The Comic ‘Game of Thrones’: Marvel Versus DC
When it comes to comic book filmmaking, Marvel has dominated DC Comics. Not to say that DC has been unsuccessful, but Marvel has substantially bolstered its brand while also managing to build an entire film universe, spanning both film and television projects.
But you can never count DC Comics out. As long they have household names like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, they’ve got a fighting chance. And, truthfully, that’s all they need in today’s market.
When you think about it, DC Comics already has all of the bones. The recent Batman trilogy was a massive success. The new set of Superman movies have refreshed the aged superhero as well as incited mass excitement around the idea of a Justice League movie. And on the small screen, Smallville and Arrow have been a great means for keeping the brand front and center for the younger generation while also keeping things modern. So why are they still being eclipsed by Marvel?
It’s time for DC Comics to take things to the next level. It’s time for DC to take all of its properties and elevate them; unite them into a universe like Marvel has done and use the power of synergy to build each property up.
Marvel has structured its properties in such a way that once you invest in one, you’ve got to see the rest. The Iron Man movies flowed into Captain America, Thor, and The Avengers. All of that setup the Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television show. Then the television show handles the clean up from the events of Thor: The Dark World. And so the cycle goes. Each property strengthens the next, recycling success. Has DC figured out that formula yet? No. Just endless sequences of close universes.
Take the forthcoming Gotham series set to air on FOX this fall for example.Through a brilliant idea for a television show, it actually hampers DC’s efforts to play on a larger stage. It does nothing to take advantage of all of the work that has already been done because it takes place before the dawn on Batman. Bruce Wayne is only 10 years old. Selina Kyle (Catwoman) is a teenager. And even with how intriguing the idea of seeing an origin story of characters we all know so well (and the casting of Jada Pinkett-Smith as a mob boss), there isn’t much suspense in a story we already know the end to.
A step in the right direction is the new Flash television show. Not only is it an expansion of the universe in which Arrow exists, but it also brings to the screen one of DC’s most prominent characters. It is that synergy that has set the Marvel properties apart and has allowed for their continued film success for so many year. Now, if DC Comics were able to do the same, their films would be that much more imperative to viewers.
But none of these steps will mean much if DC doesn’t come to value its own properties. And on May 6, 2016, a day that has been set as the release date for both the third Captain America movie and the much-hyped Batman-Superman movie, DC’s belief in itself will be put to the test. If DC doesn’t chicken out and move the release date, we will finally see a head-to-head battle between the comic titans. And perhaps, once and for all, DC will be able to actually give Marvel a run for its money.
If done right, both studios could be working on the same level. But only time will tell if DC has the fortitude to forge that path.
What are your thoughts on the Marvel vs. DC conflict? Is one better? Is it apples vs. oranges? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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