Cape Crisis #73 – Marvel vs. DC Explored!


There’s a ton of movie news to explore, but we also are inspired to have some deeper conversations after reading this lengthy column deconstructing the relationship between the two companies…


REFERENCE: Marvel vs DC Article

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Cape Crisis #73 Question: Whats the key difference between DC and Marvel?

24 thoughts on “Cape Crisis #73 – Marvel vs. DC Explored!

  1. The section with vowel bat made me swallow a swig of mouthwash, really gotta stop listening to lasertime when I brush my teeth, that’s twice now
    Well minty fresh burning stomach pains are coming my way

  2. Yay Cape Crisis to make dat Sunday a little less shitty

    And mark my words Chris, in 20 or so years I will make the greatest Cardiac film the world never wanted

  3. the key difference is that DC has a Haunted Tank and Marvel doesn’t. that’s the only difference that matters

  4. I read both Marvel and DC regularly for the last decade or so, but before that I read solely Marvel.

    I gotta say the key difference between Marvel and DC lies in the quality at different levels.
    I feel as though DC’s ceiling is higher than Marvel’s, but their floor is so much lower. The Great DC books (Year One, DK Returns, Watchmen, Sandman, Morrison Animal Man, Johns JSA Green Lantern Flash, All Star Superman) tend to be better than the best Marvel stuff (Secret War, Ultron Unlimited, Astonishing X-Men, Civil War, Ultimate Spider-man, Ultimates). But Marvels average to poor quality material still tends to be very readable, fun and enjoyable. In turn average to bad DC is typically unreadable trash only good as toilet paper.

    This probably lies in the nature in the characters since DC’s Characters are more Godlike their stories need to be executed near perfectly, where as since Marvel’s characters are flawed by nature, it leaves more room for error in crafting the story.

    -DC suggestions-
    Geoff Johns run on JSA
    Infinite Crisis Omnibus
    Kevin Smith/Brad Metzler Green Arrow
    Animal Man Omnibus
    Loeb Superman/Batman
    Rucka Wonder Woman

    Love the show! Keep up the great work!

  5. I agree with a lot of the stuff in this podcast, but if you’re looking for current, fun DC stuff, definitely check out the online exclusives, like Legends of the Dark Knight, Adventures of Superman or Batman ’66. They don’t rely on continuity, and allow writers and artists to just tell one off stories featuring these characters. Without the shackles of a larger universe they really get to play around and show why these characters – as icons – are cool!

  6. Two of my favorite DC titles from the 90’s are: Starman and Animal Man. Both characters are underpowered in the DCU and have to balance their superhero adventuring with their civilian lives. Jack Knight and Buddy Baker read more like Marvel characters and I would like to see more D-list characters like them mucking about in New 52.

  7. Just want to say I really enjoy the podcast, it’s super good.

    I can only speak to the time I’ve been reading (from around the late 80’s/early 90s to now). Aside from the characters (DC has gods, Marvel has real people), the biggest differences for me are behind the scenes. Marvel, since they pulled themselves out of bankruptcy, seems to pick a creative direction, and go with it. From a readers standpoint, they have confidence in their books and ideas and stick with them, and let the creators do what they do. I also think they don’t get mired in continuity. They rejigger origins, etc. as needed as time goes on, but rarely use cosmic resets just to fix things. House of M and Age of Ultron changed stuff, but to set the table for future stories.

    DC on the other hand, particularly since the New 52 but before that as well, seems to be second-guessing themselves, and what they want their universe to be. Instead of letting less desirable elements fade into the background, where they can be ignored or picked up later, they scorch the earth with some continuity reset (Crisis, Zero Hour, infinite Crisis, Final Crisis, New 52). Then they have to go through ridiculous story gymnastics to bring stuff back when they decide that it’s okay now. So you have 4 relatively different Superman origins. Earth 2 is erased but characters from there somehow exist. JLA were the first heroes until the JSA was, until they weren’t. The constantly shifting status quo for the Legion. Supergirl exists, the she doesn’t, then she’s an alien, then she’s his cousin again. Stuff like this. It results in lackluster books (to me anyway), and the behind-the-scenes creators issues happening now would indicate that this way of thinking is still going strong.

  8. In my opinion, one of the key differences between the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe (beyond those pointed out in DC vs. Marvel crossover, such as : the DC universe worshiping it’s heroes and being much more Idyllic where as the Marvel Universe by and large is a much grittier, dark, and disturbed place where the heroes are often relegated to being either clandestine, misunderstood, or completely unnoticed) is the basic archetype from which the characters originate.

    DC’s classic pantheon is full of many multi-decade character archetypes, often operating on a 2-dimensional and wholly psychological and cathartic binary. Their powers and persona’s are beholden to a quintessential character dynamic that will fuel stories in perpetuity. See Superman and Batman.

    Marvel’s mainstays and even more recent characters seem to often be driven by real (in comic’s land) and 3 dimensional human beings afflicted with a set of abilities who must cope with being real people while accommodating an existence with powers. Think on the drama in the X-men and Spidey’s lives. Its much more frequently humanistic in tension and focus. Moreover, many of the Marvel heroes have had to deal with fallibility, inability, confusion, and affliction with things such as drugs, aids, familial trauma, etc. Not to say these tropes don’t pop up in the DC universe, they just generally appear as defining traits from the origin of many characters from the 616 and beyond.

    I think this stems from the fact that DC’s main heroes stem from a more single note and 2-dimensional period of character conception (see Golden Age and prior) where as Marvel came into it’s own during the Silver Age, where depth and 2-dimensional conflict binaries allowed real life issues and cutting edge scientific speculation to fuel the development of stories.

    It’s interesting to think on the comments of DC wanting to be Marvel as we can see the significant issues of Green Arrow and Green Lantern to be a response of awesome creators at DC wanting to shirk the campy trend of the latter years of the Golden Age in a pursuit of this more cognizant and conscious social commentary occurring in the pages over at the House of Ideas. Not to say Speedy’s run in with Heroin or the profound Green Lantern & Green Arrow cross over wouldn’t have occurred without Marvel attempting (if not gradually) similar types of commentary, but their collective cohabitation of the period in the mediums growth suggest a correlation if not a social awakening within the medium itself.

    It begs the question of what would happen if Chris Claremont was at DC earlier or Alan Moore had a crack at Spidey, what would we have gotten. The true believer in me wants to think we would have gotten things of equal brilliance, and perhaps even more.

    It’s interesting to consider the current tenor of the big two, and to contemplate their futures. While I still hold that the defining difference between DC and Marvel is this juxtaposition between character dimensionality and at what point in the characters identity their humanity becomes the focus, but in the current age business practices also seem to be taking a major divide. As much as DC wants to be Marvel, Marvel is managing itself like a large business, sustaining it’s success while experimenting with new product. DC’s desperation to reboot and re-thether canon in an attempt to find ground with a modern audience seems counter intuitive, especially when the complexity of their respective canon is seemingly so important for the fans and stories they desire to tell.

    I’ll shut up now.

  9. That chiptune version of “Uptown Girl” was fantastic, way better and more listen-able than the original song.

    Anyway, awesome episode this week guys! really enjoyed it! super fun and on point, keep it up!

  10. This podcasts constant Marvel dick-riding has made me read DC Comics. I will say any comics by Gail Simone are instantly great since she gets the characters she writes (fun fact- she wrote The Simpson’s comics for while so she can br funny when she needs to), and of the New 52, Green Arrow, Batgirl and Catwoman (after issue 3) are all very good.

    Old comics are tougher because there’s so many, so I will just focus on Batman for now. Some great Batman arcs are: Cataclysm/No Man’s Land, Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend, The Dark Knight Returns, Brian Azzarello’s Joker, The Long Halloween and that is just Batman’a stuff.

    Honestly, if you know where to look, you can find good comics.

  11. So, how soon after you recorded this did the Spider Man trailer drop? Oh, well, spectacular episode anyway.

  12. So can someone please explain to me why the fact that DC reboots is a bad thing?

    In the podcast you guys were perfectly fine with the idea that the marvel cinematic universe will be rebooted after Avengers 3, but then you go on to say that the fact that DC has reboots turns you off to the material. Why is one thing treated as acceptable and the other isn’t?

    I view the DC Comic universe like I do the batman trilogies. We will get 20 ish years of good material and then we start off again. The fact that Affleck is going to be Bruce Wayne doesn’t make the Nolan trilogy disappear, you can enjoy each on their own merits and the one that comes after will build on the other in some ways, and be different in others.

    This argument that “oh I can read a marvel story and I know that it will count 20 years from now” is just so inane. If Marvel treated every story like it mattered we wouldn’t have spiderman selling his soul to the devil. DC goes for the hard break while Marvel changes has the person be a clone/skrull/mind controlled the whole time, which basically renders what you were reading into something of no consequence anyways. Each has their own merits, but they are each fundamentally different means to the same end. DC has confusion about what happened or not while Marvel is stuck trying to reconcile erratic character actions/situations with one deus ex machina or the other.

    1. For me, it’s more the fact DC “has” to reboot – or feels like it “has” to – because of painting itself into too many corners or dropped sales or failed stunts. It’s that and the frequency of these things – once every 20 years is one thing, but DC has reset itself how many times in my lifetime? Conversely Spider-Man selling his marriage for a minor reboot happened once. It was SORELY NEEDED because they’d basically ruined Peter’s life and there was no way to undo it without MaaAaAAAaaAGIC. Dumb dumb dumb I agree but the comic immediately improved because of it.

      That said, I still enjoy plenty of Batman/Superman stories and do take them as one-offs or on their own. What makes Marvel fun is the idea that it’s still the same world from the 60s, with all the same highs and lows, the broad strokes are the same but some of the finer details changed. It also eventually goes back to a status quo no matter what happens, without destroying time or reality etc etc.

      Both companies engage is some silly shit, that’s for sure. I’ll also admit to some long-standing preference toward Marvel because that’s what I and all my friends were into as kids. I keep trying to get into DC stuff (read a ton of Flash in the ’00s and New 52 Batman / Animal Man has been good) but it’s still tough for me when I know there will be a reboot or cosmic-level crossover within 3-4 trades of any given series. Gotham Central going bonkers really put me off :/

      As for the movies, well they’re movies. They can reboot indefinitely, it doesn’t matter. Actors age, rights shift around, it’s going to happen. Spider-Man as a comic never has to go through that – and when it did, they just made Ultimate Spider-Man (which I agree is no less “hard” to follow than Earth 2 or a multiverse).

      1. I totally respect that view Brett. I agree that the reason why DC reboots aren’t always the best, but you can’t really judge the whys, you can only really judge what comes as a result of it. Honestly the New 52 was what got me into comics. I poked around Batman a bit during the battle of the cowl, read the early Deadpool runs, Civil War, and got some dark horse comics but the New 52 gave me an opportunity to try everything without having that ocd completionist in me feel like I was missing out on anything in a way that marvel now didn’t really accomplish (though I now read Hawkeye, Deadpool, and Superior Spiderman and love all three). Those three books are great because they don’t get pulled into the Marvel Crossover machine that forces me to read their big events to get a clue of what is happening. DC’s Crossovers have by and large have been between lines of books or theme months where you can get by with reading what you are reading. There are more of them, but I find them more tolerable. It’s a matter of preference I guess.

        What i’m getting at though is that the movies are really not as different as you would think. If we suspended disbelief and made Robert Downey an ageless man who always wanted to be in the Iron Man movies would we never have a reboot again? No because at some point the studio would just exhaust all the stories, or the audience would grow weary, and the character would be in a spot where it was without any other option. I really just view DC in the same way. I don’t let myself get hung up on continuity as long as I enjoy what i’m reading.

        The New 52 gave DC a chance to redefine their characters and as a result I have gotten a new found appreciation of them. I never would have fucking imagined that I would care about Andrew Bennet, Aquaman, Buddy Baker, or Supergirl but the redefining of who they were really resonated with me. It goes both ways as DC really fucked up Catwoman by having terrible Ann Nocenti on her book but it’s been a positive as a total. I know you guys just aren’t big DC readers and that’s fine, but I do think you are missing out on some good works.

  13. To me, the difference in Marvel and DC was, Marvel characters (not just the heroes) are flawed. Everyone has a vice or personality trait that haunts them AND defines them. DC characters are all templates. Blank or minimal personalities set to an ability.

  14. Somebody in the comments of that linked article summed it up rather well, imo.

    DC characters are superheros who happen to be people.
    Marvel characters are people who happen to be superheroes.

  15. I am not sure but lets ask the vowel at for his response. VOWEL BAT: ” A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A A. A Bat A Bat Vowl Bat!” Good point vowel bat. The fact is who is in charge of the universe and how they direct it.

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