would love to see someone else take the torch away from Marvel or at least maybe go up just slightly to where it would make Marvel ask the question: Hey, how did they do that?
Now, as for the two coming together at one time, that, of course , was the short-lived Amalgam Universe which was released back in 1996.
Now, here is some territory that has yet to be explored. But, I'll save that for another time. Until next time!