Notes

“Which is Better: Marvel or DC?”

Friend of the Gutter Colin Smith ponders the eternal question, “Which is better: Marvel or DC?” “It really did matter once, Marvel or DC? But that was decades ago, when the differences between the two publishers’ comics were obvious and consequential. When editor/writer Stan Lee and plotter/artist Jack Kirby brought the Marvel Era to life with Fantastic Four #1 in August 1961, theirs was a radically new approach to superhero comics. The long-established likes of DC’s Superman and Batman were famously and flawlessly noble. But the FF and its many successor superpeople – Spider-Man, The Avengers, Daredevil, The X-Men, and so on – were emotionally tormented and intrinsically flawed would-be champions who often felt like hopeless losers. At DC, heroism and villainy were transparently distinct. But Marvel gradually embraced a humanist compassion for the despised outsider. In an America still hauling itself away from McCarthyism, Marvel even treated some of its initially Red-Baiting Commie villains sympathetically. The company, it appeared, stood with the powerless against the powerful.”

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