COMICS PORTAL: Marvel vs. DC vs. Us

by

I’ve been following with interest the Internet discussions ever since word came out last week that Marvel was putting Captain America 3 up against Batman vs. Superman in movie theaters on May 6, 2016.

Even though this is still over two years away, the battle lines have been drawn. Most of the people discussing it felt that Warner Bros/DC was at fault because Marvel had previously claimed that weekend even though they never said just what film would be released then.

WB/DC had moved the Man of Steel sequel from July 17, 2015, to that date several months ago. Ever since that time, the speculation has run rampant over just who would “blink,” meaning who would be the big loser in that competition.

The answer is simple: We the fans would be the ones to lose the most.

BATTLING ON THE SMALL SCREEN

I’ve mentioned previously that the struggle between the “big two” comics companies would spill over into the movie theaters. Looks like I was right on that count!

Normally, I think Marvel and DC squaring off against each other is better for fans. When they make their writing and art the very best they can, WE benefit by reading quality storytelling.

But moving that fight to the small or big screens is another story.

For instance, what if The CW’s Arrow and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD were on at the same time? Who would win? Actually, both would draw from the same comics fandom, so both would lose viewers the way that ratings are measured these days, although access to episodes via the Internet is helping.

When one buys comics, a fan can read them in whatever order he or she prefers. If you buy both Avengers and Justice League, for instance, neither company cares which one you read first as long as you buy them.

As long as I’ve been watching the Boob Tube, though, I’ve agonized over channels airing shows that appeal to the same audience at the same time.

What usually happens is, both shows go down in flames. And the networks have the gall to wonder why. As devoted as we are, it’s impossible for us to watch two shows at the same time.

Now some recorders can do that, but networks prefer to measure what shows we’re actually watching rather than recording. (Again, that is changing somewhat, but not enough to make the impact we’d like.)

Whenever you tear apart a sci-fi or comics audience, you don’t win. In fact, we lose because they reason that there just aren’t enough fans to warrant make another show like them.

BATTLING ON THE BIG SCREEN

During these days of budgets and busy schedules, not many of us can get to see two comics-related films in the same weekend. We have to choose.

Batman, Superman, Captain America, DC Comics, Warner Bros, Marvel, X-MenNow for me, picking between the third Cap film and the first time seeing Superman and Batman in live action on the big screen would be easy. I’d use the same logic that I heard people using when the first Avengers motion picture was coming – we’ve never seen them at the same time in the same film, so Batman vs. Superman would be the obvious choice.

Not everyone online feels that way, though. I keep reading Marvel fans saying that, by then, the Cap franchise would be firmly in place and the third film would likely be the last of the bunch, so they’d prefer to go see that one.

If you have enough money and time to see both, that’s great. But most of my friends can’t do that, so they’d pick out which one they prefer to spend their hard-earned shekels on. So both films, drawing from the same pool, would have a smaller take that weekend.

Just as in the field of television, if that happens enough and the income is less than what they’re hoping for, eventually the movie industry will turn elsewhere to make money.

SOMETIMES TRYING TO ELIMINATE THE OPPOSITION INSTEAD HURTS YOU

Of course, long-time comics fans like me can remember times when Marvel did their very best to eliminate not only DC, but all the other competing companies. Hey, as I like to say, it is called show business, after all.

I’ve been reading long enough to remember the time when Marvel completely duplicated their entire line-up in an attempt to make collectors and other readers buy everything they were making, leaving little if any money if one wanted to buy anything else.

Marvel didn’t win that “contest.” Instead, according to many people on the front lines of the business at that time, they nearly destroyed the industry. Several friends of mine, devoted to Marvel completely, found they could not afford to buy The Mighty Thor as well as Thunder Strike. For the first time in their years as a fan, they literally HAD to do without some of Marvel’s product. And my friends said, they would never go back to buying all that Marvel would make again – they discovered they could live without them!

The last thing I want to see is the movie industry turning away from comics-based films. After all, each comic shows just how the story could be told on the big screen. Just ask Frank Miller about that!

I DON’T CONSIDER “BLINKING” TO BE “LOSING”

As of this writing, the latest rumor going around is that WB/DC may shift their film to the weekend prior, on April 29, 2016. However, I’m also reading guesses that they will instead move Batman vs. Superman to the weekend after, May 13. Cap 3 would already have been out a weekend, and there would be another weekend between that film’s release and the next X-Men movie coming out around Memorial Day. It would be a busy month for us comics fans, but if the take is high, we could see more months like that in the future!

It turns out that I actually agree with Chris Evans, who plays Cap. When told about all this, he said during a recent news conference, “Wow, really? Wait a minute, so you’re saying we have to go against them? Well, that’s a shame.”

In my opinion, there are 52 weekends in a year. As long as two comics-related motion pictures don’t come out on the same day, I’m fine with it.

Of course, Marvel has made a tradition out of releasing one of their films on the first weekend in May ever since Iron Man did well. I don’t blame them for wanting to make money like that. Show business, right?

If WB/DC decides to move BvS to another weekend, I don’t consider that “losing.” If fans can support as many comics-based movies as possible, that’s a win for all of us, in my opinion! I want MORE comics-based films, not fewer of them!