A few days ago, The Matticus Kingdom sent us to pick a side in the intergalactically-renown Tug Of War. This battle is to answer the question — Which universe of superheroes (and villains) is superior: Marvel or DC?
My plan was to go rogue with this question and indulge in one of my spasms of nonsense, much like I did in the last battle— but it turns out, I have a real opinion on this.
I know many of my readers don’t geek, especially not in the direction of comic books, so I double appreciate those going on this little thought journey with me. I think it’ll tell you a bit about what makes me tick.
To choose my side with the proper care– I decided to ask myself who lived up most to the things that make comic books matter. So, firstly:
Why do comic books matter?
Comic books matter because they are catalysts for belief. They teach an imagination that stretches every word and possibility into a legacy. They remind us of the cosmic dance between action and consequence, and the eerie silence of inaction, and the ever-unsettled imbalance of justice. Comic books are odes to the flaws that push us to greatness, and the greatness that trips us up. They are about good and evil– and how our role affects which of those two outpaces the other.
It’s the concept of “our role” that landed me on Team DC. You see, Marvel is about the heroes– and DC is about us.
The Invisible People of the Marvel’verse
In the Marvel’verse, you know there’s a school that welcomes and teaches mutants. You probably recognize them, you might know their names, and if you’re looking– you will find their back stories.
But where are we in that story?
Where’s the brave little cafe owner who puts up a sign that says “Mutants welcome”, even in the face of judgement from her neighbors and risk of eviction? Where’s the parent who, in an effort to protect their mutant child, stands face to face with someone far more dangerous than they could ever hope to be? What’s their name? What’s their back story?
The truth is, other than the faceless angry mobs and the side characters needed to run the White House and such facilities– there isn’t much mention.
This is true for Spider-man, too. I’ll buy into the idea that Peter’s aunt has no idea what’s happening– but where’s the nosy neighbor? Where’s the scene where the neighbor tells everyone that he was at her house helping garden, just to save him– and in a blinding instant, Peter realizes he’s been protected by her all along?
Yeah, it isn’t there.
The Real and Flannel-Clad Heroes of DC
DC comics on the other hand– despite their many logical flaws and perhaps overly-powered super beings– are rife with stories of real human courage and heroism.
There are many times when Batman’s safety is ensured by a small child. There are many moments where regular humans return a life-saving favor and pull Batman out of icy river banks, and help him hack the enemy systems.
You probably know the names of the people who work alongside Superman, or his alter-ego Clark Kent. They don’t have super powers, but they are often the fulcrum of the story. We’ve seen Martha Kent go toe-to-toe with the biggest bads in the whole galaxy– all the while wearing flannel, and being a mom, and having her own complex backstory and love.
The Lantern in All of Us
Of course, the real winner in this argument is Green Lantern. You see, Green Lanterns aren’t born into their super power. They aren’t bit by radioactive spiders, or limited to the United States or even earth. Green Lanterns aren’t always white, or male, or human, or brown, or tall, or thin, or loud, or quiet, or short. They are just bearers of an important piece of technology– a ring. They are chosen for their worthiness. What they do with the power is up to them and with the guidance of good– they very often use it to save lives. Sometimes, they don’t make that choice– but that’s the imbalance of justice for you.
Green Lantern is a wonderful story of possibility. It’s a story that asks us if we’re living lives worthy of the ring. It’s a reminder that even the most worthy of candidates need the guidance of a good village, because fear so easily leads to hate. It’s a tale of every day heroes, fear in the face of power, and consequences of greatness. Most importantly– they were just like you and me before the ring.
Maybe they’re cops, bankers, bloggers, or crafters– but they’re all important. They all have names and backstories, and so do their neighbors, teachers, parents, and friends.
They are worthy because they all have the makings of a hero inside them.
Just like you.
Alright, so the truth is, I like ’em both– but I really needed a good geek out, so– TEAM DC! I suppose we’ll let the Kingdom’s official counters have the final say. If you’re with me, or even if you’re with Marvel– grab your Lantern ring and cast your vote by writing a supportive post, or by voting via comment over at The Matticus Kingdom: http://thematticuskingdom.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/the-return-of-the-official-matticus-kingdom-tug-of-war/
Don’t forget to check out the other posts:
- I’ll try to get a list of those who voted in the comments and link them here, too, but for now, just go to the Kingdom and check them out!
If you knew for sure that your neighbor was a superhero, at what cost would you keep their secret?