If Pepsi and Coca-Cola can take digs at each other in their endorsements, why can’t Marvel and DC? They are the moguls of the comic book world. The rivalry and argument over which superhero house is better has been going on for decades. The comic books also had several crossovers such as Amalgam Comics, Batman & Spider-Man: New Age Dawning, Batman & Captain America, etc. Some also claim that the two comic book giants copied their superheroes from each other, like Scarlet Witch and Zatanna Zatara, Doctor Strange and Doctor Fate, Deadpool and Deathstroke, etc.
Their war has amplified further since the dawn of superhero movies on the silver screen. The franchises are getting bigger year after year with blockbuster movies. There are plenty of times when DC and Marvel dived on opportunities to troll the other. What’s savvy is how subtly they made fun of each other in their stories.
1. Variant Covers and Justice League
In 2012, DC published the same issue of Justice League of America in 52 different covers. The only difference amongst the 52 covers was the change of flag. Imagine a hardcore DC fan traveling across borders to collect each version!
Marvel attempted to mock DC by releasing an issue of X-Men, featuring Deadpool with 52 state birds on a single cover. The only message Marvel wanted to give was that you can represent all the states in one cover. To make it worse, they fitted one more type of bird on the cover, increasing the number to 53.
The cover also read “State Birds Variant- All 50 (and then some) On One Cover”. As if this wasn’t clear enough that Marvel claimed during a press release “No need to worry about purchasing individual covers to get all 53 beautiful birds.”
2. The Terrifics
Before Disney took over Fox Century, Marvel didn’t have the movie rights to its Fantastic Four for a long time. As a result, they stopped publishing their stories in comic books. That made sense because in no world Marvel would have allowed Fox to capitalize on their comic book issues.
But the one to tap on Marvel’s loss was its rival, DC. As the Fantastic took an exit from the former, DC introduced an issue titled, The Terrifics in 2018 whose characters were ‘fantastic’.
Just like Mr. Fantastic, this team’s leader was Mr. Terrific who is, as a matter of fact, older than his Marvel counterpart. The Terrifics is a group of four superheroes. Apart from Mister. Terrific, they had Plastic Man, Metamorpho, and Phantom Girl. Metamorpho was an alternative to The Thing who could transform his body into chemical elements. The three heroes found the Phantom Girl while visiting the Dark Multiverse (yes, they can travel through multiverses too). Phantom Girl was stuck in an intangible state ever since she was a kid. Yes, instead of invisibility, this one is ‘intangible’. Even their biggest villain was influenced by Doctor Doom’s appearance. After Marvel announced retrieving its rights to the Fantastic Four, The Terrifics got canceled.
3. When DC Changed Its Days
This year, DC decided to sell its latest issues on Tuesdays instead of Wednesdays, resulting in an uproar from fans. Marvel didn’t leave this chance either to mock DC. It quickly published variant covers for different heroes which explicitly read ‘On Sale Wednesday’.
4. Marvel Released Similarly Titled Comic Books
Whenever DC has announced to issue a specific comic book during its special events, Marvel has attempted to headbutt publishes of similar titles. For instance, DC did heavy marketing before Identity Crisis for about a month. Right when the date of its release came nearer, Marvel took a free ride on the marketing and released Identity Disc.
Identity Disc was about six villains who teamed up to search for a disc that records the identity of every Marvel superhero in their universe.
The second time it occurred was also in 2004 when DC announced the release of The Witching series. Right when all the marketing and promotions for the series was done, Marvel tapped on the hype and released the miniseries, Witches in the same month. According to reports, this miniseries was rotting with Marvel for years under a different title but when DC made the announcement, the publishing house released it too.
5. When DC Published Ads
It’s one thing when Newspapers are flooding with ads and a whole other crisis when comic books also start publishing them. DC was once heavily trolled for slapping Twix ads on its pages. This sparked a chain of controversies online as fans were shocked to see the DC pages split in ads.
Marvel quickly jumped on this opportunity by printing a fake ad on the Variant edition of Deadpool in exactly the same format as DC’s. This mocking ad appeared on the bottom half, promoting “XXXplodo! Protein bar”. Meanwhile, Deadpool was asking in shock from above “What The Hell, Dude!?! Seriously?”