Marvel is for kids while DC is for adults?

Marvel is the comic company that brought me in. Specifically it was Wolverine. I forget which issue (it was early on, he is in Japan tracking some new designer drug, I made a post about it once). I got into comics in the same way that I have heard many others. I was at a friend’s house where he had a big pile of random comics, and it was wolverine that drug me in.

Now for a variety of reasons (kids have little money) I stopped collecting, or reading comics, for many years.

Until recently, when I discovered TPB’s and Batman. Well, first I discovered Vasquez which brought me into a comic shop for the first time in a decade, then I found Batman.

Batman is awesome, and he hooked me back into comics.

Now a few months ago I decided to pick-up a few Marvel collections and see what I had missed over the last few years. Problem was, it was all, sorta, “low-brow”. It just seemed really immature versus anything DC that I had read. As if the plots were more contrived and the characters more cliched. I tried, mostly reading anything wolverine or X-Men related, but it was all the same. I kept rolling my eyes while reading it.

It all just felt like Marvel comics are written for six-teen and below, while DC is written for older audiences.

well… afaik marvel is still following the cca, so that might have a bit to do with it

Other way around. Marvel’s abandoned the CCA in favour of their own ratings system, DC still uses it on some titles, but there’s a number of non-Mature Audience titles that don’t - JSA (for the last few months), the Infinite Crisis minis, Green Arrow, Outsiders, the last couple Legion series, and so forth.

Oh…this has the rather amusing result of code-approved books crossing over with non-code books - Green Arrow/Teen Titans, Teen Titans/Outsiders, Teen Titans/Legion (It occurs Teen Titans are involved in a lot of these Code/Non-Code crossovers…they should just go ahead and stop submitting Titans to the Code…), OMAC/Superman/Wonder Woman, VU/JLA, and so forth.

It’s been that way for a long time. Back in the 70s, long before Vertigo, it was clear that Marvel was going for the teenage fanboys while DC was going for a more college age audience.

Problem is, the teen audience is where the money is*, and when you reach them, you hit it big. So Marvel prospered and DC was badly hurt.

If you look at graphic novels, you’ll really notice the difference.

*This is shown in other areas like movies or TV: the more adolescent you make the stories, the bigger the success.

This is a slight reverse of the older Silver Age situation: DC is for kids with its fantastic tales of derring-do while Marvel is for teens with its angsty soap opera plots and real-world problems.

Forgive me for overgenealizing, but DC has more diverse product and a significant fraction of it is good. Marvel (except for a brief period a few years ago which is now very definitely over) has much more homogenous product, and lots of it blows.

DC has stuff for older readers – Marvel, basically, does not.


Yeah, I noticed that. I really got into Marvel in 2000-2002 before losing interest when the Ultimate line rapidly got as convoluted as the originals. Now I basically only read DC’s vertigo line.

Was there an editorial change or something?

Marvel has plenty of good comics adults can apprecaite (Supreme Power, New Avengers, Bendis’ Daredevil, off the top of my head).

Marvel bashing however is way more popular than DC bashing. Marvel has an outspoken public Editor in Chief wheras DC is run by a faceless amalgam of Time-Warner executives.

Sorry, had to vent.

Oh, Jim Lee, buy a freakin’ basic anatomy book, idiot.

Marvel has some “adult” books, but mostly seem to be just an excuse to draw tits (Supreme Power stands out). Marvel is wisely re-vamping this series to take it out of the adult category.

IMHO, Marvel seems to be more art-driven in its focus while DC seems to be much more story-driven. Thus, DC generally has better and more intelligent stories while Marvel just has “pretty books”.

Also, DC’s head honchos (Paul Levitz and Dan Didio) do a much better job of putting out quality books and staying above the fray, whereas Marvel seems to resort to just badmouthing the competition. Marvel is also notorious for being woefully late with some of their books.

Yup. Bill Jemas was forced out. He had a very confrontational PR style which I think was more trouble than it was worth, but his creative mission was to get the best people and let them do their best work without interference, and a lot of good comics came out of it.


The Ultimates line is quite mature and well worth a read. The House of M is one of the best storlines to come along in a long time. So no, I don’t believe that Marvel is just for kids.

The X books are out of control and I doubt even the writers know what the heck is going on with them.

Indeed. I was surprised when I saw the sales numbers for the month of June yesterday and saw that Marvel outsold DC, given how common the “DC > Marvel” meme is.

Focusing on Marvel and DC’s main lines and ignoring Vertigo, I’d say that both are written for the same audience. I’m not sure if I’d even say that Vertigo comics are necessarily more “adult” than mainstream comics. You can argue that DC is at the moment producing better comics, but that’s a seperate issue.

Actually, Dark Horse is for adults.