There have been many wars in the world of comic books, but none is more fierce than the war that has raged on between rival comic book companies Marvel and DC.
The business rivalry has spawned a war between fans of each company, a so-called Fan War. It is something that you'll often find in the bowls of the comment sections of movie and comic book websites, but it has made its way to our everyday life. It has made fans feel the need to pick a side between the two companies instead of liking both.
You'll see the usual commenter online who bashes either DC and Marvel whenever the other company makes a big announcement for one of their films, or when there is a big storyline going on in a comic book. Most people know what they are getting into when they read the comment section on any website, but since this seems to have started a fan war, I thought I would do some research as to why this war started and why it continues.
I took to the internet to get help from anyone I could for some insight into their fandom and why they chose a side in this war. You see, I personally do not have a horse in this race as I'm a fan of both Marvel and DC, but some fans do feel the need to choose a side. I polled 32 comic book fans who say they have a preference between the two.
The fans I interviewed consisted of fellow Creators on Movie Pilot, fans that I asked to volunteer on other movie and comic sites, as well as personal friends. I asked them a series of questions regarding the two companies and how they feel about each, also how they felt about the fan war itself.
DC Fan Interviews
Why do DC fans prefer it over Marvel?
Of the 32 people I talked to, 18 of them preferred DC over Marvel. I asked them why they liked DC over Marvel and these are some of the responses:
"Marvel feels really kitschy sometimes, as if they're -- in the nicest way possible -- whoring themselves to the audience. The humor feels like its pandering, the characters usually feel very one dimensional (so that it can be sold to anyone), and some very stupid decisions (Mandarin/Trevor Slattery being one of the examples)." - Jashan Boparai
"I think that Marvel tends to lean on the lighter side of things, and honestly feels unrealistic at times. I mean surely whenever people are fighting for their lives against an enemy, they're not going to start just spouting out funny nonsense." -Conner Ryan
"Marvel comics just don't have the same amazing stories that DC does. Plus, I feel like most of Marvel's ideas for characters came from DC. While it's not like I hate Marvel with a passion, I will read a DC Comics story over Marvel any day." - J.T. Drindle
"I find the [DC] heroes to be more complex. There's a rich back story behind each of them, and the DC comics/movies seem to focus more on the psychological toll of being a 'hero' than Marvel does. My dislike for Marvel comes from the unnecessary amount of levity that they employ in their films. I never feel for any of the characters because none of it seems real. When Iron Man makes a quip a scene after his love interest is thrown in to mortal danger... that's when they lose me. There is a time and a place for comedy, but sometimes Marvel fails to make the distinction." - Autumn Brazie-Henderson
Most of the responses are centered around Marvel's more fun-loving take on the superhero genre; DC fans don't feel they are as realistic. There were also a lot of fans calling out Marvel for copying a lot of their characters from DC.
Hawkeye being an "copy" of Green Arrow, Deadpool being a "copy" of Deathstroke, and Mr. Fantastic being a "copy" Elongated-Man are just a few of the characters they mentioned. While they also admitted that DC was guilty of their fair share of copying, they believe Marvel's is more prevalent and obvious.
What Do DC Fans Enjoy bout Marvel?
I also asked them what they liked about Marvel in order to gauge whether or not there was any true hate between fans:
"Oh definitely, there's a ton of stuff I love about Marvel. The Winter Soldier is one of my favorite comic book movies. Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Doctor Doom are my favorite Marvel characters, and I really liked 'Avengers: Disassembled,' 'House of M,' 'Avengers vs. X-Men,' and 'Secret Wars.' It'd probably be better to know that the first three comic storylines I listed had Scarlet Witch as a central character, and Secret Wars showed a real brilliant side of Doctor Doom." - Jashan Boparai
"Marvel is great at comedy, and while I don't think they are great at telling a story, I do think they are enjoyable to read and watch. I don't hate Marvel, I just think DC is better." - Lester Reynolds
"I love a lot of Marvel's alternate universe stories. 'Old Man Logan' might be one of my favorite comic books of all time. I think they have good characters and ideas, but maybe don't know how to use them quite as well [as DC]. - Drew Dillon
"Yes, I have always been a big fan of Spider-Man. His secret identity is relatable and his superpowers are unique. I loved Andrew Garfield's incarnation. He was charming and quick-witted, but also felt deeply for the world around him. He and Emma Stone had excellent chemistry and her final scene in the second movie was absolutely heartbreaking. It was the first time I had felt real emotion watching a Marvel film." - Autumn Brazie-Henderson
Zero out of the 18 DC fans I interviewed said they had no qualities about Marvel that they enjoyed. Interesting, given that there is a perceived "fan war" going on and one side of it actually does enjoy the product of their favored company's rival.
Marvel Fan Interviews
Next I asked 14 of 32 Marvel fans about their opinions on DC. Why do they prefer Marvel more?
"DC cannot decide what it wants to be. They constantly make continuity changes and it is too confusing to keep up with. While Marvel can be hard to follow at times too, they at least do not reboot their comics every year." - Dashiell Landry
"It's just too dark, I know that is considered 'realistic,' but it just makes it hard to enjoy anything. I don't want non-stop comedy either though, and that's what I love about Marvel: They have found a good mid-ground." - Mackenzie Uttman
"DC can't compete with Marvel, and [Marvel] has such a better business strategy. Marvel knows what they're doing and they have the superhero genre almost in a monopoly as far as films go. DC is trying to catch up, but I don't think they know how to make their comics into movies. Plus they have Zack Snyder running things, and I'm just not a fan of Snyder as a director." - Ryan Delaney
"I wish [DC] weren't so into the gods and alien aspect of the comic book world. I love how almost all of Marvel's characters are just regular people, it makes them so much more relatable than DC." - Terrell Kidlove-Smith
Almost a complete opposite of DC fans, Marvel fans don't seem to like the darker tone of DC. The majority of Marvel fans seem to be dissatisfied with DC on the movie side of things, but also did not enjoy DC's "god-like" characters.
What Do Marvel Fans Like About DC?
Marvel fans were very vocal about their dislikes, but they had plenty of good things to say as well.
"I love [DC] villains. One critique I do have with Marvel is that sometimes their villains can be a little transparent, and easily killed in the movies obviously. DC has really interesting villains. I mean the Joker is a terrifying character that you can't help but love." - Bryce Dalton
"DC has great stories. I think that when you look at some of the great Batman arcs and all of the other stories that they have churned out and it's hard not to recognize some of the great writers they have on staff." - Joey Love
"The TV shows that [DC are] churning out like 'The Flash,' 'Preacher,' and even 'Lucifer' are great! While the last two aren't exactly superheroes, they are DC properties. I enjoy watching them just as much as Marvel movies, and while I don't love the comics, I think [DC is] doing great on the TV and movie side; I thought 'Man of Steel' was decent, and 'Batman V. Superman' was great." -Dashiell Landry
"Batman is pretty badass! I mean it's hard not to like some of their characters. I think they are way too overpowered, but they do a good job at keeping them grounded. But Marvel's characters are just better to me. There is something about the way Marvel portrays them that keeps me more interested than DC." - Gregory Pfaff
Just like with DC fans, a majority of Marvel fans found things they enjoyed about DC. Although two out of 14 Marvel fans stated that they did not enjoy anything about DC. These next two quotes are from 2 fans who say they "hate" DC:
"DC thinks they're better and I hate that arrogance." - Peter Gough
"[DC is] so freaking dark and their movies and shows are hard to watch. They are desperate to build their universe like Marvel and they can't. I am a huge fan of the Marvel movies and it got me interested in the comics. I tried to read DC comics, but they just weren't near as fun to read, and their movies are terrible." - Anonymous
So, that is two out of 32 fans who could not find any qualities about the other company that they liked.
I think the next question I asked these two gentleman is pretty eye opening though:
What is Your Opinion of the Fan War?
These next two quotes are the responses of the 2 fans who hated DC.
"I think that the war is just the way it is. I personally enjoy going on and talking trash to DC fan boys who troll a Marvel article, mainly just because it makes me mad. I have a lot of pride for Marvel and I just can't help myself. So while I hate the war itself, I am not afraid to partake in it when I feel I need to." - Peter Gough
"The war is stupid; people can like both. Just because I don't like DC doesn't mean people who do shouldn't. I think they're a crappy company and I personally don't know why others enjoy them, but I couldn't care less what they read or watch." - Anonymous
It's interesting that two people who hate DC still don't even understand the fan war itself. They both admitted to arguing about Marvel being better than DC passionately, but they don't consider it a "war." They both admitted that the only time they really ever participate in the war is over the internet.
These were the responses from others:
"Look, I can nerd around with the best of them, but there's a point where some people can cross into a little crazy. Love your heroes, be outspoken about your passion, but there's really no need to bash the other side. Intelligent and specific arguments are a different thing, though. For example, my specific argument is the lack of emotional reverence in Marvel films, while a Marvel fan might say that they wish there was more humor in the DC Universe. It's when people get into childish "you're stupid because you disagree with me" arguments that I think a line has been crossed." - Autumn Brazie-Henderson
"I think that it is a bunch of internet trolls who don't have anything better to do, but whine about something." - Joey Love
"Like I said, I don't like that the fan discussion has become a fan war, because a lot of the opinions are drowning in comments from trolls. The difference between the discussion and war is that we used to be able to say our opinions, and people would respond back with a different view while still being respectful. Now, overly eager fans brand their opinions as fact, which start flamewars. It's more annoying than anything else, really." - Jashan Boparai
"The war is fun to read in the comments sometimes, but then I really start to think what's the point? I read both DC and Marvel but I just enjoy DC more." - Conner Ryan
There Is No Fan War
After I got to talk to all these awesome people I came to a realization. There is no real war. 30 of the 32 fans I interviewed found qualities that they like in their favored company's rival, which shows that in mediums like comic books, film, and TV there is so much content out there that it is near impossible to find nothing you might like. Even the two who could not find anything they liked in the rival company still didn't believe in the concept of a "fan war."
Everyone has their opinions on the two companies, and as with anything there will always be discussion, but there is no true hate between fans of the companies, A Marvel fan does not hate a DC fan over their favorite character, movie, or company overall. While some will hate the company itself there is no war between fans.
We should all like what we like and we should be able to discuss it like civilized people, because at the end of the day all of these books, movies, and shows are just for our own personal enjoyment. Maybe you don't like a company for a certain reason, but you can't dislike another person just because they like it.
After making this article I have came to the conclusion that anyone with a good heart and a solid head on their shoulders will know to let others like what they want to like, while people over the internet will do what they love and that is upsetting other people for their own amusement. Those people who like to insult others and cause trouble will keep making us believe there is a war, but it is nothing more than internet trolls, and it has been blown up into this enormous problem that has made people pick a side in a war that doesn't truly exist in real life to begin with.