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Saturday, December 9, 2023


Batman rules, Iron Man drools: Why DC Comics deserve a chance

Iron Man (of Marvel Comics) and Batman (of DC Comics) face off

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

Marvel’s multi-film cinematic universe has risen over the years to become an immensely popular franchise. But not all students are die-hard Marvel fans. Some argue that Marvel’s characters are “flat” in comparison to the heroes associated with DC comics.

Many DC fans have fond childhood memories of being exposed to its world through the universe’s many animated shows. DC has an impressive collection of high quality content including shows like Justice League Unlimited, Static Shock, Green Lantern, Young Justice, Teen Titans and many more.

But while many students nowadays have grown up loving Marvel films, they might just change their minds after being exposed to the multiple compelling characters DC has to offer. 

For just one example, consider the Joker. Known as the “clown prince of crime,” his chilling smile and cheerful yet sinister persona are enough to give even DC’s greatest heroes nightmares.

Joker’s villainy goes beyond just simple tricks, though. His actions shocked the comic book world when he shot and paralyzed Batman’s ally Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl. His villainous deeds had long-lasting impact too, as they forced Barbara to adopt a completely new identity as the “girl in the chair” Oracle.

The Joker has been a well-known villain for decades and has received multiple adaptations, but villains from the Marvel Universe have had more trouble becoming well known until recently. 

For example, Iron Man has had three major movies in recent years, but many fans would likely struggle to name even Iron Man’s biggest antagonist. Some might say Thanos, but despite becoming more iconic in recent years, he’s more well known as an Avengers villain.

Not only do DC characters have more depth, but many of them actually provided inspiration for their Marvel counterparts. For example, Superman was created in 1938 while Captain America didn’t come to life until 1941. 

Captain America is not a complete carbon copy of Superman, but they definitely have similar roles and personalities. In the same way, one can easily draw comparisons between each universe’s emotionally detached, non-powered billionaire crime-fighters — Iron Man and Batman.

This is not to say that there haven’t been good storylines revolving around Black Widow, Captain America and Iron Man, but DC comics have particularly unique stories. Their stories tackle difficult topics and can be especially relatable for those who are struggling with addiction, anxiety and relationship issues. 

One example would be the character Arsenal from DC’s “Justice League” show. He got addicted to painkillers as a young  superhero, which led to him being kicked out of the league. This sudden shock forced him to venture out on his own, creating a heartwarming journey about him eventually getting clean.

DC’s animated films are also full of surprisingly relatable stories, such as the tale of Jessica Cruz, the first female Green Lantern from Earth. 

After she witnessed a murder and the death of her friends, Jessica was given power through an extraterrestrial ring. But unlike other heroes, she struggles with severe anxiety and even spends a good portion of the film regularly attending therapy.

DC’s characters inspire audiences with their heroic feats, but they also provide compelling stories of overcoming struggles that any of their viewers could relate to. Part of their journey to become a hero is about discovering their own inner power and showing the audience how they can too.

Even though Marvel is great, many are missing out by ignoring the greatness that is the DC Universe. So if you’re looking for a change of pace from Marvel’s narratives, consider trying out some new heroes for a change. 

Alena Thomas is a history sophomore who can be reached at
[email protected]

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