People often blame fans for being too into the whole concept of rooting for one comic book company over another, but really, ever since Marvel began to have success in the early 1960s, that very nature of “us vs. them” was something that was fostered by Marvel, through Stan Lee’s Bullpen Bulletins, where he would talk about Brand Echh and Marvel’s “Distinguished Competition.” The whole idea of a “Marvel Zombie” was telling fans to associate with your company versus the other one. So it is only natural that fans have latched on to the concept of pitting Marvel vs. DC.
Of course, as the years have gone by, that rivalry has leaped off of the page, into film and now, television. Marvel had the big edge in films, but DC tended to have more success in television, but then Marvel Studios debuted a series of critically-acclaimed dramas through a deal with Netflix. The rivalry between DC and Marvel now plays out between fans of DC’s CW line of interconnected “Arrowverse” shows and Marvel’s Netflix side of the MCU. Check out these 15 memes, which are more than just fighting words!
15. THE DEVIL LAUGHS
While Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. certainly has its fans, it is safe to say that when Flash joined Arrow to officially create an “Arrowverse” of shows, DC firmly took the lead when it came to quality superhero television programming. When Marvel films were doing so well compared to DC films, it was a welcome area where DC fans could tout their superiority.
Then, Marvel launched its bold Marvel Netflix initiative, releasing four series starring darker versions of classic Marvel characters. Suddenly, Marvel was getting all the glory for its television programs, which, since they were not on network television, allowed the studio to do things that the CW shows just could not do. Their success naturally led to a lot of good-natured (and, okay, some not-so-good-natured) gloating memes, like the above one.
14. THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY
When you take a bit of a macro view to things, it is remarkable just how similar the origins are to not only most superheroes, but to most fictional heroes period. There are a whole lot of dead parents involved and also a number of instances of people being left for dead, until they return to take their rightful place. Arrow, for instance, was initially given a little guff for how much it seemed to echo the events of Batman Begins, with Oliver Queen evoking the travels of young Bruce Wayne.
However, after Iron Fist debuted, Danny Rand’s origins were also quite similar to Oliver Queen’s, right down to the long beard that they each had when they returned to civilization. This led to an amusing meme mocking Iron Fist as being like copying someone’s homework, but not completely, so that the teacher won’t notice.
13. THE POWER OF ROTTEN TOMATOES
In recent years, the importance of critic aggregating sites like Rotten Tomatoes has dramatically increased when it comes to people deciding what film to go to, but it has also now turned to a popular reference point for television shows, as well. It is a particularly important tool for something like Netflix, which does not release its viewership numbers, so without ratings, fans instead turn to the critic ratings of sites like Rotten Tomatoes.
Of course, with television, such sites run into problems, as not as many critics review whole shows, so small sample size issues occur. In any event, Supergirl ended up with a higher Rotten Tomatoes score than Daredevil, and that led to this quizzical meme, where Daredevil simply cannot believe that he was beaten by another show (and soundly, too). Also, he’s probably a bit confused as to how Supergirl could be “certified fresh” with a comparatively abysmal audience score to his. Go figure!
12. DAMMIT, BARRY!
One of the major plot points in the third season of the Flash is the fact that Barry Allen went back in time at the end of Season 2 and saved his mother’s life. That change led to an alternate reality, often referred to as “Flashpoint.” Even when Barry decided to put things right what he put wrong, he saw that a number of things had changed when he returned to his reality. Therefore, the amount of memes that revolve around Barry messing with the timeline are numerous, to say the least.
A particularly funny meme on this point was when someone who took a screenshot of their Netflix screen for Luke Cage, which accidentally showed the graphics for Flash instead of Luke Cage, naturally caused by Barry messing with the timeline, of course.
11. THE BEST SUPERPOWER THAT THERE IS
Right up until Barry Allen gained superpowers in the first episode of the Flash (after appearing as plain ol’ Barry on a few Arrow episodes), the Arrowverse was all about being “realistic” with how the heroes and villains appeared. No one had superpowers, outside of some especially effective performance enhancing drugs like Mirakuru.
Thus, early on, the closest thing that Oliver Queen had to a super power was the fact that he was rich enough to build the best weapons and have the best tech to track villains. This meme makes fun of the power of the super-rich white guy by once again pointing out the similarities behind Oliver Queen and Danny Rand’s origin stories, and of course getting just a smidgeon political, pointing out the power of white privilege.
10. A CRY FOR HELP
In the second season of Daredevil, the Punisher was brought into the series and the writers famously adapted a legendary issue of Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon and Jimmy Palmiotti’s Punisher run (the classic “Welcome Back, Frank” year-long story arc) where the Punisher captures Daredevil, chains him up and then forces him to decide whether he is willing to kill the Punisher to prevent him from killing a bad guy. So the promos for the season showed Daredevil all tied up on chains on a rooftop.
In this clever meme, someone combined Daredevil’s cries for help while he is chained up to a picture of Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen just smirking, not caring about helping his fellow hero. It was, as they say, officially “on” between Daredevil and Arrow!
9. AN IMPROVEMENT ON THE ORIGINAL
This meme cut right to the quick on the basic view that many fans and critics had of the differences between the Marvel Netflix approach and the CW approach. Arrow was clearly designed to be a dark show, as Oliver Queen was a very dark character. The guy literally spent most of the first season just outright killing people that he believed “failed his city.”
After his best friend then died, Oliver slowly decided to turn himself into more of a “real” hero, via less killing. This isn’t to say that Oliver doesn’t still spend a lot of time killing, as the dude spends a lot of time killing. However, Arrow is still network television, so when Daredevil came out, its approach to dark storytelling could go much further. It basically was what Arrow wished that it could be.
8. ANYONE FOR COFFEE?
This is a rare meme that is actually a sequel to an earlier meme. The basic set-up of the meme is that Felicity Smoak has been involved with most of the major male heroes of the Arrowverse (Green Arrow, Flash and the Atom), at one point or another, in one reality or another. Therefore, the original meme suggested that since Felicity had already been involved with all the male heroes, that she should give White Canary a try.
Meanwhile, in the Luke Cage series, Luke uses the term “getting coffee” to slyly disguise having sex. Thus, once Felicity is finished with White Canary, this meme suggests that she move past the Arrowverse entirely to get some coffee with Mister Cage. This takes the idea of Marvel vs. DC to a whole other level.
7. UNFAIR FIGHT
Due to a simple matter of timing, Supergirl and Jessica Jones were linked together upon their respective debuts, as both shows were about female superheroes, both shows tried to take more of an actively feminist approach to their shows and, of course, both shows came out within a month of each other. Supergirl debuted at the end of October 2015, while Jessica Jones followed in mid-November 2015. It really wasn’t fair, but the shows were then compared and contrasted with each other a lot at the time.
In this meme, using the popular tradition of taking old screenshots of the 1960s Spider-Man cartoon series and turning them into memes, the author expresses the desire to binge-watch Supergirl while everyone else is talking about Jessica Jones. There is no reason that the shows should be viewed in competition with each other, but that’s clearly what happened.
6. BLAME IT ON BARRY
When Iron Fist came out, it was following a string of very well-received Marvel Netflix shows; in fact, it was the fourth of the initial four character solo series that would then lead into the Defenders team-up series. Thus, it got a lot of attention when the critics crushed it pretty heavily. DC fans, waiting for a crack in Marvel’s armor, went after the bad Iron Fist reviews hard in memes.
There were also a lot of memes where poorly-reviewed DC films commiserated with Iron Fist, and then this one, where the poor Rotten Tomatoes score was explained away as yet another example of Barry Allen screwing with the timeline. Other notable examples included the Cubs winning the world series after over a 100 years and Donald Trump becoming President.
5. STOP THE FIGHT!
In a classic sixth season episode of The Simpsons, Krusty the Clown decided to try to pay off some gambling debts by franchising his name out to a organization that would send fake “Krusty the Clowns” to make paid appearances all over Springfield, with Krusty getting a sizeable cut of each appearance. Naturally, one of these fake Krustys was Homer Simpson.
During one of his earliest appearances, the Krusty Burglar (a parody of McDonalds’ Hamburglar character) tried to steal some Krusty burgers and Homer, incensed (and a moron), nearly beat him to death, leading the kids in the audience to cry, “Stop! Stop! He’s already dead!” This, then, was turned into a meme where Marvel (already dominating in film) then also began to beat DC in television, which seemed like overkill according to some.
4. UNPOPULAR OPINION PUFFIN
A few years back, a student in the Netherlands named Andreas Mulder took an awesome photograph of a baby Puffin bird (which is technically called a “Puffing”). Initially, the photo appeared in a book simply described as “Silly Walk.” This, naturally, ended up showing up on various websites where people share photos of cute animals.
However, by around 2012, a popular series of memes was taking photos of animals and then turning them into sort of “characters,” including a bear that confessed dark secrets. So someone decided to make this Puffin photo become “Unpopular Opinion Puffin.” Here, the unpopular opinion is that Daredevil is a much worse show than Arrow. The reasons given, by the way, are odd, as it doesn’t even seem to explain why Foggy’s contrasting behavior is a bad thing. Silly Puffing.
3. INTER-COMPANY CROSSOVER
As you might imagine, in the world of comic book conventions, actors from superhero TV shows are in high demand; that, quite naturally, leads to interesting combos where actors from different shows (and different networks) interact with each other. At one such show, David Ramsey (who plays Oliver Queen’s best friend on Arrow) and Finn Jones (who plays Danny Rand, the title character from Iron Fist) teamed up for some “crossover” photos.
This also led to a lot of memes that continued to point out the similarities between Jones’ Danny Rand character and Oliver Queen from Arrow. This was done through a popular meme format where the author describes something that could describe both the person featured in the image and another person, and then reveals that the description was actually about the other person, not the person featured in the image. It’s a whole thing.
2. CHANGE IN THE WAY OF DOING BUSINESS
Being a fan of superhero television has changed dramatically in just the last decade, let alone going back to the 1980s and 1990s, when superhero TV shows were few and far between. Even when they did come out, they were often awful. In fact, sometimes they were so awful that they did not make it past the pilot stage, like the infamous 1990s Justice League series. Comic book fans got used to the idea of supporting any halfway decent show that comes out featuring their characters in them.
Recently, though, the increase in quality has led to the first time where fans could legitimately say that they will no longer settle for just any superhero TV show. That sentiment made its way into this meme, where the author suggests that the dearth of good shows was why they “settled” for the CW shows; that is, until the superior Marvel Netflix shows debuted.
1. A WANDERING EYE
A popular internet business in recent years is the concept of microstock photos. These are photos that photographers sell to companies that want to use stock photos in their online business. The photographers behind these photos have to come up with hundreds of new photos every year, so they have to anticipate what people might be interested in seeing. Photographer Antonion Guillem came up with the idea of showing the progression in a couple’s relationship, including the boyfriend having a wandering eye.
The photo was not one of Gullem’s most popular photos, but it soon became a favorite for memes, as people placed various things as symbolic of the boyfriend, his girlfriend and the new girl that is catching his eye. Here, it is Marvel TV shows that are being ignored in favor of DC TV shows.
Which do you prefer – the Arrowverse or Marvel Netflix? Let us know in the comments section!
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