by Amir Hafizi

Pix credit: Marvel Comics and

The giant Marvel vs DC fight was over more than a decade ago, as comics fans generally grew up and took on a (hopefully) more mature stand and viewpoint of the medium. Still, the companies fight to make more money and generate more interest in a declining medium, but the fans today are calmer and much harder to be turned into mindless zealots, we pray.

The people who still think a Marvel vs DC stand-off is good may be people insecure with their sexuality or girls who think that the world is always divided by grouchy fights between two sides.
Pix credit: Marvel Comics and DC Comics (via

However, there is a noticeable difference between the two companies, if we look at their products and character designs.

Marvel scored big in the 70s and 80s with their ‘gritty realism’ of the superhero genre. Their heroes are always flawed in some way. For example, Spider-Man can climb walls, but he couldn’t climb out of financial struggle. Iron Man’s Tony Stark has an almost impervious suit of armour and billions of dollars, but he is an alcoholic. In the X-Men universe, all mutants have superpowers, but are hated by the public. In essence, at a glance, Marvel features mainly two-dimensional characters - he can fly, but he has an acne problem. She’s strong, but she has a bad back. Or deaf in one ear.

This sets up many drama and crisis for the characters - perfect for teenagers. Today’s Marvel writers sometimes enjoy the realism and take the stories even further into real world problems, such as the Marvel Universe-changing Civil War saga which saw the heroes and fans split into two camps over a Superhuman Registration Act.

Pix credit: (and Marvel Comics)

DC’s characters are not two-dimensional. They’re one-dimensional. Consider their (arguably) most famous character - Superman. Superman is just super. That’s it. He has no weaknesses for the first five years of his creation, until 1943 when Kryptonite was introduced in Superman’s radio show. Before that, the Man of Steel had no weakness.

He could move at super speed, is superstrong, completely invulnerable, is a nice guy and is the world’s biggest Boy Scout. Later comics show him having even more superpowers such as ‘super-knitting’, super-baking and other ridiculous stuff.

Also, look at The Flash - a being who could move so fast, he can go beyond the speed of light. He could run on water, and vibrate to go through walls. Basically, The Flash is a speed elemental.

In DC, superheroes are basically Gods and their dilemmas are usually not the mundane daily life stuff, but more on ethics, morality and the like. If you are God, what would you do? Could you stand the guilt and the responsibility? What if a God disagrees with another God’s ways (Batman’s protests against mind-wipes) or if a God turned rogue (Superboy Prime)? DC’s tales are always grand in scale.

Today, writers and artists working for both companies have turned these comics superheroes and villains into complex character studies. Marvel’s Civil War saga and DC’s constant and sometimes controversial reboots shed light into one and two-dimensional characters alike.

Whenever there are crossovers, these differences are sometimes highlighted, though in the massive DC vs Marvel Comics in 1996 which spawned the Amalgam Universe, the companies simply asked for votes from fans rather than have deep character studies. So it was ‘If Superman took on the Hulk, who would win?’ rather than ‘if two really morose characters who are hung up over their parents’ (Batman) or uncle’s (Spider-Man) death met, would they be able to help each other in some form of group therapy thing?’

Pix credit:

There’s no way for this short article to explain all the differences between the products of Marvel and DC. In fact, maybe a few books would not be enough to cover even a quarter.

Whatever it is, let’s just be happy that these two companies are still there, churning out comics for people to read and enjoy, regardless of our tastes (indie elitists go to hell!).