Beginners Guide: Marvel vs. DC

When it comes to comics and superheroes, fans do not tread lightly. Marvel vs. DC has been a dividing point since the comic companies began. I know this coming from personal experience. My dad and brother are diehard Marvel fans, while my fiancé is a diehard DC fan. To borrow from the title of 2016’s Captain America movie, this is my own household’s version of Civil War.

With all this talk of Avengers: Infinity War, you might be wondering what the difference is between Marvel and DC comics and which is best. So, I’ll give a brief history of each company and talk about what differentiates them from each other. (Disclaimer: I am not a comic expert, lol)


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DC Comics was founded in 1939 by Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. Superman came out first in 1938, Batman followed in 1939 and Wonder Woman in 1941. DC had many movies produced throughout the 80’s and 90’s, but none were as remarkable as the The Dark Knight trilogy, which spanned 2005-2012. They recently released the first major female-led superhero movie ever, Wonder Woman.

On the other hand, Marvel Comics officially began in 1961 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others. Several major characters predated this time period that Marvel picked up, including Captain America in 1941 followed by Thor in 1962 and Iron Man in 1963. Marvel began their current legendary movie franchise – known in fan circles as the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” -- with Iron Man in 2008. Marvel fundamentally changed the way superhero movies are made and created the major following that goes along with them. In all, 18 different Marvel movies led up to Avengers: Infinity War.


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So how are you supposed to tell the difference between Marvel and DC, if you’re stuck in a bad party conversation with a bunch of movie fans and don’t want to embarrass yourself? Here’s a quick summary.

Within the DC universe, the major team of superheroes is called the Justice League, which includes the following characters: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl.

Some other DC characters are: the Joker, Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman, Shazam, Green Arrow, Swamp Thing, Batgirl, John Constantine, Supergirl, Black Canary, Booster Gold, Starfire, Hawkgirl, Damian Wayne and the Atom.


In Marvel’s Disney-produced movies the team of superheroes is called The Avengers, which includes (in the current movie): Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Hawkeye, Vision, Falcon, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Vision, War Machine, Nick Fury, Bucky, Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange and The Guardians of the Galaxy.

Some other Marvel characters include current Netflix series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and the Punisher; Deadpool (produced by Fox), Blade, Ghost Rider, Silver Surfer, The Fantastic Four (owned by Fox, to my dad’s dismay) and The X-Men (owned by Fox).

Movie Franchise

One of the biggest argument points between Marvel and DC fans is their separate movie franchises. Be careful if you find yourself in a middle of an argument like this. It’s a little like a political discussion between which is better, Democrats or Republicans. Ultimately, it’s a personal question. I’ve seen almost all the movies from each universe and the overall quality and experience is pretty much identical.

But wait, there’s more!Via Giphy

Keep watch for more superhero movies coming out this year, from both universes. These include: Deadpool 2 in May, Ant-Man and the Wasp in July, Venom in October and Aquaman in December.

Oh, and if you think you won’t hear about Avengers again after all the hype around Infinity War, brace yourself. The next Avengers movie will be out next spring in 2019, following Captain Marvel.

While there is much debate about whether Marvel or DC is best, I’ll leave that up for you to decide, collegiettes.