Every comic book reader worth his salt is well aware of the rivalry between the stalwart giants of the industry, DC and Marvel. Over the years, the battle of the giants has seemed to be more a good-natured publicity stunt to sell publications than any real skulduggery.
It’s often been said that Marvel was sort of created by DC when, during a friendly Saturday morning golf game, the publishers of the two companies openly discussed what was selling well for DC which was a new title, The Justice League of America. Stan Lee was ordered to create a superhero team in response, thus history was made.
Was it really that friendly and downright cosy?
Not according to the extensive research of author Reed Tucker, it wasn’t.
The reality of the battle that has raged for over fifty years between the primary coloured publishing behemoths plays out as a duplicitous game of industrial espionage and double-dealing in a desperate struggle to achieve and maintain the top dog status of the multibillion dollar industry.
It seems that from the very start, in 1961, when DC strode the comic book world like a Titan, they were a stale, corporate entity who failed to see that the young upstart company that consisted of one man and a small handful of artists were a real threat to their decades of superiority. They didn’t understand Marvel’s teen appeal.
Stan Lee has always been portrayed to the public as a genial nice guy with a cool rapport with his readership and an instinctive grasp of what they want to read. DC on the other hand liked to play it safe for kids. After all, they published Superman. Nothing needed to change. Right?
Tucker weaves a tale that includes controversies going back to the sixties when DC introduced a team of oddball outsiders named The Doom Patrol who were led by a wheelchair bound genius. Only to find that almost simultaneously, Marvel premiered The X-Men…. A team of oddball outsiders led by a wheelchair bound genius. In the seventies, DC published the first appearance of Swamp Thing, only to have Marvel debut Man Thing – practically identical in all aspects. Coincidence? Tucker puts forth a convincing case of insider knowledge.
From industry agreed price raising to sneakily cutting the prices the following month without telling the competition, to the battle for the rights to Captain Marvel and the current ongoing battle to outdo each other on the big screen, this is a stunning knockout story sometimes as epic and credibility stretching as the adventures of the super powered individuals whose tales publishing companies tell.
SLUGFEST: INSIDE THE EPIC 50 YEAR BATTLE BETWEEN MARVEL AND DC / AUTHOR: REED TUCKER / PUBLISHER: DA CAPO PRESS / RELEASE DATE: 3RD OCTOBER