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Post By
little kon-el

In Reply To
Bk Ray
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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 8,929
Subj: The Fundamental difference of the DC ideology vs. Marvel ideology...
Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 at 11:39:44 pm EDT (Viewed 10 times)
Reply Subj: What 'core' character/team, idea, villian etc makes Marvel?
Posted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 at 06:32:23 pm EDT (Viewed 148 times)

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Is it a comic line e.g. Spiderman, Avengers, X-Men, Hulk, Fantastic 4 or idea such as the cosmic hierarchy or someone like Dr Doom that makes Marvel unique?

If Marvel were to lose one thing, what is the most vital thing it keeps?


DC is all about these two adages. Superman's adage of "You are much stronger than you think" and Batman's adage of "I was never alone. I always had help."

Combine the two and you have "You are much stronger than you think because you are never alone."

DC is all about community spirit and community helping. Remember, they form a "Justice Society" and a "Justice League"...both signifying community spirit.

Marvel is different because their defining adage is Spider-Man "With great power comes great responsibility" and the X-Men's "Protect a world that hates and fears them. Combine the two and you get: "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility to protect a world that hates and fears them."

Marvel is all about people trying to use great power responsibly. Sometimes they fail miserably and sometimes they succeed. But the defining characteristic in Marvel is not "team building", but rather finding a way to be moral with great power. Superman and Batman don't have that problem when they have a community around them. Spider-Man is always the odd-man out. The X-Men are always trying to not be extinct. The communities they form are mostly to defend themselves or to avenge others. They are groups out of necessity, not in order to form a community.

This also warps the villains a bit in each universe. In the DCU, the villain is always a weird variation of the parental figure. Superman's greatest enemy is Lex Luthor, who is basically a "bad Jor-el." Batman's greatest enemy is the Joker, who is a "bad Thomas Wayne." Circe is a "bad Hippolyta." Reverse Flash is a "Bad Norman Allen." Sinestro is a bad "Martin Jordan." Etc, etc... The Villains are basically the bad fathers and mothers of the superheroes. The Superheroes are always defining themselves against their parents and their parental legacy.

The Marvel villains are always people who make the bad choice in "with great power..." They always abuse the power that they're given. They don't take responsibility for their fellow man. So the villains are always those who abuse power: Korvac, Doctor Doom, Baron Zemo, etc. The heroes find the villains repulsive because they are an affront to their ability to use power responsibly. The X-men aren't pissed off at Magneto because he's "evil", but because he uses his powers irresponsibly. Civil War didn't happen because of Nitro, it happened because the heroes involved weren't responsible. Damage Control work in the Marvel Universe to support the idea that Superheroes are responsible. They don't work in the DCU because it is always assumed that DC heroes are responsible with their power (until they are not).

What I find curious is the variations on these themes when Marvel and DC creators branch out. Any Shooter-verse (Valiant, Defiant, New Universe) kind of twists the "Great Power Comes..." idea into "Great Power Makes me the Boss, with all the moral and problematic ideas that go behind that thought." Ditko takes this down another rabbit hole in his Charlton work where the ethos becomes (ultimately in Watchmen): "There is only a right and a wrong and the things that impede our ability to reach greatness is the lesser men of society." When Charlton goes to DC, Ostrander changes the characters and their primary ethos more towards the DCU where "The right and wrong are strongly defined by the ethos of the community you involve yourself with."

Then you have the imitation universes like Red Circle who have a lot of the DCU Influence of "Community Spirit" within their work, but also a very patriotic feel that isn't obvious in the DCU (!mpacts defining moment was when the heroes fought to protect George Bush Senior when he first became president). Or even the Jim Lee's Wildstorm Universe that spawns more superhero teams and alliances than individual hero books.

The team I find most interesting is the Milestone line of comics that seemed to build their universe as a cross between the two. Milestone's ethos could be defined as "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility to Serve your Community and make each other stronger." It is real telling that the first major crossover of Milestone ended with one of the main characters convincing rioters to be better people.

- l.k.



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