A Serious Earth

Last week, I read Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, And A Sun God From Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human, by Grant Morrison.

It was definitely an interesting read. I struggled through the last third though. The thing is, the book is meant to be half history, half memoir, the kind of thing I normally adore. But while Morrison does an amazing job of putting a razor sharp historical perspective to the origins of the superheroes, but when it comes to the eras (multiple, he kicks that much ass) that he was an active part of, he resorts to navel gazing. It isn’t that I’m not interested in his strange Eat, Pray, Love style personal experiences with drugs and religion and writing Justice League of America, I mean, it’s fascinating, but it’s not the book I got invested in from the beginning, you know?

Anyway, that’s not what I’m going to write about right now.

It’s about the formation of the Marvel Universe and the DC Multiverse and how the formation of their respective movie universes are developing differently from each other, but kind of the same as their comic book counterparts.

Steve VS Bruce...The winner? Fangirls.

Steve VS Bruce…The winner? Fangirls.

The Marvel Comic Universe happened on purpose. It was the deliberate brainchild of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. They planned it. Those characters were made to interact with one another. Except perhaps for Captain America, they were all created and put together at the same time. Like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which started with Iron Man, there was always a plan.

After Iron Man, came Hulk, and Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger, all ending in the ultimate culmination of what this all could be, The Avengers. As much as I love Batman, and The X-Men, The Avengers remains the pinnacle of the new era of superheroes, that Morrison touches on but doesn’t really talk about, the cinematic era. The Dark Knight, X2: X-Men United and X-Men: First Class are great films. They tell impactful and wonderful stories. But The Avengers meant something different than they did. (To read more on what I have to say on the subject check out my large scale musical theater comparisonThe Avengers is Evita, where as The Dark Knight is Company, they are both going to leave serious marks on the genre, but one to people who really care about the art, and the other on the general public.)

The DC Multiverse was different. Over time, one company acquired several independent characters and imprints and realized that weaving them together would be profitable. Already, when it comes to DC adaptations we have the DCAU, The Burtonverse (which includes Tim Burton and Joel Schumaker’s films), Earth-16 (YOUNG JUSTICE!), the Smallville universe, the Arrow universe, whatever the hell they decide to do with Green Lantern, (Despite the movie’s horribleness, I would not be opposed to Ryan Reynolds coming back as Hal Jordan with Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in a Justice League movie. He was a good casting choice who got screwed by a bad movie, much like George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell before him.), and the new official DCFU that kicked off with Man of Steel and will continue with Man of Steel 2: Batfleck. 

AQUAMAN!

AQUAMAN! I’m going to beat this horse until it’s dead, folks and then keep on beating it!

Basically, DC is trying to patch it together, like they did before. The thing is, they did a pretty good job before, putting it together (Haha! More Sondheim references! I will make ALL THE SONDHEIM REFERENCES!)

Hello, his name is Mandy Patinkin, you don't recognize his genius, prepare to die!

Hello, his name is Mandy Patinkin, you don’t recognize his genius, prepare to die! (Also Bernadette Peters)

So it’ll probably be pretty good.

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4 thoughts on “A Serious Earth

  1. I hadn’t really thought about this before, but I totally agree. With the Marvel films it definitely feels like there is a story arc that brings them all together and the individual films are just expanding on a facet of the story; in contrast the DC feels a bit scatty. I liked Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern and actually enjoyed the film! Then again, I have bad taste in a lot of things 😀

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  2. This theory makes sense. The Marvel Universe has more cohesiveness at its core, because it was largely created by three people (Kirby, Ditko and Lee, Praise Be Their Name).

    But I would dispute that “there was always a plan” with Marvel. If you reread those early Marvels, it’s very much apparent that they were mostly flying by the seat of their pants. Did Lee & Ditko know who the Green Goblin was going to be when he was introduced? Most likely not. Did Lee & Kirby know that Medusa was part of the Inhumans when she was introduced as a member of the Frightful Four? Nope. But because they had such impeccable craft, it all seemed to work.

    And not even the simpler Marvel Cinematic Universe has been immune to continuity glitches. Did Erik Selvig fall under the thrall ok Loki at the end of THOR or at the beginning of THE AVENGERS? They showed it to us both ways. And the Marvel short THE CONSULTANT was basically conceived as a continuity patch for THE INCREDIBLE HULK. And that’s fine. These things happen, and they can even be a part of the fun.

    Oh, and another factor in us still not having JLA or Wonder Woman movies: Warner Bros. and DC Comics are being run by total doofuses. 🙂

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    • I didn’t think of this as a theory post. There’s nothing speculative about it, it’s more observational.

      Yes there may have been flying by the seat of their pants for Marvel (both comics and films) but there was at least a destination which leads to more cohesion. You could drive a truck through some of the holes between the first Iron Man and Tony’s appearance at the end of Incredible Hulk.

      Where as the patch work nature of DC’s history plus the iconic nature of The Big Three makes creating a road map more difficult. Though not impossible!

      Is “doofuses” the plural? Not “doofi?”

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