Whether your exposure was due to the original comics, fashion, video games, or television and film adaptions, superheroes have inevitably cut their own notch into American pop culture. When you think about it, what other fictional characters have lasted from as early as the 1930’s and have immortalized themselves into lasting symbols, public figures that are even more cherished and respected than some real historical and political figures? You don’t even have to be geek to love them anymore.
And everyone from nerds with ink on their fingers to self-proclaimed cinema aficionados (hipsters) debate over one particular issue, blaring from home couches to Comic-Con floors: Who was able to create the better heroes?
In the north and south corners of the ring we have two of the most distinguished and influential publishers in the comic industry – Marvel and D.C. To be able to list one by one of all the classic heroes, antiheroes, and villains alike produced by these creators would take more time than needed.
Marvel is iconic for their general likability and various underdogs-turned-heroes. On their team you have greats such as Iron Man, Spiderman, X-Men, and the Avengers. These heroes have spread around to ultimate popularity that even the creator, Stan Lee, is a celebrity, who makes numerous stand-ins and guest appearances from his own characters’ films to day-time television (my favorites of his are on The Big Bang Theory and Mallrats). With the glorious hand of Hollywood on their side, their names and faces are probably the most recognizable in numbers. Marvel characters, such as Iron Man and Deadpool, have always had an attractive, witty sarcasm about them that keep them down-to-earth, while still kicking some serious butt. Their alter-ego’s plain lives are just as influential as when they put on the mask
On the other hand, D.C. is the home for more individual and explicit superheroes, such as the impervious Superman, Batman, the Green Lantern, and more. These heroes have a dark side, apart from your average masked vigilante. The quality about D.C. is that the stories range the spectrum. You’ve got Superman, an alien born man who uses his invulnerable attributes to save his adoptive home planet, not unlike the one he’s already lost. The annoying thing about Superman is the fact that he does have no weaknesses, you can’t leave a scratch on the guy with bullets. For a relatable perspective we’re given the honcho himself, Batman; a rich man with the proper means who, due to his unfortunate past, asserts justice without having to stoop to the levels of the filth he’s persecuting, i.e. not killing his perpetrators. While not exactly on an eye to eye level, he is the most human – for he’s entirely human, no outlandish powers at all, the most believable if you will. He therefore gives a reader this weird, underlying sense of motivation to persevere when the going gets tough.
From a reader’s point of view, I really can’t say for certain who would win in a battle royale showdown between the universes. Preference is varied, but for me, I’d give it to D.C. just for the sheer brilliance of the Batman sagas alone. Movie wise, I’d give the title to Marvel for outdoing themselves every time – except for the Spiderman sequels, those were just getting too emo for anyone to enjoy.