Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Switched at Birth?

Doug: Several weeks ago, my partner and I mentioned in passing a dilemma, trying to figure out why good writers seemed to fall short when moving from Marvel to the Distinguished Competition. While this is an Open Forum topic in its own right, it's not the query being set forth today. Instead, in our conversation the outgrowing thoughts sometimes tended toward the characters. We've lamented around these parts in the past that Marvel's stable was much more 3-dimensional, rife with characterization, personality, etc.; DC's boys and girls tended to be somewhat cardboard.

So -- the floor is open for nominations on today's Open Forum: name some characters that were DC property but who would have fit in nicely in the Marvel Universe (worked much better, actually). And conversely, throw out a name or two of a Marvel hero or baddie who seemed to fit in better across the street in the DCU.

I'll start by nominating the fellow at left to have been a viable if not spectacular character in the Marvel Universe, and Jack Kirby's Inhumans to have fit well into the DCU.


Anonymous said...

Hi Doug,

I never got into DC for exactly the reasons you specify, times two....by which I mean that the characters are cardboard as you say, but also their alter egos are just matters of convenience. This seems to stem from having the prime mobile the other way from Marvel. Where Peter Parker, a fully fleshed out character, BECAME Spider man, Clark Kent is just a mask. Clark Kent is NOT Superman, Superman occasionally masquerades as Clark Kent. Likewise, Diana Prince is not Wonder Woman; Wonder Woman is Diana Prince, when it suits her. Bruce Wayne had a life before Batman, but not a meaningful history rich with incident and a hinterland of support characters...he just happens to be a zillionaire so they can explain where he gets all the cool gear from. The fact that Superman only has to put on a pair of glasses and nobody recognises that Clark Kent is Superman always seemed to me the perfect metaphor for the ridiculous blandness of the whole DC concept of alter-ego.

If I had to pick a DC character to put into Marvel, it probably would be Batman because he seems at least to have some kind of psychology.

Marvel to DC....hmmmm. I could go the obvious route and say Frankenstein Monster or Werewolf By Night, as Marvel never seemed very comfortable with those ‘movie monster’ types (big exception for Drac, obviously). ...but I’m going for Nova. I haven’t read it in 30 years, but I seem to remember that they just plucked a boy (‘who could be YOU!’) at random and created a whole universe of never-before-encountered-but-here-they-are-on-Earth aliens and what-not that didn’t fit in anywhere else. Smelt like desperation. It seemed to have a disregard for causality, continuity and homogeneity which I associate more with DC than Marvel.


Inkstained Wretch said...

I always thought that Moon Knight seemed out of place in the Marvel Universe and would have made more sense as a Batman supporting character.

On the DC to Marvel side, it would have been fun to see Ambush Bug loose in the Marvel Universe.

Terence Stewart said...

Interesting question.

I'm not entirely sure I agree with the assessment of Marvel & DC characters, but I also find it hard to envisage characters from either Universe fitting in well if swapped. Leaving aside the general Marvelisation (i.e. neurosis prone) of DC characters since the mid 80s, Marvel's heroes always seemed a little too self-obsessed compared to DC's more altruistic heroes.

I could see The Hulk at DC, as a definite villain, and obviously the New Gods, and Darkseid with his minions, would fit right in over at Marvel.

I c

J.A. Morris said...

I could see the characters introduced in 'New Teen Titans'(Starfire,Raven,Cyborg) as Marvel characters. Same goes for Terminator.
Bullseye would've made a good Batman villain.

But yeah,the child-version of me couldn't get into DC characters for all the reasons you mentioned.

teresarollins said...

DC to Marvel

Challengers of the Unknown: Fantastic Four without powers. They could easily be intertwined with the MU through Nick Fury and SHIELD.

Doom Patrol: (original) They were an ill fit for the flat DC characters.

Blue Beatle: (Ted Kord) When written well Ted Kord is a Marvel Character. He and Spidey would be amazing friends.

Metamorpho: Marvel always did their monster better. Man-Thing, Hulk, Ben Grimm etc..

Marvel to DC is tougher

Doc Sampson = He doesn't fit in the MU for me. He seems too flat .He should be a part of the supporting cast in Metropolis, filling in for Superman when he's gone.

Impossible Man = Mxyplyzyk and Batmite in the Marvel Universe. ick.

I always thought some of Iron Man's rouges were too DC, Blizzard and Whiplash come to mind. Flash or Iran Man villains? Hard to know side to side.

Nova: I always thought he would be a great JLA member.

Sentry. I know he is a Superman clone. He was a cool limited issue distraction. But like a bad house guest he has overstayed his welcome. He diminishes the MU.

teresarollins said...

Apparently I have invented a new character: "Iran Man" Power -Invulnerable to Spell Checkers.

Definitely DC. (-;

Edo Bosnar said...

Teresa, you also invented the Blue Beatle. I'm assuming his secret identity is Pete Best, all sad because they kicked him out in favor of Ringo ;) - I think he'd make a great villain in Spidey Super Stories.
Good call on Doom Patrol. In that same vein, I think the Suicide Squad could fit into the Marvel Universe pretty easily. (By the way, since you mentioned Challengers of the Unknown in the MU, it reminded me of that issue of What If? that featured the Fantastic Four without powers - it's a pretty fun story, and makes me wish that Byrne had done a mini-series in that alternate reality with the non-powered FF.)
Marvel to DC: hard to think of any off the top of my head, except for derivative ones like the Squadron Supreme or the Imperial Guard, but maybe that's just because I'd like to see crossovers where they duke it out with their respective counterparts...

Anonymous said...

Hi Teresa - I was really getting into Iran Man for a while there. Although it did occur to me that Iran Woman would be more interesting (she'd certainly have no trouble protecting her secret identity).


William said...

I love the character has he is (or was anyway) at Marvel, but I think one Marvel character that could have easily been a DC character is Captain America. At least as a concept anyway. A guy who dresses in an American flag and actually calls himself Captain America, is just a corny enough idea to have worked well at DC. His catch phrase could have been- "Holy stars and stripes!"

As for a DC character that might possibly fit in at Marvel... uhhh, I really can't come up with anyone that I could see running around with the Avengers, The FF or Spider-Man. It's really such an oil and water, apples and oranges kind of thing with me.

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