At a tender age, most fans of superhero comics start honing their arguments in an ancient debate: “Which is better—Marvel or DC?” They may not yet realize that the fight has long been waged not just on the page, but also in boardrooms and on the NYSE. To understand the battle between the two major American mainstream comic book companies, we can go straight to the source material, because each is very much like one of its biggest franchise players. Marvel, it’s fair to say, is Iron Man; DC is Batman.
As with those two crime fighters, DC and Marvel are both colorful public fronts with staggering amounts of corporate cash and power behind them: DC Entertainment is owned by Time Warner, and Marvel Entertainment is part of the Walt Disney Company. That’s where the similarities end. DC, like Batman, is fantastically regimented, a little bit irrational, and hesitant to reach out beyond its home turf; like Bruce Wayne, its relationships with its extended family are fraught with resentment of its imperious ways. Marvel, like Iron Man, adapts to circumstances, makes endless duplicates of its biggest successes, and always seems to be a bit ahead of the curve; like Tony Stark, it can be slovenly about the details when they count. (Marvel’s book publishing program, for instance, has a longstanding reputation as a total mess, with popular titles falling out of print for years on end.)
Let’s make this perfectly clear at the outset: I don’t work for NPR, and what I’m about to say doesn’t represent NPR. I’m but a lowly freelancer they’re dumb enough to publish a bunch, and what I say now I say as me, which is to say:
1. An inveterate Superman nerd, and
2. A gay dude.
DC Comics has hired Orson Scott Card to write the first two issues of a new digital-first Superman comic. I won’t be reading it.
I’ve known that I’d ignore the Card written Superman since I first heard of it. That said, this is the best explanation of _why_ one should ignore this blip in the history of Superman. What Superman is and how he relates to us and why, in the end, it’s a terrible thing for a bigot like Card to be writing for Superman.
With this move you have to wonder if Marvel will continue to market subscriptions only through their own site & apps, or whether they will jump into the big e-retail world.
In a move that could provide a boost to the small but growing digital comic book business, DC Comics has signed deals to sell comics through online stores owned by Apple, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Previously, comic book readers could only buy digital copies of issues to read on tablets or other digital devices through DC’s own app, or an application controlled by the company ComiXology.
While graphic novels have previously been available to buy for digital devices through a variety of stores, DC is the first company to offer single comic book issues through Apple’s iBookstore, Amazon’s Kindle Store and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Book Store.