What’s the deal with the “Big Two”?
Posted by dailypop on September 8, 2008
Recently I was surfing through past posts on my blog and saw that I at one time collected almost exclusively DC Comics. This caused my eyes to pop as I now only collect Marvel Comics (and the odd independent comic of course).
This struck a cord in me… why did I go between the two camps so passionately?
Marvel Comics has been called ‘The House of Ideas’ (amongst other things). The company that first gave readers humanized and flawed heroes has never been short on attitude and daring to completely shake up the status quot. Editor-in-chief Joe Quesada has described the feel of Marvel Comics as very passionate on the verge of one big noisy family. An artist himself, you get the notion that Quesada is living his dream come true every day as editorial head of Marvel Comics. With regular braintrust meetings where all of the creators can compare ideas for the coming year, this collaborative effort shows in the final result. Marvel Comics feel like a group effort each month ands it cannot really afford not to. With events dipping into every monthly title, each series editor has to stay on top of where every title is headed. I’m with the criticism that the ‘One More Day’ storyline in Spider-Man that rewrote the series’ history in broad strokes was incredibly ham-fisted but the result is the best Spider-Man series in decades. As Quesda himself has said, he doesn’t do anything small, but he always has his heart in his decisions.
On the flipside, Editor-in-chief of DC Comics Dan Didio arrived at the company he was to head with no real professional experience in comics. As his tenure at DC has gone on, fans have seen the entire line revamped numerous times. With editorial intervention keeping comics from changing in any real way and creators put on the spot to justify a given character’s existence (he planned to kill off Nightwing before Marv Wolfman told him that that character was essential), it comes as no surprise that many creators have jumped ship to work elsewhere. Readers were attracted by the weekly series 52 but when the ideas in the series did not result in any real change in the DC Universe and the follow-up Countdown failed to live up to its success, it causes one to wonder what is going on here.
I had the opportunity to see both Quesada and Didio at the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con a few years back and the experience was very telling. I recognized Joe right away. He was chumming it up outside the hotel bar with a couple of fans. We made eye contact and I chose to not engage him in conversation for two reasons; I was not collecting any Marvel Comics at the time… and besides this was JOE QUESADA! What could I have to say to him?? It was my loss as he seemed very approachable.
Later on I stopped by the DC Comics booth where I picked up a few buttons and other freebies and took the time to flip through a few preview comics. I had no idea that I was addressing Dan Didio when I told the mustached man attending the booth that I loved what they were doing with the Legion of Super Heroes title. He stared right past me, not exactly sure what I was talking about and told me to ‘tell 10 friends to buy the comic.’ I was pretty creeped out. Who was this guy? Imagine my surprise when I found out he was the head of DC Comics.
So, what do you think? As a comic book fan, do you feel that there is a significant difference in the direction the companies have taken?