Sunday, June 11, 2006

Is the blogosphere lopsided?

I am not asking this to start a fight; I am not asking this to be mean to Marvel. Trust me, if I want to be mean about Marvel, I do it openly.

But... is the comics blogosphere terribly lopsided or is it my imagination?

I've been wondering this for some time, so yesterday I looked at the last 100+ blogs to ping themselves at Simple Weblogs. I found only 6 that were talking about a Marvel comic or property.

Now, granted a lot of what I waded through was cat-blogging, focused on such entertaining and vibrant comic book related topics as the author's gastroentiritis, the basement repairs, chicken recipes, the author's unrealized art/story/script/comic book store/comic book event/comic book company, some game for armless aliens called "soh kur", television, and yes, cats.

But a lot wasn't. And the bulk of those posts that directly concern a mainstream comic are about a DC comic.


I can think of a host of blogs that are, for the most part, DC-centric. I can't think of very many that are Marvel-centric. I used to assume that was simply because I only am looking for DC blogs, not Marvel ones. The fault lay in me, not the blogosphere.

I no longer think it's that simple; I think the comics mainstream blogosphere is strongly lopsided toward DC. The more I look, the more it looks like DC is the northern blogohemisphere and Marvel the southern one. There are lot of possible reasons for that.

I have one friend who tells me Marvel readers are too self-absorbed to write blogs. Well, maybe, but I kind of thought being self-absorbed was a requirement for writing a blog, not an impediment.

I've always thought that, overall, Marvel readers are visually focused and DC readers are verbally focused. To put it, another way, Marvel readers look at the pictures and DC readers look at the word balloons. That's not a dig, by the way; I often find myself having to slow down and backtrack to understand something in my comics because I was only reading the balloons and just glossing over what the art was depicting. Anyway, maybe DC people are more "wordy" and therefore more inclined toward the blog-babbling?

Or perhaps Marvel readers have actual lives and can't be bothered with the tedium of blogging because they're out taking pictures for their local tabloid, fighting alcoholism, shopping for unstable molecule outfits, or struggling for acceptance in a world that doesn't understand them?

Could be that only DC readers are pompous and self-important enough to feel the need to pontificate on every little jot and tittle of DC's product, including absurdly intensively "theme weeks" where they try to wring every possible chuckle out of three panels from a 40 year old throwaway story written for 9 year olds.

Clearly, an absence of Marvel blogs is not due to a lack of popularity; Marvel's sales are as high as ever, and still usually outstrip DC's.

So tell me true: am I mistaken? Is there more balance between DC and Marvel than I realize? And if not, why not?


Jon Hex said...

I need that Batman caption put on a shirt. Right. Now.

Mag said...

Interesting question. The Treadmill blogs about mainly about DC because that's what H is indexing these days. He did the Marvels a few years back in a series of e-mails to me--unfortunately, I lost most of those e-mails.

I don't write about Marvel because I dropped all their books, although I will be picking up the Gaiman Eternals series. I do buy a few non-DC books and those occasionally make it up as an entry, as well as most of the review books I get.

An odd point: month after month, X-Men (or X Men) is the number one search phrase that draws people to the site.

Ashtur said...

I was actually thinking along that same line today. I'd say that of the blogs I read, they are almost entirely DC focused (or at least dominated). The only one that seems to look more Marvel is Suspension of Disbelief, and even that's probably only 60/40 Marvel or so.

One other possibility is that there are separate "blog" networks out there, and there's an interconnected Marvel community that's blissfully unaware of the Abscorbacon or Seven Hells, or the Treadmill or the like. I've seen things like that happen in other fandoms.

Still, I can't say much. What little I do is weighted DC, and then my other odd bits of bizarroness.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Ouch. As somebody who actually has been writing a Marvel blog recently, I'll try not to take personally your implication that Marvel fans are all deranged in some way. ;)

I haven’t at all looked into it myself what you’ve said, though I suspect you may have a point. If it is true, it probably has something to do with DC having a larger stable of characters to trot out for discussion. Marvel has a lot of characters as well, but the company doesn’t seem to take its second-, third-, fourth- and beyond stringers as seriously as DC seems to. So it’s a volume thing--there’s simply more DC out there for fanboys to geek out about. DC has some weird edge in that way.

I also think that DC has more to offer adult comic book readers who have outgrown traditional superheroes but still have nostalgia about them. Marvel made the mistake of turning its traditional superheroes dark. DC, until recently, was smart enough to keep their traditional escapist stuff separate from their edgier comics. Unfortunately they’re following Marvel into that same quagmire as far as I’m concerned.

Me personally? I like both companies, but I don’t really like mainstream superheroes anymore as written. I haven't bought a comic in half a year.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of both groups and like both their characters a lot. Can't we all just get along, like Marvel and DC seem to do? Really, I only buy comics for the sole purpose of seeing Killer Moth in action.

Scotus said...

I hadn't really noticed before, but you may have a point.

Maybe it has to do with the fact that DC, for better or worse, currently seems to give bloggers more fodder for posts than Marvel does. All-Star Batman & Robin, Infinite Crisis, Batwoman, etc., being just the most recent examples. Or maybe it's just that a disproportionate number of DC fans own scanners, compared to Marvel fans, thus making it possible for them to do gags with old panels.

Also, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who has a habit of glossing over the art and just reading the word balloons, to the point where I sometimes miss stuff that's important to the story. You'd think after reading comics for almost thirty years, I'd know how to by now.

Scipio said...

It's okay, Scotus, I think it's a DC thing. We look at the art to help understand the words we're reading and they look at the words to help understand the art they're seeing.

Sleestak said...

DC has a richer coherent history and is easier to make fun of. When Marvel was doing things like killing Gwen Stacey and having Harry Osborn drop acid, DC was still giving us stories that featured Jimmy Olsen posing as a spy or a Beatle while Superman was building a duplicate earth with his bare hands and populating it with clones of the Daily Planet staff to somehow teach Jimmy a much needed lesson.

Ununnilium said...

This is a good point, and weird. I don't think it's because DC is better, or because DC is doing more stupid stuff, or anything. Perhaps it's just that the most famous bloggers do mostly DC, and everyone else follows them.

Devon said...

If you ask me, it's because nothing ever REALLY happens at Marvel.

Like watching a guy spin plates on a stick on The Tonight Show, it's all movement without action. The draw isn't in the movement but in the illusion that something of consequence COULD happen if you stick around long enough.

Marvel spins, Marvel breaks a plate, reader gets to come back next month to see how it gets fixed.

Spider-Man is STILL going through some "event" that will "shake him to his very core." The X-Men are forever STILL being persecuted and The Avengers STILL haven't read their name and that's the way Marvel seems to want it. Marvel is very aware that STILL is a verb.

Writers don't get hired there to create bold new stories. They're simply hired to add new addendums to the old ones.

What I'm trying to say is this: It's hard to comment on something when nothing of any true consequence is happening.

Mallet said...

It's weird I blog pretty evenly to me. On one hand I blog about Namor and Ghost Rider, while on the other I'd do a whole week on Hal Jordan and talk about how I bought 30 issues of Infinity Inc.

I'd say it averages to be about 60/40 in favor of marvel, not enough to qualify as a "Marvel" blog.

halben said...

I think Sleestak is on to something. A lot of fun DC blogging comes out of the ridiculous joy we get from Gardner Fox/John Broome/Arnold Drake/Weisenger Silver Age storytelling. "Robin, what have I done to you?" "Superman is a Dick." Yellow ceiling tiles. Monsieur Mallah.

Marvel fans take their stuff too seriously. Organic webs, anyone? ;-)

Of course, they had Thor fighting Commies in the early sixties, but most of them try to forget that and focus on emo mutants.

Brack said...

I think it's because DC comics have, for better or worse, become inherently meta-textual in the last 20 years (in fact possibly since the Golden Age and Silver Age Flashes met, but definitely since COIE).

So many more of DC's comics compared to Marvel's act as commentary, examination or re-examination of comics and comic themes themselves, that it's easy to see the appeal they hold to other folks commenting on comics.

If you look at the Marvel books that get a blog movement behind them, they too tend towards meta-commentary (Slott's GLA & She-Hulk for example).

It's that, or the Morrison proposed sentient DC universe is blogging about itself under various pseudonyms.

DCUBoy said...

I think it is just because DC has better characters and a more interesting Universe. I do actually read some Marvel, but sorry that is just how I feel.

Westward said...

No idea. As a casual fan who enjoys Marvel and DC pretty equally (read: My ADD keeps from reading one or the other for more than a week), I've casually looked for Marvel-themed blogs, and as a general rule, they're niether as numerous nor as well-written as the DC ones.

They do, however, tend to hate Civil War as much as the DC blogs dislike Infinite Crisis.

Cove West said...

The humorous side of weird panels and captions and bizarre stories is probably split 50/50 (Marvel makes up for being 25 years younger by spending the majority of the 90s obsessed with strange anatomy). The two major factors for the blog discrepancy, IMO, are:

1) Since the British Invasion, DC has dominated in terms of quality. Even leaving Vertigo and Elseworlds aside, the DCU has consistently produced titles with literate aspersions familial (STARMAN), political (SUICIDE SQUAD), religious (SPECTRE), environmentally aware (ANIMAL MAN), of teenage alienation (ROBIN), of verbal adult humor (HITMAN) and visual slapstick humor (PLASTIC MAN). DC even had a socially relevant crossover with No Man's Land. While Marvel was having a forgettable decade of the aforementioned anatomy lessons and crossovers-from-hell, DC was making works that people would remember, specifically the computer-literate teenagers who are now twentysomething Internet junkies prime for blogosphere.

2) Marvel's 80s "pop candy" explosion fell apart in the mid-90s when the candy turned sour, and many fans still feel the sting. The love that existed for Marvel and its characters disappeared for ten years. Meanwhile, DC stepped in and filled the void; the JLA became cool, the JSA were relevant, the young-adult Titans and teenage Young Justice members almost all got solo spotlights, and throwing up on Batman was vogue. Suddenly, DC was where you'd find something to care about.

Combine these two and you have a DC that engaged the head and the heart for a great deal of recent memory. As bad as we might think INFINITE CRISIS is, it's still only a few years since Morrison's DC ONE MILLION. Both good and bad DC are fresh in our heads. With Marvel, however, we have to reach back over nearly 15 years of mostly wasteland to find a generally good Marvel Universe that makes us care enough if CIVIL WAR is even worth raising hell about.

I think the pendulum might shift back soon, where the next generation of Claremont, Miller, Simonson, et al will bring back that literate-pop vibe that used to fuel Marvel's fanbase (we might have had it already, had the Jemas era not died). Titles like RUNAWAYS are in Marvel's favor, and Didio's INFINITE INFINITY could turn into DC's version of "The Twelve" if they're not careful. So in five or so years, you might be asking the same question in reverse.

Anonymous said...

DC may have more blogs than Marvel, but does it have enough fansites? I'd like to see that question answered.

Scipio said...

These are some VERY interesting theories; it's particularly nice to hear from those of you who haven't before commented here (or not much).

Whatever the reaason, I feel certain it has to do with more than quality of books. It's something intrinsic to the companies' styles that draws different types of fans, ones with different proclivity toward blogging...

J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter said...

I would definately count my blog as a DC one, if any. Currently it seems to be a "whatever comes into my head, with a bit of comic bookyness added in" kind of blog. But it is very DC. Ironic, because none of my commenters are DC bloggers. Professor X is Marvel. Deadpool is Marvel. Vampirella is... something. Corbiscide is not a comic blogger in particular, just a blogger who helps me from time to time. Sure, Ace comments from time to time, but I AM ACE. Captain Koma is made-up. Loyal Henchman is an AIM minion, and thus Marvel. Jim is a normal blogger. Wolverine is from Marvel. So four out of nine of my commenters are Marvel, and zero are DC. I guess I just scream mutant angst.

Kathy said...

Sorry, but after reading comics for some 40 years, I like DC better. As an older woman, their charcters and storylines appeal more to me and I relate more to character I grew up with. Spider-Man and the like did not appeal to me even as an 8 year old. So, sorry, Marvelites- I wouldn't read your blogs even if I did know about them....

Chris said...

I've asked myself this question a couple of times. I try to cover Marvel and DC relatively equally, but a Marvel-centric, "rah rah rah" cheerleading blog is something I've yet to discover.

It's a bit strange.

But I agree with the commenter that said they wouldn't be surprised to see the pendulum swing the other way relatively soon.

One more thing: it's kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the majority of blogs are DC blogs, and you want regular readers, well then you'd be well advised to get yerself a DC blog too, right?


Filthy McMonkey said...

I suspect cove west is nearest to the mark as far as the chronological reasons for the discrepancy.

I was, for a time, largely...sigh...a Marvel reader. This ended during the 90's with all it's glut-ony and the disappointment I felt not only put me off Marvel, but comics altogether for about 8-10 years. I later came back and heard from friends that a lot of great stuff had happened at DC...and the rest is history.

The advent of the internet and internet based fandom likely coincides along these lines as cove suggests.

It may also have something to do with disenfranchised youth (as well as similarly disillusioned adults) identifying with the forgotten and obscure characters that DC has at it's core, but I dunno...I'm no Dr. Phil.

CalvinPitt said...

Personally, I blog probably 75-80% Marvel. My preference is basically due to what caught my attention when I started reading comics. It was the mid-1980s Marvel stuff (current then) versus my dad's '60s DC. The DC characters seemed too grown-up, too perfect, the heroes too powerful (the two characters I actually liked were the Atom and Sgt. Rock, so maybe that says something). Plus, every Superman story involved him being weakened or depowered because they'd made him so strong it was the only way to tell an interesting story. That just irritated me, so I ignored DC.

Plus, I am visually oriented, so maybe that was it. I don't think you're wrong about the disparity of blogs between DC-focused and Marvel focused. I think chris may be onto something with the "most blogs are DC-oriented, so blog about DC to get more readers" theory.

But you yourself, provided an answer once, when I posed the question on my blog. Namely that DC characters were more iconic and less personal and so they had a greater and longer-lasting devotion from fans. I'm not entirely sure what that meant, but it sounded about right.

Mark Fossen said...

I get the impression, though, that message boards tend towards Marvel. Newsarama seems heavily Marvel, as does Millarworld and the Bendis Board ... I suppose I don't know CBr well enough to get a sense.

Maybe it's just that Marvel fans write posts, and DC fans write blogs?

Mallet said...

You know I didn't start collecting until 2000 or so. Now I'm going back and reading mid-ninties marvel.

You know it's not that bad. I went in thinking "Shit better put on my rain coat." but so far I'm in the twenties of vol.2 Ghost Rider andit isn't bad. It sufers from having at least one explosion every book but it's a decent if not good book.

I got into Ghost Rider from Essential ghost rider with the Johnny Blaze rider. Comparing the two, Vol. 2 is better.

The same goes for Namor. The Byrne series is far superior to the many 60's Sub-Mariner's I have.

The X-Men and Spider-man how ever are just mediocre. They aren't really bad, just not good.

It's my opinion that it's a sense of being dissapointed at the mainstays that has every really mad at the ninties. Because I've certainly found a wealth of other titles that are ok.

Well that and the Anatomy, to which all I can say is "Thank god for Dr. Do-- I mean John Byrne."

Anonymous said...

I'm at heart a DC fan, but I found my preference shifting a little bit in 2000-2003(?). I think Marvel tends to be more about individual characters whereas DC centers around "concept." In 2000 when Morrisson was writing X-Men the book seemed to concentrate more on the idea of mutation rather than soap-opera elements and I found that more appealing. The Ultimates had a decent conceptual core as well, running with the idea of "super-soldiers."

Anyone can take it upon themselves to interpret and add a dimension to a concept they can understand so it invites participation in a sense. But set characters restrict that freedom a bit; Captain America is always going to act like Captain America, it's just the setting that's going to change.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps DC has more blogs than Marvel because Marvel fans never have the time to write blogs. The way Marvel introduces new characters, you think they wouldn't have time for anything other than their posts.

Derek B. Haas said...

First of all: I think comic readers in general form such a small, insular sample that I don't think that you can say there are sweeping differences between "Marvel readers" and "DC readers", because both groups (such as they are) are subsets of an already tiny group. In fact, the subsets that define their loyalty/reading habits based on a single company's superhero output are probably more similar to one another than they are to the rest of the group of people who buy American comics. I think it's important to mention that before we start trying to explain any major trends like DC readers ruling the blog-roost.

That said, and not to seem like I'm backpeddling, I think that people who blog are vastly more likely to be the hardcore, long-term fan than the casual reader. DC's market plan right now seems to hinge on appealing primarily to exactly that sort of person, where Marvel is trying to appeal to a slightly broader demographic. (I was shocked one day to turn on the radio and hear Joe Quesada on Talk of the Nation telling Neal Conan about why listeners might be interested in and able to just casually read the Civil War event. Contrast this with Paul Levitz talking about Crisis on Infinite Earths as "required reading" for Infinite Crisis a few months before the latter's debut.)

Also, maybe the blog community just reached a sort of "critical mass": There are so many DC-oriented blogs that it became a very inviting community to people inclined to blog about DC Comics topics, and perhaps encouraging in a DC-direction to those who were considering about what to blog.

If anyone is looking for decent blogs that address Marvel Comics topics at least as frequently as DC, I think Daves Long Box, What's Your Peeve, Buster?, and Chris's Invincible Super-Blog are all fine, fine blogs that should offer them some entertaining content.

Canton said...

I've been sort of wondering about the disparity for some time, Scipio. Glad I'm not the only one.

Marvel does dominate my own little blog (with a focus on the verbal), but DC's been wedging its way in there lately largely because of all the DC blogs out there. (Curiousity, in other words. Trying to answer the question, "what the heck are these people going on about?")

Martin Wisse said...

It's been that way since at least the mid-nineties, when DC related discussion dominated the usenet rec.arts.comics.* newsgroups.

Part of it surely must be Marvel went really, really bad for a while then, part of it is the various cult titles DC has published in this time (Sandman, Preacher, Invisibles, Transmetropolitan; all titles with a lot of content to discuss), part of it is that DC's more mainstream titles stayed readable longer).

I've always been a Marvel boy, but during the time I was active on the 'net, I bet I've written more about DC than Marvel, just because more interesting things were happening there.

Matthew E said...

It's an excellent question. My reading and my blog are 100% DC, so I wouldn't try to compare the two companies... but if I had to come up with an explanation it'd probably be a variation of ashtur's second paragraph way up in the third comment here.

You know what you ought to do? You ought to collect up all your articles here where you compare DC and Marvel, because you've had some cracking good insights over the months. The mythology one, the Freud/Jung one... Lots of stuff that makes me say now that is a damn interesting point.

Anonymous said...

When I bought a lot of comics as a teen '90-'95 my focus was about 60-70% Marvel, mostly because a lot of the first comics I had read as a kid were from the Claremont heyday of the X-men, and like any teenage boy in the early '90s my two favorite characters were Punisher and Wolverine.

I stopped buying comics when I went to college and discovered there more important things to spend my money on like girls, beer, and weed. I started reading comic blogs about two years ago after I saw a blurb in US News and World Report about Dave's Long Box. DLB is mostly Marvel books but all the sites I discovered through DLB and started reading regularly were mostly DC focused, like this site, Seven Hells, Monitor Duty, Dial B for Blog, and Comics 101.

It made me realize that while I had collected a few DC titles(Batman, Green Arrow, Aquaman) while buying comics as a teenager I had really missed out on a lot by focusing on Marvel and Image. Not only the early '90s stuff but also the five years before and five years after the original Crisis.

I found myself becoming very interested in comics again and not current plotlines or even the same stuff I collected but the things I was learning I had missed out on by not being that big of a DC fan when I was a kid.

I live in the Rockies in Colorado, far enough from Mile High Comics to make it a major trip to go there and I don't like buying things off the internet, so for a while my renewed interest in comics was a little stymied.

In the last six months I discovered that the guy who owns the CD store in town is also a huge comics fan and he bought an entire comic book store off of Ebay back in 2000, something like 50,000 comic books. So I have suddenly found myself buying $20-30 worth of comics every week, mostly silver age DC JLA, Green Lantern, Batman, Legion of Super-Heroes and a lot of pre and post crisis DC from the 80's. I can give the guy lists of what I want and he charges me half of book value and for the 60's early 70's I tend to buy beat up copies for a few bucks instead of paying $50 or more for a mint copy.

Thanks to the excellent blogging I am buying comics purely for my enjoyment rather than as a potential investment. Also thanks to the guidance of people like Professor Tipton, Scipio, and Devon I am enjoying a lot of titles I never had any interest in as a teenager.

I am still buying 80's X-men because I am a completist and am trying to get my full run of 80's and 90's X-men, however 70% of what I buy know is DC, mainly from all the enjoyment I have gotten out of the great DC blogs in the last two years. Sorry this became a little long but it seemed the perfect forum for expressing my thanks to this site and others for helping renew my interest in great comics I never knew existed.

Yail Bloor

kalinara said...

That visual to verbal thing is brilliant! I don't know if it applies to anyone else but it *certainly* does to me. I've said before how it took me issues to notice Kyle's glowing Lantern or that Dick Grayson's hot. That's pretty interesting to think about.

Marionette said...

I only blog about what interests me or gives me an emotional reaction (good or bad). I've done the occasional Marvel related entry but I haven't really read much Marvel in years so I don't have much to say about it.

If I actually had any plan to my blogging I'd probably do more about comics that aren't from either Marvel or DC.

Ununnilium said...

It might be, not that DC is better *now* (IMHO it is, but I don't know how many people agree), but that DC was better when the current generation of bloggers got their start in comics.

Cap'n Neurotic said...

My first thought was along the same lines as Mark Fossen's about Marvel readers being more prone to message boards than blogs, although why that might be, I couldn't begin to tell you. But then I started reading all of the other theories, and they all sound good as well.

While I think Scipio's "verbal/visual" argument has merit, I think the fact that DC is aiming for the old-school fans while Marvel tries to deny that such a thing as continuity exists probably has a lot to do with it. I know that's why I read more DC than I do Marvel, and the Marvel I do read is prone to paying homage to the company's past.

That, and the fact that if you blog about Marvel, you can't be a member of LORHP.

naladahc said...


Are you picking on my because my life is now focused almost entirely on my basement repairs?


Ragnell said...

Well, I started with Marvel books, but switched to DC. It just fits me better.

Devon has a good point about happenings. Nothing at Marvel seems to truly make an impact.

I think it has to do with order. Like Cap'n Neurotic said, Marvel tries to deny continuity exists. DC revels in it. They base entire runs on explaining it. They make loads of money retelling it. And then, when it gets too messy, they reboot it and retell it again!

DC is a better structured universe. You have a tier, thse heroic dynasties you used to blog about. You have fake cities and real ones.

The DCU just seems bigger and older and more epic than Marvel's street-level storytelling.

Marvel is a squalling mass of characters plunked into our world. Whenever I attempt to name the major characters, I have trouble with it. They just don't have anyone as recognizeable in the non-comics reading world as DC's top tier who is also a big mover and shaker within their stories. I mean, Spiderman is well-known, but in-story he's really put upon.

It's how they mirror reality.

(Oh, and Kalinara has some good points about this that could be taken into account.)

Scipio said...

"That visual to verbal thing is brilliant!"

No, I get no points for that observation; it's built into the way the companies make their comics.

The traditional Marvel Method is draw the comic first, depicting the major points of action, then add word balloons. The traditional DC Method is write a script first then have the artist draw it.

It's why Marvel characters have more visually dramatic and rococo costuming, and why there's more fighting and explosions per square inch in a Marvel comic. Conversely, it's why DC generates enough punchy quotes for me to do a poll on them every week.

When I hear Marvel reader gossip, they're saying, "you should see what happens on page 11!"; DC readers are saying, "you won't believe what Batman said to Superman!"

Cove West said...

Calvin mentioning DC's iconic-ness highlights a point I was trying to make, but it was late at night and my mind wandered. Namely, that while Marvel's saga-style storytelling of a cohesive shared universe, serial history, and character progression can generate the level of hyper-devoted fanboyism that leads to Merry Marvel Marching Societies and Marvel Zombies, it can also lead Marvel into disasterous pitfalls that can FUBAR characters and whole teams for decades and disenchant readers. DC's model may be less radical and exciting, but it allows for a familiarity and feeling of imaginative security that builds a more solid fanbase. IOW, Marvel's sort of like a sprinter that puts everything into a mile, crowd cheering wildly, then collapses into a motionless heap of exhaustion and the crowd goes home (because who wants to watch a motionless heap?), only to regain its sprinting form hours later to the excitement of a whole new crowd. DC is the marathoner that steadily lopes around the track all day long, to the delight of the small but devoted fans that probably have more thrilling things to do, but not more rewarding. So you end up with 25 years of unquestioned X-Men dominance, followed by 10 years of everyone not only jumping ship, but denying that they were on the ship to begin with. While over at DC, Diamond can pretty much set its market reports by the consistency of Batman sales.

Marvel is the Yankees, overwheling in power and embarassing in collapse, with fans as vocal as they are fickle; DC is the Red Sox, steadily almost-succeeding until that 86-year Haley's comet-like appearance in the heavens, with fans of quiet familial loyalty. You might find more people talking about the Yankees, but the Red Sox fans care enough to blog.

Chris Fung said...

I think it's simple:

DC seems to have a lot going on right now. Yes there's that whole CIVIL WAR thing in Marvel at the moment but from what i've heard it's too damn complicated to dissect easily in a blog.

At least with DC's big events there's lots you can get into and room for juicy rumour mongering.

Also about that visual to verbal thing: didn't Marvel use to be the place for that verbal thinking? If so, when did that change?

It seemed to me that DC was more fantastical while Marvel had some grounding in reality and thus "deeper" stories.


Bill said...

I can't agree with Scipio's visual/verbal theory. Whether you read Marvel or DC depends so much more on what you found on the spinner rack at an impressionable age than on any innate neurological quirks.

What rings true to me is that DC's history is much better suited to making good natured fun of which gives bloggers the plenty to work with between disections of whatever shocking new development DC throws at you. Plus, DC's developments do seem more worth of disection than Marvels. But that's just a gut reaction that I'm not sure I can back up.

That said, I think the ratios would be different if blogging took off a few years earlier, during the Jemas era, where Marvel was doing so much more worth chewing over.

Scipio said...

Nice analysis and metaphors, Cove!

The Thing That Walks Like A Man said...

Like several other DC-philes mentioned, I, too have to go back and find things in the art that I missed on first or second reading.

So, I gotta disagree with Bill's disagreement, because I'm firmly in the "neurological quirk" column. Growing up, my local grocery store didn't even carry DC, so my "impressionable age" was firmly in the Marvel camp. (Thankfully, my loyalties forever changed, thanks to a fateful trip to a flea market chock full o' boxes of 1960s/70s DC treasures.)

Captain Qwert Jr said...

Aside from its crazy history, the concept of super-heroic fantasy is purer with DC and you appreciate this more when you become an adult. There is none, or at least far less of the need for that veneer of pseudo-sophistication that Marvel used to be really good at providing, to justify your escapist fantasy when you were an adolescent. You can tell people you read X-Men because it’s some kind of minority rights metaphor (Ha! but that’s a rant for another time), but that was just to hide your need for a fix of first-rate soap-opera and Kick-Ass action. As an adult I have no need to justify it to myself or others. I want to see the heroes overcome tremendous odds and impossible odds, go to unheard of places, beat the crap out of people who need the crap beaten out of them, and save the day, and they should be witty, and be spectacularly good-looking while doing it.
DC delivers this, half the time, so there is much to praise. But just as important it has an acceptable amount of crap, which gives internet denizens an opportunity to do what we do best: complain! (How I love to complain, and argue and pick fights over trivia, all while safely behind anonymous names!)
You would think Marvel would at least supply that, but it’s not worth complaining about, it’s depressing at best, a rotting corpse of what it was. The Quesada machine is just chopping it up and selling the parts. Nothing to do except try to ignore the smell of the latest offal tossed in the incinerator.

Raccoonteur said...

I wonder if the media machine that is Joe Quesada (and was Bill Jemas) has any relation on the lack of Marvel blogs. With so much annoying hype from them, would potential Marvel bloggers be less inclined to add to the din?

I am by far a Marvel fan (judge me thusly) but in many ways, I'm less inclined to cheerlead for the company.

googum said...

Hey, I just got started blogging, give me five minutes! Good grief, it takes me longer than that to load pictures...

Anyway, while I'd say I'm more of a Marvel fan, I'm pretty well versed on my pre-Infinite Crisis DC. I know the Ma Hunkle Red Tornado, I know the Legion of Super-Pets, I know Superman is a Dick. Great stuff.

So, of course everyone's blogged about that, and I won't be going near it. It's been covered, and unless I can bring some A-game to that, it doesn't need to be rehashed.

A little more time, and I think more people will be hitting the old Marvels for out-of-context comedy. They take themselves a bit more seriously, but that may just make it funnier when they fall flat.

(Also, the DC output of the 50's is just way more fun to blog about than Grott, the thing that walks like a man, or whatever pre-Marvel had going then...)

David M said...

The neurological quirk theory is supported by the anecdotal evidence that instead of writing a blog I spent the weekend painting a monkey in an orange tree on the end wall of my sweetheart's house. I could have been blogging! Curse you Stan Lee!

Anonymous said...

DC Comics inspire me to THINK about them after I read them. DC has been riding a moral debate for two years, with at least another year to go. Much food for thought regarding DC these days. Which would explain all the discussion going on.

Marvel prefers the drama of ever-dying-and-resurrecting X-men characters (yawn). I will say that Disassembled was meaningful, but it wasn't much to TALK about--other than betting when Hawkeye would return.

DC's character relationships are also GENERATIONAL. Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, and Wally West are interconnected in ways that Hulk, She-Hulk, and Doc Samson could never be. Marvel often talks about 'family,' but DC has put more investment into the concept. And with any family, there's always gossip.

Marvel has relied mostly on team membership to connect its characters: Avengers, X-Men, Defenders, etc. But those are just 'work' relationships. DC's relationships transcend teams. Being a superhero in the DC Universe it to be a member of an exalted fraternity. Being a superhero in the Marvel Universe is a much more singular enterprise.

What I'm saying is, it's DC's connectivity between its characters that sparks so much conversation.

alex said...

i will say this: DC, as a universe despite having events like the various crisises and so forth, feel more like universes that can sit in with one another. superman, wonder woman and batman (and their other pantheistic pals)? they kind of go together, play off of one another and their interactions never feel awkward. perhaps this is because DC's heros are so elemental in their design, powers and corresponding characterizations. or perhaps it is the slight incongruities: superman and j'onn have a neat relationship in that they are both the last of their kind, but superman has the distinct advantage of looking human. the sheer ridiculousness of all of the lives in the DC makes them easier to swallow as a whole. that being said, i will be interested to see how DC works in characters like the new blue beetle, whose origins are distinctly humbler than batman, WW, aquaman et. al.

the basic philosophical needs of the characters work well together. marvel's titles on the other hand, even the ones i truly enjoy (and i admit, they are rare) never feel appropriate to mix. spider-man's path should never cross with the fantastic four. a word full of x-mutants would not care about spider-man, who is just one more freak in the biggest city (and probably a place where mutants would flee to, as persecuted minorities have historically tended to). however peter parker's essential story - that is, can a man ever truly share all sides of himself with anyone, especially those he is closest to? - has no place in a story such as the x-men, whose scope is a world wide tale about the human condition, as told by characters who (according to fans) are more like real people. it's either that, or it's that the avengers have always been, and most likely will continue to be, lame as lame can get.

Mike Loughlin said...

You can be an X-Men fan, or a Hulk fan, or an Avengers fan, et al, and still ignore the rest of Marvel's output. This was highlighted in the early '90s, when people bought Wolverine & Punisher, but wouldn't set foot near Captain America. There are clear divisions, and (for most of their history, not so much today) each group of characters has a distinct style (e.g. Daredevil = noir, Avengers = old-school superheroics, X-Men = angst, Silver Surfer = trippy cosmic).

In most DC books, the inter-character relationships are key. If I like Flash, and he has a friendship with Green Lantern and a membership in the JLA, I want to know more about it. Starman was a great book for connections, and gave me a greater appreciation for the JSA, Grundy, & Adam Strange.

The only major DC character that exists in a semi-separate universe is Batman- he can be in JLA, but Wonder Woman doesn't put in many appearances in Detective Comics. Not surprisingly, many of us who wouldn't read any other DC books read Batman.

Visuals vs. words: I agree. Many of us read more Marvel books as adolescents, when cool art trumped story.

The Fortress Keeper said...

Calvin Pitt's Marvels and Legends and Bully Says are the closest blogs I can think of that are arguably Marvel dominated, although there's plenty of DC there as well.

Invincible Super Blog and Dave's Long Box are also Marvel themed to a certain extent.

Two points I found while migrating my blog to WordPress:

1. The majority of my links are to DC blogs or DC-dominated blogs. I did try to balance it out way back when, but found few candidates.

2. While categorizing my posts, found Marvel had a healthy presence but that my own blog was 90 percent DC - no big surprise given my personal prejudices as a middle aged comic book collector.

As I grew older, the iconic character of DC's heroes simply grew more appealing. Still, kind of interesting to see these things reflected in black & white numbers...

Harvey Jerkwater said...

A less sweeping idea that I feel contributes to the imbalance is the youth of the blogging movement. Blogging as a widespread practice is only a few years old. During the last few years, DC has provided a wider range of stories as Marvel concentrates tighter and tighter on its core approach. Narrow focus means less meat for the blogging masses.

Moreover, I'd say a significant factor in the lack of Marvel blogs is that, in my opinion, Marvel's output since the birth of the blog has been inferior. It's been a rough couple of years in the House That Jack Built. It's hard to blog about characters you love in stories you either loathe or don't bother to read. And mocking the bad comics is more difficult when working with decompressed comics, since there are fewer dopey ideas per issue. "Jimmy Olsen thinks he's a sea serpent and nearly drowns" can fuel a dozen blog entries. "Daredevil and Luke Cage exchange semi-witty pseudo-Mamet banter for six f'n pages" can't.

tenzil said...

You guys seem to all think it's about the comics. I think it's about the fans.

I think more kids read Marvel and more adults read DC. Adults blog. Kids post on the Marvel boards.

When I was a kid, I loved Marvel.

Now? When I read a comic I strongly prefer DC. I find the Marvel Universe characters uninteresting. We can armchair analyze about it all day but I think the general trend is true.

Most of the current generation of comics bloggers seems to be 25-35 years old. This (ahem) blog recently featured a weeklong string of amusing jokes about Silver Age LSH and the sexuality of the characters. What kid or teen is familiar with Weisinger-era LSH and wants to drop $40 on hardcovers, then scans it and ironically blogs about it?

BoozerX said...

at first i feel frustrated when i started reading blogs b/c i am a marvel fan and all the great majority of the bloggers are dc fans and trash marvel like trolls and give dc if not a free pass something very similar,now is funny see that marvel beat dc in every aspect end the bloggers continue with his pontification about marvel is bad and dc is great,when dc is the uber corporation and marvel lately give the fans a more friendly aproach.
and dc raped all his fans with IC

Scipio said...

Boozerx, if that is intended as a brilliant parody of inarticulate teen typing and thereby a metacommentary explaining the absence of Marvel blogs, then bravo.

If not, uh...

never mind.

Anonymous said...

at first this comment is funny but then i realize it is real like me real and not so funny ha ha and marvel is dumb b/c it has no blogs so it beats dc and civil war is smatr with potilics

Anonymous said...

me am not bizzaro

me am superman

BoozerX said...

ok DC was publishing shit for years
Batman : awful shit ,OYL changed that
Superman : awful shit ,OYL changed that
Green Arrow :Winnick at his worst.
Flash : GJ last year was awful.
Green Lantern : way overrated,GLC is good.
JLA : horrible book ,it have to be DC top title and is shit
JSA:GJ last year was awful

Ok that is pretty much the DC top titles and all is fucking shit and my point is the great part of the bloggers dont trash all this titles so much like anything coming from Marvel.

Marvel publish shit too his X-Men,SpiderMan,F4 lines are fucking shit too.

But Marvel have

Supreme Power
Cap America
Iron Man (ellis run was great)
Hulk (pak ,no the other shit)

icons do it right something DC dont have,maybe now with dini and GM and busiek that is gonna change.
DC have good titles too but all are second hand series excepting JSA and TT and I am not counting Vertigo (the best DC have by far) or Wildstorm.

Again both have shit but Marvel is in troll highway and DC is not.

Scipio said...

I submit this as "Exhibit A" in the case for the "Visual versus Verbal" argument.

Ragnell said...

If that's true, Boozer, how do you explain that prior to OYL everyone was blogging about DC anyway?

Canton said...


Judge not the multiverse by fans who would call themselves things like "Boozer." Please...

Moose N Squirrel said...

This thread is kind of the poster boy for selection bias.

Hoosier X said...

Regarding Boozerx,

I must disagree with you, Scipio.

Boozerx is even more awesome if that comment was for real.


Testify, brother!

David M said...

Coming back to visual versus verbal- a construction as an adult with more emotional investment in Marvel than DC, but less interest in contemporary mainstream output from the Big Two, I'm quite happy with- I'd underline that's quite different from Mike Loughlin's reduction to "cool art versus story". Ideally, for me, comics are that combination of pictures and words to produce story. So I really didn't like a lot of 90s Marvel "cool art" comics where the art didn't serve story. I'm always reading the pictures along with the story. My partner isn't a comic reader and can only successfully read comics which are very clearly formatted, like comic strips, Asterix, Tin Tin, etc. Neal Adams or Gene Colan drawn story would be impossible to read for her. I've realised since knowing her that reading pictures is something you have to learn and some adults are sadly visually illiterate.

Scipio said...

Moose, are you merely a habitual contrarian (as the bulk of your comments suggest) or do you have a secret list of Marvel blogs that you're not sharing with the rest of us?

Or, as my grandmother used to say, "Put up or shut up."

Moose N Squirrel said...

No, not at all. I think the question you're asking is definitely an interesting one, and I sure don't know the answer. But many of the answers suggested seem to require broad diagnoses of books they aren't reading ("I haven't read Marvel in years and this is what defines them and their readers"). So I do think selection bias is an actual problem in finding out why there seem to be so many fewer Marvel blogs. As someone who only buys three ongoing Marvel books - one of which I'm dropping soon - I don't really know what Marvel's deal is anymore. I haven't read X-men in years; I haven't read Spider-man, I don't think, this century. From my solipsistic perspective, I've no idea why Marvel hasn't tanked and why everybody on the planet isn't buying Godland.

In my experience, the biggest factor in blogging is a job that allows you enough free cubicle time to want to post in the first place. Maybe all Marvel readers work as waiters or something.

Mike Loughlin said...

In case it was not clear in my previous post, and I'm sure it wasn't (that's why I leave the blogging to professionals), I was speaking to my and many of my peers' adolescence. We devoured the comics from Marvel (and its descendant, Image) because we knew there would be flashy pictures and violence. Compared to Jim Lee, McFarlane, and Liefeld, the art of DC stalwarts like Greg LaRocque and Graham Nolan looked boring. Never mind that it was better technically, there were less fights and over-muscled behemoths with guns the size of hippos.

As I got older, story-based DC got more attractive, and I could handle the "bad art" in order to follow the stories.

Whether you like him or not, Howard Porter was a great find for DC, as he brought Marvel-style pyrotechnics. If, say, JLA: Midsummer Night's Dream artists Jeff Johnson & Darrick Robertson drew the ongoing, I bet it would have sold less and brought over less Marvel readers (many of us only knew Grant Morrison from Arkham Asylum).

Anyway, DC has kept its identity as story-oriented, even with drek like Identity Crisis. Some bloggers paid lip-service to Rags Morales' art, but most blogs I read commented on the events of the story. 52 and the One Year Later books emphasize the happenings in characters' lives over how they look.

Marvel has lost its identity. I loved the experimental Jemas era, but now Marvel is trying to appeal to both new readers and old-school fans ("if we stage a massive crossover, they will come"). The events don't work, so older readers get disgruntled and newer readers (if there are any) probably get underwhelmed. Marvel's across-the-board decompression, and the rocky state of continuity, leaves many readers cold. Marvel fans (myself included) may still buy books like New Avengers because they look kewl, and because it looks like kewl stuff is happening ("Super-Hero Man is unmasking!").

Moose N Squirrel said...

Marvel has lost its identity.

I definitely think this is true; at the very least, Quesada and company have completely forgotten what makes their characters work (reading any edition of "Joe Fridays" drives this home rather quickly). DC, on the other hand, is getting its sense of identity back (at least on some of its books; I hated Crisis 2 with a passion but think One Year Later has mostly worked out).

But still, bloggers love to bitch and complain. If anything, I'd imagine the dreck Marvel's been putting out since "Disassembled" and "House of M" would inspire more blogging, not less. So what gives?

Scipio said...

"DC, on the other hand, is getting its sense of identity back "

This is very true.

For years, DC was ashamed of itself, of its sprawling cast of "unkewl" characters, of its bizarre disparate elements.

Now it is embracing them, recognizing that (as with most things) its faults are merely the flipside of its virtues.

Mike Haseloff said...

The creative forces involved at DC, regardless of identity, are handling themselves far better than Marvel.

I'd say this has been the case for the last five or so years.
My purchases have drastically shifted from Marvel, to DC.

Relying on Bendis for A-list team books, and company spanning crossovers? Yeah, maybe not such a great idea...

K said...

Oh. Oh that is brilliant picture placement.

Dean Hacker said...

I think that there is more to write about with DC.

The Marvel Universe, for better or worse, is pretty much one view of the world. Most of the characters that matter were created by some combination of three people: Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. The second generation (i.e. Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, John Bushema, Gene Colan, etc.) of Marvel creators were pretty devoted to maintaining that tone and breaking down whatever small differences that exisited between the world of, say, Dr. Strange and Reed Richards. The third generation (Byrne, Simmonson, etc.) were out-right reactionaries who did away with the small innovations of the second generation. Love it or hate, every corner of the Marvel U. is utterly the same.

Contrast that with DC. Nearly every major character was created by a totally different creative team. Into the Siver Age, they operated in very different worlds. It was only when the Marvel creators started coming over that the DCU was merged at all. As a consistent universe, it only came into being in 1985. That is 45 years of pretty considerable diversity awkwardly being melded into one.