Popular Opinion Podcast Popular Opinion Podcast: Marvel Vs. DC written by Sean Gerber February 2, 2016 It is the greatest rivalry in all the nerd realms and it’s only getting bigger. “Marvel vs. DC,” a debate once confined to comic book shops, has seen exponential increases in participants and intensity thanks to social media. Sean Gerber and Mark Hughes examine the reasons this rivalry exists and persists. Once all that is done, they take a look at some cold, hard facts to determine which is the leading superhero brand right now. Please rate, review, and subscribe to Popular Opinion Podcast on iTunes. Popular Opinion Podcast: Marvel Vs. DC was last modified: February 19th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related Marvel 11 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post Making Mine Marvel Is Now Marvel News! next post Disney Takes You To ZOOTOPIA In 3 New Clips You may also like Popular Opinion Podcast #13: BATMAN V SUPERMAN... March 30, 2016 Introducing POPULAR OPINION PODCAST October 20, 2015 Popular Opinion Podcast #14: ROGUE ONE Trailer... April 8, 2016 POP – Top 25 Superhero Movies Of... October 26, 2015 POP – Talking ANT-MAN With Director Peyton... November 30, 2015 POP – Top 25 Superhero Movies Of... October 22, 2015 POP – STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS... November 8, 2015 POP – SPECTRE Review And The Future... November 9, 2015 Popular Opinion Podcast- STAR WARS: THE FORCE... October 19, 2015 POP – Top 25 Superhero Movies Of... November 3, 2015 Adrian Edmondson Looking forward to this . Hate this dumb so called rivalry , a person can chose to see what they want and spend what they want , no need to take sides . We all win if these movies are good . This war is so pointless . GibLesPaul456 Great podcast guys…I remember when I first started reading comics as a young kid and was totally confused as to why Superman and Hulk were not in the same universe:) I didn’t pick a side then and won’t be picking a side anytime soon… bookee Let me first say that I am a DC Fan but like Marvel (Love X-men and Spider-man). I think it is detrimental to the genre to attempt to declare a winner. Declaring a winner only hurts the relationship between fans of both sides. It’s also seems like a moot point to declare a winner based on 5 years of the past 75+ years of existing. I think stating a winner is kind of impossible because you have to use more than facts to really do it. You have to look at how these character have resonated with people. I think they are pretty even. Both have had and will have their ups and downs through the years. I prefer DC to marvel because to me, they are more traditional heroes (proactive against crime, secret identities, more symbolic, etc) but marvel is still great with their more relatable characters. Sean Gerber I don’t see how it’s detrimental to the genre to declare which of the two is the leading brand at a given moment, which is all we did here. We did not say Marvel is better than DC. We simply said Marvel is outperforming DC and we stressed that this evaluation is based on what’s happening right now while qualifying that the situation could very well change as soon as this year. If you’re going to declare a current brand leader, as we did, that conclusion should be based on objective facts, not one’s subjective perception of resonance. Besides, if we concede that Marvel and DC are pretty even in that regard, then it’s a tie in that category and we can use the objective data from other categories to complete the evaluation. Declaring the current brand leader obviously requires that we focus more on recent performance than a full 75+ years of existence. Again, we are talking about today, not all time. That said, one could argue Marvel’s been leading for more than 5 years. I don’t see how the simple acknowledgement of publicly available information regarding fairly basic performance metrics of two businesses in the same industry can hurt the relationship between Marvel and DC fans. We never once said which company has better characters or fans. We kept our comments to the companies themselves and their performance in getting audiences to buy into their brands. As we said at the very top of the show, Mark and I are longtime fans of both Marvel and DC, so we weren’t setting out to knock anyone or any company down. Any fan who’s chosen to only follow and support one of those brands still has plenty of obvious reasons to cheer regardless of whether or not their preferred brand sells as well as the other. Someone who prefers Pepsi isn’t going to like the taste any less just because someone else informs them that Coke sells better. 2016 is going to be a very interesting year and we look forward to seeing how DC and Marvel continue to evolve and perform in an even more competitive, mainstream environment. That excites us. In order to track how things change from this point forward, however, it’s best to have an understanding of the situation going into this banner year for superheroes. This is a conversation we will be happy to revisit as often as is needed because we know the situation is often subject to change. GibLesPaul456 This is just a curiosity…if you took Spider-man out of the equation…how much does it close the gap between DC and Marvel with respect to profits? I swear Marvel makes plenty of money on Spider-man pajamas alone… Sean Gerber In terms of merchandise sales, DC would pretty much take the lead thanks to Batman, but it’s not exactly fair to leave Batman in if we’re removing Marvel’s top seller. And of course, I’d like to see updated numbers for 2015 because the value of the Avengers license is expected to show major growth. When it comes to merchandising, Warner Bros. simply isn’t aggressive enough to pull DC even with Marvel. It’s pretty hard to compete with the retail presence Marvel gets by being not just in the same major retails chains as DC, but also Disney Store locations. Furthermore, Disney is much more aggressive in its retail partnerships. Compare the Star Wars and Marvel action figure displays to what you see for DC in your local Toys ‘R Us and Target. There’s a dramatic difference. The only thing that could even begin to change this is if DC’s movies are as popular as Marvel’s across all demographics. In recent years, Marvel’s live-action films have been more accessible to kids than DC’s and that has a significant impact on merchandising. Animation can help make up for a nice chunk of that, but most of DC’s animation consists of the direct-to-DVD movies that are hard PG-13. Marvel again has more animated programming that’s accessible to kids. JUSTICE LEAGUE ACTION and a corresponding line of merchandise can’t come soon enough. All that said, it’s worth noting that DC never really has to pass up or pull even with Marvel. They’re not going to go out of business just because they’re not #1 in the marketplace. They’ve been in second position for years in comics and here they are still putting out several new books every week. I’m sure WB’s plans to make DC films, animated shows, and merchandise do not hinge on their ability to beat Marvel in market share. As long as there’s still a big enough audience for DC, it won’t matter how it compares to Marvel’s audience. stock When I was young the rap on DC was it was incredibly square, and, in the early 60s up until probably the later 60s-70s, it was. Marvel had their finger on the pulse of what teenagers wanted in their superhero comics right out of the gate. And they delivered. By the time DC caught up, the game was over. Just like the movies today. As far as people arguing about it, well, it wasn’t any issue I ever dealt with as a kid, and I think it’s only the anonymity that social media provides that fuels it now. Basically, comic book fans never get out of raging hormonal adolescence, so acting like a punk just comes naturally. It’s all just mental masturbation, really. Unless you’re involved in creating these stories you have no real reason to take their portrayals in media personally. You’re just being weird. I like debating character, story, history, plot, whatever, but I find that besides Mr. Reinecke, nobody is much for debate. I don’t purposefully insult people, but even subtle ribbing is enough to cause a bloodletting with some people. They have one ply TP for skin. It’s just the way of the world these days. It goes all the way to the top. Look at the current state of our politics. IF YOU DARE! I’ve never got into a DC v Marvel debate with anybody. I’ve never got into a Burton/Nolan debate with anybody. It’s just silly. Batman 89 belongs on any list of greatest Superhero movies at least rating 15th. Batman Returns is unwatchable as are Schumacher Bat-flicks. Nolan’s TDK is practically an homage to Burtons film so I can only say he did it better because he had a visual blueprint (Batman 89) to use. Instead of killing J with a grapple-gun around the ankle, he saves him. QED. Where’s the argument? I wish I had heard what it was, cause I got 2 cents too! Sean Gerber I’m always up for a spirited debate. I agree that anonymity on the internet and social media fuels the flame wars, but I find that the behavior is hardly confined to comic book fans. Comment sections on ESPN.com and CNN.com are just as nasty and sometimes worse. I suppose it’s as simple and sad as concluding that so many cannot behave themselves without a fear of consequence to keep them in line. stock Too true. That’s the world we live in. I’m not perfect, but I try to be reasonable. I think you set a pretty good example for your site, Sean. That’s all you can do. Outside of the block button, that is. ✌️ Kerry Vanderberg Thanks Sean and Mark as always for a great podcast! Like you always do, thanks for the expert job on looking at the data objectively to determine which brand is currently the top seller. Despite which characters or which brand we may lean most towards, numbers and facts like that don’t lie. I’ve kind of flip-flopped over the years about which brand is my favorite, and now its more dependent on the mediums than anything else. Ever since I can remember learning what superheroes were, I’ve known about Batman and Superman, which is a big reason they are my two personal favorites. BUT, I will say that I after those two, Marvel is probably my preferred universe as a whole. When I was collecting and reading comics as a kid, the X-Men were my favorite. I loved the stories, and the artwork from guys like Jim Lee and subsequently Andy Kubert are what sucked me in. Jim Lee is still my favorite artist to this day. But that art style was sort of the “Marvel style”, with guys like Lee, Whilce Portacio, Rob Liefeld, and Marc Silvestri. Even after those guys broke off and formed Image comics, Marvel still kept a degree of consistency in their art styles on their X-Men line by bringing in Andy and Adam Kubert, Greg Capullo, John Romita Jr., etc. While I wasn’t really aware of artists or who to follow as a naive 12/13 year old, I also knew that DC books just didn’t “look” like that, which was a big reason why I didn’t jump on board. Plus at that time, I had the Batman and Superman animated series, so I was perfectly happy only relying on the animated shows for my favorite two characters. It also felt easier to jump in with Marvel, and then get caught up on continuity as you go. Whereas there was a ton of DC continuity I didn’t know of (i.e. Barbara Gordon not being Batgirl for years because of being shot by the Joker). Eventually I dropped comics because it was eating up all of my allowance money. Fast forward to 2008, TDK re-fuels my interest in superheroes, so I start collecting Batman and Superman trades of great stories that I’ve missed in the last decade, but both DC and Marvel are so continuity heavy that I can’t really get into either one. Then the New 52 came along and was exactly what I needed for DC. But for as big of an X-Men fan as I was, I simply cannot bring myself to get into those titles now. The artwork style is just WAY too different than what X-Men “should” look like to me, and the character dynamics have all completely changed with Xavier being dead and Cyclops practically being the new Magneto (based on what I hear; I could be wrong on that). Other than Ed Brubaker’s Captain America and then Civil War, I really haven’t read much Marvel or feel compelled to, in large part because of all the great content Marvel keeps putting out. So my preference these days is DC, even though I love the Marvel films, I just want to see the other side get caught up and push further with their on-film universe than ever before. I’ve even had to drop most of my monthlies due to budget, and am sticking to trades for now. But as long as great movies and TV shows keep coming out, I feel like I will rely on that more and more to be my base superhero content. ZackBop It’s fair (and accurate) to say that Marvel outsells DC in most things. That said, I still prefer DC. They don’t have as many characters, but the ones that they do are better (IMO). They’re more classic and iconic. That’s not to say that Marvel is lacking in good characters. They’re not. I love the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Avengers. I’d just rather read/watch a story/movie about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, or Green Lantern. There’s something more mythological about them (IMO).