Debate Forum: 12/30

Debate Center: A little friendly fire(ball) 

By Sarah Sidlow

Illustration: Jed Helmers

Since the 1930s, comic book giants DC and Marvel have engaged in a friendly rivalry. You know, a friendly fireball to the face, a Batarang through the spleen a … whatever Aquaman does…

That rivalry has recently come into the public eye to a greater extent as both behemoths have taken up arms, and legs, and laser-vision in a battle where only one can reign supreme. 

As the enormous, dedicated and well-paid staff of Dayton City Paper news hounds scoured the past year’s most important conversations, this ongoing debate remained at the forefront of the world’s collective consciousness. Indeed, there is nothing more important happening in our world right now than the following debate.

Marvel recently announced an expansion of its universe all the way through 2019, with upcoming films including continuations of the “Avengers” and “Captain America” series, a reboot of the “Fantastic Four” series and even some deep cuts, like “Ant-Man,” “Black Panther” and a still-untitled female-fronted Spiderman-universe film.

DC did the same, announcing plans through 2020 for films such as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Justice League Part I” and “Suicide Squad.” 

The two studios have also taken to the small screen, rolling out TV series like Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and DC’s Gotham. 

But the question of supremacy between these distinguished competitors has been long-fought among fans, whose loyalty actually often mandates seeing films from both camps, and then vehemently shooting down the concepts of the universe they favor less.

Those who fall on the side of DC Comics argue its characters were born into greatness and choose to use their powers to help others – the true definition of, well, heroism. For example: Aquaman is the King of Atlantis. The Green Lantern was chosen by the Green Lantern Corps. Batman uses his immense wealth to craft equipment and Superman was sent to a planet with a red sun, which rendered him able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

They claim DC provides a means of escape, as DC characters are larger-than-life, emphasis-on-the-“super” heroes. In essence, these characters are just good stories. 

Another distinction between the two camps – at least in the world of film – is the fact that DC has a “No Joke Rule,” which mandates a serious approach to the stories of these seriously super characters. Plus, they say, Batman is awesome.

Those who claim loyalty to the Marvel universe argue that most of the main Marvel superheroes are just really, really smart people. Iron Man, for example, is an ingenious engineer, Tony Stark, who initially constructed a super-powered suit of armor to escape from imprisonment by enemy forces overseas. The Hulk, Bruce Banner, holds expertise in biology, chemistry, engineering, physiology and nuclear physics and possesses intelligence so high it cannot be measured by any known test. Professor Xavier, the founder of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, has received an MD, as well as Ph.Ds in genetics, biophysics, psychology and anthropology. Other scientists in the Marvel universe include Mr. Fantastic, Spiderman (who designed his own web-slingers) and Dr. Doom.

Marvel fans oppose DC on the grounds that those heroes had greatness thrust upon them, without having the diligence, intelligence or cleverness necessary of a true great hero. They claim while the DC world is full of icons, Marvel characters are more down to Earth – if by that, they mean ridiculously smart and potentially exposed to radioactivity.

Regardless of politics, it is likely that fans of both comic houses are geared up for a litany of new releases and reboots of old friends in the years ahead. But, in the eyes of many, only one company can claim Best in Show. As we move ever more into uncertain times, you can be sure that we at Dayton City Paper will continue to ask the hard questions.

Reach DCP Editor Sarah Sidlow at

Debate Forum Question of the Week:

Which is better: DC or Marvel?

Debate Right: Chicks tell me I look like Toby McGuire

By Ben Tomkins

Marvel annihilates DC. First of all, Marvel doesn’t share a name with the loser of the electrical current war. Right there? Game over. You lost to the 19th century.

Secondly, DC doesn’t have Wolverine. Technically, I am contracted to write another 858 words, but let’s be honest here, Marvel already has the baby. 

In the interest of time, I am only going to compare the Justice League to The Avengers since those are basically the only DC characters worth mentioning. This means I’m leaving out Marvel’s X-Men entirely, and all that need be said in that regard is that Patrick f**king Stewart played Professor X. That’s right. Captain of the Enterprise AND he can destroy the Gamma Quadrant from his private quarters with a single thought.

DC had Ben Affleck play Batman. F**k you, DC. You lose. Again.

Alright, let’s go.

Superman v. Hulk: Superman’s powers are “infinite everything.” His job is to save the world after real mutants like the Hulk have already gotten raging pissed and bashed the living s**t out of it for, like, no reason. Plus, Superman looks exactly like that douche-puppet horse nozzle Clark Kent all the time. Bruce Banner goes all Green Mile like a badass.

Aquaman v. Black Widow: Aquaman’s superpowers are “infinite everything.” Black Widow’s superpowers are “gymnast, acrobat, aerialist, ninja and extreme durability,” “super serum-enhanced stamina and flexibility” and “one of the iterations of her character was Asian.” Oh, I almost forgot; there’s “immune to all diseases,” “resistant to aging,” “can’t get pregnant,” and “super hot.” All Aquaman has going is “smells like fish” and “not hot.”

Green Lantern v. Spiderman: The Green Lantern’s superpowers are “infinite everything,” unless he forgets to put on his jewelry in the morning. Come on, idiot, giant emerald rings on dudes look really, really bad. Seriously, if Spiderman or, for that matter, a toddler, shows up while he’s in the shower, it’s f**king over. Web, face, hang, dead, pawn stupid ring for booze money.

Wonder Woman v. Thor: Though both infinite, Wonder Woman gets her powers from Olympus and Thor gets them from Valhalla. Valhalla doesn’t have gods named Hermes, with flying My Little Ponies and s**t. It has gods named Wotan, and the only reason they get up every morning is to kill each other.

Also, Thor has a hammer called Mjolnir that shoots lightning and pretty much destroys anything he wants it to. Wonder Woman has two feminism-voiding bracelets, and if she takes them off, she’s rendered completely powerless. She also has to ride in an invisible airplane that shows everyone her hoo-ha when she flies over and makes 30 percent less than the rest of the Justice League.

Flash v. Hawkeye: The only two married superheroes. The Flash’s superpowers are “infinite everything.” Whatever. Apparently Hawkeye’s superpower is “running wicked mad game on the ladies,” because he married Mockingbird – a female character who’s consistently portrayed as having the biggest rack in the DC/Marvel pantheon by a good three consonants. On the other hand, Flash married Iris West, whose superpowers are “graduated from Columbia University” and “became a grandmother.” She also only found out he was the Flash on their wedding night. Speed of light, yeah? Batman v. Ironman: Batman’s superpowers are “gadgets,” “died” and “only got a sequel because of Jack Nicholson.” Ironman has “sweet suit that talks, shoots lasers, missiles and flies around and s**t,” “is Robert Downey Jr.” and “de-vegan-ing Gwyneth Paltrow by shoving his tongue down her throat,” which had the added bonus of shutting her up for five seconds.

Martian Manhunter v. Captain America: Martian Manhunter is the only Justice Leaguer with two superpowers: “infinite everything” and “who the f**k is that?” Captain America has no real superpowers except “punched Hitler in the face.” Seriously. He punched Hitler … in the face. That’s badass.

Also, the creation of his adamantium shield served as a basis for the skeleton and claws that made Wolverine possible. That’s the only thing more badass than punching Hitler. In the face.

Final scores:

Marvel: 7+10 billion (Wolverine).

DC: nil.

In closing, you’ve probably noticed that all seven of the Justice Leaguers are basically omnipotent and have infinite powers. That’s so stupid I can barely type. If you have infinite powers, you conquer and rule Europe until Captain America decides to punch you in the face, not form a mutant version of Journey.

Honestly, how f**king awful do they have to be if they can barely squeak out from under the thumb of the Funhouse Aliens with infinity-times-seven superpowers? DC sucks, Marvel rules.

Ben Tomkins is a violinist, teacher, journalist and critically acclaimed composer currently living in Denver, Colorado. He hates stupidity and generally believes that the volume of one’s voice is inversely proportional to one’s knowledge of an issue. Reach Ben Tomkins at

Debate Right: DC gives Boom! Pow! Zam! to Marvel

By Rob Scott

This column for the Dayton City Paper has been going for three years now. The topics have ranged from all levels of politics to major Supreme Court cases to upcoming national issues. The position taken sometimes has been difficult and even highly problematic to support or defend. Many times the topics require immense research, preparation and focus.

However, the topic presented this week is so clear-cut, important and necessary to sort out that it keeps me up all night long. The issue is in the same vain as Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi Cola, BigMac vs. Whopper, boxers vs. briefs and nurture vs. nature.

The question of which comics are better, DC or Marvel, is a quite simple one due to their key differences. DC Comics, which stood for Detective Comics, began in February 1935. Marvel Comics began in 1939 as Timely Publications.

Many may not realize the fight between the comics has long been waged not just on the comic book pages, but also in boardrooms and on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). To understand the battle between the two major American mainstream comic book companies, go straight to the source material, because each is very much like one of its biggest franchise players. Marvel, it’s fair to say, is Iron Man and X-Men; DC is Batman and Superman.

As with these crime fighters, DC and Marvel are both colorful public fronts with staggering amounts of corporate cash and power behind them: DC Entertainment, which owns DC Comics, is owned by Time Warner, and Marvel Entertainment, which owns Marvel Comics, is part of the Walt Disney Company.

Each has their fair share of great superhero movies and superhero movies that tanked. DC had the highly successful and different versions of Batman movies. Also, DC has had the recently profitable Superman movie, “Man of Steel” and is currently making “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” In contradiction, DC’s Green Lantern movie was highly disappointing and, by all accounts, a major disappointment.

Marvel has had several successful Ironman movies, as well as Avengers, X-Men and others. However, their counterpart Hulk and Captain America movies were not desirable. Also, X-Men younger class movies were an absolute flop.

The differences between the superheroes of the DC and Marvel are great. The key difference between the two is the philosophy of what a superhero truly is and what their role is in society. The DC hero is a type of godly figure, who is above humanity and does not live like the majority of the public.

They are individuals to whom the populace looks up, and from whom the populace gets deliverance.

Marvel Comics focus on “normal” individuals who either have their DNA become mutated, or they are extremely smart individuals who invent specific items. In some instances, the Marvel superheroes are viewed as outcasts of society, but have very human origins. In many of the Marvel stories, humans have much distrust and resistance against Marvel superheroes.

In the DC world, you have the mega-superhero, Superman. He is from another planet that, due to the Sun’s radiation, gives him super abilities such as flying, super strength and ability to see through everything except lead, as well as other powers. Marvel has Ironman, who is Tony Stark. Stark is a brilliant engineer who happens to be extremely wealthy, and who invents the Ironman suit.

To make matters even more interesting, both comic empires have their team approach for superheroes. DC Comics has the Justice League consisting of all the top star superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern.

In order to keep up, Marvel Comics has Avengers consisting of Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Quicksilver and others. Additionally, Marvel Comics has S.H.I.E.L.D. and X-Men.

Ultimately, the key argument is: What is your individual view of a superhero?

 Is it a person who is human and their DNA is mutated? Or they are just extremely intelligent and make great inventions? If that is the case, then you are a Marvel person.

However, if you are someone who view superheroes as larger than life, who are above human society and who have a certain destiny bestowed upon them, then you are a DC person.

DC Comics truly is about maintaining a legacy around their superheroes. From this writer’s childhood, no superhero comes close to Superman or Batman. With that said, unequivocally and undisputed, DC Comics is far superior to Marvel Comics.

Rob Scott is a general practice attorney at Oldham & Deitering, LLC. Scott is a Kettering City Councilman, founder of the Dayton Tea Party, member of the Dayton Masonic Lodge and Kettering Rotary. He can be contacted at or

Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared in the Dec. 30, 2014 “Year In Preview” special satire/humor issue of the Dayton City Paper.

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Reach DCP editor Sarah Sidlow at

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