George R.R. Martin Discusses The Early Differences Between Marvel And DC

<em>George R.R. Martin</em> Discusses The Early Differences Between Marvel And DC

Remember that post a few weeks back of George R.R. Martin's letter to Stan Lee back in the '60s? Well, recently George has shed new details about one his earliest published pieces of writing and it has to do with why he liked Marvel more than DC Comics. Plus my 2 cents!



Below, George R.R. Martin responds to why "the 16 year-old George R.R. Martin" liked Avengers #9 so much:


George R.R. Martin: I liked Wonder Man. And you know why? [Laughs] Now it’s coming back to me vividly! Wonder Man dies in that story. He’s a brand new character, he’s introduced, and he dies. It was very heartwrenching. I liked the character — it was a tragic, doomed character. I guess I’ve responded to tragic, doomed characters ever since I was a high-school kid.

John Hodgman: Especially those who might die at any minute.

George R.R. Martin: That’s right. Of course, being comic books, Wonder Man didn’t stay dead for long. He came back a year or two later and had a long run for many, many decades. But the fact that he was introduced and joined the Avengers and died all in that one issue had a great impact on me when I was a high-school kid.

John Hodgman: I imagine it was pretty surprising, in a comic book at that time, to see a whole story arc resolve tragically in that way in one issue.

George R.R. Martin: Yes. It’s hard to understand, I think, from the vantage point of 2011 exactly what was going on in comics back in the early ’60s. The Marvel comics that I was writing letters to were really revolutionary for the time. Stan Lee was doing some amazing work. Up until then, the dominant comic book had been the DC comics, which at that time were always very circular: Superman or Batman would have an adventure, and at the end of the adventure they would wind up exactly where they were, and then the next issue would follow the same pattern. Nothing ever changed for the DC characters.

The Marvel characters were constantly changing. Important things were happening. The lineup of the Avengers was constantly changing. People would quit and they would have fights and all of that, as opposed to DC, where everybody got along and it was all very nice, and of course all the heroes liked each other. None of this was happening. So really, Stan Lee introduced the whole concept of characterization [chuckles] to comic books, and conflict, and maybe even a touch of gray in some of the characters. And boy, looking back at it now, I can see that it probably was a bigger influence on my own work than I would have dreamed.


I think that what Martin says here succinctly defines the differences between Marvel comics and DC. At least in the early days . In modern times, I'm not so sure that this ideology still holds up, especially now that DC is in the initial stages of a massive reconfiguration of the DCU, where several iconic characters will have their history, personalities, and even physical appearance altered; it's becoming much harder to specifically pinpoint the differences between the two companies. Case in point, many readers have stated that the Clark Kent depicted in Action Comics #1 had a distinct Peter Parker vibe. And for several years now, fans have referred to Batman as the most "Marvel" of DC's characters and attribute his massive commercial success and fan appeal to that aspect of his character.

Going back to Martin's comments about how Marvel set themselves apart early on because of the conflict and tension amongst it's heroes, that notion has become outdated in the modern comic book world. Today, all of the heroes have conflicts and every superhero team from The Avengers to The Justice League suffers from infighting and inner team turmoil. What made that groundbreaking in the '60s, is now just unoriginal. Clouding the issue even more is the fact that writers and artists are frequently jumping back and forth between Marvel and DC, making it very hard to say that each publisher has a distinctive look or feel. With the relaunch of the DC Universe, what we're seeing is DC's attempt to shake off the iconographic status of several of their characters and inject some realism into their stories. All of their characters are becoming a little bit more "Marvel" and I think that's a positive thing. Not because I'm pro-Marvel (I'm more of a DC guy but I do read Cap and X-Men) but because when we reach a plateau where the two companies are telling eerily similar stories of "realism" and "rawness", I think it will force one of the companies (probably Marvel) to say, "Ok, we've become too similar, we need to take our company in a different direction." And I believe the comic book world drastically needs that to happen in the coming future. It's time for one of the two major companies to take that "step in a new direction" (again, feel free to disagree but "the New 52" is simply DC applying a Marvel ideology to their characters, it's a new idea for DC but nothing new in the overall comic book world) and promote growth and new ideas in a market that has grown complacent with repetitive Big Events that aren't so big, Major Character Deaths with Major Character Resurrection a few issues later, and Shocking Brutality which simply isn't that shocking anymore.

Unfortunately, I'm not one of DC's or Marvel's talented idea guys so I can't predict what this change will be nor do I have any ideas about what this change should be but as a fan I think we are owed something new and fresh and I believe the DCnU will be the vehicle that will bring us this change, not because it is the change but because it will lead to it.

Agree, disagree, want to add some thoughts about Image or Dark Horse to the discussion. Sound off in the comments section below. I would really like to read some viewpoints from you guys!




George R. R. Martin (born September 20, 1948), sometimes referred to as GRRM, is an American author and screenwriter of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He is best known for his A Song of Ice and Fire series of epic fantasy novels, which HBO adapted into the dramatic series Game of Thrones. Martin was selected by Time magazine as one of the "2011 Time 100," a list of the "most influential people in the world."


Find me on Twitter: @All_Thats_Bueno
Graphic City


DISCLAIMER: Comic Book Movie is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]
Related Headlines
Christopher Nolan Chooses Universal For His Next Film; Reported List Of Demands Revealed

Christopher Nolan Chooses Universal For His Next Film; Reported List Of Demands Revealed

We recently reported that Christopher Nolan was shopping around his next project, a World War II drama about J. Robert Oppenheimer, around to various studios, and Universal ultimately came out on top.
WILD INDIAN Video Interview: Jesse Eisenberg On The Importance Of Telling This Indigenous Story (Exclusive)

WILD INDIAN Video Interview: Jesse Eisenberg On The Importance Of Telling This Indigenous Story (Exclusive)

Jesse Eisenberg (Zack Snyder's Justice League) breaks down his role as an actor and executive producer in Wild Indian, explaining why it was important to him to be part of telling this impactful story.
WILD INDIAN Star Jesse Eisenberg Teases His Directorial Debut And Addresses The Rise Of Streaming (Exclusive)

WILD INDIAN Star Jesse Eisenberg Teases His Directorial Debut And Addresses The Rise Of Streaming (Exclusive)

Jesse Eisenberg talks to us about adapting his Audible book When You Finish Saving The World as his feature directing debut, and shares his thoughts on the rise of streaming platforms in the pandemic era.
SMALL ENGINE REPAIR Interview: Jon Bernthal, Shea Whigham, & John Pollono On Their Unique Dynamic (Exclusive)

SMALL ENGINE REPAIR Interview: Jon Bernthal, Shea Whigham, & John Pollono On Their Unique Dynamic (Exclusive)

We recently caught up with Jon Bernthal, Shea Whigham, and John Pollono to talk Small Engine Repair, and of you've ever wondered what it's like to be slapped by Jon...well, we have you covered right here!
SMALL ENGINE REPAIR Review; Thought-Provoking, Darkly Funny, And Completely Unmissable

SMALL ENGINE REPAIR Review; "Thought-Provoking, Darkly Funny, And Completely Unmissable"

Small Engine Repair is an adaptation of the award-winning play, but how does John Pollono's big screen take on his own work stack up as a movie? This is something special, so find our verdict right here...
Latest Headlines
SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME Director Jon Watts Sets Next Project With George Clooney & Brad Pitt To Star

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME Director Jon Watts Sets Next Project With George Clooney & Brad Pitt To Star

It looks like Jon Watts has found his Spider-Man: No Way Home follow-up and it may be one of the hottest Hollywood projects in recent memory as both George Clooney and Brad Pitt are expected to star.
Sony Pictures Is Reportedly Building Towards A SINISTER SIX Movie Once Again

Sony Pictures Is Reportedly Building Towards A SINISTER SIX Movie Once Again

At one point, Sony Pictures was developing a Sinister Six project. Now, it seems the studio is once again working toward crafting a film based around Spider-Man's deadliest villains.
GAME OF THRONES Alum Pilou Asbæk To Play The Sinister Richard Straker In New Line's SALEM'S LOT

GAME OF THRONES Alum Pilou Asbæk To Play The Sinister Richard Straker In New Line's SALEM'S LOT

Pilou Asbæk, who played the despicable Euron Greyjoy on HBO's Game of Thrones, is set to bring another literary villain to life in New Line's adaptation of Stephen King's Salem's Lot...
AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM Rounds Out Cast With Randall Park, Indya Moore, Jani Zhao & Vincent Regan

AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM Rounds Out Cast With Randall Park, Indya Moore, Jani Zhao & Vincent Regan

As filming continues on the DC blockbuster, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has rounded out its cast with Randall Park (WandaVision), Indya Moore (Queen & Slim), Jani Zhao (South), and Vincent Regan (300).
VENOM: Marvel Comics Releases New Trailer For Upcoming Relaunch Of The Symbiote's Solo Series

VENOM: Marvel Comics Releases New Trailer For Upcoming Relaunch Of The Symbiote's Solo Series

Some big changes are coming to the world of Venom in next month's relaunch, and Marvel Comics has released a trailer featuring tonnes of new artwork with hints about what fans can expect from the series.
VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE TV Spots See Venom Drop The Mic...And Find A Lot Of New Fans!

VENOM: LET THERE BE CARNAGE TV Spots See Venom Drop The Mic...And Find A Lot Of New Fans!

Sony has released some new TV spots for Venom: Let There Be Carnage, revealing even more never before seen footage from the sequel, including the symbiote dropping the mic and getting down with the kids.
THE SANDMAN: Netflix Unveils Official Logo For The Show Ahead Of Tomorrow's First Teaser

THE SANDMAN: Netflix Unveils Official Logo For The Show Ahead Of Tomorrow's First Teaser

We're expecting a first look at some footage from The Sandman tomorrow during Netflix's Tudum online event, but for now, the streamer has shared the official title treatment for the Neil Gaiman adaptation.
Marvel Sues Heirs Of Creators In Bid To Avoid Losing Copyrights To Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, And More

Marvel Sues Heirs Of Creators In Bid To Avoid Losing Copyrights To Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, And More

Disney and Marvel are heading back to court for a legal battle with the heirs of comic book creators like Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The stakes? The rights to some of their most famous superhero characters!