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– by David Kozlowski

For as long as I can remember there’s been this presumptive narrative of a Marvel vs. DC rivalry, and it’s never made much sense. Sure, every kid has argued at one time or another whether Batman can beat up Captain America (and there are some sweet “Super Power Beatdown” live-action fights on YouTube). Yes, there are frequently heated debates in Reddit and other niche venues, but is there truly a Marvel vs. DC furor in the mainstream among fans, the media, or Marvel and DC themselves?

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently spoke AlloCiné (via Slashfilmand addressed the topic:

“There’s not really a rivalry. The rivalry is much more amongst the press, I think. Geoff Johns is a very good friend of mine. We grew up together in the business and recently celebrated Richard Donner, who we both used to work for. So, I applaud all the success he’s had. I really just look at it as a fan. When the movies perform well and are well received, it’s good for us – which is why I’m always rooting for them.”


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Feige is right, the successes of Marvel and DC are much more aligned and co-dependent than we probably realize. Just consider the recent successes of Deadpool, Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, and Wonder Woman — these 4 films caused seismic shifts in the superhero genre (R-Rating, elevation of lesser properties, the deaths of major characters, and a female-led superhero film). Does anyone really think that a successful film from either entity is not good for the other? Feige alludes to this in his follow-up comments:

“The success of Wonder Woman is wonderful. It makes us incredibly happy. Finally, we can put to rest the falsehood that audiences don’t want to see female characters. We never believed that was true. There were a run of movies that just weren’t very good 10-15 years ago that caused that reputation. I’m glad that Wonder Woman has blown that away.”

Going forward we will see superhero films that expand ethnic and gender diversity, focus on contemporary issues, and otherwise push the envelope in terms of storytelling and spectacle. Does it matter whether it’s DC or Marvel leading the way? I would argue that we need both parties to be leaders, to push the genre and the mediums forward. DC built the Arrowverse on TV and Marvel established the connected Marvel universe on film — competition drives innovation, amirite?

Granted, this is all pop-culture, it’s not going to change the world… but pop-culture has power and it shapes attitudes (I learned world geography and built an appreciation of art just by reading Justice League and the Avengers comics as a kid!). I suspect everyone has a story of their own like this. I’m beyond excited about what Marvel and DC are doing on TV, film, videogames, etc. Bottom line, I can’t say I’ve ever spent much time thinking about the existence of a Marvel vs. DC rivalry… have you?

Do you think that the Marvel vs. DC rivalry is a thing or just overblown? Let us know in the comments down below!

 

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SOURCE: AlloCiné (via Slashfilm)

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.