Archive for November 9th, 2010

Nov 09 2010

Differences Between Marvel and DC Comics

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

Caveat: Both companies have thousands of characters, so obviously there will be exceptions to every generalization. That said, here are some general differences between the two.

 

1.  Marvel characters are more likely to come from relatively ordinary backgrounds than DC characters.  For example, Spider-Man, Captain America and most of the X-Men had largely unremarkable lives before developing superpowers.  In contrast, the three most prominent DC characters are a billionaire playboy/ninja, an extraterrestrial, and an Amazon princess that may be a CEO.

 

2.  DC usually uses more epic superpowers.  For example, Superman doesn’t just have eye-beams or incredible strength or incredible speed or the ability to fly, but all of those and more.   In contrast, a lot of Marvel characters get just one (think Cyclops, the Hulk, Quicksilver, Angel, etc).  Most Marvel characters usually have somewhat more ordinary capabilities.  (The Sentry is a notable exception for Marvel).

 

3. DC characters were usually created earlier. Most of Marvel’s main characters date to the 1960s and 1970s, whereas most of DC’s date back to the late 1930s and 1940s.

  • This is one reason Marvel has characters named [Modifier] Man/Woman/Boy/Lad: Iron Man, Spiderman and the Invisible Woman vs. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Aqua Lad, Hawkgirl and Hawkman, etc.
  • Many major DC characters were introduced before superhero teams became commonplace*.

 

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