Overheard debates: DC versus Marvel, who wins?

Category:  Opinions
Thursday, April 11th, 2019 at 9:25 AM
Overheard debates: DC versus Marvel, who wins? by Erica Burkholder & Jason Hurst
Graphic: Hannah Flynn

There are many overheard debates in The Spectator’s office. This week, with “Shazam!” recently released and “Avengers: Endgame” soon to be released, our writers take on the debate of who rules the superhero world. 


DC and Marvel films paint a picture of a world full of super-powered individuals. Which would you rather live in and why?

Jason Hurst: DC. We already sort of do anyway, just without the superheroes. Yet. They’re down to earth and relatable. Everyone is just normal. Then we have damaged individuals trying to protect everyone, so they don’t wind up like them.

Erica Burkholder: Marvel. The fact that Captain America happened before today’s timeline and was such a remembered event speaks to me. What would America have been like if we had this small scrappy boy from Brooklyn, who never let his friends down, as a hero to look up to. I’d bring up Captain Marvel, but I’m not really sure what civilians know of her. Also with the Starks, Tony is a pretty messed up man, but he’s open about who he is, and he’d be a role model to anyone out there that’s struggled. 


How do the companies fare in relating to the fanbase on and off screen?

JH: On screen, they’re pretty good. Everyone is just normal, going about their everyday lives. They have their own problems, unlike how Marvel’s heroes typically don’t.

EB: I think a lot of Marvel’s heroes have their own issues; Iron Man has had one messed up life and that tends to give you issues. Captain America is literally dealing with everyone he knows being dead already, or dying, and his best friend was taken by Hydra, brainwashed and tortured. I don’t think most heroes in the MCU have similar issues. 

The difference is that the Avengers (usually, “Civil War” messed some things up) come together and help each other handle their issues. Also, the Avengers are a group of friends and they show the good and bad that comes in friend groups. Also, Marvel has no issues pushing boundaries with politics. Captain Marvel and the story they chose for her movie easily compares to the issues refugees face today. 


In appealing to their fanbase, many of whom are fans of the comics, how well do these companies translate their stories to the big screen?

JH: DC seems to create mostly unique plots for their films, taking the origins and large overall story from the comics, while paying homage to its source material.

EB: Marvel seems to pull bits from different comic series, which can get a little confusing if you’re not super well versed on certain heroes. Also, the fact that until recently Marvel movies had a weird relationship with Spider-Man and the X-Men meant a lot of their stories, mainly the X-Men, didn’t get to be blended into the MCU. I’m really hoping we get a “Civil War” with the X-Men some day in the future. 


Do the actors make the characters come alive?

JH: In their own movies, the main characters seem like actual people going through legitimate events. The “Justice League” movie itself seemed rushed and the characters weren’t as fleshed out as they should’ve been.

EB: Yes. Chris Evans is Captain America, and I cannot be convinced otherwise. The actors know what these movies mean to people, and they respond by making themselves the best version of the hero that they can be. 


A good villain can make or break a story, which villain has had the most impact in your world’s narrative?

JH: Zod and the rest of the Kryptonians. Before this, almost nobody even knew these types of people existed. Then, suddenly the entire world has the knowledge that these people exist and then these people start coming out into the open. It kickstarted the entire DC movie universe.

EB: Thanos (yes, he is technically a villain). There is no other argument to be made for the current movie universe. 


Which of the characters established on screen would you choose to symbolize your side?

JH: Currently, I’d choose Aquaman. Objectively, the movie did very well. The character is well known and the actor is portrayed very positively in the media.

EB: Captain America or Iron Man. I, as a Cap fan, want to say Cap, as to me he expresses the personality and scrappiness that most of the MCU has. But I can’t downplay the success of Iron Man or the fact that he’s the reason Marvel is still around today. 


How well have women and minorities been represented?

JH: Wonder Woman has been fantastic for women. It proved that audiences want women-led superhero movies, opening the door for more. Complete diversity is unfortunately lacking.

EB: I’d say for the comics they have to go off, good, but I will always welcome more heroes of color and women heroes. I am still waiting for an openly LGBTQ hero though. 


With the established characters and events on screen, who would win in a fight: the Avengers or the Justice League?

JH: If we’re going off of just the plots of the movies released, the Justice League would definitely win this. There’s only the original Avengers, plus some others remaining after “The Snap.” It wouldn’t even be a fight. 

EB: If you take this from completely logical perspective, probably DC, but the Avengers have a scrappy attitude to them (especially when led by Cap), and they have always fought well with their back against the wall. 


A character named Captain Marvel has existed in both worlds, with DC’s version now being known as Shazam for legal reasons. Which version is better?

JH: Shazam is so much better. He’s this kid, so he has this positive outlook on almost everything. He tries his best, even going up against Superman to do what was right. Captain Marvel has a sort of god complex. In the comics, she was indirectly responsible for the death of the Hulk and tried to imprison others based on visions of a possible future.

EB: I love them both, especially the new movies, but Captain Marvel all the way. She gave us the woman-led Marvel movie we had been waiting for, and she did it in a spectacular fashion. Her movie also gave us more of a look into fan-favorite Fury. Also, the movie provided a very relevant message about refugees that I don’t think could have been timed better. I’m always happy to have female characters be well written, and the fact that Captain Marvel has had different things (bad and good happen to her) doesn’t change the fact that she is well written. Also, Captain Marvel eventually led to the latest Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, who is the first Muslim individual to headline a Marvel comic,  and that was a big step to inclusivity by Marvel. 

Jason Hurst | edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

Erica Burkholder| voices.spectator@gmail.com

Tags: dc, marvel

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