Superman by Alex Ross, "Look! Up in the Sky!"

Comic artist Alex Ross explains what makes Marvel and DC uniquely different from one another

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Apr 3, 2018

Are you a Marvel fan boy or a DC fan boy? It's an age-old debate that's been going on for decades now. Of course, you can love both, but some insist that you must choose a side while others simply prefer one comic book publisher over the other without making their views known.

Both companies have their respective rosters of superheroes, but there is often some creative overlap like Namor and Aquaman, Batman and Moon Knight, Deadpool and Deathstroke, the comparisons are quite substantial. The two have influenced one another over the years in a fierce, yet friendly competition to hawk their books upon eager readers. So, what's the key factor that makes Marvel and DC so different as to make people fight over which one is superior

While promoting his upcoming book to Entertainment Weekly, Marvelocity: The Marvel Comics Art of Alex Ross, famed comic artist Alex Ross offered his two cents on the matter and naturally, it all comes down to a specific art style. 

"What’s always separated the two for me is Marvel’s material has always had a kinetic quality to it, particularly based on the design aesthetics of Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby," Ross said. "DC characters are not defined by a singular artistic voice influencing all the rest, but that’s what happened with Jack Kirby’s leadership of the entire Marvel brand. Everything is affected by what he led the charge of. That 10 years where he created the majority of those characters in the ’60s, that’s what every artist and writer has built their process upon, including the movies today. There’s a kinetic energy and a chaotic energy that embodies Marvel’s stuff."

He went on to say that DC was the first publisher to create the stereotypical archetypes that we think of when we think of superheroes: 

"DC is the foremost component of where the DNA of what makes a superhero came from. They did the very first superhero in Superman, and the first great embodiment of the dark superhero in Batman, and of course the first female superhero in Wonder Woman. All those key things are lined up by them, and they go in a nice descending ladder of importance with their Justice League. With Marvel it’s clear that Spider-Man is not the same kind of hero as Superman; Cap has similarities but he has differences as well and has been used in very interesting ways that stop him from being a clone of any DC counterpart. The Marvel characters are all over the place in terms of what makes them unique, and there’s a hip energy that’s been instilled in them since their creation. Every other superhero company follows the mold of having their heroes follow those archetypes that DC embodies, but Marvel broke away."

Containing covers, artwork, and a never-before-seen Sinister Six story, Marvelocity was done in collaboration with Chip Kidd and contains an introduction from none other than J.J. Abrams. It goes on sale October 2 from Pantheon Books.