Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Marvel vs DC- what makes characters super?

Though DC comics excel in their ability to transfer  fantastic stories and characters through their comic books, so far they've not been super successful to bring those same characters to life on the screen.

Marvel, on the other hand, has taking the reins and inspired us to care about a large number of characters in a relatively short period of time.

My family are big superhero fans. So in a recent discussion we were trying to figure out what made Marvels cinematic characters much more appealing and interesting than what we've recently seen on the silver screen from DC   And please keep in mind, I have great hopes that when Ben Affleck takes over the Superman/Batman franchise he's going to make it a whole lot better. I'm cautiously optimistic about Suicide Squad, and after the release of the recent trailer for Justice League I'm even more optimistic.

But back to the question. As writers one of the Hallmark features we know has to happen in our stories is for readers to connect with the characters

I work in a school with a bunch of kids who like superheroes. And though I'm a Captain America fan, the biggest fan group in my school is for Iron Man. The self absorbed hothead gets the win almost every time. With Spiderman's entrance into the Avengers that trend started changing, but for now Iron Man is still the winning answer. Why?

I think it's because we see the biggest change in Tony Stark of any of the other characters in the Avengers. People are drawn to stories, especially the types of stories that change us.
And characters are the Intregal  heart of stories

What Marvel did that made a difference in their creation of the cinematic marvel universe is that before they placed this conglomeration of characters together they developed each story.

Almost all of the characters had their own movie before they were placed together so we had already developed a sense of knowing them, and understanding their struggles and successes before we saw how they interacted with each other.

Marvel also created a world where there was lots of comedy as well as conflict. When comparing Batman versus Superman and Captain America Civil War, levity leads. It also humanizes these amazing characters of superhuman strength and intelligence and or ability.

I would offer five main things that cause us to fall in love with Marvel characters more than DC on the movie screen.

1. Humor - levity not only gives us a laugh, but it also is a wonderful glue between characters and readers. Even if it's a little humor, it still creates a bond.

2. Humanness, which equals weakness and vulnerability - We connect better to characters we can relate to. When you're dealing with super human people, this is a hallmark feature to create relatability.

3. Purpose - these characters have both personal and collaborative goals to better themselves and others.

4. Camaraderie or friendship- we learn a lot from the interaction between characters. Not only are we attracted to relationships as readers, but friendships create a lens to other characters intentions, personalities, protectiveness, and even conflict.

5. Inevitably, and despite amazing odds, choosing to do what is right for the right reasons. Self-sacrifice is an amazingly attractive and honorable characteristic to watch unfold on the screen with characters we've come to admire.

So....as a reader or a writer, what do you find as super characteristics for characters?

5 comments:

Mary Vee said...

Wow! Great post.
In point number four I immediately recalled the fun banter between the Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton (the hunter played by Jeremy Renner). They're fighting and he stops to ask if they're still friends. LOL Too funny. This is precisely the key you're talking about, Pepper. We are drawn in. See their connection to each other. And find ourselves rooting for both sides as a result...which of course jacks up the spirit of the story.

Toni Shiloh said...

I do love Iron Man. Like you said, he had the biggest change from arrogant jerk to arrogant hero. :) Marvel made it so that we want to cheer for them and see them overcome their demons, whether it's half-brothers, a heart that wants to see bullies stopped, or inner rage. Marvel showcases that.
And FYI, I have no hope for DC after seeing Batman vs Superman, but the new Wonder Woman trailer still looks cool.

Pepper said...

Mare! Thanks for saying that. I enjoyed bringing out character tips from something my family enjoys to much :-) And I dearly love humor!

Pepper said...

Toni,
I'm still holding out hope - but the BEST part of Batman v Superman was Wonder Woman. She ROCKED the screen!

Casey said...

I got hooked on Marvel right after I first moved to Colorado. And Iron Man was my first introduction--I identify well with his level and brand of snark. ;-) Now I've gotten my sister hooked and we love them. I think the part that I also identify with in this brand of story telling is the obvious good vs evil battle that goes on. We are rooting for and cheering for these characters that we've grown to really like (and in the case of Thor--love) and seen then change and are changing through the course of the series and yet triumph for victory. And we know that in each movie there will continue to be a progression or a challenge of their character. Great post, Pep!