I am not sure how to start this Op-Ed, I am actually kind of sad that we are getting so fractured that we are now picking sides over what Superhero characters and publishers we like, and openly mocking fans of other books. Have things got this bad we can’t even enjoy comic book characters and discussions without an open act of war upon each other?
What prompted me to write this Op-Ed was a throwaway comment I made on a Comic Book Resource Facebook Post, here is the post below.
I have made no secret that I feel the DC Movie Universe (DCMU) is joyless place that mourns what a Superhero is. That it is wasting the potential of the DC pantheon with a Batman all the time approach to the writing, the character’s appearances, turning characters into Batman (looking at you Man of Steel) and using the Batman color palette for all their movies – so you know they are serious films. So here was my comment.
‘I think they are scrambling to catch Marvel and have forgotten the magic of their universe with Batman all the time.’
A fairly honest observation on my opinion that Warner Bros (WB) and the DCMU have no idea what to really do with their characters and are playing catch up with Marvel who are running away with it right now.
The first reply to the comment was ‘Wtf…this is an obvious Marvel Fanboy post‘
I do not think I am a Marvel Fanboy, I certainly have been enjoying their product a lot more than DC of late, but I first got into comic books with the Giffen era Justice League books in the 90’s. They grabbed my attention because they were fun books, that explored the joy of superheros and got really serious when they needed to be. Now before I go into the meat of this blog here was my reply to this sad comment.
‘Honest observation from a 20 year fan of both publishers and now I am Marvel fanboy? We are picking sides over Superhero movies now? Divisive, much?’
Now based on the observation of my reading 90’s DC comics books you might think, he only likes light. funny comic books. Please remember I am English and grew up a diet of Warlord, Battle, Starlord and 2000AD, stories that were grim, satirical, and often bloody. Very different to what the average American kid was digesting. The books that influenced me and my writing were incredibly serious.
Why Are We Picking Sides?
Now, as I type this my comment kicked off a huge back and forth between various commentators about the virtues of their comic book universes, and what did I mean by my original comment. What made me sad and a little shocked was just how angry the tone of some these posts were, (mainly for hardline DC fans.) It was like you were not worthy because you read one comic book publisher over the other, that you know nothing and an idiot, the enemy, and must be beaten into submission… People literally picking sides over Superheroes now… With the USA fracturing under Politics, Race, Sexuality, Rights, it is now time for comic fans to start drawing lines as well?
Now the classic nerd argument always has been about what character is best, who could beat who, but now these conversations have reached a harsher, more brutal level. The warm friendliness, commonality that we are all fans of comic books has gone. Reason has given away to extreme posturing… It is kind of sad… The flag has been raised and it is all about openly displaying hate, and really we can do better.
Picking sides over Superhero movies is frankly… Pathetic…
Is DC doing better than Marvel?
Okay hardline DC Fans, you’re going to have to suck this up a little bit, because this segment is going to present a harsh truth of the moment. Remember everything that goes around and comes around, especially if you remember the Marvel Movies of the 80’s.
If you look at the numbers DC is currently struggling in Marvel’s wake, their comic book market share has dropped below 29% (from 45% at the launch of DCNu52), although strangely Marvel hasn’t increased or decreased their share of 42% in this vacuum. Which means more small press titles are getting a bigger share of the pie, and from a storytelling and comic book fan perspective that is pretty good news.
The DCMU has largely been unimpressive in terms of box office, (unless it was Batman,) while Marvel is just cranking out hit after hit after hit, and is slapping DC in the face by doing this with B and C List characters. Look at it this way, while the DCMU was trying to figure out if audiences would get Wonder Woman; Marvel released a movie with a talking Raccoon with a machine gun and a walking Tree that was the biggest box office draw of 2014. There is a serious disconnect going on somewhere in the DCMU, your characters are just as awesome, use them! Can you imagine the draw a Booster Gold time traveling movie would have? Say it with me… Blue and Gold… Blue and Gold…
DC has one animation on TV, while Marvel is pretty much all over Disney/ABC thanks to their new ownership. So DC, who pretty much lead the way with the beautiful Batman Animated Series, gave us the surprise hit of Batman Beyond, the joy of the Justice League animated series, the refreshing Static Shock, an anime inspired Teen Titans and the underdog well told story of Young Justice lost all their ground there.
Now here is that real harsh part of this segment, if the DCMU continues to struggle to catch up and if they don’t do box office you can be sure WB (based on WB’s past behavior to money losing properties – remember they gutted their animation division) will pull the plug on DC. Then WB just like any corporation will break up DC into individual properties and sell them off to the highest bidder, (yes Disney could end up owning DC! Hrmm… Batman in the MCU? Can you say Holy Amalgam Comics!)
What DC is doing better than Marvel is on TV – their Live Action shows are really good, their feature animations are miles better than Marvel’s attempts and they have the Box Office wunderkid Batman to fall back on. But the DCMU cannot be Batman all the time… That does DC a huge disservice.
DC has a magical pantheon of characters rich in lore and history, even more so than Marvel’s offerings… Why are they struggling so much to exploit this? Look what Marvel did with Ant-Man… I mean even the name is corny and it is the biggest box office movie for two weeks now. DC has to have faith in their properties beyond putting Batman in everything… They need to rediscover their joy.
I am not in mood to bicker senselessly, and to name call. You’re a comic book fan, I’m a comic book fan. Let’s enjoy comic books and everything that comes from them. Right now is a pretty cool time to be a fan of the funnies.
Why can’t we all just get along?
Feel free to leave your comments below…