In 1996, DC Comics and Marvel Comics published DC vs. Marvel (shown in issues #2-3 as Marvel vs. DC), a comic book crossover series. Marvel published two issues of the series and DC published two; thus, the titles differed between the two companies Jurgens and Claudio Castellini created the art for the series, written by Ron Marz and Peter David.

PublisherDC Comics(Warner Bros.)Marvel Comics
Publication dateApril – May 1996
Format Hitchens
Main characterAccessSpectreLiving Tribunal
No. of issues 4
Written byRon MarzPeter David
PencillersDan JurgensClaudio Castellini

What is the difference between DC and Marvel?

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Marvel and DC’s comic characters differ in their philosophical approaches (mostly in the early days). However, both mythologies have become tarnished over the years, and it’s more about maximizing profits than maintaining their previous ideologies. Since most of the previous creators of those mythologies have died or chose to remain silent, new talent and leadership are taking over how the characters, look, act, and think.

DC Comics was born out of National Allied Publications, which defined its heroes as mythic beings, showing the best qualities a man could possess. Heroes such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman embody virtues such as strength, courage, and willpower.

Due to their origins during a time (World War II) that was in desperate need of light and humor, DC’s heroic templates seem to be both brighter and more idealistic than Marvel’s.


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This allowed DC to create stories that were not connected with each other, keeping them lighter in tone (and, in some cases, pretty bizarre) during the 1950s and 1960s.

Some of the companies DC acquired during the Golden and Silver Ages had similar themes, and many of them were little more than duplicates of DC’s core characters. This included Captain Marvel and Shazam which were almost direct copies of Superman (insert lawsuit here…you’ll see many of them.)

There were several notable additions in Charleston including Blue Beetle, The Question, and Shade the Changing Man. My favourites included the Quality Comics, and Freedom Fighters, who though I saw them infrequently, I enjoyed. DC was very good at identifying characters that suited their overall theme, even if they were not so good at effectively deploying them.

In DC’s Batman, we see the indomitable spirit of Man, in Wonder Woman, peace may take fighting for, in Superman we see the innate goodness of hard work and moderation, patience and restraint in the face of challenges, and Man aspiring for goodness.

Each of these heroes has a mythic counterpart though you may not recognize them right away. Aquaman (Poseidon), the Flash (Hermes), and the Martian Manhunter (Proteus) are just a few examples.

Green Arrow and Batman, both physically imposing heroes, were legendary for the abilities that allowed them to hang with the gods as legendary heroes like Hercules and Perseus.

Superman’s incarnation as the Christ and Moses metaphors is a perfect example of how DC’s heroes can be likened to gods on Earth; they represent humanity’s glory when we work together toward common goals and they represent a harbinger of the future of humanity.

DC faces the same problem when they create new heroes who aren’t as mythic, resulting in many of their new creations not gaining the same traction as their iconic originals.

The Marvel Way

While DC’s concept of superheroes was gods in human clothing, Marvel wanted to elevate men (and women) to god-like status. Frail mortals like Peter Parker and Dr. Banner were suddenly endowed with god-like abilities while still being human. As a result, Marvel’s heroes exhibited anger, rage, indifference, disrespect, and other mortal weaknesses that made them more humane, and more understandable.

The Fantastic Four were a perfect example of Marvel’s quest for superhumans, a group of astronauts, scientists, pilots, and stuntmen already at the top of their professions at the time of their emergence in the cosmic storm, which grants them their superpowers, they simply experienced apotheosis, the elevation of their heroic status into a godlike state.

Marvel further expounds on that god-like state when they have the Mighty Thor (who is believed to be a god) come to Earth to battle the Fantastic Four early in their career.

Even though the Fantastic Four are defeated, Thor concedes that they were more than simply mortals. This is the same progression starting with Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Doctor Strange (a surgeon turned sorcerer supreme with enhanced senses).

Hawkeye, Black Widow, The Punisher, and Moon Knight are four of Marvel’s heroes who have endured tragedies and are seeking to rebuild their lives.

Hawkeye relies on a brash bravado to deal with his loss, Natasha Romanov, the spy trained from childhood, was separated from humanity until she became part of the Avengers.

The Punisher launches a crusade against the criminal underworld bringing him against heroes and the villains he engages. And Moon Knight? In his early years as a soldier for hire, schizophrenic and possessed by a sliver of a divine avatar, Marvel played with the darker side of humanity long before DC considered it an appropriate medium. He also played with the desire for normality, the other half of the human equation. 

The Inhumans and the mutants (also known as Homo Superior) are examples of groups that seek acceptance, but never find it, because humanity is cruel and unforgiving.

Every member of the Inhuman race was different on the surface, but they were warm and loving and wanted only what ordinary people wanted, acceptance and respect.

Marvel also paid respect to the self-made men like Hank Pym and Tony Stark, whose ability to use technology-enabled them to transcend human limitations as well as the X-men and other mutants gifted with superhuman abilities.

Marvel’s heroes have always been easily relatable to a wide audience because their primary issues are very human. As Tony Stark, he has come across well on film as a wisecracking, know-it-all, who is incredibly smart but also so socially inept.

Spider-Man for all of his ability still is a young man trying to find himself and adjust to the idea of great power and its inherent responsibility.

The greatest mind of his generation, Dr. Banner was one of the most brilliant and mentally tortured characters of all time, a man whose very soul was triggered by the emotion of anger. Unstoppable, uncontrollable, he is the lynchpin of adventure, the mythology of men made gods and burned by the fire of apotheosis.

Is Marvel or DC better?

Despite the presence of a make-believe universe in both comics publishers, Marvel brings more realism to a fantasy world. Additionally, Marvel takes more risks, so they release movies like Guardians of the Galaxy. However, DC provides their characters with more depth and backstories (ex. Batman).

How would DC and Marvel fare against each other?

The DC Comics Doctor Manhattan is the most powerful and invincible fictional character ever created, and because of that, DC Comics would definitely win in this clash, despite individual differences that might give points to Marvel.

Which superhero is the strongest?

The Hulk, The details of the pair’s symbiotic relationship might change, but at the end of the day, superhero comic books have one unbreakable rule: Hulk is the strongest one there is, and that’s really all there is to it.

Which is more successful, DC or Marvel?

Marvel has maintained market leadership consistently, at least in terms of sales to comic book shops, despite years of DC sales overtaking or keeping the race close.

Which of the Marvel characters is the strongest?

HerculesIn the Marvel Universe, Hercules, the son of Zeus over 3000 years old, is considered to be the strongest character. He has pulled Manhattan, an island that weighed 99,000,000,000 tons at one time, while Thor and the Hulk are considered to be equally strong.

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