Whether you’re a fan of the tv shows, the movies or the comic books themselves, you know about the decades-long rivalry between Marvel and DC. Yes, they are obviously competitors in the same market, but it’s always been a little bit more than that. The products they sell may be the same on a basic level, but there’s always been a “mine is better than yours” attitude between the companies and the fans of their work. And for the fans who, like me, love finding out about behind the scenes details, there’s a great new book on the history of these two comic book giants.
Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle Between Marvel and DC is an incredibly well researched in-depth look at not only the rivalry between the companies, but the inner workings of the companies themselves and the differing attitudes of the people running them. It looks at the beginnings of each company and shows how different things really were when each began and how DC didn’t consider Marvel much of a threat when the “upstart” first opened. But what a difference a few years would make!
The book gets really detailed about some of the artist and writer swapping that has happened over the years. And there are some really good stories about some of the truly bitter feelings that have arisen between various editors and creators through the decades. Anyone who has paid attention to the industry and has heard rumors about how certain individuals have treated others (some of these are pretty classic tales) will want to give Slugfest a read for the real scoop. And the author has done a good job of being fair in his representation of the parties and conflicts, not leaning to one side or the other.
There is a lot to cover in the history of DC and Marvel, and Slugfest provides a great narrative. Though there is an emphasis on the business side – with hirings, firings, idea stealing, price fixing – there is plenty of insight to some of the personal relationships between executives and creators. And though there’s a lot to take in with the research, it’s presented in a coherent manner that makes it an enjoyable read. This is a great book for any comic book fan who wants to know what’s really behind the Marvel vs. DC arguments.