It’s interesting to me the way in which you see comic book fans argue across the vast landscape of Social Media in the modern era. For some, there seems to have been a definitive line drawn in the sand: Are you a DC fan or are you a Marvel fan?
While these arguments are completely ridiculous to me, since I have always embraced both, there is a fundamental difference in the way each company is representing their IP properties in media platforms outside of the comic book landscapes they each were originally written in.
Outside of the comic book realm, DC and Marvel have had two different ideologies on how to go about it. In television and film media, Marvel executives have maintained that “it’s all connected.” But do we really believe that the likes of Netflix’s Daredevil and Jessica Jones TV shows actually exist in the same universe as their counterparts in the Marvel Studios films?
While Marvel Entertainment says they do, there are conflicting views within the company itself, as to whether or not they actually coexist. Meanwhile, DC maintains that their movie and television properties exist separately and, in my opinion, maybe this is the best way to go about it.
Hear me out.
DC has carved out an unbelievable successful run across many platforms: Movies, TV, Direct-to-Video Movies, Video Games and now, the DC Universe application in itself, which brings all of these worlds together within one place, where they are all brought together, on difference plains of the Multi-Verse.
Wikipedia points out the entire plot of the story “Crisis” in its first sentence of its article about the groundbreaking DC plotine:
“A crisis in the DC Universe is an event with potentially great consequences, often involving multiple universes and sometimes even threatening their existence.”
“Crisis” was a a year-long comic book run by DC in 1985 that ran across each comic book title by the company and it merged the original DC Universe from the Golden/Silver Age of their comic book line with the modern era. But the one thing it really introduced is that these stories are always around, despite being constantly retconned in the funny books themselves, to a realm of existence all their own.
By that principal, within in the live-action and TV universes of DC, who’s to say that those stories aren’t taking place still?
There is still a world out there, where Michael Keaton’s version of Batman is currently teaching a young Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond, the traits of being a strong, younger version of his Dark Knight. There is still somewhere that Christopher Reeve’s Superman is still flying high in the skies as The Man of Steel, as old as they may be in those DC realms.
The only thing I can point to how these alternate multi-verses somehow co-exist, is this official image released by Entertainment Weekly today, in which John Wesley Shipp’s 1990’s TV version of The Flash, interacts with the heroes we watch and wonder to on The CW series’ today. In this “Elseworlds” crossover photo of the event coming up in December, they stand together:
While they can sometimes interact (which is fascinating to yours truly), they often do not. Within the confines of DC’s CW world, Supergirl herself is from an alternate Earth than The Flash and Green Arrow, and yet they’ve stood together for three different crossover stories so far.
What DC is getting right about this, is embracing the very roots of the comic book storylines and giving them to us, in various forms of live-action and animation.
At first, I didn’t understand DC’s move to separate the movie and TV shows from each other, but maybe there’s a method to their madness after all?