As the leaders in comic books, both Marvel and DC Comics have been popular with readers from their inception, and continue to remain so. Both companies have given rise to classic stories from multiple authors, alongside financial success and recognition. Currently owned by Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Comics has its headquarters in New York City. The brand was founded in 1939, as a pulp fiction magazine, with its first major characters the superheroes Human Torch and Namor. After WWII, the company began to produce more stories with military type heroes, such as Captain America.
Headquartered in Burbank, California, DC Comics is currently owned and published by DC Entertainment. The company’s major superheroes debuted in comic books in 1935, including Superman and Doctor Occult. By the 1960s, both Marvel and DC began to put out their stories as animated TV series, expanding into big screen films. The rights for the films featuring Marvel characters has been split amongst several companies, while DC currently owns the rights for all their characters.
One of the main differences between Marvel and DC is how their characters are determined. The majority of those created by DC are godlike, normally born with their superhuman abilities, an example of which is Superman who comes to Earth as a baby with amazing powers. These characters often view their abilities as blessings, and embrace the responsibilities that come with them. Marvel, on the other hand, shares the evolution of their characters with readers. Many of their superheroes possess human problems, and flaws, and are more relatable to audiences. They often feel burdened by the need to take on the responsibilities of a hero, and yearn for life before their change. Spiderman is one of these classic examples, whose powers evolve during the difficult teen years after he is bitten by a spider. Villains also differ in the reasons behind their dirty plots, with those from DC often set on overall destruction, while Marvel’s have personal grudges.
The storyline behind most comic books is the defence of the superheroes ‘home,’ which can be a city, a planet or even their universe. Most of the places in DC Comics are fictional, such as Gotham City and Metropolis, while Marvel’s heroes live in real life, familiar places, such as New York City. Both franchises have created stories that involve teams of super heroes, examples of which are: X-Men and Fantastic Four created by Marvel, and Justice League which is a product of DC. Storylines often show differences as well with Marvel focusing more on detailed events, while DC embraces more personal aspects. Their stories unfold within 4 – 50 episodes, in the comic books, while many of Marvel Comics stories can take up to a decade to reach a conclusion.