2017 is the year that I truly fell for DC comics, to the extent that I would say I actively prefer reading them over Marvel comics.
Although I subscribed to the Batman and Green Arrow titles from DC Rebirth in 2016, it was in 2017 that almost all collected editions I bought were DC, that I started collected every issue I could get my hands on from the astonishing Metal event and that the ongoing Doomsday Clock event floored me with issue 1 (thanks, in no small part, to the fact that I’ve finally read Watchmen).
I now have more DC subscriptions than Marvel and am planning on cutting my Marvel subscriptions down to 1 in the new year, once I’ve seen which looks more promising out of Thor or Iron Man.
What makes DC so compelling? What draws me to these characters when Marvel keeps tempting me with undeniably awesome films?
For me, it boils down to one word: ‘epic’. There is a sense of scale in DC Comics that I don’t see in Marvel. Take Metal – my stand-out comics read of 2017 (and it’s still not done) – the ambition and execution of the story, the risks taken with familiar characters and the unique style and theme of the art combines to make a crossover event that easily blows any recent Marvel crossover out of the water. The last Marvel crossovers that made such an impression on me were the likes of Fear Itself and the modern classics, Civil War and Planet Hulk (all must-reads for comic fans).
It’s no secret that DC’s characters are a different breed to Marvel’s. The god-like power of the Justice League is well-known in comparison to the more human Avengers. As a long-time lover of myths and legends, I find these characters and stories compelling, especially when written well. The story that stands out for me is that told in the first 3 volumes of Green Lantern (New 52), but other stories like Injustice (year 1) and Flashpoint deserve mention. They push the boundaries of imagination and make us think of worlds far beyond our own.
For some, Marvel’s more down to earth characters are more compelling. I’m also not suggesting that you have to be either a DC fan or a Marvel – I haven’t lost my appreciation for many Marvel titles and works. A medium like the graphic novel is surely versatile to tell the stories of both multiverses and many other completely different styles of story.
My reason for writing this is not to bash Marvel. But, in light of the lukewarm reception of Justice League I wanted to highlight the excellent work going on in the comics, which I imagine don’t have the popular appeal that much of Marvel has, thanks to its more successful cinematic releases. If I’ve piqued your interest, I suggest checking out my blog from last year on how to get started with DC.
If you have some money lying around after Christmas, or you still need to buy a few presents, head over to your local comic shop (or order online) and pick up a DC graphic novel or two. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.