Revisiting The Key Difference Between the Heroes of Marvel & DC

After hearing about Joss Whedon’s being brought onboard by Warner Bros. in 2017 for finishing the JLA movie, Jessica Chobot of Nerdist News, reported that Scott Snyder had called in Whedon to help with something on the production way before his needed exit. We now know that to be a complete fabrication, most likely invented by the damage control unit at WB.

Whedon was awesome at directing interpersonal relationships in the Avengers, now I suspect that he was also under a very tight rein to suppress his lack of his own acceptable interpersonal skills, to put it lightly. He was able to humanize what appears to be beyond human. On the whole this is what Marvel has seemed to excel at in the comics and the MCU. Marvel humanizes their characters. They make them imperfect. They have weaknesses and human failings.

The heroes of DC have always been akin to gods. From time to time, depending on creative team, they take time out to live a normal day, or moment. I’m thinking about Oneil and Adam’s “Hard Traveling Heroes” of the 70’s. Those stories were few and far between in the DC Universe. These heroes are less relatable to humanity. There are pros and cons to this method of storytelling. Remember that even the Greeks told tales of their gods where they all had failings, unlike other cultures who came after and created perfect beings. Perfection is boring in the long run but, in shorts spurts, it can be fun. The CW’s Arrowverse characters have tackled much of the perfection problems and incorporated the shortcomings and outright failings into what makes the hero a hero in spite of their issues.

I was interested to see how Joss made the god-like characters more relatable, and even more likable for the Justice League film. His ability to break tension with humor felt like it had to be a superpower, but in JL it was forced and jarring. Basically, I would have loved to see heroes dealing with issues that we all experience, every day, while trying to save the world. It’s a lot to ask from somebody, but they are heroes and that comes with the territory. As we all know, the production of JL had its issues, and failings. While I found things to be entertained by, it isn’t something that I choose to revisit. The Snyder cut wasn’t really that much better, but it flowed, and it brought something a little different to the table. Neither brought the human touch to the DC Gods.

So, the characterization of these characters, some almost ninety years-old, could just be what we want them to be. The Marvel Age characters were conceived to have everyday problems that we could identify with. Whereas their DC counterparts were created to be our new mythological protectors. There are exceptions to the rule but it’s about scale. Peter gets screamed at for being a few minutes late to work, Kyle finds his girlfriend murdered in his refrigerator. I can only relate to one of those situations. At the end of the day, these are all fictional characters and we and take from theme what we will.

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