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  1. #1
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    Default Thought Exercise: Is Spider-Man more of a DC than a Marvel?

    Just to be clear, I'm not advocating for a rights swap. That's not happening here. I was just watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse on Netflix and this random thought popped into my head. There's at least a few things that make Spider-Man somewhat unique in the Marvel Universe that aren't that unique in the DC Universe. So, I guess this is me just listing them out as a little thought exercise to see if you agree.

    Reason #1: He Still Has His Secret Identity

    This one's probably the most obvious. Spider-Man, unlike a lot of Marvel heroes, still has his identity hidden from the public. I'm pretty sure this has been pointed out before, but it is something that makes him more like a DC hero in that regard. The majority of Marvel's A-list heroes have their identities out there: The Fantastic Four, almost all of the main X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, etc.), Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor (ever since they ditched Donald Blake years back), Punisher, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Captain Marvel, Hank Pym, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Dr, Strange, and then some. The only real exceptions I can think of to that are Daredevil and Moon Knight. That is, unless Matt's identity is finally out there.

    Contrast that with the DC Universe. Batman and the entire Batfamily, Superman, Flash (except when Wally West's identity was public knowledge), at least 3 of Earth's Green Lanterns (Hal, Kyle, and Simon; don't know if Jessica's ID is out there), Captain Marvel/Shazam, Green Arrow, the Question, etc. are all currently maintaining their secret identities. The main exceptions to that, the ones who have their identities out there, are Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the other three (or two) Earth Lanterns, Animal Man, Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, the Doom Patrol, and some of the Titans.

    So, the fact that Spider-Man still has his (even though some, including myself, have advocated for his identity being maybe a little bit more open) does make him a bit more DC.

    Reason #2: That There are Multiple Prominent Alternate Universe Versions of Him

    Marvel does toy around with the multiverse with its other heroes, yes, but not to the extent that DC has in the past. DC kind of invented the Elseworlds game, with Superman and Batman alone having dozens of alternate universe versions of themselves. Superman has everything from All-Star to Red Son to Speeding Bullets to Kingdom Come and then some. And Batman has everything from Gotham by Gaslight to DKR to Batman 66 to Holy Terror Batman to Golden Gates of Gotham Batman to Batman Year 100 to Batman Beyond and more. So, the fact that Peter also has at least a few more multiverse counterparts out there than the other Marvel heroes again makes him more similar to a DC hero.

    Reason #3: His Amazing Villains

    This may not be universal as an opinion and I don't even subscribe to the notion, but it is an adage that DC has at least somewhat better villains than Marvel. Outside of the Spider-Man rogues gallery, there are at least a few of great Marvel villains that are almost universally known and have been considered iconic for decades: Dr. Doom, Magneto, Galactus, Loki, I could see an argument for Red Skull, Apocalypse, and Thanos. But needless to say, those ranks would be considerably thinned without Spider-Man's villains.

    Contrasting that with DC, we see that there's the entire Batman rogues gallery, with Joker, Catwoman, Ra's al Ghul, Two-Face, and the rest. However, even outside of Batman's villains, there's Superman's villains with Lex Luthor and Zod and Mongul and Brainiac and Doomsday. The Flash's villains are considered iconic and well-beloved. Green Lantern has Sinestro at the very least. Aquaman's got Black Manta. Wonder Woman has Cheetah and Ares. Then there's Darkseid, Deathstroke, Black Adam, Vandal Savage, the Anti-Monitor, etc.

    So, I don't know. Does the fact that Peter's got one of the best rogues galleries make him more DC-like?

    Reason #4: He Has an Elderly Family Member who Raised Him

    Aunt May, meet Alfred...and Ma and Pa Kent (from before Flashpoint).

    Reason #5: He Has One Main Love Interest

    Yeah, he's had other relationships, but Peter's love life has largely focused on Mary Jane Watson. Gwen Stacy in the modern age tends to simply be a memory of trauma and the typical example of a fridged female character instead of a real love interest for Peter. The rest of the Marvel heroes have largely abandoned a lot of their classic Silver Age romantic partners. For a long time, Jane Foster wasn't even seen in Thor comics, even though she's prominent now. Pepper Potts was also largely absent from Iron Man's world for years and only really resurfaced when the MCU came along and then I think disappeared again. I don't even know if Betty Ross is a love interest for Bruce at the moment in the Immortal Hulk title (still behind; need to catch up). The only classic Silver/Bronze Age Marvel pairings that are still relevant are, well, Peter and MJ, Steve and Sharon, and I could see an argument for either Scott and Jean or Jean and Logan.

    Contrast that with DC. Lois and Clark are probably the ultimate couple in comics, so much so that their marriage survived a reboot and then reinserted itself into the timeline. Barry and Iris. Hal and Carol (who has only recently disappeared again). Arthur and Mera. Ralph and Sue Dibny. Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Ollie and Dinah. And, yes, all of these heroes have had other love interests. However, most of them at least, have always come back to their main love interest. The only exceptions to this are Wonder Woman and, interestingly enough, Batman, who has had at least a few serious love interests from Silver St. Cloud to Vicki Vale to Julie Madison, but even then, he largely vacillates between Catwoman and Talia.

    So, the fact that its largely been about MJ for Peter for, well, decades does move him a little further in the DC direction.

    Anyway, this has been fun. Let me know your thoughts.
    Last edited by Zeeguy91; 07-10-2019 at 11:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Incredible Member Jman27's Avatar
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    He is more relatable than his dc counterparts. But the similarities are uncanny but this shows me that Spider-Man is the most consistent hero I guess for Marvel
    "He's pure power and doesn't even know it. He's the best of us."-Matt Murdock

  3. #3
    Mighty Member KangMiRae's Avatar
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    I think it just showcases how much better Spider-Man is as a character compared to the rest of the Marvel Universe where he's in line with some of the oldest and greatest superhero charters ever made which happen to be from DC.

    I will say though, Spidey's rogues gallery isn't very "DC", as you put it—it's better than almost everyone's. No one from the Marvel Universe has a gallery as great as his, and from DC, only Batman has a gallery as great as his, the rest of DC has some pretty decent galleries, but Batman has the best. In that regard, Batman and Spider-Man are similar in that they're the characters, from their respective publishers, with the best rogues gallery.
    Last edited by KangMiRae; 07-10-2019 at 07:32 PM.
    Admiral of a fleet of ships—relationships!
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  4. #4
    Peter Scott/Scott Peter SpiderClops's Avatar
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    Spider-Man is as Marvel as you can get.
    “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”
    -Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

  5. #5
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    let's sell him off to dc, SCREW 'IM!!!
    tag the movie made me cry

  6. #6
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    No. But then again, there isn't much of a difference between Marvel and DC these days if there ever was one.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KangMiRae View Post
    I think it just showcases how much better Spider-Man is as a character compared to the rest of the Marvel Universe where he's in line with some of the oldest and greatest superhero charters ever made which happen to be from DC.

    I will say though, Spidey's rogues gallery isn't very "DC", as you put it—it's better than almost everyone's. No one from the Marvel Universe has a gallery as great as his, and from DC, only Batman has a gallery as great as his, the rest of DC has some pretty decent galleries, but Batman has the best. In that regard, Batman and Spider-Man are similar in that they're the characters, from their respective publishers, with the best rogues gallery.
    Well, personally, I'd actually put Superman's rogues up there as well. Not as well-developed as Spider-Man's or Batman's, but I'd say in the same league. I mean, not to get too off-topic, but Superman counts Lex Luthor, General Zod, Brainiac, Bizarro, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Cyborg Superman, Mongul, Doomsday, Metallo, Parasite, Silver Banshee, and Darkseid among his foes, and there's more than that too. That...is impressive. So, I just sort of made the link that having an impressive rogues gallery made Spider-Man more like Batman and Superman, who just both happen to be DC heroes.

    Though, if anything, I think the fact that Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman all have well-developed villains speaks to the reality that, for several decades, those three were basically the holy trinity of superheroes. They were the three most popular superheroes in comics and pop-culture. So, obviously, DC and Marvel respectively wanted to invest more in those specific franchises.
    Last edited by Zeeguy91; 07-10-2019 at 11:17 PM.

  8. #8
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    superman's rogues gallery is like captain america's where no one ever acknowledges how awesome it is

    spider-man's baddie brunch is like flash's where to the eye of the ignorant commoner it's a pack of clowns but to the real brain synapse connoisseurs they're all gods themselves
    tag the movie made me cry

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeeguy91 View Post
    There's at least a few things that make Spider-Man somewhat unique in the Marvel Universe that aren't that unique in the DC Universe. So, I guess this is me just listing them out as a little thought exercise to see if you agree.
    Spider-Man as a character has a lot more in common with Superman and Batman, and maybe I guess the Flash, than he does with other Marvel characters. That much I think is true. And Spider-Man was definitely partly modeled on those examples. Steve Ditko studied under Jerry Robinson, Joker's co-creator in the School of the Visual Arts. The Daily Bugle and Peter selling photographs is definitely modeled on the Daily Planet even if ultimately Jonah Jameson is a different, more original, and better character than Perry White. Ditko was an admirer of Batman comics, and the Spirit and so on.

    But at the same time one must keep in mind, that not all DC characters have been the same at all periods of time. For instance Superman in the 40s and 50s and 60s is a different character than he is in the Post-Crisis era. Lois in that period wasn't really "endgame". And Superman there is often shown in a different light than he is today. The Flash, in the Barry Allen form, had a history with a single main love interest far earlier than Lois was. When Spider-Man arrived in time, stuff like having a single love-interest and so on was no more true of Superman than it was for Spider-Man.

    This one's probably the most obvious. Spider-Man, unlike a lot of Marvel heroes, still has his identity hidden from the public. I'm pretty sure this has been pointed out before, but it is something that makes him more like a DC hero in that regard. The majority of Marvel's A-list heroes have their identities out there: The Fantastic Four, almost all of the main X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Wolverine, Storm, etc.), Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor (ever since they ditched Donald Blake years back), Punisher, Black Panther, Luke Cage, Captain Marvel, Hank Pym, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Dr, Strange, and then some. The only real exceptions I can think of to that are Daredevil and Moon Knight. That is, unless Matt's identity is finally out there.
    A secret identity as a concept is proportional to the level of investment writers/artists/editors want to put in a civilian supporting cast. That's much easier to do if the main character has a double life so you can have two sets of characters, two worlds, and a lot more story options each issue. Spider-Man is Marvel's major solo hero. But other Marvel mainstays, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Avengers are team books. So that limited the need for secret identity.

    Aunt May, meet Alfred...and Ma and Pa Kent (from before Flashpoint).
    Aunt May doesn't know his secret identity and facilitate his double life though. At least not at the start.


    The main thing that Spider-Man shares with Superman and Batman is that he's a democratic character. For Spider-Man local small scale crimes are as important and big as stuff like Firelord and Juggernaut. Superman likewise treats bringing kittens down a tree as the same as fighting Brainiac, and Batman is the guy for whom a random mook or punk is no different to him than Intergang or Joker or Ra's Al Ghul. Marvel as a whole is very aristocratic, there's this weird caste system where apparently some heroes are "below the pay grade" of others and this is stated in the panel and page moreover. For DC, no one is below the paygrade of any hero. That's it's great democratic quality.

  10. #10
    Spectacular Member Beaddle's Avatar
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    I have never thought of Spiderman as a DC character but a person told me 2 days ago that Spiderman is like a Pixar character. If Spiderman is more like a DC character, it would be because Disney is projecting that idea.Making him less Marvel and more Pixar.

  11. #11
    I'm at least a C-Lister! exile001's Avatar
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    I think Spider-man feels different to other Marvel characters, but he is very different to DC characters, too. he's pretty unique, which is one of his many lovable traits.

    Spider-man does not kill and will in fact go out of his way to save a villain. That does feel more a DC than a Marvel thing.
    Just. Be. Nice.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beaddle View Post
    I have never thought of Spiderman as a DC character but a person told me 2 days ago that Spiderman is like a Pixar character. If Spiderman is more like a DC character, it would be because Disney is projecting that idea.Making him less Marvel and more Pixar.
    The stuff about Spider-Man having a secret identity and civilian supporting cast and a long-lasting romantic relationship and marriage was all done in-page in Marvel Comics well before Toy Story came out in 1995 (at a time when Pixar wasn't bought out by Disney yet and well before Marvel was).

    The truth is both DC Comics and Marvel are more or less similar and common. Both companies borrowed ideas and writers from each other and so on. Distinct features of DC are stuff like fictional cities, the heroes being more publicly liked and approved than Marvel's lot, the DC Heroes also being at least conventionally understood, to be more true-blue and less dark.

    In the case of Secret ID and so on -- until the 2000s or so, Cap, Iron Man, Daredevil, Hulk, and even Thor in his Don Blake form, all had secret IDs. So it isn't like Marvel has a problem with it. It's just that since so much of Marvel is team books - Avengers, Fantastic Four, X-Men, that stuck out to many.

  13. #13
    Incredible Member kingaliencracker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderClops View Post
    Spider-Man is as Marvel as you can get.
    You can't make a more accurate statement, so I'll just second this.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderClops View Post
    Spider-Man is as Marvel as you can get.
    Yeah. The main distinguishing feature between Marvel and DC was that the heroes of Marvel have problems in their private lives. Spider-Man exemplifies that more than anyone else.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Spider-Man as a character has a lot more in common with Superman and Batman, and maybe I guess the Flash, than he does with other Marvel characters. That much I think is true. And Spider-Man was definitely partly modeled on those examples. Steve Ditko studied under Jerry Robinson, Joker's co-creator in the School of the Visual Arts. The Daily Bugle and Peter selling photographs is definitely modeled on the Daily Planet even if ultimately Jonah Jameson is a different, more original, and better character than Perry White. Ditko was an admirer of Batman comics, and the Spirit and so on.

    But at the same time one must keep in mind, that not all DC characters have been the same at all periods of time. For instance Superman in the 40s and 50s and 60s is a different character than he is in the Post-Crisis era. Lois in that period wasn't really "endgame". And Superman there is often shown in a different light than he is today. The Flash, in the Barry Allen form, had a history with a single main love interest far earlier than Lois was. When Spider-Man arrived in time, stuff like having a single love-interest and so on was no more true of Superman than it was for Spider-Man.
    I'm more so talking about how DC and Marvel's heroes evolved to the point where they are currently. I mean, people are right when they say that Marvel and DC are so incredibly similar in their approach to their characters now. However, some elements are more prevalent in one than the other. Surprisingly, though, a lot of them are things that they both originally shared, like the secret identities and the single main romantic interest.

    A secret identity as a concept is proportional to the level of investment writers/artists/editors want to put in a civilian supporting cast. That's much easier to do if the main character has a double life so you can have two sets of characters, two worlds, and a lot more story options each issue. Spider-Man is Marvel's major solo hero. But other Marvel mainstays, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Avengers are team books. So that limited the need for secret identity.
    That's somewhat true. However, the Avengers mostly started out as solo heroes and its Marvel's equivalent of the JLA. So, why did the members of one team maintain their secret identities for the most part while the other didn't? Almost all the solo Avengers had secret identities once upon a time. Iron Man's identity was originally a secret with the excuse that Iron Man was simply Tony Stark's bodyguard. Thor originally had the Donald Blake identity, even going into the 2000s. Captain America's identity was a secret. Even the X-Men's identities were all secret once. But one by one, they all abandoned that except for Spider-Man.

    Aunt May doesn't know his secret identity and facilitate his double life though. At least not at the start.
    Well that wasn't really the point of me bringing that up. The point is he also has an elderly family member who raised him.

    The main thing that Spider-Man shares with Superman and Batman is that he's a democratic character. For Spider-Man local small scale crimes are as important and big as stuff like Firelord and Juggernaut. Superman likewise treats bringing kittens down a tree as the same as fighting Brainiac, and Batman is the guy for whom a random mook or punk is no different to him than Intergang or Joker or Ra's Al Ghul. Marvel as a whole is very aristocratic, there's this weird caste system where apparently some heroes are "below the pay grade" of others and this is stated in the panel and page moreover. For DC, no one is below the paygrade of any hero. That's it's great democratic quality.
    I never really thought about this point. Huh.
    Last edited by Zeeguy91; 07-11-2019 at 08:23 AM.

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