When it comes to choosing between DC and Marvel, I am very much a Marvel Girl, purely because the X-Men are my favourite superheroes, to the extent I even remember reading some of the comics as a kid (though not which ones). It’s strange that I’ve developed this preference, because in truth I have had a lot more exposure to DC than I ever have to Marvel.
Despite this I’m not actually a massive DC fan, though I do watch the films, but I am just not as attracted to DC as I am to Marvel. I think it might be because I’m not as attracted by the two main superheroes that I’m most familiar with: Batman and Superman.
I don’t particularly like the character of Batman. I can remember as a child really disliking Batman and even Batman comics on the odd occasion when I caught a quick glance at one. The impression I formed as a kid of Batman was a really dark world where nothing is happy and nice. Now while I know as an adult the world is not as bright and as happy as I thought it was in the naivety of my extreme youth, that initial impression has stayed with me.
With Superman I have almost the opposite problem, and it is very much because I was introduced to the character via two mediums that gave me a conflicted opinion of the character. The films that I originally saw growing up were the Christopher Reeves films. I have the impression that they were quite serious Superhero films, but my main memory is from the 1978 Superman film where Lois Lane dies. This made a massive impression on me, especially given I’d grown up watching Disney where the ‘princess’ lives happily ever after.
I think what really did it for me though is that Superman fixes the problem by flying around the earth quickly enough to change the spin of the axis and turn back time. Honestly, even as a kid I thought this was pretty stupid. If he did that didn’t that mean he’d just undone his defeat of his enemies, not to mention caused massive tidal waves and tectonic stress (I might not have used the word tectonic as a kid, but something along those lines was mentioned)? I also questioned how doing that would actually turn back time? Needless to say I was dubious about the scientific accuracy of how time travel can be made to happen. Having been raised on Back to the Future, and the power of 1980s supercars, I wasn’t convinced.
The other medium where I encountered Superman, was the 90s TV series ‘Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman’. I wasn’t all that old when this was released and my main impression of the show was that it was good, light enough for my parents to let me watch, and nothing to take too seriously. I never really got into Smallville, so my impressions of Superman comes from what I thought of him as a young kid.
To me Superman is a bit of fun and contrasted with Batman, who is dark and grim, I never really gelled with the DC World. I wasn’t aware the two characters were connected together as I was growing up; one of them was someone too serious for me, and the other was someone that I never took seriously. Those were my first impressions of those two heroes, and no matter how much new material I get exposed to, and how many new TV shows or films DC makes, I will always struggle to get rid of those initial impressions.
The thing is with DC though, I know that it can be brilliant. I’ve never been able to watch ‘Arrow’ after I attempted to watch the pilot of the show, which is honestly one of the worst hours of TV I’ve ever tried to endure, but I do know the show after that pilot is very good. My problem is the Green Arrow is too much like Batman for me to be able to connect with him. I’ve also never seriously sat down and seen ‘The Flash’, though the few moments of it I’ve caught does make me think I’d like it. I have hopes for ‘The Legends of Tomorrow’, which via some keen trailer plugging by my other half, does strike me as a DC show I’d actually sit down and watch.
The only DC TV show that I’ve seen is ‘Supergirl’, because I was instantly attracted to watching a show about a super hero where the lead is a woman, who talks with other women about things other than boys (at least most of the time.) From what has been released of Supergirl Series one so far I’m quite happy about where they are going with the character and the messages it can send out to young girls out there about what it means to try and identify yourself as a strong woman of the 21st Century.
It is exciting, and from what I know of where DC on going with its films I’m generally very excited about what they are planning, namely because I feel as if DC has listened where Marvel has not, and they are making/have made a Wonder Woman film. A Hollywood blockbuster about a superhero, and they have cast a female lead; trust me I read it a few times and watched the trailer more than once to convince myself it was real.
The Marvel Fandom has been crying out for a Black Widow film for years, and those requests have fallen on seemingly deaf ears. I think there was debate for a while about DC not believing the world wanted a female lead, but DC have decided to ‘take the risk’ and are just doing it. (Trust me Marvel, a Black Widow film would work, I even have ideas of what it could be about, and I’d quite happily write it for you.)
And it is this ‘risk’ that has made me pay more attention to my preferences between Marvel and DC. Marvel have had a long term plan with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and I’m interested in seeing where it is going, but I’m not the only one to have been watching. DC have been watching as well, and have plans of their own to create a large scale film franchise. They have Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy and Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel to build upon, and the upcoming Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice looks set to begin what could be DC’s takeover of what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has set up for them.
And in my opinion DC could have up their sleeve something that Marvel hasn’t produced many of over the years; decent, long lasting villains. The upcoming Suicide Squad looks like it’s going to show Marvel’s anti-hero Deadpool what proper bad guys are all about. While my impressions of Batman and Superman may have been tainted by early childhood impressions, my grown up experience tells me one think: DC villains are the absolute best.
They are dangerous, they are proper threats and they are not disposable villains like what Marvel have made over the years. I have an appreciation for the Red Skull; I adore Loki and his trickster ways; Ultron was a bit different as an AI threat; and Thanos is being set up as Marvel’s ultimate bad guy, but DC has the likes of the Joker, Lex Luther and General Zod. None of these villains are easily defeated by the heroes; there is always a cost, and the pat on the back doesn’t come as readily as it does for Marvel heroes. DC can go deeper than Marvel can when it comes to creating darker villains and more complex heroes.
As much as I love Marvel and their films will always draw me to the cinema, DC’s darker side is going to pull me in as well. Given I have a soft spot for the likes of the complex characters like Loki, DCs better selection of complex heroes and properly bad-ass villains might turn me into a DC Girl after all.