The short answer:
Neither I prefer Image!
Please don’t kill me for that response! It is true at this point in time that when I go into the comic store I am probably there to pick up an Image comic. However, I do not discriminate, I have picked up issues from both Marvel and DC recently and throughout my life. In fact it wasn’t until two years ago that I really started reading almost exclusively image, so lets get down to the real question yeah? Why is there such a rivalry between these two companies and which side should you take.
In order to answer this for myself I’m going to have to talk about my relationship to comics and super heroes in general. My first introduction to the world of super heroes unsurprisingly was not with comics but with television. I would watch the CW on Saturday mornings to catch Batman the Animated Series and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was my first introduction to the concept of super heroes in general. One of which, was decidedly on the DC side.
After that, or maybe even concurrently with it, I was watching a lot of Cartoon Network. This was partially because my mother had blocked Nickelodeon from me (She thought Angelica from the Rugrats was a bad role model and seemed to ignore the fact that I most identified with Chuckie) so I was watching Cartoon Network instead while growing up (which is probably weird, because those shows were a lot crazier and weirder than the Nickelodeon ones). In any case, it is there that we saw the much adored and sorely missed Teen Titans (no matter what anyone says I will stand by the fact that the current Teen Titans Go! show is a great show, even if it doesn’t have the same emotional tone as the original). Now Teen Titans was a real love. I looked forward to Batman the Animated Series but I loved Teen Titans, I watched that show religiously.
It was not long after that when I started going to garage sales and flea markets with my grandfather. It was here that I found out my beloved television heroes came in a book form. Even if it was covered in pictures, I didn’t mind. It meant I could spend more time with them. He would buy me a handful of old issues so I have some random issues of 90s Robin and Detective Comics that people were getting rid of. No complete story arcs though. It was like a piece of a story.
When I got to high school I had researched comics enough to know that I could go to a store and get the new ones as they were coming out. I was reading mostly Batman still but I soon branched out. This was probably caused by my having watched a lot of superhero movies in middle school and now knew about the X-Men and Spiderman. This was my first brush with Marvel and I think everyone agrees that the movies that were coming out back then were not the greatest, no offense to Toby McGuire or Hugh Jackman. I was pulling a couple female comics as well such as Catwoman. As I read I also fell in love with heroes like Deadpool who had never made an appearance on the screen. (I saw the movie by the way and you should all go see it, I will be doing a review of that for you guys next week so look forward to that).
Unfortunately I began to fall out of love with comics by the end of high school. I had stopped going to pick up issues. I had felt that the stories were getting repetitive and weren’t as strong as they were when I had first started reading. Maybe I had just grown out of the stage where I fell head over heels in love with them. They were moving to that part of my heart that held the great child hood loves but I was becoming an adult and not everything breaches that gap.
For my first two years of college I did not read any comics. None, whatsoever. Despite the fact that some of my closest friends and roommates read them and pulled them. Then I saw an image on twitter for a new comic from Image. I fell in love with the art then and there and that one comic was a hole that I fell into. I started collecting volumes of back issues so I could start pulling again. I was reading Low, and Pretty Deadly, and Sex Criminals, and The Wicked + The Divine there were all of these stories that were so different and unique and creator owned. I was in my person comic book heaven.
Eventually I even started pulling some super hero or super hero adjacent comics like Gotham by Midnight and Gotham Academy, Spider Gwen and Silk. My love still sits decidedly with Image but I can see the value in some stories of the super hero variety, it was where my love first stemmed after all.
That was a long story and it told you a lot about me but did it really answer the question?
Probably not. Let me give this a try. In all of my years of reading from both companies this is how I would describe the difference between them. DC is the company that you will love if you are a person who prefers character oriented stories, I feel like their characters are designed better, have interesting back stories, but their plots can get kind of repetitive. You read DC comics for the characters. On the other hand you would be a Marvel reading if you prefer great stories. The characters can just sometimes feel a bit one note. That isn’t to say there aren’t really great stand out characters in Marvel, there are, but by and large it doesn’t matter what character you are reading because the story will be unique and great, the characters are just vehicles for that. They don’t matter as much.
Now when it comes to Image they have it all: interesting and unique characters who are in completely original and new stories. So if you want the whole package I might look there, but there are far less super heroes in the mix.
So that’s it then. That’s my answer to the question and my rambling story of why I read comics. It took a while didn’t it. Maybe I talked too much. Oh well, next week will be a nice neat one as I talk about my opinions of the new Deadpool movie! I’m so excited for that. Just wait and see.