Comic Book Questions Answered - Why Aren't There Any Marvel Comics on The Big Bang Theory?

Comic Book Questions Answered - where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

Today we look at a question by reader C.M.Griffin about the reasoning behind Marvel Comics not appearing on The Big Bang Theory.


Griffin wrote:

Did you ever notice on the CBS TV show THE BIG BANG THEORY though they reference both Marvel and DC Characters (even had Stan Lee make an appearance in an episode) they never show Marvel Comic books, graphic novels or posters. Even in the comic book store all you see is some independents (like Hellboy) or DC comics. However they will show Marvel toys such as the “Hulk Hands” episode and so on.

I have wondered why they do not show any Marvel Comic books on the show.

The thing that I think confuses most people is that CBS has no real connection either way to DC or Marvel Comics, so it seems weird that they would have a preference either way. However, the hook is that CBS does not own the show, Big Bang Theory - CBS just airs it (and make advertising revenue off of it). The show itself is owned by Warner Brothers, who also own DC Comics, which is why you mostly see DC Comics products on the show and almost never Marvel Comics (although occasionally you'll see them use Marvel merchandise like Hulk hands).

Note that this only for visual stuff. Trademarks. You can talk about, say, Spider-Man or Wolverine, all you want. You can't just show a Spider-Man or Wolverine comic book without permission. And since the show is owned by Warner Brothers, they just stick with DC Comics for the trademarked material (plus Dark Horse Comics).

For instance, when Raj dressed as Thor, note that he is NOT dressed as the trademarked Marvel Thor, but rather just a generic version of the mythological being...

And when Amy, Bernadette and Penny get into a big discussion about how Thor's hammer works, they never actually show them with a Thor comic book.

Thanks for the question, C.M.!

If YOU have a comic-related question you'd like to see answered, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

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