Quick! Aliens come down from the sky and threaten to incinerate the city unless you decide which you love more: Marvel or DC Comics. How do you answer? The fate of the city depends on it! Okay, maybe it’s not that much of a life or death situation but it certainly does feel like that sometimes. We’re talking about important stuff here, namely our childhood heroes and the memories of reading the adventures of our favorite characters as a kid. These are important, impactful memories and now that comics are cool again, we can carry our passions from our adolescent years straight into adulthood, but do we really need to make a decision on which company we like more?
RELATED: The 15 Most Savage Superhero Memes
We certainly don’t have to make those lines in the sand, but these memes we’ve collected spotlights the (sometimes) serious rivalry that goes on not only between Marvel and DC but between the fanboys and fangirls that have taken sides. These memes are meant to poke fun at stereotypes that exist between both companies, and we might be so bold to say that some of these stereotypes have a bit of truth hidden in them. Enjoy these 15 hilarious Marvel vs DC memes!
15. HAIL HYDRA
At the end of Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, we have a shocking panel in which the leader of The Avengers says “Hail Hydra.” The explanation to this involves some meddling with Steve Rogers’ origins, courtesy of a Cosmic Cube-wielding Red Skull. The events that occurred in 2016 continue with Marvel’s current crossover series Secret Empire in which a Steve Rogers-led Hydra has taken over the United States.
Needless to say, there was plenty of backlash over the revelation of Steve Rogers from the very beginning being a pawn of Hydra. People’s shock could best be summed up by the above meme in which several popular characters can be seen undermining their own origins, namely Daredevil revealing he was never blind and even Batman admitting he was the one that shot his own parents. Comic books are notorious for retroactive continuity, but this meme certainly encapsulates fan frustration.
14. MONEY VS. OSCARS
Marvel has been winning the box office race for awhile. Starting with 2008’s Iron Man, Marvel began constructing an interconnected cinematic universe that cohesively allowed superheroes from other movies to interact with each other. When The Avengers came out in 2012, it was a box office juggernaut, raking in over $1.5 billion.
Marvel may have Adamantium and Vibranium, but the one metal that it does not have that DC does is Oscar gold. In 2008’s The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger won posthumously for his performance as The Joker. Let’s also not forget that the movie grossed over $1 billion at the box office, but Heath winning Best Supporting Actor is something that a Marvel movie has yet to do. Then again, with Black Panther and Captain Marvel due to come out soon, could they win an Academy Award, or will DC do it again with Wonder Woman?
13. MOVIES VS. ETC
When it comes to movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed over $12 billion globally and is considered the most profitable film franchise of all time. DC doesn’t even come close, however DC is doing much better in other categories.
Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009 won several awards, most notably holding the Guinness World Record for “Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever.” Injustice: Gods Among Us was released in 2013 and although it was a fighting game, featured a rich alternate history for people to watch unfold. Although Marvel is making inroads with such Netflix series as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, DC for a while has enjoyed shows that had long runs such as Smallville and Arrow. Marvel may be unstoppable when it comes to films, but DC is doing quite well elsewhere.
12. A YEAR OF REDEMPTION
Comic fans can hold a grudge for a long time, but once you make amends all can be forgiven. The Daredevil series was well-received, but before it premiered on Netflix there was the 2003 film Daredevil starring Ben Affleck. Although the film racked up a Teen Choice Award, as well as an MTV Movie Award, the film was considered a failure. In 2011 Green Lantern made its debut starring Ryan Reynolds and Director Martin Campbell couldn’t bring the energy and magic that he was able to so expertly bring to 1995’s Goldeneye and 2006’s Casino Royale.
Fortunately, Hollywood is a city of second chances and comic books are all about reboots and retcons. In 2016, both Ryan Reynolds and Ben Affleck completely redeemed themselves when Reynolds made the box office smash Deadpool and Affleck became The Dark Knight in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Welcome back, gentlemen.
11. ALTER EGO? WHAT’S THAT?
Spider-Man: Homecoming features Peter Parker struggling to become a full-fledged Avenger along with trying to maintain his secret identity of mild-mannered high school student. But up until then, most Marvel characters laughed at the idea of a secret identity. The general populace is well aware that Tony Stark is Iron Man and Steve Rogers is Captain America. The DC Cinematic Universe currently has characters that maintain a superhero identity as well as an alter ego such as Clark Kent/Superman and Bruce Wayne/Batman.
And then we have Thor. Although in 2011’s Thor, a fake ID was used to try and pass him off as Donald Blake, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe The God of Thunder is always Thor. No alter egos, and although his last name is technically by norse tradition Odinson, he likes being referred to just by Thor (in the films, that is; in the comics, he currently has disavowed the Thor title).
10. WOLVERINE SLAPS ROBIN
Here we get meta involving a meme that makes a comment on another meme! Around the holidays, as well as Father’s Day, the “Batman Slapping Robin Meme” does the rounds. You’ve seen it by now, haven’t you? It involves Robin asking Batman about how his Father’s Day is going and Batman responds with a slap, saying his parents are deaaaaad!
Although some thought at first this was a legit panel from an issue of Batman, it turns out to be a product of some well-executed photoshopping. In this version we see above, Wolverine is doing more than just slapping Robin! Without knowing the backstory, it just looks like Wolverine is decapitating Robin for no good reason! Then again, when did Wolverine ever need a reason to slice someone?
9. FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS
If Marvel knew now what it did in the late 1990s, the Marvel Cinematic Universe would probably look very different. In 1996, Marvel filed for bankruptcy. The comic book industry was doing quite well in the years before but arguably one too many specialty die-cut gatefold covers drove out too many comic book readers just wanting to read a good story; that, and the speculator market destroyed everything.
To recoup losses, Marvel sold off the cinematic rights of some of their characters to other companies and have been spending the past few years buying them back. The above meme addresses the fact that DC has the rights to their characters, but what DC is doing with their characters is another story. Let’s also not forget that in 1984, Marvel almost bought the rights to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and four other titles from DC. Where’s that meme?
8. TWITTER WAR
In 2002 Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire, made its debut. The tragic scene played out where young Peter Parker decided to let a robber get away. However, when the thief escapes, he shoots and kills Peter’s Uncle Ben. His uncle was played by Cliff Robertson, but was replaced by Martin Sheen in the 2012 reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, who suffered the same tragic outcome.
Here, in this funny Twitter exchange, we see Uncle Ben complaining about being killed over and over again in the reboots. Ben is reminded by another set of people who happen to die over and over again to chill out and put things in perspective. With the announcement of the Flashpoint movie being made by DC, will we see Thomas and Martha Wayne surviving the shooting in Crime Alley?
7. THE WONDER WOMAN RISK
Warner Bros. produced an unaired Wonder Woman TV pilot for NBC. It starred Adrianne Palicki and was written by David E. Kelley. Although it had a lot of potential, the show never aired and fans would have to wait six years before Wonder Woman would be seen in live action. There were concerns about how the movie would do, with some claiming that a solo Wonder Woman movie would be “too risky.”
After producing films featuring such heavy hitters as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, Marvel in 2014 decided to make a feature spotlighting characters that were virtual unknowns to the general populace and even to some comic book fans. Guardians of the Galaxy featured a talking raccoon, a tree that can only say a few words, and Chris Pratt. Marvel’s second-tier heroes grossed over $700 million worldwide. How’s that for a property being too risky?
6. THE DARK KNIGHT VS. SPIDER MAN
When it comes to popularity, most polls point to Batman being the most popular comic book character in the world. Who’s the runner up? Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, of course. However, when it comes to being profitable, Spider-Man takes that cake. In 2013, Spider-Man sold $1.3 billion in Spidey-related swag. To put it in perspective, that year The Avengers in total sold $325 million in products. No wonder Tony Stark wants Spidey on the team!
So, it looks like stiff competition between Batman and Spider-Man, with both characters winning in different categories. We also see that play out in the meme above; on one side, a bat has been captured by a spider, whereas on the other side, Batman has captured a severely beaten Spider-Man. Well played.
5. STUDIOS VERSUS FANS
When Wonder Woman came out in theatres, Gal Gadot tweeted that she thought Wonder Woman would win in a fight with Thor. What was Chris Hemsworth’s response? “I think she’d kick Thor’s as!” Even Chris Evans via Twitter sent a congratulations to Wonder Woman doing so well at the box office. Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, stated that he welcomed the competition from other companies.
Although there seems to be love shared between DC and Marvel, the same may not necessarily be said for their fans. Check out message boards on Reddit and Quora, or even our own to see fans argue about if Hulk could beat Superman, or if Aquaman could take on Namor. These conversations among comic book fans can get quite heated, but let’s not forget the term “fan” comes the word “fanatic!”
4. PREP TIME
To be a superhero requires you to be at the top of your game. You must be in peak physical and mental condition. Most films have obligatory shots of the main character with their shirts off to show off their physiques. Chris Evans did it in Captain America: The First Avenger and Tobey Maguire looks at his muscles in a mirror in Spider-Man.
The light tone of Marvel movies has been compared to the darker elements of DC movies. The above meme seems to address that relationship. The actors above are clearly at the gym, working hard to get as ripped as possible for their roles. However, Brie Larson’s training involves sitting on her couch reading a comic. Even Benedict Cumberbatch, although sporting some battle scars on his face, is also rocking a comic book instead of a dumbbell. Which training regiment do you prefer?
3. DESTRUCTION OF CITIES
In the 2012 Avengers movie, most of Manhattan took quite a beating. Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man were shooting giant Chitauri ships out of the sky that came crashing down on buildings. Iron Man also had to redirect a nuclear missile that was fired upon New York City from orders given by the World Security Council, which desperately wanted to drop a nuke on NYC!
Man of Steel premiered one year later and in the climactic battle between Superman and Zod, giant chunks of Metropolis are destroyed by their battle. The level of damage is further explored in the opening scenes of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. This damage was done by two incredibly powerful people fighting, versus the destruction caused by the Avengers versus an alien army, so how come people cried foul at Man of Steel and not The Avengers?
2. TONES OF FUN
DC has been criticized for its dark tone and muted colors when compared to Marvel. Some fans took scenes from Man of Steel and added color and brightness to it because it was just too muted for some. Besides the look, even the content has been labeled too dark, with Superman and Batman both killing people on screen.
One of the factors that makes Marvel work so well is the comedy of the characters. Heroes like Iron Man, Spider-Man and Star Lord are funny, snarky, sarcastic characters at their core. Superman is not. Batman is definitely not. Hal Jordan has been shown to be comedic in the past but in 2011’s Green Lantern Ryan Reynolds was cocky but wasn’t playing it for laughs, at least not the way that he was in the very successful 2016 movie Deadpool. Clearly there was no scene in any Superman movie depicting him with balloons!
1. CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
DeNiro versus Pacino. Star Trek vs Star Wars. Rolling Stones vs The Beatles. Alien vs Predator. Okay, maybe that last one doesn’t count, but there are a lot of famous rivalries that have withstood the test of time. Marvel vs DC is certainly one of them. So why can’t your love of both co-exist?
Like Kevin Feige said, everyone benefits from competition. With Marvel making a cohesive cinematic universe, DC can learn from what Marvel has done and improve with their endeavors. Marvel could learn a thing or two from DC on how to produce quality, immersive video games and television series. With secondary Marvel characters like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy doing so well at the box office, expect DC to roll out less familiar characters to the big screen (as we saw with Suicide Squad). In that way, everyone wins!
Which memes didn’t make the list? Let us know your faves in the comics!
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