Who Is Winning The Comic Book War?

The recent movie based on the Wonder Woman tale, starring Gal Gadot, has been extremely successful. As of 4 September 2017, it was the fifth highest-grossing superhero film in North America with $409.1m (£312.4m) in takings at the US box office, surpassed only by The Avengers ($623m), The Dark Knight ($534m), Avengers: Age of Ultron ($459) and The Dark Knight Rises ($448m).

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The Dark Knight films, which are part of the Batman franchise, demonstrate the enduring popularity of this dual-personality, crime-fighting superstar. According to Forbes, Time Warner/Warner Bros was triumphant in the battle of the summer box office, with a winning streak that could continue until the end of the year.

As The Avengers is part of Marvel Universe, the list of top-grossing superhero films indicates that Marvel is enjoying cinematic success to rival or even trump that of DC. Both comic book companies are around the same age and their rivalry goes back many decades.

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Marvel Comics was established in the US in 1939. Founded in New York City, the publishing house is still based there today. Some of the comic book world’s best-loved creations come from Marvel, including Spider-Man, Hulk and Iron Man. These have all been translated into characters that feature in big-budget Hollywood movies.

Preceding Marvel, DC Comics was established in 1934 in Burbank, California. Now part of the Warner Bros and Time Warner empire, DC is home to some of the world’s most iconic superheroes, such as Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.

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A report on the comic book industry suggests that Marvel is the dominant force when it comes to movies; however, it also suggests that all is not well within the editorial division. Fans are apparently unhappy that Marvel has made decisions to replace revered characters with younger figures. The company has made other moves that fans are not thrilled about, such as changing Captain America’s role and making him a Hydra agent.

Marvel Studios falls within the remit of the powerful Disney Studios. While this studio can provide massive support for the right projects, disputes with rival studio Fox – which lays claim to the Fantastic Four and X-Men – mean that Disney is allegedly putting its energy into its own exclusive projects.

There is grumbling from the Marvel editorial team, which says it is underpaid and overworked and that fans do not want the changes that executives are imposing. While Marvel is doing well in cinemas, alienating long-time fans will erode this success over time.

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Meanwhile, DC embarked on a ‘rebirth’ just over a year ago, which has been acclaimed for reinvigorating some of its classic superheroes. Popular characters have made a return, loose ends have been dealt with, and the fans have indicated their appreciation. By giving established characters new and compelling stories, DC is paving the way for more cinematic blockbusters in the future. DC movies also has the backing of the giant Warner Bros behemoth; therefore, it will be an interesting fight to see who is on the top in a few years’ time.