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Understanding the difference between Marvel and DC 1976

 
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aTOMiC
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:26 pm    Post subject: Understanding the difference between Marvel and DC 1976 Reply with quote

Okay. This is more about understanding why I tend to see a difference between Marvel and DC.

Lets set the WABAC machine to around 1976. I am 11 years old. I don't have a single comic book. Then out of the blue my older brother brings me a box with around 300 comics and tells me they belonged to a friend of his and he's giving them to me. I am stunned. I know what comics are, I've seen them and read a few but they were never mine. Now in one fell swoop I have a ton according to my 1976 standards.

Now the books are fairly evenly split between DC and Marvel comics and I begin reading, soaking up one fascinating adventure after another. However I begin to notice something almost immediately. I don't find the DC books as interesting as the Marvels. What's odd is I am WAY more familiar with DC characters and I have very little idea who the Fantastic Four are or Iron Man or Daredevil (my friend dAN has a giant Spider-man Treasury addition comic so I know Spider-man somewhat.) I've watched lots of the Batman and the Superman live action television shows and Superfriends is on every Saturday so Marvel characters are barely on my radar at all.

A pattern is emerging that creates the foundation that I have to say still effects my judgement today. By comparison DC comics are extremely lame in the early to mid 70s. With DC I'm reading about Superman's dog and Batman Family comics and with Marvel I'm exposed to the Fantastic Four battling Doctor Doom and traveling to the negative zone like a high concept science fiction feature film. While Superman is fighting Solomon Grundy and Mr. mxyzptlk like the books are written for toddlers I see Spider man dealing with the death of Gwen Stacy and her possible resurrection. That's fairly adult concepts for me at the time and I am very impressed.

Now understand this is my first side by side exposure to both companies in a relative vacuum and frankly my 11 year old self sees it as no contest. Even to the point that I practically gave all of my original DC books to dAN so that we'd both have over a hundred books to read, trade and talk about.

I understand that DC over time finally woke up and began creating comics like Marvel but the die had already been cast. No matter how much I tried over the years there is a little voice in the back of my mind saying "You decided years ago that DC is lame and I won't let you forget it!"

Truthfully nowadays there is very little difference between comic book companies as they have shared editors, artists and writers back an forth, numerous times until the distinction is totally lost, outside of the obvious superficial differences in characters. Frankly there is almost no relevant reason to prefer one over the other they are so similar in content and execution.

However in practice I don't collect DC comics like I do with Marvels and that will probably never change. Its not really for any good reason except that's how I feel.

It all began because I was exposed to DC comics at a time when they were struggling to evolve and to catch up with contemporary culture.

And Marvel was already there.


FYI
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Last edited by aTOMiC on Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You forgot to mention X-men Giant Size 1 was in that box, as well as Hulk 180 (1st cameo app. of Wolverine), and DD 132 ( the 2nd app. of Bullseye).

Two nice DC comics that I remember from that box were Man-Bat 1 and Batman 251;both had Neal Adams art.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dANdeLION wrote:
You forgot to mention X-men Giant Size 1 was in that box, as well as Hulk 180 (1st cameo app. of Wolverine), and DD 132 ( the 2nd app. of Bullseye).

Two nice DC comics that I remember from that box were Man-Bat 1 and Batman 251;both had Neal Adams art.


Yeah. X-men GS 1 in particular was a "we didn't know what we had" kind of book.

I agree that mixed in among the super lame DC books were a few good ones but it wasn't balanced out. All of the FF, Avengers, Amazing Spiderman, Iron Man, Hulk etc were pretty awesome by comparison. All of the books I got were already at least a couple of years old so they were really a snapshot of the comic industry that had already begun to change by the time I got them.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correction: Man-bat 1;s cover was drawn by Jim Aparo, not Neal Adams. Interior art was by Ditko. I do remember most of the main titles (Superman, Flash, etc.) were seriously boring, but I think Mr. Miracle 19 was in the mix, and that was quite good. I also remember an early Atom issue that had a Gil Kane cove (and maybe inside, too) r that I liked.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anything with Gil Kane art is awesome I don't care what company he was working for.


I'm guessing that if you fast forwarded to 1986 parity in style and content had been achieved between the two companies.
Also if you rewind back to 1966 the difference might have been just as noticeable but in a more subtle way.





Nah. The difference is still striking. Marvel had Kirby. Nuff Said.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Go back to 1956, and you get to the root of the problem. DC was still faithfully producing superhero comics, but Marvel was nowhere to be found. With no competition, there was no reason to improve. So DC kept churning out the same product.

At some point in the late 70's, I realized that Superman had not changed at all for as long as I could remember. That's because Curt Swan was the artist for Superman and Action from 1958 to 1986! While that's a testament to consistency, it sure isn't a breeding ground for improvement. Of course, Marvel returned to Making superhero comics in 1961, so DC realized they would have to change. DC definitely competed with Marvel on the B-list titles, Doom Patrol vs. X-men, Swamp Thing vs Man-Thing, etc., and hiring Jack Kirby, but they never seemed to think they needed to change their A-list.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

aTOMiC wrote:
I'm guessing that if you fast forwarded to 1986 parity in style and content had been achieved between the two companies..


When Warner Bros bought DC, they got me to buy Justice League, Superman, Action, Wonder Woman, and a few other titles I would never buy before 1986. Prior to then, the only DC I collected was Swamp Thing and Marv Wolfman/George Perez's Teen Titans. I imagine lots of kids did the same, and it obviously had an impact on Marvel, seeing as how they were sold to Disney in 1996
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JLA had a lot of great issues. SSoSV was also great.

quality can be found in both companies, but Marvel did have a wide edge.
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