Marvel vs. DC Comics

This presentation was put together as a kind of “cultural study” for the Jeonju University Teacher Trainer program in July 2020. I introduced DC and Marvel comics, and detailed many of the differences and similarities between the two biggest comic book publishers in the US.

“Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” by Reed Tucker was instrumental in helping me prepare for this presentation.

Usually, the Teacher Training program I’m involved with goes abroad during the school vacation periods for additional training and cultural experiences in a Western country (USA, Canada, England, Australia, etc). However, since 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel abroad has been canceled. Therefore, it has become the responsibility of the regular teachers of the program to provide that additional training and cultural experiences to the best of our ability IN KOREA.

As a part of this additional training, I was asked to present on:

  1. Superhero comics (due to the increasing popularity of Marvel and DC movies)
  2. American history or culture (I selected Hamilton: The Musical – the presentation can be found here)

To help me prepare for this presentation, I read “Slugfest: Inside the Epic 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” by Reed Tucker (affiliate link), which I found incredibly informational and useful.

DC vs. Marvel

Let’s start off with a couple of pictures:

  1. San Diego Comic Con (Do you know about Comic Con? Did you know Korea has one too?)
  2. DC comic book characters vs. Marvel comic book characters
  3. DC vs. Marvel cinematic universe characters (complete movie checklist)

What do you Know About DC vs. Marvel?

  1. Heroes
  2. Villains
  3. Sidekicks
  4. Team-ups
  5. Themes

DC Comics History

DC Comics History on Wikipedia

  • 1934: Business opened as National Allied Publications
  • 1935: Superman introduced
  • 1937: Name changed to Detective Comics
  • 1939: Batman introduced
  • 1940: The first DC logo was created
  • 1966: The Adam West Batman TV show began
  • 1967: DC was purchased by Kinney National (now WB)
  • 1970: DC acquired artist Jack Kirby from Marvel (formerly worked with Stan Lee)
  • 1976: Jenette Kahn became the first woman directorial editor
  • 1980: The New Teen Titans debuted
  • 2005: Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins trilogy began, and a new DC “spin” logo was introduced
  • 2009: WB restructuring
  • 2011: The New 52 comic was released
  • 2012: DC rebranded, The Dark Knight Rises was released to close out Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and the Arrow TV show debuted
  • 2016: Another DC rebirth and rebrand, Zack Snyder at the head of the DCEU (Extended Universe)

Marvel Comics History

Marvel Comics History on Wikipedia

  • 1932: Marvel began as a magazine publishing company (under a different name) – no comics yet
  • 1939: Timely Comics #1 was released, it later became Atlas Comics
  • 1941: Captain America was introduced
  • 1961: Stan Lee & Jack Kirby working together as a team began Marvel’s rise
  • 1962: Spiderman was introduced
  • 1963: The X-men were introduced
  • 1986: The company was sold
  • 1988: Todd McFarlane’s Spiderman (darker and edgier) was released
  • 1991: Marvel IPO (40% of the company was sold)
  • 1992-1995: Numerous acquisitions
  • 1996: The company filed for bankruptcy
  • 1998: The company emerged from bankruptcy
  • 2000: 20th Century Fox produced the first X-men movie
  • 2002: Sony produced the first Spiderman movie
  • 2009: Marvel was bought by Disney for $4.3 billion
  • 2015: Disney + Sony teamed up to bring Spiderman in to Captain America: Civil War

Company Comparison


– old-fashioned style, more traditional
– slightly more sluggish as an organization, more conservative
50% sell-through rate
– edgier, hipper comics
– more progressive
70% sell-through rate
Gained popularity in the 1930s-40s
– Eisenhower was president
– Great Depression / WWII
Gained popularity in the 1950s-60s
– JFK was president
– Hippies / Vietnam War
Capes, yesCapes, NO
Targeted youthTargeted young adults


– Superman
– Batman
– Wonder Woman
– Fantastic Four
– Spiderman
– X-men
Depicted as gods, super-powered beings, who were struggling to be humanDepicted as humans, who were accidentally granted super-powers, and were struggling with their new reality
– They had “god” struggles (end of the world)
– Unlimited resources
– They were flawless, too perfect, clean & tidy, “boy scouts” (and boring)
– They were the born good guys, the “perfect” hero
– They had “real” struggles (part-time jobs, girls, etc)
– Limited resources
– They were flawed humans, imperfect, messy, regular people
– Sometimes, they were the “anti-hero” – and struggled with hard decisions


– The art was often perfect
– It lacked flair, danger, and energy (especially the covers)
– There were individual fiefdoms among the artists / writers (less teamwork)
– They didn’t read other books, nor use outside talent
– The are was imperfect and stylized
– You could “stand across the room and know a Marvel cover”
– There was a cornucopia of creativity (more teamwork)
– Not only read other books, sometimes they stole ideas and artists from DC (and vice versa)
– Their characters each exist in their own universes (fake cities, places) and rarely interact with each other
– The stories are “one-off” stories, disjointed, not connected
– The characters themselves were the stars of the show
– Their characters existed in the same universe, our universe (real cities and places) and could interact regularly
– There was a coherent, consistent Marvel universe
– The writers & artists often became stars themselves (Stan Lee)


The first (and best) to TV & movies
– 1966: Adam West’s Batman
– 1978: Christopher Reeve’s Superman I
Shoddy movie & TV work at first

The company was innovative in multimedia, risk-taking
– They retained all the rights to their characters
– Their live action TV shows were their best offering
More conservative and controlling of their universe (less risks)
– Sold the rights to their characters to multiple companies
– Their animated TV shows were their best offering
The first to publish European style “books” with no ads
– 10% direct sales
The first to do “direct sales”
– 20% direct sales
– Multiple covers for the same issue (collector’s items)
– Also offered collectibles and other merchandise

Cinematic Universes

Movies & TV

Zack Snyder (Man of Steel director) had been the head of the DCEU
– The DCEU was director-controlled
Kevin Feige is the head of the MCU
– The MCU is overseen from above
Heroes tended to team up first (Justice League), and branch out into individual films later onHeroes have individual films first, THEN team-ups (Avengers)
Ex: Superman v. Batman
– Characters are straight men (less humor)
– The movie tone is dark, gritty, violent
Ex: Captain America: Civil War
– Characters are pranksters (humorous)
– The movie tone is colorful, humorous, and light
The DCEU has little overlap in its films, and more variety (but this also makes the universe less cohesive, not as strong)The MCU has one unified vision – all the characters exist together in the same universe and cross over all the time (this requires more planning up front, but has a much bigger payoff in the end)

Scene Fights!

This subsection includes a list of 10 different video essays (from ScreenCrush) that attempt to show where and why one particular movie in one universe worked and another (similar) movie in the other universe didn’t.

DCMarvelFIGHT! (Time)
Batman v. SupermanCaptain America: Civil War9:50
Justice LeagueAvengers15:52
Wonder WomanCaptain America12:28
Suicide SquadGuardians of the Galaxy12:42
AquamanBlack Panther11:26
The Dark KnightLogan15:15
Man of SteelIron Man10:53
Wonder WomanThor20:48
Snyder CutJosstice League26:04

Snyder Cut vs. Josstice League

What is the Snyder Cut? What is Josstice League?

Zack Snyder (director of Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman) was the original director of Justice League. However, he stepped down from directorial duties in post-production to properly deal with his daughter’s suicide.

Joss Whedon (director of Avengers, and co-writer on Justice League) stepped in to take over post-production duties.

While Zack Snyder’s vision for the film was darker, Whedon lightened the tone significantly during reshoots, adding in more jokes, and turning it into something more like the Avengers (Marvel) than Zack Snyder’s vision for DC. Ultimately, much of Cyborg’s back story (who Zack Snyder has said is actually “the heart of the story”) was also cut in order to fit the time frame of 2 hours running time.

In late 2017, after fans were disappointed with the Joss Whedon cut of the movie, an online petition gathered over 179,000 signatures to release the original director’s cut. In mid-2018, a website called was created to support the effort, and later the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut became a trending topic on Twitter. Finally, in 2021, during the Covid-19 pandemic, WB released a 4+ hour Snyder cut of the film on HBO Max on March 18, 2021 which was try to the original director’s original vision.

The Snyder Cut received significantly higher fan and critic reviews than the Josstice League cut.

Here are three more videos detailing the differences between the two versions of the film:

  1. All Differences from the Theatrical Version
  2. 23 Biggest Changes
  3. Top 10 Biggest Changes

Upcoming Releases


  1. The Suicide Squad (8.6.2021)
  2. The Batman (3.22.2022)
  3. Black Adam (7.29.2022) (alternate fan-made trailer)
  4. TV: Titans Season 3 (8.12.2021)


  1. Black Widow (7.7.2021 – already released) (Honest Trailer)
  2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (9.3.2021)
  3. Eternals (11.4.2021)
  4. TV: What If…? (8.11.2021)


  1. Venom 2: Let there be Carnage (9.15.2021)

Actually, this is a good time to introduce just how splintered the rights to different Marvel franchises remains to this day.

  • Sony owns: All of Spiderman, sidekicks, villains, etc
  • Universal owns: All of Hulk, etc (and Namor the Submariner)
  • 20th Century Fox owns: All of X-men, etc
  • Disney (Marvel) owns: Everything else


Do you prefer one company or its characters over the other? Which one? Why?

I wonder what the characters themselves might think…

Brand Battle!

For this final section of the presentation, let’s consider some famous rivalries between other big name brands. Do you have one you prefer over the other?

  1. Microsoft vs. Apple
  2. Android (Google) vs. Apple
  3. Microsoft vs. Google
  4. Samsung vs. LG
  5. Adidas vs. Nike
  6. Under Armor vs. Nike
  7. Pepsi vs. Coca Cola
  8. McDonald’s vs. Burger King
  9. Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks
  10. Domino’s Pizza vs. Pizza Hut
  11. Facebook vs. What’s App
  12. USA vs. China

Can you think of any other big rivalries? Other big comic publishers? What about Korean comics?


Author: Aaron

Aaron Snowberger is an experienced web developer, graphic designer, and educator in ESL and computer technology. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, Master's degree in Media Design, and professional certifications for React (JavaScript) development, and as a Google Certified Educator and Trainer. Aaron is passionate about helping new learners discover the joys of technology, and has presented across the country at multiple local, national, and international conferences in both the ESL and web development fields. His most recent talk was given at the 2019 JSConf (JavaScript Conference) in Seoul on September 3, 2019. (

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