Category Archives: DC vs. Marvel

DC vs Marvel Title Crossovers

Introduction

This article arose out of a need to classify crossovers that involve more than one title on my hard disk drive. I have my collection broken down by publisher, superhero and finally by title. Where do I put the crossovers that occur in more than one title? I opted to create a separate folder and ended up creating very exact criteria for deciding what to put in that folder after a great deal of thought which I would like to share with the world. I would add that I am a bit of a classification nerd and maybe should have become a librarian rather than an educator (Fox Presentation Taxonomy, Fox Martial Arts Taxonomy, Divination Taxonomy).

The words event, crossover and story arc are often used interchangeably but not in this article. Wikipedia has entries describing crossover events for both DC and Marvel comics. Story Arcs that happen within a single title are totally excluded from this list. In the Silver Age, when I was young, story arcs almost exclusively began and ended within a single title. The whole crossover title story arc really got traction in the eighties with the Crisis of Infinite Earths and the success of this story arc in selling a lot of comic books across a wide variety of titles. If I went to the sixties in a time machine my knowledge of the future of comic book trends, how to create strategic card games, and the knowledge of what stocks to buy is what would secure me my fortune in the past. I would take the money I made from creating comic books and card games and buy all the right stocks! Even extended story arcs within a single title was a way of telling stories that was pioneered within Marvel in the sixties and not the Golden Age but DC belatedly followed suit.

Comic Book Reading Orders is another invaluable resources when trying to identify title crossovers but does not include some of the title crossovers from the Marvel Silver Age crossovers that are mentioned in Wikipedia including Sub-Mariner’s Quest for Krang (1966), Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968), Terrible Trio (1969), Mr. Kline War and Kree-Skrull War (1971). DC was definitely slow to get on the title crossover bandwagon and only had one, yes one title crossover in the Silver Age and this is Zatanna’s Search which is not on the Comic Book Reading Orders list of what their site calls events.

I used both the Comic Book Reading Orders site and Wikipedia as sources to make the ultimate DC title crossover list and the ultimate Marvel title crossover lists. As I started creating and putting title crossovers into the right folder, I couldn’t help but read a lot of title crossovers. I actually tediously made a lot of title crossovers folder by copying individual files and using the reading orders provided in the Comic Book Reading Orders website. Yeah a real good use of time.

I ended up reading about sixty title crossovers over a three day period. I am not married and if I continue down this road then I suspect that I will never be married. What did you do over the weekend honey? Oh I read about sixty title crossovers! Yeah not the sort of sexy conversation that helps a fan boy get a girlfriend. Anyway I had my Eureka moment and want to share this with fan boys everywhere and if an attractive female likes the article feel free to contact me and share your adulation. I have inductively come up with the following categories of crossovers including Family, Families Meet, Odd Couple, Melee, Universe Tour and Universe.

Family crossovers are crossovers that happen within titles that involve the same characters or related characters. Sometimes two or more families meet as families. The two families may clash as is the case of the Avengers vs X-Men title crossover. Because the characters are all from the same family, they have a long history together the general pattern of relationships is set and predictable but nuances of the relationship can be explored in this sort of crossover.

An Odd Couples title crossover as one involving two characters that are in different comic book families and normally do not interact in their universe and the strangeness of their pairing is a big part of the narrative. This is the comic book version of the buddy cop film. Because superheroes have superpowers unlike cops, most cops anyway, there can be a contrast between superpowers not just personalities. The ultimate comic book Odd Couple is Batman and Superman. Batman has no superpowers. Superman has a plethora of superpowers. How can someone with no superpowers help someone with so many superpowers? That was the premise of World’s Finest (DC) and I bought that comic book on a regular basis when I was a child in the sixties. Well after a hundred issues plus I still don’t buy it.

Odd couple pairings can and do organically happen with a Families Meet crossover. A+X was a title that was a follow up to the Avengers vs X-Men title featured an Avenger paired with an X-Man as a team. A+X is not a title crossover since all the team ups happened in the one title but is a great read anyway!

Not all team ups are odd couple team ups. Marvel Team-Up (Marvel) paired Spider-Man with every Marvel character imaginable but most were not odd couple team ups. The Brave and Bold (DC) went from being a showcase title to being a title in which every character imaginable teamed up with Batman. DC Presents teamed up Superman with every DC character imaginable.

A melee crossover involves a large number of superheroes. This sort of crossover is similar to a universe crossover but on a smaller scale. Sometimes the line is iffy. I would classify Brightest Day (2010) as a melee crossover but could see how someone else would say it’s a universe crossover. Sometimes a new character takes a tour of their universe and I call this type of story a Universe Tour crossover. Kind of a road trip for superheroes. Functionally, this allows the comic book company to introduce a character to a wide variety of readers. A Universe crossover involves just about every character in that universe.

DC Family Crossovers

DC noticed that Superman sold well. So why not a title that features his girlfriend Lois Lane or even his best friend Jimmy Olsen? Before you know it there are several Superman related titles. Whether a title belongs to a family is not the easiest decision. For example placing the electronic comic book file of Arkham Asylum related titles and All-Star Batman in the same Batman folder on your computer is a no brainer. However, where should I place the Catwoman titles? I choose to put them outside of the Batman folder. I think Catwoman has an identity separate from being a side kick of Batman. Catwoman titles don’t always involve Batman. However, I put Lois Lane titles in my Superman folder. Lois Lane stories invariably involve Superman and are an extension of the Superman family of titles. Action Comics is an anthology associated with Superman but also has none Superman material so Action Comics gets its own folder outside of the Superman folder. Below is a table of all the DC family title crossovers.

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DC has a total of 61 family crossovers. Aquaman has two family crossovers and is tied for fifth place. Batman has 26 family crossovers and takes first place in terms of the number of crossovers. In Batman there tends to be an all hands on deck feel to most of these crossovers. This is portrayed in the illustration from Battle for the Cowl #1 below. I personally like the Batman crossovers.

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Flash has one crossover and is in last place. Green Lantern has six family crossovers and is in fourth place. The Justice League has ten and is in third place. The Justice Society has two family crossovers and is tied for fifth place. Superman has 14 family crossovers and is in second place after Batman. The Superman crossovers are ok but finding challenges for Superman is difficult and finding challenges for a bunch of Kryptonians such as Supergirl often becomes too much of a good thing.

Batman and Superman were the first superhero families in comic book history so this probably accounts for why they dominate this type of story (Batman Family vs. Superman Family). I would have to add that while Green Lantern is in fourth place, the sheer number of issues involved in the six Green Lantern family crossovers might be very high and nudge Green Lantern to third place if this criteria was used. DC Family crossovers really keep the crossover within the family! A Batman, Superman or Green Lantern family crossover will not have even a single issue outside of their respective families. Since I put titles into was is basically family folders, I choose to put the DC Family crossovers in the family folder not the crossover folder.

Marvel Family Crossovers

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Marvel has a total of 49 family crossovers. The Avengers family, Ghost Rider, and Marvel UK have one crossover and tie for fourth place. The Hulk family has two crossovers and is in third place. Some of the Hulk Family crossovers occur in titles that are not Hulk related so I choose to put the two Hulk crossovers in the separate crossover folder. The Spider-Man family has 13 crossovers and is in second place. The X-Men family has 30 crossovers and wins first place hands down. The X-Men family crossovers often only involve X-Men titles and I put these in the X-Men folder rather than the crossover folder.

DC Families Meet

DC only has eight Families Meet title crossovers which include Godhead (2014), Inhumans vs X-Men (2016), Janus Directive (1989), Lightning Saga (2007), Millennium (1987), Red Daughter of Krypton (2014), The Culling (2012), Throne of Atlantis (2013), Trinity (1993) and Worlds Collide (1994).

Godhead only happens in the Green Lantern titles because the family they go up against is the New Gods and right now they don’t have any titles. Still this isn’t a family crossover but the Lanterns versus the New Gods. This is one of my favorite reads. The personalities of the New Gods are teased out as they interact with the Lanterns in a way that Jack Kirby never did.

The Janus Directive is pretty much what would happen if two secret US government agencies competed. The Janus Directive is more or less Checkmate versus Suicide Squad! The concept is good but actually the series is not very good. The series came out in the Bronze Age and DC seemed to have a harder time in that age than Marvel.

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The Lightning Saga is Justice League of America teams up with the Justice Society of America and then get manipulated by the Legion of Superheroes. The series has some good one on one interactions but overall is a confusing jumble. Too many characters!

Millennium (1987) is more or less a Justice League meets the Guardians of the Universe but often degenerates into a melee crossover. Plus I just hate the art of Joe Staton in the back bone miniseries. Stanton is currently illustrating Scooby Doo and perhaps that is where his cartoonish style belongs.

In Red Daughter of Krypton (2014), Supergirl joins the Red Lanterns. A member of the Superman family joins the Green Lantern family! Wow! Sorry all the multicolored Lanterns are members of the Green Lantern family as of now. This may change in the future but for now I put all the Red, Lantern, Orange Lantern, whatever color Lantern in my big Green Lantern folder. Supergirl and the Red Lanterns are fleshed out as characters in this crossover and overall this is a good read. However, what could have happened but never did happen is an intervention by Superman and better yet the whole Superman family to get Supergirl to abandon the facist, might is right philosophy of the Red Lanterns. A slug fest between the Superman family and the Red Lanterns would have been an interesting slug fest. This is the sort of fight that would get lots of comments on Comic Vine. The outcome of the battle is not obvious. An explanation of sorts of why Supergirl totally rejects the Truth, Justice and American Way that is the hallmark of past Supergirls but I don’t buy the anger (Supergirl V6 #28).

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The Culling (2012) is the Legion of Superheroes meet the Teen Titans. Tons of action but zero character development. What makes Families Meet crossovers work is that the writer allows for some one-on-one team ups between members of the two families that allow for character development and this doesn’t happen in The Culling.

Throne of Atlantis (2013) is not just the Justice League meets Aquaman! Throne of Atlantis is the Justice League meets the Aquaman family which is complex web of Atlantean relationships. For some reason I liked Aquaman as a child in the sixties. I do think Aquaman’s family is neglected and worth a reboot. Ocean Master, the brother of Aquaman, is fleshed out. Vulko is Aquaman’s science advisor and also given more characterization in this crossover. Throne of Atlantis was a straight to video movie release and perhaps the best example of a Families Meet crossover in the DC Universe.

DC has not one but three interstellar police forces! Trinity (1993) explores what would happen if the Darkstars, Green Lantern Corps and the L.E.G.I.O.N. faced a threat together. Families may form an alliance but the alliance is often uneasy as is the case in Trinity.   Hal Jordan in particular feels he has been manipulated by Dox and of course Hal Jordan is right.

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The writers missed a great opportunity to do an homage to the Three Kingdoms Chinese classic with this cast!

Worlds Collide (1994) is a meeting of the Superman family from the DC Universe and Dakota-based superheroes from the Dakotaverse. The Superman family has one token African American character named Steel and he is a big part of the cross over. The heroes in the Dakotaverse are all African American. So this is a crossover that is also interracial although this possible nuance is not explored in the least.

Marvel Families Meet

Marvel has 13 Families Meet crossovers including AXIS (2014), Avengers vs. X-Men (2012), Avengers/Defenders War (1973), Black Vortex (2015), Bloodties (1993), Child’s Play (1994), Curse of the Mutants (2010), Days of Future Present (1990), World War Hulk (2007), Inhumans vs X-Men (2017), Operation: Galactic Storm (1992), The Trial of Jean Grey (2014) and Utopia (2009).

The most commercially successful Families Meet crossovers are AXIS (2014) and Avengers vs. X-Men (2012) which both have the Avengers family meeting the X-Men family. The Avengers have been playing patty cake with the X-Men for a long time before these two crossovers. The first meeting was in Uncanny X-Men V1 #9.

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The second Avengers/X-Men meeting was in Avengers V1 #53.

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The third Avengers/X-Men meeting was in Bloodties.

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The Avengers/Defenders War is an oldie but goodie. My favorite scene was when Doctor Strange, a Defender takes on Praying Mantis, an Avenger.

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Turns out that Doctor Strange is quite the martial artist!

In Child’s Play the New Warriors meet X-Force.

In World War Hulk, the new Hulk family, his war band takes on the Marvel Universe. World War Hulk is the best read in the bunch. The Hulk was stranded on an alien world and picked up one heck of a war, an alien spaceship with all sorts of technology, tons of gladiatorial skills and last but not least a cold, cold anger directed at the Illuminati! However, to get to the Illuminati then you have to get past their allies and that’s just about every superhero in the Marvel universe!

Inhumans vs X-Men is a brand new crossover. Magneto explains why fighting the Inhumans is a really bad idea but Emma Frost doesn’t care.

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Operation: Galactic Storm is the Avengers fight Kree superheroes with the Shi’ar in the mix as well.

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The X-Men meet the Guardians of the Galaxy in the Trial of Jean Grey. The X-Men take on the Dark Avengers in Utopia. My favorite crossover of this type is Curse of the Mutants. In this crossover, the Marvel vampire world is fleshed out. Someone at Marvel is obviously a player of White Wolf’s World of Darkness and came up with some very interesting vampire clans of their own. The enemy of my enemy is my friend means that Dracula is actually a friend of the X-Men!

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DC Melee Crossovers

DC has eleven Melee crossovers including Amazons Attack! (2007), Blackest Night (2009), Bloodlines (1993), Brightest Day (2010), Convergence (2015), Day of Judgment (1999), DC One Million (1998), Genesis (1997), Invasion! (1989), The Multiversity (2014) and War of the Gods (1991). This is my least favorite type of DC crossover. Just about all of the melee crossovers in the DC universe are just slug fests with so many characters that characterization is totally sacrificed. I am not sure if this is a limitation of the plot device or a limitation of the ability of the writers involved in these particular projects. However, Multiversity was a good read.

Marvel Melee Crossovers

Marvel has 25 Melee crossovers including Acts of Vengeance (1989), Age of Ultron (2013), Annihilation (2006), Annihilation: Conquest (2007), Atlantis Attacks (1989), Avengers Disassembled (2004), Casket of Ancient Winters (1984), Corporation (1977), Eighth Day (1999), Heroes Reborn (1996), Heroic Age (2010), Inhumanity (2014), The Initiative (2007), Kree-Skrull War (1971), Maximum Security (2000), Mr. Kline War (1971), Onslaught Saga (1996), Original Sin (2014), Realm of Kings (2010), Shattered Heroes (2011), Siege (2010), The Thanos Imperative (2010), War of Kings (2009), World War Hulks (2010) and Wraith War (1984). Just about all the Marvel crossovers are good reads.

Age of Ultron is on the border of being a Universe crossover. Age of Ultron the comic book has Ultron taking on everyone. Age of Ultron the movie is Ultron against just the Avengers. Ultron is one of Marvel’s more interesting characters since Ultron as a robot brings an outsider view to the very concept of what the human condition is really all about.

Acts of Vengeance is a Bronze Age crossover that is worth reading. Loki makes a mirror image of the Avengers by uniting supervillain heavyweights but they cannot cooperate because of the inherent egotism of supervillains. There are many similarities between Acts of Vengeance and the later Universe crossover Dark Reign. Doctor Doom and Loki are part of the inner circle in both crossovers (Secret Invasion-Dark Reign #1, Spectacular Spider-Man #158). Magneto represents mutants in Acts of Vengeance. Emma Frost is the mutant representative in Dark Reign.

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DC Odd Couple Crossovers

DC only has three Odd Couple crossovers including Brotherhood of the Fist (1998), Emperor Joker (2000) and Rotworld (2012). The number of Odd Couple crossovers is small but all three crossovers are winners.

The Brotherhood of the Fist teams up Batman, Green Arrow, Nightwing and Tim Drake. There are some extended dialogues between Batman as harsh mentor and of Connor Hawke who is the second Green Arrow. Connor Hawke wants Batman to answer questions about his father the original Green Arrow. All the characters are heroes that are martial artists. There is a lot of Bullshido in the crossover but still a good read (Green Arrow V2 #135).

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Swamp Thing is a plant. Animal Man is an animal, primate, well connected to animals. In Rot World we find out what happens when Swamp Thing and Animal Man team up. Swamp Thing and Animal Man are both sort of weird superheroes and complementary along the weirdness dimension.

Emperor Joker is really an exploration of what happens when Superman and the Joker meet! An excellent read! This is by far the best Odd Couple crossover that DC has turned out. What if the maddest mad man in the DC universe became the most powerful man in the DC Universe? That is the premise of Emperor Joker and the premise works. The Joker steals the powers of Mister Mxyzptlk and Superman is trapped in a Looney Tunes world.

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The Joker has been more or less all powerful before his Emperor Joker stint (DC Special Series #27 – Batman vs The Incredible Hulk).

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Look when is DC going to make the Krypton, a super dog and Streaky, a super cat, miniseries? Krypton and Streaky are marooned in a strange dimension and forced to work together to get home. A revamp of the Disney classic Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. If you like cat and dog stories then you will love Hello Kitty & Snoopy.

Marvel Odd Couple Crossovers

Marvel has 14 Odd Couple crossovers including Blood and Thunder (1990), Countdown (1995) , Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968), Dead Man’s Hand (1992), For Love Nor Money (1993), Midnight Massacre (1993), Over the Edge (1995), Rise of the Midnight Sons (1992), Shadowland (2010), Siege of Darkness (1993), Sub-Mariner’s Quest for Krang (1966), Time and Time Again (1994) and Wild Kingdom (2005). Blood and Thunder has the Silver Surfer trying to cure Thor from a berserkers rage and the Silver Surfer finds allies left and right to do this. An interesting plot premise that degenerates into endless slug fests. However, Odin takes on Thanos in this series and that makes the whole crossover worthwhile!

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Countdown is the Punisher versus Bullseye and the repartee between the jocular Bullseye and the somber Punisher makes this a good read. Punisher and Bullseye are characters minus superpowers that rely on their skills with weapons and martial arts to get the job done.

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The Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968) is Doctor Doom getting to know Daredevil via struggle and a mind swap. Doctor Doom walks in Daredevil’s body and not figuring out that Daredevil is blind!

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Dead Man’s Hand has several characters but mostly focuses on the relationship between the Punisher and Daredevil. However, there is some really fun repartee between the Punisher and Nomad. Again, there is a pairing of normal humans that rely on weapons and martial arts to get the job done. The Kingpin is dead and everyone wants a share of the spoils so just about every street level hero and bad guy makes an appearance (Nomad V2 #4).

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For Love and Money has Luke Cage, the Terror and the Silver Sable competing for a mystical item. Luke Cage, the Terror and Silver Sable are all for hire characters so they have this as a thematic similarity.

Midnight Massacre and Rise of the Midnight Sons bring Ghost Rider, Blade and Morbius together. The Midnight Sons are Blade, Ghost Rider and Doctor Strange in Siege of Darkness. In all versions of the Midnight Sons, the heroes have an occult background.

In Over the Edge, Nick Fury must deal with an insane Punisher. Good premise but so-so execution. Punisher versus Nick Fury is less interesting than a Punisher/Nick Fury team up. How about Nick Fury is framed and he turns to the Punisher to help Fury prove his innocence?

Shadowland has an evil Daredevil taking on allies including Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Moon Knight and Spider-Man. These are all street levels superheroes which once again shows that Odd Couples in Marvel crossovers have some sort of thematic similarity. Countdown, Dead Man’s Hand, Over the Edge and Shadowland are all warrior type stories.

The Submariner’s Quest for Krang was one of the first title crossovers ever and really got my attention way back when I was a youth in the sixties. The Submariner swims from his home at Tales to Astonish to Iron Man’s home in Tales of Suspense to make this a title crossover.

In Terrible Trio there is some interesting dialogue between Egghead, The Thinker, and Puppet Master. This is the earliest example of interplay between eggheads of the Marvel Universe. This idea will be used more substantially as a plot device by Marvel later with the formation of the Intelligencia.

In Time and Time Again, Nova meets the New Warriors. Nova is a teenager. The New Warriors are teenagers. You would think the writers would use this commonality as part of the interplay between Nova and the New Warriors but this does not happen.

In Wild Kingdom, the Black Panther meets all the X-Men. More importantly Storm begin their romantic relationship in this crossover. This plot line ends up becoming very important in the Marvel universe. This means that Wakanda, the Kingdom of the Black Panther is a powerful ally of mutants in most cases. Is there some sort of double entendre in the title Wild Kingdom?

DC Universe Crossovers

DC has nine Universe crossovers. In the DC universe this type of crossover often has an architectonic function. This was the case with Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) which eliminated the multiverse and put a bunch of heroes that had been in different Earths in different dimensions on the same Earth. I kind of stopped reading DC for about twenty years because of this event and I wonder if some other old timers did the same. Feel free to leave comments below. Suspension of belief is not an easy thing to do with superheroes period and the Crisis on Infinite Earths really shattered any continuity that allows this plot device to work. Marvel crossovers don’t serve this same architectonic function.

As mentioned, in Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) the entire of continuity of the DC universe was rearranged. Final Crisis (2008) has the word “crisis” in the title but actually has very little to do with the Crisis on Infinite Earths. The crossover is a confusing mish mash of superheroes and supervillains. Flashpoint (2011) is a “what if” story combined with what if Amazons fight Atlanteans i.e. a Families Meet subplot. An entertaining read. What if the bad guys won? That is the premise of Forever Evil (2013). The most entertaining aspect of this crossover is how the Rogues from the Flash turn into heroes because there is evil as in opportunistic and evil as in ruthless and sadistic which is what the evil Justice League from Earth 3 represent. Infinite Crisis (2005), New 52 (2011), New 52: Futures End (2014), DC Rebirth (2016) and Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (1994) are all pathetic attempts to fix the mess left in the wake of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC has six architectonic universe crossovers and the DC universe is still a giant continuity mess!

Marvel Universe Crossovers

Marvel has 16 Universe crossovers including Civil War (2006), Civil War II (2016), Dark Reign (2008), Earth X (1999), Evolutionary War (1988), Fear Itself (2011), House of M (2005), Infinity (2013), Infinity Crusade (1993), Infinity Gauntlet (1991), Infinity War (1992), Marvel 1602 (2003), Marvel 2099 (1992), Marvel Zombies (2005), Secret Invasion (2008) and Secret Wars (2015). Civil War has half the superheroes fighting for superhuman registration and half fighting against superhuman registration. The controversy makes sense if you accept the reality of superpowers. Civil War II is kind of Minority Report comes to the Marvel universe. If you can really predict the future then should you jail people before they commit the crime? Some superheroes think this is a good idea and some think this is a bad idea. Dark Reign is an excellent version of the “what if the super villains won type of story”. Earth X is an alternate Earth which is totally bizarre but also very interesting. Fear Itself has already powerful Marvel beings made even more powerful via mystical means. The House of M is another what if story. What if the mutants won? And then you have the plethora of Infinity crossovers that are collectively called the Infinity Sagas and include Infinity, Infinity Crusade, Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity War. I loved the first one was the Infinity Gauntlet but the idea has been done to death. An Infinity crossover involves all the superheroes and supervillains and includes cosmic beings as well as street level heroes and even abstract entities in some grand mission. Marvel 1602 is the Marvel universe in well 1602! Marvel 2099 is the Marvel universe in 2099! I suppose someday there will be a Families Meet crossover in which the 1602 heroes meet their 2099 equivalents! What if the Marvel universe became a bunch of zombies? This is the premise of Marvel Zombies. A lot of Universe crossovers at Marvel are of the “what if” type.

Secret Invasion is the Skrull invasion of Earth. The DC equivalent is Invasion! In the DC title, superheroes are fighting the Dominators, Khunds, Thanagarians, Gil’Dishpan, Durlans, Warlords of Okaara, Citadelians, Daxamites and Psions. This means that lonely little pre-interstellar travel technology Earth is fighting just about every major Alien race in the DC universe and this makes no sense even by the logical standards of comic books. Secret Wars seems to be Marvels attempt to reorder their multiverse in a manner similar to DC’s Crisis of Infinite Earths. This is the only Universe crossover in Marvel that has an architectonic function.

DC Universe Tour

DC has four universe tour crossovers. Zatanna’s Search (1964) is one the earliest title crossovers in comic books! I do remember really liking the idea of a crossover that skipped from one title to another as a seven year old in the sixties. Zatanna attempts to find her father, Zatara, and seeks the aid of Hawkman, Batman, Robin, The Atom, Green Lantern, and Elongated Man along the way. In Armageddon 2001 (DC), Waverider is quickly woven into the fabric of the DC universe using this plot device. The Black Diamond Probability is the history of Eclipso’s Black Diamond and the Black Diamond passively allowing the reader to explore interesting corners of the DC universe. I love it! Reminds me a little of the Tales of Green Kryptonite.  One of the most interesting stories of this type has the Trenchcoat Brigade giving Timothy Hunter a tour of the DC magical universe in The Books of Magic but the tour happens in one title so the tour is not a crossover.

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Marvel Universe Tour

Marvel only has one Universe Tour and that is the Beyonder traveling around the Marvel universe in Secret Wars II (1985). The Beyonder asks advice from every superhero in the Marvel universe including Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. The Beyonder even takes advice from Vinnie and takes over the world even at the molecular level more or less because of Vinnie’s advice. We are supposed to believe that a being more powerful than everyone and everything in the Marvel universe together is going to take advice from Vinnie? Nevertheless, an amusing read from the Bronze Age.

10secret-wars-ii-3-1985-19 10secret-wars-ii-3-1985-20 However, all this conflicting advice just leads to the Beyonder having one major existential crisis!

Conclusion

A numerical comparison of the two companies and the results are tabulated below and the tabulation is explained after the table.

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DC has eight Families Meet crossovers. Marvel has 13 Families Meet crossovers. Marvel has more Families Meet crossover than DC. My favorite Families Meet crossover is Curse of the Mutants and this is a Marvel crossover.

DC has 61 Family title crossovers. Marvel has 49 Family title crossovers. DC has more Family title crossovers than Marvel. DC also seems to excel in making quality Family crossovers and the Batman ones are especially good. The endless run of X-Men Family crossovers has gotten stale and at this point they all run together.

DC has 11 Melee crossovers. Marvel has 25 Melee crossovers. Marvel has over twice as many Melee crossovers as DC. The DC Melee crossovers are pretty much universally forgettable slugfests. The Marvel Melee crossovers generally have some sort of unifying theme which makes them more interesting.

DC has three Odd Couple crossovers. Marvel has 14 Odd Couple crossovers. Marvel has almost four times more Odd Couple crossovers than DC. DC goes to the trouble of making truly odd couples but do a bad job getting the chemistry to work. Marvel doesn’t try to match up heroes that are totally different but brings together characters that have some sort of thematic similarity.

DC has nine Universe crossovers. Marvel has 16 Universe crossovers. Marvel is a clear winner in this category. The DC ones keep messing with the same architectonic multiverse issue. The Marvel Universe Infinity Saga crossovers are cosmic and entertaining but running out of steam. Marvel has several Universe crossovers that are of the “what if” type. DC only has one “what if” crossover, Flashpoint.

DC has four Universe Tour crossovers. Marvel has only one Universe Tour crossovers. DC has more Universe Tour crossovers than Marvel. DC has a total of 98 title crossovers. Marvel has a total of 109 title crossovers.

Marvel has more title crossovers than DC. The numbers between the companies are pretty close. The big exceptions are Family and Melee crossovers. DC has a lot more Family crossovers. Marvel has a lot more Melee crossovers. Marvel overall seems to do a slightly better job when it comes to title crossovers both quantitatively and qualitatively. Family crossovers have been done too many times by both DC and Marvel. There is a lot of potential in having more Odd Couple crossovers. Universe Tours are an excellent plot device to explore the very interesting corners of the DC/Marvel universes that has been neglected by both companies.

Star Trek, Star Wars and Warhammer 40K (Star Trek vs. Warhammer 40K ) all set their universes within the Milky Way galaxy not in the spatial universe. A galaxy is really, really big. In hindsight both DC and Marvel would have been better off setting their universe in our galaxy rather than in the spatial universe. Below is a map of Marvel universe in space.

marvelcosmicmap

The readers is supposed to believe that the Kree Empire travels all the way from the Greater Magellanic Cloud to the Andromeda Galaxy to have a war? Again, this shows a total misunderstanding of how big a galaxy really is. The Orion’s Arm Universe Project provides some sort of scale as to how big even one part of the Milky Way would be from a humanoid including a superhuman humanoid point of view. There is no map of DC interstellar space available and this shows how haphazardly DC treats this subject.

Appendix

The lists used for this analysis are provided below.

DC Title Crossovers Classified by Type

Families Meet – Green Lantern – Godhead (2014)

Families Meet – Inhumans vs X-Men (2017)

Families Meet – Janus Directive (1989)

Families Meet – Lightning Saga (2007)

Families Meet – Millennium (1987)

Families Meet – Red Daughter of Krypton (2014)

Families Meet – The Culling (2012)

Families Meet – Throne of Atlantis (2013)

Families Meet – Trinity (1993)

Families Meet – Worlds Collide (1994)

Family – Aquaman- Death of a Prince (1974)

Family – Aquaman- The Rise of the Seven Seas (2016)

Family – Batman – A Lonely Place of Dying (1989)

Family – Batman – Battle for the Cowl (2009)

Family – Batman – Bruce Wayne Fugitive (2002)

Family – Batman – Bruce Wayne Murderer? (2002)

Family – Batman – Cataclysm (1998)

Family – Batman – Contagion (1996)

Family – Batman – Death of the Family (2012)

Family – Batman – Endgame (2014)

Family – Batman – Face the Face (2006)

Family – Batman – Gothtopia (2014)

Family – Batman – Joker’s Last Laugh (2001)

Family – Batman – Judgment on Gotham (2011)

Family – Batman – Knightfall Saga (1993)

Family – Batman – Legacy (1996)

Family – Batman – Night of the Owls (2012)

Family – Batman – No Man’s Land (1999)

Family – Batman – Officer Down (2001)

Family – Batman – Prodigal (1994)

Family – Batman – Requiem (2013)

Family – Batman – Robin Rises (2014)

Family – Batman – Robin War (2016)

Family – Batman – The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul (2007)

Family – Batman – Troika (1995)

Family – Batman – War Crimes (2005)

Family – Batman – War Games (2004)

Family – Batman – Zero Year (2013)

Family – Flash – Dead Heat (1995)

Family – Green Lantern – War of the Green Lanterns (2011)

Family – Green Lantern – Wrath of the First Lantern (2013)

Family – Green Lantern- Lights Out (2013)

Family – Green Lantern- Rise of the Third Army (2012)

Family – Green Lantern- Sinestro Corps War (2007)

Family – Green Lantern- Uprising (2014)

Family – Justice League – Breakdowns (1991)

Family – Justice League – Darkseid War (2015)

Family – Justice League – Final Night (1996)

Family – Justice League – Forever Evil- Blight (2013)

Family – Justice League – Funeral for a Friend (1993)

Family – Justice League – Identity Crisis (2004)

Family – Justice League – Legends (1986)

Family – Justice League – Our Worlds at War (2001)

Family – Justice League – Trinity War (2013)

Family – Justice League – Underworld Unleashed (1995)

Family – Justice Society – Black Reign (2004)

Family – Justice Society – The Justice Society Returns! (1999)

Family – Superman – Behold! The Millennium Giants! (1998)

Family – Superman – Death of Superman (1992)

Family – Superman – Doomed (2014)

Family – Superman – Exile (1989)

Family – Superman – Final Days of Superman (2016)

Family – Superman – H’el on Earth (2012)

Family – Superman – Krypton Returns (2013)

Family – Superman – New Krypton (2008)

Family – Superman – Panic in the Sky (1992)

Family – Superman – Reign of Doomsday (2011)

Family – Superman – Reign of the Supermen (1993)

Family – Superman – The Trial of Superman (1995)

Family – Superman – Up, Up, and Away! (2006)

Family – Superman- Savage Dawn (2016)

Melee – Amazons Attack! (2007)

Melee – Blackest Night (2009)

Melee – Bloodlines (1993)

Melee – Brightest Day (2010)

Melee – Convergence (2015)

Melee – Day of Judgment (1999)

Melee – DC One Million (1998)

Melee – Genesis (1997)

Melee – Invasion! (1989)

Melee – Multiversity (2014)

Melee – War of the Gods (1991)

Odd Couple – Black Diamond Probability, The (2012)

Odd Couple – Brotherhood of the Fist (1998)

Odd Couple – Emperor Joker (2000)

Odd Couple – Rotworld (2012)

Universe – Countdown to Infinite Crisis (2004)

Universe – Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985)

Universe – Final Crisis (2008) – Everyone

Universe – Flashpoint (2011)

Universe – Forever Evil (2013)

Universe – Infinite Crisis (2005)

Universe – New 52 (2011)

Universe – New 52- Futures End (2014)

Universe – Rebirth (2016)

Universe – Zero Hour (1994)

Universe Tour – Armageddon 2001 (1991)

Universe Tour – Eclipso- The Darkness Within (1992)

Universe Tour – Zatanna’s Search (1964)

Marvel Title Crossovers Classified by Type

Families Meet – Avengers & X-Men: AXIS (2014)

Families Meet – Avengers vs. X-Men (2012)

Families Meet – Avengers/Defenders War (1973)

Families Meet – Black Vortex (2015)

Families Meet – Bloodties (1993)

Families Meet – Child’s Play (1994)

Families Meet – Curse of the Mutants (2010)

Families Meet – Days of Future Present (1990)

Families Meet – Hulk – World War Hulk (2007)

Families Meet – Inhumans vs X-Men

Families Meet – Operation: Galactic Storm (1992)

Families Meet – Trial of Jean Grey, The (2014)

Families Meet – Utopia (2009)

Family – Avengers – Standoff (2016)

Family – Ghost Rider – Road to Vengeance: Missing Link (1993)

Family – Hulk – Fall of the Hulks (2009)

Family – Hulk – Planet Hulk (2006)

Family – Spider-Man – Goblin Nation (2014)

Family – Spider-Man – Identity Crisis (1998)

Family – Spider-Man – Kraven’s Last Hunt (1987)

Family – Spider-Man – Maximum Carnage (1993)

Family – Spider-Man – MC2 (1998)

Family – Spider-Man – Minimum Carnage (2012)

Family – Spider-Man – Muir Island Saga (1991)

Family – Spider-Man – One More Day (2007)

Family – Spider-Man – Second Clone Saga (1994)

Family – Spider-Man – Spider-Island (2011)

Family – Spider-Man – Spider-Verse (2014)

Family – Spider-Man – Spider-Women (2016)

Family – Spider-Man – The Other (2005)

Family – UK Marvel – Revolutionary War (2014)

Family – Wolverine Goes to Hell (2010)

Family – X-Men – Age of Apocalypse (1995)

Family – X-Men – Age of X (2011)

Family – X-Men – Apocalypse Wars (2016)

Family – X-Men – Apocalypse: The Twelve (2000)

Family – X-Men – Battle of the Atom (2013)

Family – X-Men – Death of Wolverine (2014)

Family – X-Men – Decimation (2006)

Family – X-Men – Divided We Stand (2008)

Family – X-Men – Endangered Species (2007)

Family – X-Men – Eve of Destruction (2001)

Family – X-Men – Fall of the Mutants (1988)

Family – X-Men – Fatal Attractions (1993)

Family – X-Men – Hunt for Xavier, The (1998)

Family – X-Men – Inferno (1988)

Family – X-Men – Magneto War (1999)

Family – X-Men – Manifest Destiny (2008)

Family – X-Men – Messiah Complex (2007)

Family – X-Men – Messiah War (2009)

Family – X-Men – Mutant Massacre (1986)

Family – X-Men – Nation X (2009)

Family – X-Men – Necrosha (2009)

Family – X-Men – Operation: Zero Tolerance (1997)

Family – X-Men – Original Sin (2008)

Family – X-Men – Phalanx Covenant (1994)

Family – X-Men – Regenesis (2011)

Family – X-Men – Schism (2011)

Family – X-Men – Second Coming (2010)

Family – X-Men – X-Cutioner’s Song (1992)

Family – X-Men – X-Termination (2013)

Family – X-Men – X-Tinction Agenda (1990)

Melee – Acts of Vengeance (1989)

Melee – Age of Ultron (2013)

Melee – Annihilation (2006)

Melee – Annihilation: Conquest (2007)

Melee – Atlantis Attacks (1989)

Melee – Avengers Disassembled (2004)

Melee – Casket of Ancient Winters (1984)

Melee – Corporation (1977)

Melee – Eighth Day (1999)

Melee – Heroes Reborn (1996)

Melee – Heroic Age (2010)

Melee – Inhumanity (2014)

Melee – Initiative, The (2007)

Melee – Kree-Skrull War (1971)

Melee – Maximum Security (2000)

Melee – Mr. Kline War (1971)

Melee – Onslaught Saga (1996)

Melee – Original Sin (2014)

Melee – Realm of Kings (2010)

Melee – Shattered Heroes (2011)

Melee – Siege (2010)

Melee – Thanos Imperative, The (2010)

Melee – War of Kings (2009)

Melee – World War Hulks (2010)

Melee – Wraith War (1984)

Odd Couple – Blood and Thunder (1990)

Odd Couple – Countdown (1995)

Odd Couple – Daredevil-Doctor Doom Swap (1968)

Odd Couple – Dead Man’s Hand (1992)

Odd Couple – For Love Nor Money (1993)

Odd Couple – Midnight Massacre (1993)

Odd Couple – Over the Edge (1995)

Odd Couple – Rise of the Midnight Sons (1992)

Odd Couple – Shadowland (2010)

Odd Couple – Siege of Darkness (1993)

Odd Couple – Sub-Mariner’s Quest for Krang (1966)

Odd Couple – Terrible Trio (1969)

Odd Couple – Wild Kingdom (2005)

Odd Couple Time and Time Again (1994)

Universe – Civil War (2006)

Universe – Civil War II (2016)

Universe – Dark Reign (2008)

Universe – Earth X (1999)

Universe – Evolutionary War (1988)

Universe – Fear Itself (2011)

Universe – House of M (2005)

Universe – Infinity (2013)

Universe – Infinity Crusade (1993)

Universe – Infinity Gauntlet (1991)

Universe – Infinity War (1992)

Universe – Marvel 1602 (2003)

Universe – Marvel 2099 (1992)

Universe – Marvel Zombies (2005)

Universe – Secret Invasion (2008)

Universe – Secret Wars (2015)

Universe Tour – Secret Wars II (1985)

 

DC vs. Marvel: Abstract Entities

DC vs Marvel-Abstract Entities

This essay will explore the nature of abstract entities, their relative place in the hierarchy of cosmic entities and then compare and contrast abstract entities in more detail in the DC and Marvel universes. Certain entities are the anthropomorphic equivalent of what is known in philosophy as an abstract object. In the DC and Marvel universe these types of beings are generally referred to as cosmic entities. All abstract entities are cosmic entities but not all cosmic entities are abstract entities. For example, the Celestials (Marvel) have permanent bodies and are cosmic entities but not abstract entities. How do you know if you are dealing with a cosmic entity or an abstract entity? There are three big tests.

1) If the entity has to shape shift in order to have a different appearance to fit different audiences then you are probably dealing with a cosmic entity that is not an abstract entity. If the entity appears to be different to different beings automatically with no effort on the part of the entity then the entity is probably an abstract entity. Mere mortals cannot perceive the abstract entity directly so they create a concrete perception on their own as a perceptual filter.

Dream appears as a Martian version of Dream in The Sandman-Preludes and Nocturnes V1 (Vertigo).

Abstract Entities 1-The Sandman-Preludes and Nocturnes V1 (2010) (Vertigo)

Dream then appears as a cat to a cat in The Sandman-Dream Country V3 (Vertigo).

Abstract Entities 2-The Sandman-Dream Country V3 (2010) (Vertigo)

2) If the entity has a clear function that supersedes their personal whims and identity then you are probably dealing with an abstract entity. Being an abstract entity in both the Marvel and DC universes seems to be accompanied by a certain level of dehumanization. In The Wake, when the original Dream dies and Daniel Hall, a mortal becomes the new Dream, the new Dream no longer has the same feelings for his mother.

Abstract Entities 3-The Sandman - The Wake V10 (2012) - Page 87 Abstract Entities 3-The Sandman - The Wake V10 (2012) - Page 88

Thanos (Marvel) decides to keep a physical body despite having infinite power due to the Infinity Gauntlet. Mephisto (Marvel) reflects that this is a fatal flaw that will ultimately be the undoing of Thanos. Why does Thanos do this?

Abstract Entities 4.1-Silver Surfer V3 #45 - Page 32

If you take on a role in the universe then perhaps the being becomes amoral and more duty bound and perhaps this is the reason Thanos does not ascend to the status of being an abstract entity. If Thanos for example becomes death then Thanos cannot become the lover of death which is his main goal in life! Conversely, Death is incapable of sharing her role with Thanos because of her status as an abstract being. Abstract entities may sacrifice a certain degree of free will even as they become more powerful.  Do abstract entities lose their subjective nature and become more objectified? Thanos may not understand this trade off consciously but senses this trade off at an unconscious level. Anyway, this sort of trade off would make cosmic entities much more interesting! You get more power over external reality and greater durability at the expense of your free will.

3) The entity may appear god like but the entities power level is absolutely independent of worship and actually many abstract entities are totally unknown to any being that is not a cosmic entity. This is especially true of the Seven Friendless (Marvel).  Bast, the Egyptian Goddess, has suffers due to a lack of worship.

The Sandman - Brief Lives V7 (2011) - Page 156

Furthermore gods may begin in dream.

DC Abstract Entities-Dream-The Sandman-Fables and Reflections V6 (Vertigo)

DC

Type of Universe

The DC universe is Abrahamic. The highest being operates via aspects of his being and through angels as agents. Many of the angels have Judeo-Christian names.

Highest Being

The Presence is the highest being in the DC universe and operates not only through abstract entities but also uses aspects of his being and angels to manifest his will.

DC Abstract Entities-Presence-Lucifer #68 - Page 12 DC Abstract Entities-Presence-Lucifer #68 - Page 15 DC Abstract Entities-Presence-Lucifer #68 - Page 16

Aspects of the Highest Being

The aspects of the Presence are at the top of the cosmic hierarchy in the DC Universe. The aspects follow certain laws and if even very powerful cosmic entities try to violate the laws associated with the aspects then disaster will follow. Are aspects of the highest being abstract entities? The highest being in the DC universe seems to be beyond human understanding and beyond concepts of abstract versus concrete objects. The highest being in the DC universe might even be the source of abstract versus concrete objects. The Presence is mysterious and not easily classified. The Presence may ultimately be noumenon as opposed to phenomena and by definition unknowable. The Presence takes on a familiar form in order to explain itself.

The hand is one way the presence communicates and leaves a cryptic message “To know everything is to know how much is not known” which could be interpreted as saying that total knowledge of phenomena means we understand that noumenon is beyond our knowledge!

DC Abstract Entities-Hand-New Gods V3 #19 - Page 20

The immortal and powerful Krona creates a machine that can peer through time and sees the Hand of Creation but tries to see what happens before the Hand appears then evil is unleashed upon the universe. This story seems to be a cosmic version of the Adam and Eve story. The apple represents knowledge that is not meant for mortals. The Hand of creation represents knowledge that is not even meant for immortals.

DC Abstract Entities-Hand-Green Lantern-The Secret Origin of the Guardians V2 #40 (DC)

The Source is the source of all creation and all being in the DC universe. Jack Kirby made the Source very mysterious. Jim Starling, does what he always does with cosmic entities, and reduced the very interesting Source into yet another predictable and boring slug fest cartoon character in Death of the New Gods.

DC Abstract Entities-Source-Death of the New Gods V2007 #5 (of 8) - Mistakes (2008_3_1) - Page 20 DC Abstract Entities-Source-Death of the New Gods V2007 #8 (of 8) - The End (2008_6_1) - Page 5

The Source is guarded by the Source Wall.

The first version of the wall is less a wall than planetoids with giants bound to the planetoids.

DC Abstract Entities-Source Wall-New Gods V1 #5

The latest version of the Source Wall looks more like a wall.

DC Abstract Entities-Source Wall-Death of the New Gods V2007 #2 (of 8) - Celestial Genocide

The wall is very inappropriately turned into yet another slug fest device in Green Lantern Annual V5 #3. Black Hand controls the dead and uses his power to control the dead embedded in the Source Wall.

DC Abstract Entities-The Source Wall-Annual Green Lantern V5 #3 (2015) - Page 5

DC Abstract Entities-The Source Wall-Annual Green Lantern V5 #3 (2015) - Page 6

The Voice is divine will and the progenitor of the Word. The Voice is never heard but the Word is very active in Swamp Thing V2 #168-170.

DC Abstract Entities-Word-Swamp Thing V2 #167 - Page 18 DC Abstract Entities-Word-Swamp Thing V2 #167 - Page 20 DC Abstract Entities-Word-Swamp Thing V2 #168 - Page 8 DC Abstract Entities-Word-Swamp Thing V2 #168 - Page 10 DC Abstract Entities-Word-Swamp Thing V2 #168 - Page 18 DC Abstract Entities-Word-Swamp Thing V2 #170 - Page 11

Angels

The angels clearly have bodies. They have a singular appearance and do not change their appearance for different audiences which is one of the hall marks of an abstract entity.

DC Abstract Entities–Angels-Books of Magic V1 #1 (Vertigo)

Dumas is an angel that never talks and might be an aspect of silence.

 

DC Abstract Entities–Angels-Dumas-The Sandman -Season Of Mists V4 (2011) - Page 100

Gabriel is the lord of the cherubim and seraphim.

Garaquael is in charge of spirits.

Lucifer is a fallen angel and the adversary.

Michael Demiurgos controls the demiurge.

Raguel is the vengeance of God.

Raphael oversees humanity.

The Saint of Killers is an angel of death willed by God.

Spectre is an angel of vengeance.

The Furies in the DC universe specialize in vengeance on those who have killed family members.

Abstract Entities

The Endless are the only cosmic entities in the DC universe that are clearly abstract entities. Everything in the DC universe is below aspects of the highest being including the Endless. The Endless do seem to be more powerful than gods. Gods fade as their nations and worshippers fade and the Endless are well endless. The Endless are clearly less powerful than at least one angel. Dream is clearly fearful of Lucifer. Lucifer is by far the most powerful of all the angels so being less powerful than Lucifer does not mean the Endless are less powerful than all angels.

DC Abstract Entities-Lucifer and Dream-The Sandman-Season Of Mists V4 (2011) (Vertigo)

1) Destiny is the embodiment of predestination. Do abstract entities lose their subjective nature and become more objectified as their power level increasesDestiny (Vertigo) does not appear to have much in the way of free will and is generally considered to be the oldest and therefore the most powerful of the Endless.

DC Abstract Entities-Destiny-The Sandman-Season Of Mists V4 (2011) DC Abstract Entities-Destiny-The Sandman-The Kindly Ones V9 (Vertigo)

2) Death is the embodiment of the end of life. Death is a psychopomp, guide to souls, unlike her Marvel counterpart. Death generally dresses like in black casual clothes and wears a silver ankh on a chain around her neck, and has a marking similar to the eye of Horus around her right eye.

Death explains what a lifetime is to someone who has managed to live fifteen thousand years!

DC Abstract Entities-Death-The Sandman-Brief Lives V7 (Vertigo)

 

Death explains her role to Element Girl in The Sandman – Dream Country V3 (Vertigo).

DC Abstract Entities-Death-The Sandman-Dream Country V3 (Vertigo)

3) Dream is the embodiment of dreaming.

DC Abstract Entities-Dream-The Sandman-Season Of Mists V4 (Vertigo)Dream is tired of his role but his function is so much a part of who he is that he must engineer his destruction through an unconscious series of events.

DC Abstract Entities–Dream-The Sandman-The Kindly Ones V9 (2012) - Page 327 DC Abstract Entities–Dream-The Sandman-The Kindly Ones V9 (2012) - Page 328 DC Abstract Entities–Dream-The Sandman-The Kindly Ones V9 (2012) - Page 329

Dream explains to Desire that abstract entities are a principle of causality rather than manipulators of causality! Becoming part of the very firmament of the universe means a price must be paid.

DC Abstract Entities-Dream and Desire-The Sandman-The Doll's House V2 (Vertigo)

Abel (Vertigo) provides a short but incisive explanation of the secret of how immortality works for an abstract entity.

DC Abstract Entities-Abel-The Sandman-The Wake V10 (Vertigo)Lucifer (Vertigo) explains free will to Delirium (Vertigo) the nature of free will for abstract entities and the choices seem bleak.

DC Abstract Entities-Dream and Lucifer-the-sandman-the-kindly-ones-v9-vertigo1

4) Destruction is the embodiment of destruction and creation.

Destruction (Vertigo) walks away from his role in the universe and he tries to explain why he walked away to his brother Dream (Vertigo).

DC Abstract Entities-Destruction-The Sandman-Brief Lives V7 (Vertigo)

Destruction states, “Are not gross Bodies and Light convertible?” This is Newton’s version of what will eventually become the principle of Mass–energy equivalence (E = mc2) that will eventually lead to atomic weapons and a whole lot of destruction!

DC Abstract Entities-Destruction-The Sandman-Brief Lives V7 (2011) - Page 109 DC Abstract Entities-Destruction-The Sandman-Brief Lives V7 (2011) - Page 110

 5) Desire is the embodiment of emotion including love and hate.

DC Abstract Entities-Desire-The Sandman-Season Of Mists V4 (2011)

 

Desire explains her antipathy towards dream and her/his role to a moral supplicant in Endless Nights (Vertigo).

DC Abstract Entities–Desire-Sandman-Endless Nights 1 (Vertigo) DC Abstract Entities–Desire-Sandman-Endless Nights 2 (Vertigo)

6) Despair is the embodiment of the emotion of despair.

DC Abstract Entities-Despair-The Sandman-Season Of Mists V4 (2011)

7) Delirium is the embodiment of madness. Delirium was Delight until she was transformed.

DC Abstract Entities-Delirium-The Sandman-Season Of Mists V4 (Vertigo)

 

Delirium was once Delight!

DC Abstract Entities-Delirium-The Sandman-Brief Lives V7 (Vertigo)

 

In The Sandman: Overture #5, (8) Time is revealed as the father of dream. The equivalent of Time in the Marvel universe is Eternity. (9) Night is the mother of Dream. (10) Dusk is a distant sister that serves under Night.

DC Abstract Entities-Time-The Sandman - Overture #4 (2015) - Page 5 DC Abstract Entities-Time-The Sandman - Overture #4 (2015) - Page 6

What is the first circle in relation to the other cosmic entities reviewed in this article? Delirium swears by the first circle in Brief Lives.

DC Abstract Entities-First Circle-The Sandman - Brief Lives V7 (2011) - Page 56

 

The Glory of the First Circle commends Dream in the name of the first circle in The Sandman – Overture #6.

DC Abstract Entities-First Circle-Gabriel-The Sandman - Overture #6 (of 6) (2015) - Page 20

 

Marvel

Type of Universe

The Marvel universe is essentially a dharmic universe i.e. there is a highest being but the highest being works through abstract entities that represent laws and principles of the universe rather than through direct agents. In Buddhism dharma means cosmic law and order. The Marvel universe has a clock maker but once the clock was made the clock maker decided to leave the clock alone.

 Highest Being

The highest being in the Marvel Universe is the One-Above-All not to be confused with the One-Above-All (Celestial). The One-Above-All does not use an army of angels or aspects of his being as his agents and solely relies on the Living Tribunal as his agent. There does not seem to be very much communication between the One-Above-All and the Living Tribunal. The Living Tribunal generally acts autonomously.  Thanos and Warlock have a rare extended conversation with the One-Above-All in Thanos-The Infinity Finale.

marvel-abstract-entities-thanos-the-infinity-finale-2016

 

Aspects of the Highest Being

There is no Marvel equivalent to the aspects of the highest being that exists in the DC universe. This is because the Marvel universe is a dharmic universe which operates via laws rather than through the direct will of the highest being.

Angels

 There are angels in the Marvel universe but they have nowhere near the importance of angels in the DC universe. The role of angels in the hierarchy of the Marvel universe is irrelevant given the dharmic structure of the Marvel universe.

Abstract Entities

1) Anomaly creates bodies for abstract entities.

Anomaly first appears in Quasar V1 #20 and Anomaly is killed and replaced.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Anomaly-Quasar V1 #20 - Page 2 Marvel Abstract Entities-Anomaly-Quasar V1 #20 - Page 3The new Anomaly makes a deal with Oblivion in Quasar V1 #21.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Anomaly-Quasar V1 #21 - Page 2 Marvel Abstract Entities-Anomaly-Quasar V1 #21 - Page 3

2) Death is the embodiment of the end of life. Death also exists in the DC universe and has similar powers but is much more likeable. Death in the Marvel universe looks fearsome but takes on different appearances and even different genders with different persons.

Death first appears in Captain Marvel V1 #26.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Death-Captain Marvel V1 #26 - Page 16 Marvel Abstract Entities-Death-Captain Marvel V1 #26 - Page 19

3) Empathy is the embodiment of the emotion of empathy.

4) Enmity is the embodiment of conflict.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Enmity-She-Hulk - Cosmic Collision #1 - Page 34 Marvel Abstract Entities-Enmity-She-Hulk - Cosmic Collision #1 - Page 35 Marvel Abstract Entities-Enmity-She-Hulk - Cosmic Collision #1 - Page 36 Marvel Abstract Entities-Enmity-She-Hulk - Cosmic Collision #1 - Page 37 Marvel Abstract Entities-Enmity-She-Hulk - Cosmic Collision #1 - Page 38 Marvel Abstract Entities-Enmity-She-Hulk - Cosmic Collision #1 - Page 39

5) Entropy is the embodiment of destruction.

Entropy first appears in Captain Marvel V4 #4 (2003).

Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #4 (2003) - Page 14

Entropy explains what he is in Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003). Entropy has some serious daddy issues.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 17 Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 18 Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 19 Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 20 Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 21 Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 22 Marvel Abstract Entities-Entropy-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 23

6) Eon nurtures sentient life. Eon first appears in Captain Marvel V1 #28.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Eon-Captain Marvel V1 #28 - Page 4 Marvel Abstract Entities-Eon-Captain Marvel V1 #28 - Page 21

 

7) Is Epiphany the embodiment of madness? Epiphany first appears in Captain Marvel V4 #5.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Epiphany-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 6 Marvel Abstract Entities-Epiphany-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 7 Marvel Abstract Entities-Epiphany-Captain Marvel V4 #5 (2003) - Page 8

8) Epoch nurtures sentient life. Epoch first appears in Quasar V1 #27.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Epoch -Quasar V1 #27 - Page 21

9) Eternity is the embodiment of time of the universe.

Eternity’s first appearance is in Strange Tales V1 #138.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Eternity-Strange Tales #138 (1965) - Page 16 Marvel Abstract Entities-Eternity-Strange Tales #138 (1965) - Page 1710) Eulogy is in charge of endings. Eulogy first appears in Captain Marvel V4 #25 (2004). Eulogy seems to narrowly be in charge of comic book character endings. In the DC universe characters go to Limbo but Eulogy guides characters to a mysterious glowing door instead.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Eulogy-Captain Marvel V4 #25 (2004) - Page 12 Marvel Abstract Entities-Eulogy-Captain Marvel V4 #25 (2004) - Page 13 Marvel Abstract Entities-Eulogy-Captain Marvel V4 #25 (2004) - Page 14

11) Expediency is in charge of quick solutions. Expediency first appears in Captain Marvel V4 #25 (2004).

Marvel Abstract Entities-Expediency-Captain Marvel V4 #25 (2004) - Page 17

12) In-Betweener is the embodiment of duality. The In-Betweener first appears in Warlock V1 #9.

Marvel Abstract Entities-In-Betweener-Warlock V1 #9 - Page 13

13) Infinity is the embodiment of space in the universe.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Infinity-Quasar V1 #24 - Page 17

 

14) Is Kronos the defender of the universe?

Kronos first appears in The Invincible Iron Man #55.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Kronos-The Invincible Iron Man #55 - Page 14

 

15) The Living Tribunal maintains the cosmic balance at a multiverse level. The Living Tribunal first appears in Strange Tales #157 (1967).

Marvel Abstract Entities-Living Tribunal-Strange Tales #157 (1967) - Page 23

16) Lord Chaos is the embodiment of chaos. DC has the Lords of Chaos and Order but they seem to be gods rather than abstract entities. Lord Chaos and Master Order both appear for the first time in Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 (1977).

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Lord Chaos and Master Order attempt to convince Galactus with argument and then force to once again take on his role as the devourer of worlds and renounce his new role as a life bringer. Galactus ultimately wins (Ultimates #6, 2016). Galactus is part of the cosmic hierarchy but not an abstract entity. Galactus resembles Shiva the Destroyer in Hinduism. Both are destroyers but Shiva’s roles are much more complex and even contradictory. Shiva is part of a triad called the Trimurti that also includes Brahmin and Vishnu. Galactus is part of a triad as well that includes Eternity and Death. The Hindu dharmic universe has a superficial resemblance to the Marvel dharmic universe.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Galactus vs Lord Chaos and Master Order-Ultimates #6 (2016)1 Marvel Abstract Entities-Galactus vs Lord Chaos and Master Order-Ultimates #6 (2016)2

17) Master Order is the embodiment of order.

18) Mirage is the embodiment of nothingness. Mirage first appears in Iceman V1 #3.

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19) Mistress Love is the embodiment of love. Mistress Love first appears as a man that the Enchantress falls in love with in Defenders V1 #107. Mistress Love is identified in the next issue, Defenders V1 #108.

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20) Numinus is the embodiment of numinosity i.e. causes small changes to create awe in the universe in the person affected. Numinus first appears in Power Pack V1 #51.

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21) Oblivion is the embodiment of nothingness. Oblivion has a brief cameo in Iceman V1 #1 but his first important appearance is in Iceman V1 #3.

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22) Sire Hate is also known as Master Hate and is the embodiment of hate. Sire Hate first appears in Infinity Gauntlet #3.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Sire Hate-Infinity Gauntlet #3

23) Unbeing is the embodiment of un-creation. Unbeing first appears in Quasar V1 #18.

Marvel Abstract Entities-Unbeing-Quasar V1 #18 - Page 28Jim Starlin is the foremost creator of the over the top cosmic entity conflict and in marked contrast with Neil Gaiman’s emphasis on internal as opposed to external conflict. The Infinity Saga includes the Infinity Gauntlet #1-6, Infinity War #1-6, Infinity Crusade #1-6, Warlock and the Infinity Watch (1992) #7-10 & #18-22, Warlock Chronicles (1993) #1-5, and Marvel Comics Presents (1988) #108-111 and uses the fist a cuff approach when dealing with cosmic entities.

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Since this article was posted, Marvel has added some layers to their cosmic hierarchy including the Proemial Gods (Marvel) introduced in Annihilation – Heralds of Galactus #2. This suggests that in some ways Galactus is like the New Gods in DC i.e. an inheritor of the universe from older Gods. I would also add that the Proemial Gods appear to be exhibit more physicality and capriciousness as opposed to their successors Galactus, Eternity and Death.

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In Ultimates 2 #2, Lord Chaos and Master Order destroy the Living Tribunal!

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In Ultimate 2 #3, Lord Chaos and Master use the In-Betweener to unite and become Logos (Marvel). Logos (Greek) is an important concept in Greek philosophy. Logos (Christianity) in Christianity is the title of Jesus Christ! Logos (Marvel) is surrounded by angelic wings suggesting visually that the dharmic Marvel universe is becoming more Abrahamic!

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Comic Book Proposal: The Mad Immortals

Jim Starlin, to his credit, wrote the first modern cosmic entity story titled …The Birth of Death which was first published in Star Reach #1 in B&W in 1974. The story was reprinted and colorized by Eclipse in Star Reach Classics #1. I read the original story in a head shop while I was still in high school and the story just blew me away! I explore the impact of comic books on my life in my essay titled Hugh Fox III Comic Book Autobiography. In the interests of comic book history I present the Eclipse reprint version below.

Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 3 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 4 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 5 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 6 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 7 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 8 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 9 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 10 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 11 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 12 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 13 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 14 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 15 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 16 Abstract Entities-Jim Starling-The Birth of Death-Star Reach Classics #1 (1984) - Page 17

 

There are some visual similarities between the characters in the Starlin story and He-Man characters. Death does resemble Skeletor visually. The unnamed muscular opponent of Death resembles He-Man visually. He-Man was designed by Mark Taylor in 1976 which is two years after …The Birth of Death was published. Maybe Mark Taylor saw the story by Jim Starlin and got some ideas or maybe not.

In the story, Death manages to kill all the mad immortals except seven of them! There are also seven Endless! Maybe the seven mad immortals are the DC antimatter universe version of the Endless! I really think Jim Starlin and Neal Gaiman should team up on the story of the Seven Mad Immortals! Brian Michael Bendis in the comic book Alias (Marvel) goes back and forth from a more realistic art style to a more cartoonish art style. The standard superhero story with an emphasis on superhero fist a cuffs is presented in the more cartoonish style. The personal story of how mind control effected the heroine Jessica Jones internally is drawn in a more realistic manner. Scott McCloud explains how these two different art styles effect the reader at the cognitive level in Understanding Comics –The Invisible Art.

Abstract Entities-Comic Book Counterpoint

Jim Starlin could write a story about the fights of the seven Mad Immortals and draw it in his fairly realistic manner. Neil Gaiman provides a counterpoint story from an internal POV of the Seven Mad Immortals in a more anime style. The comic book switches back and forth between the two story lines and thus the first comic book using counterpoint is created! The following is my list of the Endless of the anti-matter universe. All of the Mad Immortals have enhanced durability due to their abstract entity status. The Mad Immortals see themselves as champions of life not mad but have decided to appropriate the name Death has given them. The Anti-Matter universe is asleep and dreaming unlike other universes. The Mad Immortals have learned how to manipulate this state of affairs to their own advantage.

1) Amnesia has the power of memory manipulation on a planetary scale. Amnesia routinely erases memories so Death has no trail to follow. Amnesia can insert memories to create a false trail but generally erases memories. Amnesia can also scan the memories of any being.

2) Ghost has the power to make himself and the other Mad Immortals totally imperceptible to all except Death who can see through this power but only if right next to the person using this power.

3) Logos has super intelligence and is the leader of the group. Logos can also merge the Mad Immortals into a single being that is omniscient and combines all the powers of the Mad Immortals but only for a short period of time.

4) Machine can turn others into robots that serve the Mad Immortals on a planetary scale.

5) Mirror can make duplicates of himself or others. The duplicates of others retain all abilities and powers but have to obey Mirror. Mirror can make thousands of copies. Mirror can also make duplicates of objects and creates copies of money and resources such as weapons as needed.

6) Phobia can cause fear on a planetary scale and uses this to power distract Death.

7) Twilight has the power of metafictional transportation. Ghost can transport herself and others into fictional realms that Death cannot enter. Ghost can only enter stories that have a critical mass of followers and therefore can make the story manifest in the imagination of the universe. Normally even abstract entities cannot enter the imagination of a universe but a sleeping universe is more vulnerable to such transport than a universe that is awake. Ghost can also banish Death to a metafictional realm for a time if Death is within her line of sight. Death can leave a fictional realm once Death has finished the story. However, if Death does not finish a story successfully that is according to the logic of the story then Death may be trapped in a story forever.

The Mad Immortals want to awaken the universe to create a being akin to Eternity in the Marvel universe and therefore radically diminish the power of Death in the antimatter universe. Death must destroy the Mad Immortals before their plan can be accomplished.

Conclusion

There are far fewer abstract entities in the DC universe than the Marvel universe. The abstract entities in the DC universe are less likely to be involved in fist fights than the abstract entities in the Marvel universe due largely to the influence of Neil Gaiman. The main conflict of the DC abstract entities is between their sense of duty and their desire to be free rather than conflict with other cosmic entities. Abstract entities occupy a more central role in a dharmic, Marvel universe than an Abrahamic, DC universe. Abstract entities of the DC universe largely appear in The Sandman series. Abstract entities in the Marvel universe appear prominently in the Infinity Saga which is the brainchild of Jim Starlin and engage in more external as opposed to internal conflict.

Neil Gaiman decided to give all the Endless names starting with “D” after Daniel the Biblical prophet. The letter D is the most negative letter in the alphabet. The letter D corresponds to the number 4, and the planet Saturn or Pluto, and the principles of matter and death. The Chinese consider 4 to be the most unfortunate number and avoid it at all costs because it sounds like “death” when pronounced in Cantonese, and actually helps bring it about. It is perhaps our version of the unlucky 13 which adds up to 4(1+3) in numerology. The Endless do seem to be much more tragic than their Marvel counterparts.

I think less is more when it comes to cosmic entities in general and abstract entities in particular. I remember my first Galactus story way back when in Fantastic Four #48 and how special this story was. Galactus has been overused and so have cosmic entities in general in the Marvel universe. Also, having Galactus get defeated over and over again makes him much less awe inspiring. I mean Galactus is even defeated by Squirrel Girl in Squirrel Girl V1 #4.

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No, not really and actually the Squirrel Girl story might be my favorite Galactus story ever!

Abstract objectification as a superpower is explored at:

Abstract Objectification

DC vs. Marvel Articles

Comic Book Articles

DC Superheroes versus Marvel Superheroes Chess Set Proposal

I have already proposed a revision of the Superman versus Batman chess set.  I have proposed a DC superheroes versus DC supervillains set.  Below is my third proposal:

 

DC

King – Superman

Queen – Wonder Woman

Bishop – Green Lantern

Knight – Batman

Rook – Flash

Pawn – Checkmate Field Agent

 

Marvel

King – Thor

Queen – Storm

Bishop – Iron Man

Knight – Captain America

Rook – Hulk

Pawn – S.H.I.E.L.D. Field Agent

Hugh Fox III - Ice

DC vs. Marvel: Big Monsters

What is a monster?  According to the online version of Merriam-Webster:

“1 a: an animal or plant of abnormal form or structure b: one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character. “

Using definition (b), then just about every super villain would be a monster.  If you add (a) then you still have super villains like Doctor Doom who are deformed.  IGN already wrote an excellent article about DC versus Marvel super villains and I do not want to go over ground already covered.  This article instead will focus on big monsters.  The ultimate archetype of the big monster would be Godzilla.  There is even a particular word in Japanese for this sort of monster: daikaijū.  Monsters generally are big but how big does a monster have to be a daijuku?  I think over 20 feet and if the monster can wrap his/her hand around your waist with one hand like King Kong picking up a damsel in distress then that’s the clincher.

DC

The Silver age was all about big monsters and although Kirby’s Silver age monsters over at Marvel get all the attention, you can actually find a ton of big monsters at DC if you know where to look.

Major Heroes

Aquaman, Aquaman #7, The Creatures from Atlantis, Aquaman #20, Two-Headed Beast, Aquaman #56, The Creature that Devoured Detroit

Aquaman faced three major giant sea monsters during the Silver age.  The following Aquaman, volume 1, issues have a giant monster: #7- The Creatures from Atlantis, #20 – Two-Headed Beast, and #56 – The Creature that Devoured Detroit.  All the monsters are one-shots and not memorable.  Aquaman is often fighting a whale, giant jellyfish or giant shark or whatever but these are little two panel exercises not even worth mentioning.  The author looked at 61 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 61 / 3 = 20.3

Batman, Batman #75, Gorilla Boss, Batman #104, The Creature from 20,000 Fathoms, Batman #134, Rainbow Creature, Batman #138, Sea Beast, #142-Tezcatlipoca, #143 – Bat-Hound and the Creature, and #162 – The Batman Creature.

Batman has faced at least 20 giant monsters.  In Batman volume 1, Batman fought: #75 – Gorilla Boss, #104 the Creature from 20,000 Fathoms, #134 – Rainbow Creature, #138 – Sea Beast, #142-Tezcatlipoca, #143 – Bat-Hound and the Creature, and #162 – The Batman Creature.

Detective Comics, Detective Comics #252, Creature from the Green Lagoon, Detective Comics #255, Robot Dinosaurs, Detective Comics #270, Creature from Planet X, Detective Comics #272, Menace of the Crystal Creature, Detective Comics #277, Jigsaw Creature from Space, Detective Comics #278, Detective Comics # 279, Creatures that Stalked Batman, Detective Comics #282, Cave Eel, Detective Comics #288, The Multiple Creature, Detective Comics # 291, Creature of the Bat Cave, Detective Comics # 295, Secret of the Beast Painting, Detective Comics # 297 – Beast of Koba Bay, Detective Comics #303, Murder in Skyland

In Detective Comics, Batman fought giant monsters in #252-Creature from the Green Lagoon, #255 – Robot Dinosaurs, #270 – Creature from Planet X, #272 – Menace of the Crystal Creature, #277 – Jigsaw Creature from Space, #278 – Giant, # 279 – Creatures that Stalked Batman, #282 – Cave Eel, #288 – the Multiple Creature, # 291 – Creature of the Bat Cave, # 295 – Secret of the Beast Painting, # 297 – Beast of Koba Bay, and #303 – Murder in Skyland.  The author looked at 667 Batman issues and 800 Detective Comics issues for a total of 1,467.   The ratio of issues to monsters is 1467 / 20 = 73.35

Green Lantern, Green Lantern #6, Giant monster on Xudar, Green Lantern #8, Giant Gila Monster from the Future, Green Lantern #30, Dinosaurs, Green Lantern #34, Giant Iguana, Green Lantern #53, Giant Alien

Green Lantern faced four monsters in the Silver age in Green Lantern, volume 1, in issues: #6 – Giant monster on Xudar, #8 – Giant Gila Monster from the Future, #30 – Dinosaurs, #34 – Giant Iguana, #53 – Giant Alien.  All the monsters are one-shots and not memorable.  The author looked at 201 issues to find these four giants monsters.  The ratio of issues to giant monsters is 201 / 4 = 50.25

Legion of Super-Heroes, Monster Master, Legion of Super Monster’s, Earthquake Beast, Eye Monster, Mirror Monster, Drill Beast, Omnibeast, Computo, Braniac 5, Triplicate Girl, Sun-Eater , Galactus, Controllers, Super-Moby Dick of Space, Action Comics #332, Superboy, Validus

The Legion of Super-Heroes deals with several alien and interstellar monsters in volume 1.  The Monster Master even created the Legion of Super Monster’s which includes: the earthquake beast that can cause earthquakes, the eye monster can shoot lightning, heat-vision, x-rays, and blinding light, the mirror monster can reflect any energy force off its shiny armor-plated hide, the drill beast can drill through anything.  Finally, the omnibeast can travel in space, air, land, or sea.  Computo is yet another giant robot conqueror created by Braniac 5 who kills one of the bodies of Triplicate Girl in the Silver age and death in the Silver age is rare and special plot wise.  The Sun-Eater is probably the biggest, baddest, giant monster in the DC universe.  Galactus is the devourer of worlds but the Sun-Eater is a devourer of suns!  The Sun-Eater is a weapon created by the Controllers, a super race in the DC universe and is generally mindless.  Lighting Lad loses his arm to the Super-Moby Dick of Space in Action Comics #332.  Any sort of permanent injury was almost unheard of in the Silver age so the giant monster is an integral part of an important story.

Superboy faced Validus when he was a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Validus is actually stronger than Superboy and it took the combined might of Superboy, Mon-El and Ultraboy to defeat Validus.  The Silver age Superman and Superboy are much much stronger than the Modern Age Superman.  Validus is probably the second most powerful giant monster in the DC universe after the Sun-Eater which did defeat Validus (Adventure Comics #353).  Three important, powerful, giant monsters come out of the Legion of Super-Heroes including Computo, the Sun-Eater and Validus.  The Legion of Super-Heroes breaks the pattern of many one-shot monsters that are not memorable in order to create monsters of great power that are memorable and an important part of the DC Universe history.

Superboy, Adventure Comics #30, Jimmy Olsen, Giant Turtle Man, Jimmy Olsen, Thought Monster of Krypton, Superboy #87, Superboy #102, Adventure Comics #185, Griffin, Adventure Comics #196, Kingorilla, Giant Ape.

Superboy faced a few giant monsters as well.  In Adventure Comics #30 there is a creature quite similar to Jimmy Olsen’s transformation into a Giant Turtle Man in Jimmy Olsen #53.  Superboy fought a giant Thought Monster of Krypton as a baby and a boy in Superboy #87 and #102 respectively.  In Adventure Comics #185, Superboy fought a Griffin.  In Adventure Comics #196, Superboy fought Kingorilla, a giant ape.

Superman’s most famous giant monster is Titano the Super-Ape who was like King Kong with Green Kryptonite vision. In Adventure #295, the world is introduced to Bizzaro Titano that has Blue Kryptonite vision which is deadly to Bizzaros. Superman has also faced 17 other giant monsters in the pages of Superman including: #78- The Beast from Krypton, #86 – The Dragon from King Arthur’s Court, #110 – Giant Ant, the Flame Dragon of Krypton, #127 – Titano, #138-Titano, # 151-Child of the Beast from Krypton from issue #78, #246 Danger Monster at Work, #324 Titano Returns, #348 Storm God, #357- Cosmic Monster, #379 – Chemo.

Superman’s most famous giant monster is Titano the Super-Ape who was like King Kong with Green Kryptonite vision.  In Adventure #295, the world is introduced to Bizzaro Titano that has Blue Kryptonite vision which is deadly to Bizzaros.  Superman has also faced 17 other giant monsters in the pages of Superman including: #78- The Beast from Krypton, #86 – The Dragon from King Arthur’s Court, #110 – Giant Ant, the Flame Dragon of Krypton, #127 – Titano, #138-Titano, # 151-Child of the Beast from Krypton from issue #78, #246 Danger Monster at Work, #324 Titano Returns, #348 Storm God, #357- Cosmic Monster, #379 – Chemo.

Action Comics, Legion of Super-Creatures, Action Comics #347, Eterno, Action Comics #502, Galactic Golem, Action Comics #516, Army of Dinosaurs, Action Comics #519, Cosmic Creature, Action Comics #664, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Action Comics # 671, Sea Serpent, Action Comics #758, Rock Lobster

In Action Comics, Superman faced monsters in #326 – Legion of Super-Creatures, #343 – Eterno, #502 – Galactic Golem, #516 – Army of Dinosaurs, #519 – Cosmic Creature, #664 – Tyrannosaurus Rex, # 671 – Sea Serpent, and #758 – Rock Lobster. The author looked at 666 Superman issues and 873 Action Comics for a total of 1539 to find the 18 monsters mentioned.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 1539 / 18 = 85.5.

Wonder Woman Monsters

Wonder Woman faces 36 giant monsters in Wonder Woman volume 1 during the Silver age including #64 – The 3-D Terror, #66, #87 – Island of Giants, #91 – The Eagle Who Caged People, #97 – Dinosaur, #100 – The Forest of Giants, #105 – The Eagle of Space, #106 – Giants Olympic Contest, #109 – Wonder Girl in Giant Land, #112 – Chest of Monsters, #113 – Invasion of the Sphinx Creatures, #114 – The Monster Express, #116 – Cave of Secret Creatures, #119 – Sea Serpent, #120 – Secret of the Volcano Mt., #121 – The Island-Eater, #123 – Giant Cobra, #128 – Living Seaweed, #135 – The Attack of the Human Iceberg, #138 – Stone Giant, #143 – Fire Breathing Dragon, #145 – Phantom Sea-Beast, #146 – War of the Underwater Giants, #147 – Griffin & Giant Centipede, #148 – Dinosaur in a Department Store, #149 – Giant Flame Creature, #150 – The Phantom Fisher-Bird, #151 – Gooey Monster, #152 – Ice Bird, #154 – Boiling Man, #171 – Trap of the Demon Fish-Man, #233 – Jaws of the Leviathan, #239 – Animated Statue of Liberty, #257 – Dinosaur, #265 – Dinosaurs, and #284 – A Dragon Stalks the Streets.  The author looked at 327 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 327 / 36 = 9.083.  Wonder woman has the highest number of monsters among major heroes!

Justice League Monsters

The Justice League of America had two memorable giant monsters including Starro and the Shaggy Man.  Starro first appeared in Brave and Bold #28 and was the very first super villain that the Justice League of America faced!  Starro has reappeared many times since then.  The Shaggy Man first appeared in JLA #45 and is another giant monster that reappears several times albeit different persons assume the identity of the Shaggy Man.  The Justice League had plenty of one shot monsters as well.  The Justice League fought several Dungeons and Dragons type of giant monsters in JLA #2.  In JLA #15 the Justice League fights an Easter Island sort of monster.  Superman fights a giant purple roman robot in JLA #34.  There are also one shot monsters that don’t even rate a proper name in JLA #36, #40, and #52.   If you don’t count reappearances of Starro or the Shaggy Man then the Justice League fought eight monsters in 261 issues looked at (261/8 = 32.6).

The Second Tier Heroes

Challengers of the Unknown Monsters

Jack Kirby’s contribution to monsters in the Marvel universe will be discussed in that section of the article but Jack Kirby also created a large number of monsters for the silver age Challengers of the Unknown.  The tone was set in one of their earliest adventures in Showcase #7 when they fought a giant robot called Ultivac.  In Challengers of the Unknown volume 1 there are giant robots 13 in the following issues:  #16 -the Incredible Metal Monster, #18 – Invincible Beast of Tomorrow, #19 Beasts of Tomorrow, #20 Cosmic Powered Creatures, #22 the Creature Challenger Mountain, #26 – Aqua Beast, #27-Volcano Man, # 32 Volcano Man returns, #35 – Moon-Beast, #41 – Quadruple Man, #47 – Sponge Man, #51-Sponge Man returns, and #59-The Petrified Giant.  The author looked at 91 issues to find the 13 giant monsters.  The ratio of monsters to issues is 91 /13 = 7.

Doom Patrol Monsters

The Silver age Doom Patrol had one giant monster they fought more than once and that was the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral ManDoom Patrol ,volume 1, had the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man in #89, #93 – Giant Robot, #95 Return of the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, #96 – Giant Jukebox, #97 – Elasti-Girl Transforms to Crystal Giant Menace, #100 – Dinosaur, #103 – Meteor Man, #105 – Mr. 103, #106 – Mr. 103 returns looking like the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, #109 – Mandred the Executioner, #111-Zarox 13 King of the Criminal Cosmos, #113 – Arsenal, #114 – Kor the Conqueror, #115 – The Mutant Master, and #116 – The Galactic Gladiator.  The Doom Patrol fought 14 monsters in 39 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 39 / 14 = 2.7.

Metal Men Monsters

The Metal Men battled several giant robots that fit the giant monster definition but one of the more famous giant monsters of DC is not a robot: Chemo.  Chemo is a collection of chemicals that comes to life.   Chemo is vaguely malevolent but mostly mindless.  Unlike the giant robots that the Metal Men fought, Chemo survived past the Silver age and made it to the Modern Age.  Chemo was a major character in the Infinite Crisis series (2005).  Some of the giant robots the Metal Men fought include the Skyscraper Robot, Torgola, the Rebel Robot, Robot Juggernauts, and Volcano Man, who is not a robot.  The Doom Patrol and Challengers of the Unknown also fight a Volcano Man but I don’t think this is the same one.  The author looked at 56 issues.  The Metal Men battled 6 big monsters.  The ratio of issues to monster is 56 / 6 = 9.3.

Rip Hunter Time Master Monsters

Rip Hunter Time Master in the Silver age is another “B” title that has more than its share of big monsters.  Ripe Hunter is a time traveler that seems to find big monsters in every age not just the prehistoric ones.  Rip Hunter and his time traveling team fought ten giant monsters.  Big monsters are in #1 – 1,000 Year Old Curse, the volcano Creature, #2 – The Alien Beasts from 500 BC, #3 – Giant Octopus sort of creature, #5 – Alien Beast, #7 – Dinosaurs in the past, #8 – Giant Genie, #9 – Alien Flying Creature, #18 – Dinosaur but in the future, 2550 AD, #28 – Rip is turned into a giant monster, and #29 – Giant insects in the present.  The author looked at 30 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 30 / 10 = 3.

Teen Titans Monsters

The Silver age Teen Titans were a second tier super hero team.  In the Modern age the Teen Titans became a first tier super hero team and giant monsters disappeared from their pages.  In volume 1, the Silver age, Teen Titans giant monsters appeared in the following issues: #1 – The Beast-God of Xochatan, #2 – The Million Year Old Teenager (Giant Caveman), #8 – A Killer Called Honey Bun (Giant Robot), and #32 – A World Gone Mad (Sea Monster).  There were four monsters.  The author looked at 53 issues of volume 1 of the Teen Titans. The ratio of issues to monsters is 53 / 4 = 13.

Tomahawk Monsters

Tomahawk is an especially odd Silver age second tier hero in an era of odd heroes.  Tomahawk is an American Revolution hero who fights British redcoats and their Native American allies except they are definitely called American Indians in these pre-PC comic books.  Tomahawk has the distinction of fighting lots of giant American Indians during the Silver age.  Tomahawk fights giant monsters in the following Issues: #46 – The Valley of Giant Warriors (Giant Indians), #58 – The Frontier Dinosaur, #64 – Mystery of the Giant Warrior (Giant Indian), #67 – The Beast from the Deep, #70 – Secret of the Iron Chief (Giant Indian Robot), #73 – Secret of the Indian Sorceress (Giant Sea Serpent), #74 – The Beast from the Labyrinth (Pink Stegosaurus), #75 Master of the Legendary Warrior (Giant Indian with fangs), #78 – Legend of the Sea Beast (Sea Serpent), #82 – Lost Land of the Pale-Face Tribe (Dinosaur), #86 – Tomahawk vs. King Colosso (Giant Ape), #89 – The Terrible Tree Man (Giant Tree Man), #90 – The Ranger vs. the Prisoner in the Pit (Giant Reptile), #91 – The Indian Tribe Below the Earth (Giant Salamander), #92 – The Petrified Sentry of Peaceful Valley (Giant Petrified Indian), The Return of King Colosso (Giant Ape returns), #94 – Rip Van Ranger (Giant Bird), #95 – Tribe Beneath the Sea (Giant Fish), #99 – King Cobweb and his Giant Insects (Giant Insects controlled by Indian), #100 – The Weird Water-Tomahawk (Giant Water Creature), #102 – The Dragon Killers (Dragon), #103 – The Frontier Frankenstein (Giant Frankenstein), #104 – The Fearful Freaks of Dunham’s Dungeon, #105 – Attack of the Gator God (Giant Reptile), #107 – Double-Cross of the Gorilla-Ranger (Giant Ape), #109 – The Caveman Ranger (Dinosaurs), and #115 – The Deadly Flaming Ranger (Giant Flame Creature).  The author looked at a 129 issues of Tomahawk.  Tomahawk fights giant monsters in 27 issues. The ratio of issues to monsters is 129 / 27 = 4.7.  Tomahawk also has the honor of having fought four giant Indians!  I think this has to be some sort of hero record.

Blackhawk Monsters

Blackhawk had several one-shot monsters including Blackhawk #120 (Metal Cyclops), #140 (Tyrannosaurus Rex), #146 (Giant Mechanical Scorpion), #148 (Flying Serpent), #150 (Giant Eagle), #152 (Octi-Ape, Ape with eight limbs), #154 (Beast that Time Forgot), #164 (Twin Creatures of Blackhawk Island), #193 (Valley of the Angry Giants, Giant Mesoamerican Indians), #198 (Giant Nazi Robot), and #226 (Secret Monster of Blackhawk Island).  The author looked at 96 issues and found monsters in 11 of them.  The ratio of monsters to issues is 8.7.

Speculative Fiction Anthologies

In the Silver age both DC and Marvel had speculative fiction anthologies and these were the true homes of monsters and big monsters in general.  The vast majority of monsters in both the DC and Marvel universes were created in these speculative fiction anthologies.

House of Mystery Monsters

House of Mystery, volume 1, has big monsters in the following issues:  #41 – Brontosaurus, #53 – Forbidden Statues, #70 – The Creatures from Nowhere, #71 – Moon Goddess, #74 – Dragon of Time Square, #79 – Creature of Inner Space, #80 – Earth’s Super Prisoner, #85 – Easter Island Monsters and similar to Marvel’s the Things on Easter Island, #86 – The Beast that Slept 1,000 Years, #87 – The Menacing Pet from Pluto, #89 – Secret of the Cave Light, #90 – The Runaway Bronc from Venus, #91 – The Forbidden Face of Fa-San, #96 – Pirate Brain, #99 – The Beast with Three Lives, #101 – The Magnificent Monster, #102 – Cellmate to a Monster, #104 – The Seeing Eye Man, #107 – Captives of the Alien Fishermen, #109 – Secret of the Hybrid Creatures, #110 – The Beast that Stalked Through Time, #111 – Operation Beast-Slayer, #112 – The Menace of Craven’s Creatures, #113 – Prisoners of Beast Asteroid, #114 – The Movies from Nowhere, #118 – Secret of the Super-Gorillas, #119 – The Deadly Gift from the Stars, #120 – The Cat-Man of Kanga Peak, #123 – Lure of the Decoy Creature, #125 – The Fantastic Camera Creature, #130 – Alien Creature Hunt, #131 – Vengeance of the Geyser God, #132 – Beware the Invisible Master, #133 – The Captive Queen of Beast Island, #134 – The Secret Prisoner of Darkmoor Dungeon, #138 – The Creature Must Die, #140 – Giant Alien, #141 – The Alien Gladiator, #143 Martian Manhunter’s sidekick Zook becomes a giant monster, #149 – Giant Insects, #152 Martian Manhunter fights a giant alien named the Creature King, #153 – Martian Manhunter fights the Giants who slept 1,000 years, and #154 – Prisoner of the Purple Demon.   House of Mystery had 46 giant monsters.  The author looked at 300 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 300 / 46 = 6.5.

House of Secrets Monsters

House of Secrets, volume 1, had monsters in the following issues: #1 – House of Doom, #11 – The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Growing, #19 – Lair of the Dragonfly, #24 – Beast from the Box, #25 – Secret of the Sea Monsters, #26 – Menace of the Alien Ape, #27 – Secret of the Fossil Egg, #28 – Horse like Monster, #29 – Queen of the Beasts, #30 – Creature City, #31 – Hybrid Monster, #34 – Puzzle of the Plundering Creatures, #37 – Secret of the Captive Creature, #38 – The Fantastic Flower Creatures, #39 – Alien Bird of Prey, #40 – Master of the Space Beasts, #41 – Dinosaur in Times Square, #44 – Valley of Doomed Creatures, #45 – Destiny of Dooms, #47 – Creatures of Camouflage Forest, #48 – Beware the Guardian Beast, #51 – Mystery of the Stolen Creatures, #53 – Mark Merlin’s Giant Double, #55 – Battle of the Titans, #63 – Cave filled with various giant monsters, #69 – Kill the Giant Cats, #71 – Giant Who Once Ruled Earth, #72 – Revolt of the Morloo, and #73 – Eclipso Battles the Sea Titan.  House of Secrets had 29 big monsters.  The author looked at 153 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 153 / 29 = 5.2.

Strange Adventures Monsters

Strange Adventures did “spawn” one memorable giant amphibian and that is the giant frogs.  The frogs appeared in issues #130 and # 155.  The giant frogs are pictured below:

Also the Faceless Hunter from Saturn first appeared in issues #124, #142, and #153.  The Faceless Hunter from Saturn has made several appearances in the Modern age and even was in a cartoon episode of Batman: Brave and Bold (Siege of Starro! Part Two, Season 2, Episode 15).  Also yellow giants with ears shaped like butterflies who collected humans like humans collect butterflies appeared in issues #119 and #159.  Giant monsters that appeared in volume one of Strange Adventures include: #7 – Giant Ants, #11 – Serpent, #21 – The Monster that Fished Men, #28 – Indestructible Giant, #30 – The Great Ant Circus, #41 – Dinosaurs, #44 – Giant Plant, #50 – World Wrecker Robot, #52 – Prisoner of the Parakeets, #72 – The Skyscraper came to Life, #76 – The Tallest Man on Earth, #82 – Giants of the Cosmic Ray, #91 – Giant from Jupiter, #97 – Secret of the Space – Giant, #101 – Giant from Stalk, #104 – World of Doomed Spacemen, #112 – Menace of the Size-Changing Spaceman, #113 – Deluge from Space, #118 – The Turtle Men from Space, #119 – Raiders from the Giant World, #120 – Attack of the Oil Demons, #122 – David and the Space Goliath, #123 – Secret of the Rocket-Destroyer, #124 – The Face-Hunter from Saturn, #125 – The Flying Gorilla Menace, #127 – Menace from the Earth Globe, #129 – The Giant Who Stole Mountains, #130 – War with Giant Frogs, #133 – Invisible Dinosaurs, #139 – The Space Roots of Evil, #142 – Return of the Faceless Creature, #151 – Invasion via Radio-Telescope, #153 – Threat of the Faceless Creature, # 155 – Return of the Giants Frogs, #157 -Plight of the Human Cocoons, #159 – The Maze of Time, #165 – Secret of the Insect Men, #167 – Gorko the Night Creature, #168 – The Hand that Erased Earth, #170 – The Creature from Strange Adventures (Infinity Cover), #193 – Zomzu the Living Colossus, and #194 – The Bracelet of Deadly Charms.  Some of the monsters already identified were reprinted in later issues of Strange AdventuresStrange Adventures yields 42 giant monsters!  The author looked at 232 issues for this article.  The ratio of issues to big monster is 232 / 42 = 5.5.

Tales of the Unexpected Monsters

Tales of the Unexpected had big monsters in issues  #17 – Moon Beast, #20 – You Stole Our Planet, #36 – Prisoners’ of the Lighthouse Creatures, #40 – Battle of the Colossal Creatures, #48 – The Beast from the Invisible World, #50 – Sun-Creature, #51 – Mercurian Quill Thrower, #52-Guardian Beasts of the Life Stone, #53 – Creature in the Glass Ball, # 54 – Dinosaurs of Space, #55 – Ghost Creatures of Phobos, #57 – The Jungle Beasts of Jupiter, #59-Org, #60-The Beasts from Space Seeds, #61 – Guardians of the Moon Emperor’s Treasure, #63 – Secret of the Space Circus, #65 – The Alien Brat from Planet Byra, #67 – The Beast that Space Ranger Protected, #68 – Prisoner of the Giant Robot, and #70 – Xorog, #201 – Giant Rabbit!  Tales of the Unexpected has 21 big monsters.  The author looked at 208 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 208 / 21 = 9.9.

Conclusion

Overall, the secret to finding big monsters in the DC universe is to focus on the Silver age.  Also do not to look in the mainstream hero comics like Aquaman, Batman, Green Lantern and Superman.  The range of ratios for first tier heroes is 20.3-90.5.

However, every other issue in the second tier comics hero comics like the Doom Patrol, Metal Men, Rip Hunter Time Master, Teen Titans, Tomahawk, Challengers of the Unknown, and the Sea Devils has big monsters.  The range of ratios was 2.7-9.3.  So a big monster is more or less ten times more likely to show up in a second tier hero adventure than a first tier hero adventure.

My theory is that the editors felt that if the hero could not sell the magazine then maybe a giant monster plastered on the cover could.  Also, one of the defining flaws of the second tier heroes is a lack of a roster of strong recurring super villains.  Big monsters were used as a substitute for strong villains and this strategy in hindsight was not very successful.

The speculative fiction anthologies: House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Tales of the Unexpected, and Strange Adventures are the place to find the vast majority of DC monsters.  The speculative fiction anthologies are generally called science fiction comic books but I think this is a misclassification.  These Silver Age anthologies spanned the spectrum of horror to fantasy to science fiction and actually quite a bit of supernatural fiction.  They were the comic book equivalent of the Twilight Zone, definitely speculative fiction rather than the Outer Limits, a more narrowly science fiction show.  The monsters in these anthologies span the gamut of supernatural to horror to science fiction monsters.  The Vertigo Modern Age reboots of the House of Mystery and Strange Adventures stay far away from giant monsters that are still popular but considered cheesy and not up to the artistic standards of the Vertigo press.  The range of ratios for the speculative fiction anthologies was from 5.2-9.9.  This range of ratios is similar to the range of second tier heroes.  However the range is greater for second tier heroes.

Wonder Woman (9.083 ratio) is an exception to the first tier hero rule.  In particular, the Silver age, Wonder Woman was fighting giant men in a large number of issues.  More detailed analysis shows that these giants often treat Wonder Woman like a plaything or even jewelry of the giants.  All the giants in Wonder Woman probably reflect some weird psychosexual dynamic at work as is often the case with the Wonder Woman title from the Golden age all the way the way to the present.  Could some sort of role reversal be at work?  Young boys who are sick of being pushed around by their giant mothers derive vicarious pleasure from seeing Wonder Woman being played with by giant men?  Or did Wonder Woman just attract the weirdos of the comic book industry?

MARVEL

First of all I want to give special thanks to the Monster Blog!  This website is the ultimate online resource for anyone who is interested in the vast number of monsters that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created.  These monsters are often referred to as Kirby monsters.  The blog lists 210 monsters and almost all of them fit the big monster definition.  If you remove all human monsters, monsters that are too small, and imaginary monsters, then are still left with the following list of big monsters:

Back From the Dead, Bombu, Bruttu, Colossus, Cyclops, Diablo, Don Russell, Dragoom, Elektro, Fin Fang Foom, Gargantus, Goliath, Gomdulla, Googam, Goom, Gorgilla, Gorgolla, Gor-Kill, Grogg, Groot, Grottu, Gruto, Gxenu and MARK VIII, I Dream of Doom, It Crawls By Night, Jason Wilkes, Klagg, Korilla, Kraggoom, Kraa, Krang, Kurrgo, Lo-Karr, Magneto, Manoo, Mechano, Metallo, Mister Morgan’s Monster, Mongu, Monsteroso, Monstro, Monstrollo, Monstrom, Moomba, OOG, Orrgo, Paul Marshall, Pildorr, Robot X, ROE, Rommbu, Rorgg, Shagg, Shangri-La, Sporr, Spragg, Sserpo, Taboo, Temujai, the Abominable Snowman, the Alien Gladiator, the Alien Observer, the Aliens from Dead Storage, the Aliens from the Wax Museum, the Blip, the Brute That Walks, the Chamber of Fear, the Changeling, the Crawling Creature, the Creature From Krangro, the Creature From Krogarr, the Creature From Planet X, the Dragon, the Flying Saucer, the Forbidden World, the Genie, the Genie With the Light Brown Hair, the Glob, the Gorilla Man, the Green Thing, the Hypnomonster, the Impossible Tunnel, the Insect Man, the Invaders, the Leader, the Living Totem, the Living Trees,the Lizard Men, the Luna Lizards, the Martian, the Martian Plant Creature, the Martian Who Stole a City, the Martians, the Midnight Monster, the Miracle Man’s Monster, the Mole Man’s Monster, the Molten Man-Thing, the Monster At the Window, the Monster Escapes, the Monster In the Iron Mask, the Mummy, the Ninth Wonder of the World, the Other Cyclops, the Robot Colossus, the Roc, the Sandman, the Scarecrow, the Scarlet Beetle, the Scorpion, the Screemies, the Seeds of Doom, the Space Beasts, the Space Dragon, the Spider, the Statue Gods, the Statue Maker, the Stone Men From Saturn, the Swamp Aliens, the Thing, the Thing Called It, the Thing From the Hidden Swamp, the Thing Hunts For Me, the Thing in the Black Box, the Things on Easter Island, the Tree Alien, the Twilight World, the Two-Headed Thing, the Warriors from Igneous Rex, the Weed, the World Below, Thorr, Titan, Titano, Torr, Trull, Vandoom’s Creature, Wilbur Fiske, Xemnu the Titan, X, X-13, Zemu and Zetora the Martian

However, as much fun as all those monster were for me growing up, they are all one-hit wonders with the exception of the Fin Fang Four that includes Googam, Elektro, Gorgilla and of course Fin Fang Foom.  Xemnu cloned five Kirby monster’s including Groot, Goom, Taboo, Diablo, and The Blip in order to fight the incredible Hulk.  The Hulk is kind of a Kirby monster magnet.  The Hulk also fights It the Living Colossus.  The Hulk along with the Beast, Giant Man and the Thing fought Tragg , Groot , Taboo, Grottu , Droom , Vandoom , Gargantus , Rommbu , Grogg , Moloids , Fin Fang Foom , Mole Man  and the Collector in the 2005 one-shot Monsters on the Prowl.  The Hulk has fought a couple of modern age big monsters including the Bi-Beast and Umbu the Unliving (Hulk #110).  Some other modern age big monsters include the Devil Dinosaur, Dragon Man, Giganto , Midgard Serpent, the Moles Man’s monsters and Wendigo.   Marvel has a universe style guide of their monsters: Marvel Monsters: From the Files of Ulysses Bloodstone and the Monster Hunters.

I have not included Godzilla in the list of giant monsters at Marvel!  Godzilla is a Toho Studios monster and his foray into the Marvel universe was poor fit.  Marvel no longer has the licensing rights to Godzilla and hopefully this sorry episode in the Marvel Universe is dead, dead, dead, forever.  Godzilla could lift 20,000 tons with ease.  Thor and the Hulk are 100 ton lifters!  So this interloper is about 200 times stronger than the heavyweights of the Marvel Universe!  How can Marvel superheroes fight this guy at all?  Yet they do rather than being squashed like ants!  Suspension of belief is a delicate thing that Godzilla in the Marvel Universe practically destroyed.  Just a poor fit on every level.  Keep in mind I am the author of Hello Kitty vs. Godzilla so when I find a story to be over the top then that’s saying a lot.

There is a misconception that Marvel has more monsters, especially giant monsters, than DC.  DC actually created more monsters during the Silver age than Marvel but they were much less memorable and spread across many titles as one-shots and many of the monsters did not even have names.  Ironically, Kirby did have a monster comic book at DC, Challengers of the Unknown, but the fact that this comic book was filled with monsters has been totally ignored until now.

Fing Fang Foom is easily the premiere giant monster at Marvel.  Fing Fang Foom has appeared in over 20 issues across the spectrum of Marvel titles.  Fing Fang Foom appears in toy form in Iron Man 2008.  Fing Fang Foom in the only Kirby monster to be made into a HeroClix giant figure!  Fing Fang Foom is arguably one of the more interesting Kirby monsters visually as you can see from the HeroClix figure picture below:

Validus faces off against Fing Fang Foom.  Fing Fang Foom can sense that Validus has a the mind of a child and tries to communicate with Validus but Validus is immune to telepathy.  Validus rips off one of Fing Fang Foom’s arms with ease.  Fing Fang Foom is a genius level strategist and decides it.s time to run for the hills.  Fing Fang Foom starts to fly away.  Validus does not have the power of flight.  Validus zaps Fing Fang Foom from the sky with his unique mental lightning which can even knock out the Silver Age Superboy.  Fing Fang Foom decides to die ironically, and as Validus cradles the dying Fing Fang Foom, Fing Fang Foom says, “Rosebud” with his dying breath.  Validus doesn’t get the joke and looks for something else to smash.

Other articles in the DC vs. Marvel Series:

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Super pets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

WesternHeroes

Women in Refrigerators

WorkingWomen

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

More comic book articles on this blog at:

https://foxhugh.com/?s=comic

 

DC vs. Marvel: Sidekicks

This post will compare sidekicks of the DC and Marvel universes. Which universe has the best sidekicks?  First of all, what is a sidekick?  Wikipedia provides the following definition “A sidekick is a close companion who is generally regarded as subordinate to the one he accompanies”.  Wikipedia in the same article expands on the functions of a sidekick “Sidekicks can provide one or multiple functions, such as a counterpoint to the hero, an alternate point of view, or knowledge, skills, or anything else the hero doesn’t have. They often function as comic relief, and/or the straight man to the hero’s comedic actions. A sidekick can also act as someone more relatable to the audience than the hero, or whom the audience can imagine themselves as being (such as teen sidekicks). And by asking questions of the hero, or giving the hero someone to talk to, the sidekick provides an opportunity for the author to provide exposition, thereby filling the same role as a Greek chorus”.  A sidekick is not a villain’s henchmen or the romantic interest of a hero which is generally referred to as a companion.

The picture above got me thinking about sidekicks.  The picture is from page 199 of the graphic novel Bizzaro Comics (2001).  Bizzaro Comics is a hilarious collection of indie writers and artist’s parodies of DC comic titles.  This picture is from the story titled Without You I’m Nothing and follows the travails of obscure discarded sidekicks.  I am a comic book historian and do get a kick out of stories that use obscure characters like this story does.  I was not able to identify all the side kicks in the picture but have a partial answer key at the end of this post.  This post also attempts to provide definitive lists of sidekicks in the DC and Marvel universes and the Wikipedia definition was strictly adhered to.  Many obscure characters that have not been included in prior lists of this nature have been included in this post.  Below is a definitive list of DC sidekicks that will be discussed later.

List of DC Sidekicks

Superhero Sidekick First Appearance
Aquaman Aquagirl 1 (Lisa Morel) Adventure Comics #266 (November, 1959)
Aquaman Aquagirl 2 (Tula) Aquaman (vol. 1) #33 (May-June 1967)
Aquaman Aqualad  (Garth) Adventure Comics #269 (February 1960)
Aquaman Topo (Octopus) Adventure Comics #229 (October 1956)
Aquaman Qwsp Aquaman (vol. 1) #1 (January-February 1962)
Batman Ace the Bat Hound Batman #92, June 1955
Batman Alfred Pennyworth (Butler) Batman #16 (April-May 1943
Batman Bat-Girl (Bette Kane) Batman #139 (April 1961)
Batman Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) Detective Comics #359 (January 1967)
Batman Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) Legends of the Dark Knight # 120 (August 1999)
Batman Robin 1 (Dick Grayson) Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)
Batman Robin 2 (Jason Todd) Batman #357 (March 1983)
Batman Robin 3 (Tim Drake) Batman #436 (August 1989)
Batman Robin 4, Spoiler, Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) Detective Comics #647 (August 1992)
Batman Robin 5 (Damian Wayne) Batman #655 (September 2006)
Batman Robin Earth II (Richard Grayson) Detective Comics #38 (April, 1940)
Blackhawk Lady Blackhawk (Zinda) Blackhawk # 133 (February 1959)
Blue Devil Kid Devil Blue Devil #14 (July 1985)
Booster Gold Goldstar Lobo #5 (May ’94)
Booster Gold Skeets Booster Gold (vol. 1) #1 (1986)
Captain Marvel Captain Marvel Jr. Whiz Comics #25 (December 1941)
Captain Marvel Lieutenant Marvels Whiz Comics #21 (1941)
Captain Marvel Mr. Tawky Tawny (Anthropomorphic Tiger) Captain Marvel Adventures #79
Captain Marvel Uncle Marvel Wow Comics #18 (October 1943)
Captain Mid-Nite Hooty the Owl All-American Comics #25 (April, 1941)
Chameleon Boy Proty I Adventure Comics #308 (May 1963)
Chameleon Boy Proty II Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #72 (October 1963)
Crimson Avenger Wing How Detective Comics #20 (October 1938)
Flash Impulse (Bart Allen) Flash (vol. 2) #92 (June 1994)
Flash Kid Flash I (Wally West) The Flash  (vol. 1) #110 (December 1959)
Flash Kid Flash II (Iris West) Kingdom Come #3 (July 1996)
Flash Kid Flash III (Bart Allen) Teen Titans (vol. 3) #4 (December 2003)
Flash S’kidd Flash Flash vol 2 #235 (February, 2008)
General Glory Ernie the Battling Boy Justice League America # 46 (January 1991)
Green Arrow Amber Archer (Connor Hawke) Green Arrow vol 2 #0 (October, 1994)
Green Arrow Arrowette World’s Finest Comics #113 (November 1960)
Green Arrow Speedy  I (Roy Harper) More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)
Green Arrow Speedy II (Mia Dearden) Green Arrow (vol. 3) #44 (January 2005)
Green Lantern Gen’ma Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #6
Green Lantern Doiby Dickles All-American Comics #27 (June 1941)
Green Lantern Terry Berg Green Lantern (vol. 3) #129 (October 2000)
Green Lantern Thomas Kalmaku (Pieface) Green Lantern (Vol. 2) #2 (September-October 1960)
Icon Rocket Icon #1 (May 1993)
Johnny Thunder Black Lightning the Horse Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)
Joker Harley Quinn The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993)
Justice League of America Snapper Carr The Brave and the Bold #28 (February-March 1960)
Justice League International G’nort (Green Lantern, Humanoid Dog) Justice League International #10 (February, 1988)
Knight Squire (Cyril) Batman #62,(December 1950)
Little Boy Blue Tubby, Toughy Sensation Comics #1 (January, 1942)
Martian Manhunter Zook Detective Comics #311 (January, 1963).
Mr. Scarlet Pinky the Whiz Kid Wow Comics #4 (1940)
Owlman Talon Teen Titans vol. 3 #38 (September 2006)
Plastic Man Woozy Winks Police Comics #13 (November 1942)
Robin Flamebird (Mary Elizabeth Kane) Teen Titans #50 (October, 1977)
Tomahawk Dan Hunter Star-Spangled Comics #69 (June 1947)
Sandman Brute The Sandman #1 (May 1974)
Sandman Glob The Sandman #1 (May 1974)
Sandman Sandy the Golden Boy (Sandy Hawkins) Adventure Comics # 69 (December 1941)
Space Ranger Cyrll Showcase #15, (July 1958)
Star Hawkins Ilda (Robot) Strange Adventures #114 (March 1960)
Star-Spangled Kid Stripsey (Pat Dugan) Action Comics #40 (September, 1941).
Superboy Pete Ross Superboy #86 (January 1961)
Super-Girl Comet the Super-Horse (Biron) Action Comics #292 (1962)
Super-Girl Streaky the Super-Cat Action Comics #292 (1962)
Superman Bo “Bibbo” Bibbowski Adventures of Superman #428 (May 1987)
Superman Jimmy Olsen Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
Superman Krypto Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955)
Superman Super-Girl Superman #123 (August 1958)
TNT Dan the Dyna-Mite (Daniel Dunbar) World’s Finest Comics #5 (Spring 1942)
Vigilante Stuff the Chinatown Kid Action Comics #45 (February 1942)
Wonder Woman Etta Candy Sensation Comics #2 (Feb. 1942)
Wonder Woman Wonder Girl 1 (Wonder Woman as a teenager) All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941),
Wonder Woman Wonder Girl 2 (Donna Troy) The Brave and the Bold vol. 1 #60 (July 1965)
Wonder Woman Wonder Tot Wonder Woman #105 (April, 1959)

Robin wins the best DC sidekick prize easily.  Robin is the first teenage super hero sidekick and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Robin has been flattered to death.  DC went ahead and created an army of teenage sidekicks.  Eventually the teenage sidekicks of the major superheroes founded a teenage sidekick version of the Justice League called the Teen Titans.  The original Teen Titans included Aqualad, Kid Flash, Robin and Wondergirl.  Later still, Young Justice is created.  The Teen Titans and Young Justice meet in a giant sidekick crossover between their two groups.

The obvious absurdity of Robin is that crime fighting is dangerous work even for an adult like Batman and introducing a minor to crime fighting makes no sense whatsoever except as a plot device.  Batman’s villains were obviously very aware that Robin was the weak link and Two-Face even referred to Robin as the boy hostage.  The psychologist Fredric Wertham decided there was a homosexual subtext in the Batman and Robin relationship and wrote about this in Seduction of the Innocent.  Batman goes through a whole slew of Robins and eventually one gets killed brutally by the Joker with a crow bar in a Death in the Family.  Jason Todd is the lucky Robin to suffer death and the best part is that readers entered a poll to decide if he lived or died.  Truly a low point in comic book history but a lot of Batman issues were sold so all in all the project was a success.  Later Robin 4 (Stephanie Brown) in the identity of the Spoiler is even more brutally killed by the Black Mask with a power drill.

Of course no one really dies in comic books so Jason Todd return as the Red Hood and wants some payback from Batman for letting him die and secondly, and probably more importantly letting the Joker live.  The five Robins all get starring roles after Batman “dies”.  The ex-Robins have all become heroes in their own right.  I would argue that the Red Hood is an antihero not a villain.  Robin 1, Dick Grayson, has become Nightwing.  Robin 3, Tim Drake, becomes Red Robin.  Stephanie brown is resurrected from her power drill death and becomes Batgirl.  The male Robins are all potential impersonators of the dead Batman. The Red Hood gets in the act and kind of forces Dick Grayson to become the new Batman because if he doesn’t then the Red Hood will assume the role.  The potential heirs to Batman agree that the death of Batman should be hidden and one of them should pretend to be the original Batman.  This is similar to the Phantom, the ghost who walks that has the son of the prior Phantom assume the role of the Phantom so as to give the illusion that the Phantom never dies.  The Robins are basically sons of Batman but unfortunately there is more than one son i.e. more than one Robin and succession is not clear.  This jockeying between the Robins is largely covered in the Batman miniseries Battle for the Cowl but this power struggle affected all Batman related titles of the last year.  Dick Grayson does a good job impersonating Batman but doesn’t fool Commissioner Gordon.  The new Batman of course needs a new Robin and gets a psychopath kid, due to being trained by the League of Assassins since childhood.   This new Robin is the long lost son of Bruce Wayne and called Damian Wayne.  Confused?  Everyone is confused so don’t feel bad.  I am sure the writers of the Batman lines have cheat cards on their desks.  Will the barnacles of Batman history eventually sink the line?  Maybe!

Robin and his teenage copies at DC and even Marvel have so dominated the sidekick market in comic books that readers tend not to look at the broader literary concept of a sidekick when looking at comic books.  Another Batman sidekick is Alfred Pennyworth.  Alfred provides an alternate point of view to the audience as well as the ability to aid Batman when he is hurt.  Alfred has surgical skills gained when Alfred was an army medic.  Alfred was also in the theater and can pretend to be Batman when needed.  This is a rarely used skill of Alfred that is nevertheless crucial when someone is too close to discovering Batman’s identity.  Robin is presumably too small to provide a similar function and anyway Robin needs to be by Batman’s side so people don’t think Robin is pretending to be Batman.  Alfred Pennyworth can be extremely critical and sarcastic with Batman unlike the army of Robins.  Alfred provides an “adult” perspective about Batman to the reader.  Alfred has known Batman since he was a child. Alfred is aware of the how the killing of Batman’s parents made Batman a great crime fighter at the expense of a normal life.  The Red Hood has argued with Batman that most of his hard core rogues gallery only fear death and the fact that Batman does not kill and the fact that the villains know this limits the effectiveness of Batman as a crime fighter.  Batman may be able to instill fear in common criminals but provides more challenge than fear to the likes of the Joker.  In Batman #647, Alfred actually agrees with the Red Hood mentally but does not express his views to Batman verbally.

Batman is a serial teenage sidekick mentor and there is something very creepy about this.  Any “normal” person would not expose even one minor to extreme violence and certainly would not continue this behavior after the death of Jason Todd much less the subsequent death of Stephanie Brown.  Alfred has expressed dismay about the use of teenage sidekicks many times to Batman.  However, Alfred in the end is the dutiful butler who does what his master wishes despite any misgivings about such a course of action.  Alfred’s subordination to Batman’s wishes despite sarcastic remarks is what makes Alfred a sidekick rather than an equal partner.  Batman is not the only member of the Batman story line with a sidekick.

The Joker, Batman’s archenemy, has a sidekick!  Villains generally do not have sidekicks but henchmen, minions or lackeys.  Villains are generally egomaniacs and incapable of having long lasting meaningful relationships or so the theory goes. Villains see their henchmen as disposable cannon fodder.  The Joker generally treats those around him in precisely this manner but there is one exception and that is Harley Quinn.  Harley Quinn was a female psychiatrist that treated the Joker at Arkham Asylum and turned to the dark side rather than curing the Joker.  Harley Quinn is in love with the Joker but the relationship has clearly never been consummated.  The Joker obviously sees Harley Quinn as a capable sidekick even if Harley Quinn wants more.  Harley Quinn is a near superhuman gymnast who uses her skill with great combat effectiveness.  Harley Quinn wears a Jester outfit and became friends with Poison Ivy at Arkham were she ironically resided after her break down.  Harley Quinn provides comic relief to Joker stories that despite the name of the Joker were not very funny before Harley Quinn showed up.

The Joker had been jealous of Batman having Robin as a sidekick in the silver age and got his own one-shot sidekick in Batman #186 called Gaggy.  The main function of Gaggy was to provide comic relief to then Joker since such comic relief led to the Joker having great crime ideas.  Gaggy rather simplistically hated Robin and managed to knock Robin out with a head butt to the stomach.  Gaggy was never heard of after that one issue.  I think an issue in which Gaggy, embittered by being discarded by the Joker, targets Harley Quinn for assassination might be interesting.  Harley Quinn turns to Batman to figure out who is trying to kill her and clues are left that the culprit is a dwarf with a penchant for practical joke paraphernalia.  Since not an awful lot of characters fit that description, Batman deduces that the culprit is Gaggy!  Did I mention I like obscure comic book characters?  Batman’s sidekicks on the whole do not provide comic relief.  This is not the case of Captain Marvel.

Captain Marvel also has an army of sidekicks but largely for comic relief.  Mr. Tawky Tawny is an anthropomorphic tiger i.e. a funny animal that gets into all sorts of silly trouble Captain Marvel can save the tiger from.  Uncle Marvel is an older bumbling version of Captain Marvel.  Captain Marvel was always a sillier line than his doppelganger Superman.

Flash is another serial sidekick character that has gone through three Kid Flash characters.  Kid Flash was clearly inspired by Robin.  Super speed is a major power that is very much underestimated in comic books.  Basically you can hit the bad guy a hundred times and dodge whatever the bad guy tosses at you.  “Realistically” the foes of the Flash should stand no chance against the Flash.  Captain Cold has a freeze gun.  The Flash should be able to dodge anything the cold gun can come up with.  A teenager with super speed is still incredibly powerful despite being a teenager unlike Robin who has no super powers and even the inferior strength of someone who is younger.  Maybe a Kid Flash can only punch with half the power of an adult but a hundred punches later and even the toughest boxer is going down.

Green Arrow has had two teenage sidekicks named Speedy.  The first Speedy grows up to become a heroin addict, but recovers, and there is some suggestion that maybe crime fighting as a teenager might not be all that healthy psychologically and contributed to the heroin addiction.

Superman only has one teenage sidekick and that is Jimmy Olsen.  In the silver age, Jimmy Olsen was officially Superman’s best pal and again very creepy if you think about it.  Superman is perennially in his early thirties and if I saw some thirty year old hanging around a teen rather than a guy his own age then I would wonder exactly what function this teenager serves.  Jimmy even has a watch with an ultrasonic signal that allows him to call Superman when he is in danger.  Lois Lane does not have such a watch!  Teenage guy gets the watch but not the gal?  Maybe the silver age Superman had reasons for not marrying Lois Lane that had more to do with subconscious gender preference than any other reason.

Superman has a dog called Krypto.  In the silver age, Batman got a dog called Ace but there is no comparison with Krypto and Ace in terms of importance.  Superman in the silver age was Superboy and Krypto and Superboy were constant companions.  This is one of the healthier sidekick relationships in comic books.  Krypto cannot talk but can communicate to the reader via thought balloons that show what Krypto is thinking.  Krypto’s attempts to understand Superboy’s behavior using canine logic were pretty cute and comical and one of the few things that made the otherwise lame Superboy title work.

The current Supergirl has no hyphen between “Super” and “Girl” in her name.  The current Supergirl is a hot babe in a half shirt who has fled to the 31st century to avoid being a sidekick!  The silver age Super-Girl, on the other hand, was very much a sidekick.  She was teenager attending high school and was kept as a secret weapon for much of her silver age career.  Super-Girl was Superman’s cousin so no fear of hanky-panky that would make her a companion.  However, Super-Girl does try to match Superman up with an adult version of her on another planet!

Super-Girl has sidekicks in her own right!  Super-Girl has a super cat named Streaky and a super horse named Comet.  Somewhere in the Superman family there is a super monkey named Beppo but I am not really sure who he belongs to.  All the super animals unite with Proty to create the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st century.  Years later Marvel will make its own group of superhero animal sidekicks.  Proty is the sidekick of Chameleon Boy who is a member of the Legion of Super Heroes of the 31st century.  Proty I sacrificed himself to revive the dead Lighting Lad but a Proty II soon shows up.  Proty I and II are aliens that look like blobs and can mimic just about any form.

That leaves us with Wonder Women’s sidekicks.  The silver age Woman had several sidekicks.  Etta Candy was a fat rather stupid college student who was supposed to be used for comic relief but was more obnoxious than funny.  The silver age Wonder Woman went through a rather silly phase in which she had adventures with herself as a Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot!  Wonder Woman used Amazonian technology to create films of herself that showed “what if” adventures with her younger versions.  I have to tell you I was maybe seven when a lot of these adventures came out originally and I was totally confused.  I assumed Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were sisters of Wonder Woman and didn’t find out the “truth” until I was in my thirties.  Wonder Woman is probably one of those silver age titles that is really hard for modern readers to digest but the title had a fantasy quality that was very different from the more sci-fi quality of most silver age stuff and appealed to my young imagination.  Wonder Woman may go down in literary history as the only character that had two versions of herself as her own sidekicks. The graphic novel Bizzaro Comics (2001) does have a story with Wonder Tot and Wonder Girl racing to sit next to Wonder Woman during lunch and destroying half the Amazon city in the process.  Later, a more Robin like Wonder Girl was created as a sidekick.

Below is a list of Marvel sidekicks that will be discussed at the end of this list:

List of Marvel Sidekicks

Superhero Sidekick First Appearance
Avengers, Iron Man Edwin Jarvis (Butler) Tales of Suspense #59 (Nov 1964)
Captain America Bucky I Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
Captain America Bucky II (Rick Jones)  
Captain America Free Spirit Captain America vol. 1 #431 (September 1994)
Captain America Jack Flag (Jack Harrison) Captain America #434, (December 1994)
Captain Britain Jackdaw The Incredible Hulk Weekly #57 (April 1980)
Captain Marvel Falcon (Sam “Snap” Wilson) Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)
Daredevil Foggy Nelson Daredevil v1 #1 (April 1964)
Deadpool Weasel Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1 (August 1993)
Deadpool Blind Al Deadpool #1 (Jan. 1997)
Deadpool Bob, Agent of HYDRA Cable & Deadpool #38 (May 2007)
Doc Samson Geiger Captain America vol. 1 #431 (September 1994)
Doctor Strange Wong Strange Tales #110 (Jul 1963)
Falcon Redwing (Hawk) Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)
Franklin Richards H.E.R.B.I.E. (Robot) Fantastic Four #209 (August 1979)
Hulk Jim Wilson Incredible Hulk  v1 #131 (September, 1970)
Hulk Teen Brigade Incredible Hulk v1 #6 (March 1963)
Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Avengers Rick Jones Incredible Hulk v1 #1 (May 1962)
Human Torch Toro Human Torch Comics #2 (Fall 1940)
Inhumans Lockjaw (Dog) Fantastic Four #45, (December 1965)
Ka-Zar Zabu (Sabertooth Tiger) X-Men #10 (Mar 1965)
Fantastic Four Franklin Richards (Son of Reed Richards & Susan Storm) Fantastic Four Annual #6 (November 1968)
Fantastic Four, Franklin Richards Valeria Richards (Daughter of Reed Richards & Susan Storm) Fantastic Four vol. 3 #54 (June 2002)
Fantastic Four Lockjaw Puppy (Dog) Fantastic Four vol.3 #9.
Nick Fury Dum Dum Dugan Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 (May 1963)
Shadowcat Lockheed (Small Dragon) Uncanny X-Men #166 (Feb 1983)
Speedball Niels, Hairball (Cat) Speedball #1
Spider-Man Jackpot Free Comic Book Day Spider-Man: Swing Shift (May 2007)
Spider-Man Ms. Lion (Dog) Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends #1
Spider Girl Scarlet Spider 3 (Felicity Hardy) Spider-Girl # 46
Taskmaster, Agent X Sandi Brandenberg Taskmaster Mini-Series (2002)
Thing, Captain America Demolition Man aka D-Man Captain America #328 (April 1987)
Wolverine Jubilee Uncanny X-Men #244 (May, 1989)
Young Allies Whitewash Jones Young Allies Comics 1941

The first sidekick on the list is Edwin Jarvis who is a butler at Avengers Mansion that in turn is owned and operated by Tony Stark.  Tony Stark is of course Iron Man.  Jarvis is an obvious clone of Alfred, Batman’s butler, but is much more one dimensional and provides comic relief rather than insight into the super heroes he deals with unlike Alfred.  Alfred was a medic during a time of war and may be old but is obviously tough and handles sensitive Batman impersonation missions.  Alfred would beat the crap out of Jarvis in any altercation.

Bucky is probably the most famous sidekick in the Marvel universe.  Bucky is Captain America’s sidekick from the golden age that was killed in the golden age.  In 2010, Bucky was resurrected after more than forty years just to make sure whatever faith readers had in comic book continuity was crushed once and for all so that suspension of disbelief via continuity would be rendered impossible once and for all.  Comic sales are down way down.  The recession and competition with other media are to blame but decisions like the Bucky resurrection don’t help.  Anyway, Captain America is put into suspended animation minutes after Bucky is “blown up” and the guilt Captain America feels upon reawakening in the silver age is a major part of the Captain America story line.  Captain America over the last forty years continually demonstrated how the trauma for the death of Bucky affected him mostly in the form of nightmares.  Batman has never shown this level of trauma about the deaths of his Robins.

In the first silver age appearance of Captain America (Avengers vol. 1, #1) Captain America runs into a teenager he mistakes for Bucky, Rick Jones.  Rick Jones is the side kick of the Hulk but this doesn’t stop him from later becoming Bucky II.  The Hulk is not too pleased with this and this leads to altercations between Captain America and the Hulk.  The Hulk has a point.  Bruce Banner was exposed to gamma ray radiation while saving Rick Jones and became the monster called the Hulk because of Rick Jones.  Yeah, Rick Jones owes his life to the Hulk’s alter ego but heck Captain America has wavy blonde hair and also is not a monster, literally, so Rick Jones decides to become Bucky II.  Rick Jones is not a very loyal sidekick and becomes Captain Marvel’s sidekick later on.  I guess Captain Marvel’s wavy silver hair beat Captain America’s wavy blonde hair.  Rick Jones is currently a Hulk type called A-Bomb and is really digging not being a sidekick anymore despite having Hulk monster type problems.  Captain America has had other sidekicks beside Bucky I and II including Jack Flag and Jackdraw.  Heroes in both the DC and Marvel universe seem to either have slews of sidekicks or no sidekicks. Are sidekicks addictive?  For the records there have been several Captain Americas with their Bucky sidekicks but I am only dealing with the Steve Rogers Captain America.

Foggy Nelson is a sidekick of Daredevil.  Foggy Nelson is the law partner of Matt Murdock the alter ego of Daredevil.  Foggy provided a great deal of comic belief in the beginning but has matured into a more competent brilliant lawyer that is an asset to Matt Murdock.  Foggy has an incredible case law memory and might even superior to Matt Murdock as a lawyer but does not have the confidence of Matt and is therefore generally not the lead lawyer.  Without Foggy, the law practice of Matt Murdock would have gone down the toilet during his many, Daredevil caused, MIA stints.  Foggy Nelson has a paunch and food related jokes are his comic relief contribution.

Deadpool is a hilarious anti-hero that has had several equally hilarious sidekicks including Weasel, Blind Al and Bob, Agent of Hydra.  My favorite is Bob, Agent of Hydra.  Bob is a parody of henchmen and the number one lesson he learned from Hydra was “hiding behind each other”.  Under pressure, Bob tends to shout “Hail Hydra”.

Doctor Strange has and adult Asian manservant from Tibet named Wong.  Wong may not know much magic but he is a master martial artist.  Wong is fairly subservient compared to other comic book sidekicks.  If you do visit Doctor Strange at his Sanctum Santorum in New York then you have to get past Wong first.  His role as a literal gatekeeper gives him some power that a lesser servant would not have.

Marvel decided to transform the son Reed Richards and Susan Storm from a typical omega level angst driven mutant to a Calvin type character, as in Calvin and Hobbes, character with great success.  Franklin is a side kick to the Fantastic Four that provides a child’s perspective of the Fantastic Four as well as comic relief.  Franklin is also a scientific genius who can modify his dad’s super science gadgets but generally his attempts to improve dad’s gadgets lead to disaster.  Franklin has his own sidekick, H.E.R.B.I.E. the Robot. H.E.R.B.I.E. provides a logical to the point of absurdity perspective to the childish antics of Franklin. H.E.R.B.I.E.  constantly tries to convince Franklin H.E.R.B.I.E. to leave his dad’s lab alone but he is ultimately a subordinate that is then forced to try to clean up the mess created by Franklin.

The Hulk got over the loss of Rick Jones and adopted Jim Wilson.  Jim Wilson was an inner city, Black teenager that very poignantly died of cancer later.  Doctor Strange has an Asian sidekick.  The Hulk has an African-American sidekick.  The Lone Ranger has a Native American sidekick, Tonto.  Does anyone see a pattern here?  My next post will be titled DC vs. Marvel: Multicultural Heroes and I will examine the issue of race in the DC and Marvel universes in detail.

In 2009, Marvel untied all the animal sidekicks into a team called the Pet Avengers.  The Pet Avengers are a rip off of the Legion of Super Animals over at DC.  The Legion of Super Pets was played straight and this was probably a bad decision given the absurdity of the concept.  The Pet Avengers is a silly title with lots of comic relief and one of my favorite current titles.  I am not sure how far you can go with this concept but so far so good.  The members of the Pet Avengers include Redwing a hawk of Falcon, Lockjaw a giant dog that can teleport of the Inhumans,  Zabu a saber tooth tiger of Ka-Zar, Lockheed a small dragon that is a sidekick of Shadowcat, Hairball a cat belonging to Speedball and Ms. Lion a dog belonging to Spider-Man.  The team includes Throg is a frog with lesser versions of Thor’s powers and is not a sidekick of Thor but a hero among his frog tribe in his own right.  The interplay between the animals is what really makes the team work.  Krypto and Streaky were a dog and a cat in the same legion but the fact that dogs and cats don’t get along was never really explored.  Hairball the cat thinks Ms. Lion is an absolute idiot and worse, a dog!  Ms. Lion is the only one on the team that doesn’t have super powers is very much the pampered house dog of Spiderman’s Aunt May.  Ms. Lion claims the right to membership based on her sidekick status alone.

The sidekick status of the members is highlighted in one story of Tails of the Pet Avengers: The Dogs of Summer #1.  In the story titled“Garbage Grief”, Franklin Richards teams up with the Pet Avengers flanked with his own sidekicks H.E.R.B.I.E. and Puppy.  Puppy is a miniature version of Lockjaw complete with his powers of teleportation.   In this story Puppy does manage to teleport the Pet Avengers to deal with a giant humanoid garbage creature that Franklin created more or less accidentally. So this is a sidekick crossover albeit on a much smaller scale than the DC Teen Titans/Young Justice crossover.  Another treat of this particular issue, is that the origin of Puppy is finally dealt with.  Puppy has been a fixture of the Fantastic Four for a while but his origin has not been dealt with until this issue.  Turns out Puppy is the grand pup of Lockjaw and is a present of Franklin’s future self to himself in the past.  In another issue, Tails of the Pet Avengers #1 has an adventure with Redwing the hawk titled “Birds of a Different Feather”.  Redwing the sidekick of Falcon is chased by a pigeon that wants to be a sidekick of Redwing.  Redwing refuses this offer at first but the pigeon pulls a masterful guilt trip to change the mind of Redwing.

I also have to mention the Incredible Hercules that ran from 2008 to 2010.  Hercules is teamed up with Amadeus Cho.  Amadeus Cho is really smart, mutant level smart but Hercules is Hercules!  Normally Amadeus Cho, the brainy, sixteen year old, nerdy teenager, would be the sidekick but an argument can be made that Hercules is the sidekick even if Hercules would smash anyone who suggested as much.  In one issue Hercules is up against his old enemies the Amazons.  Amadeus Cho is captured by the Amazonians.  Amadeus Cho is referred to as the eromenos of Hercules (Incredible Hercules #121, 2008) by the Amazons during his captivity.  Amadeus Cho is not happy with this appellation at all.  This is one of the few issues that points out the obvious, when older men have sixteen year old guys as buddies then there is usually one sort of relationship at work going back to Greek times.  This is an intelligent comic book line that turns the sidekick conventions upside down in an extremely funny manner.

The most famous teenage sidekick of Marvel is Bucky but Bucky is not nearly as important to comic book history as Robin.  Probably getting killed in the golden age for plus forty years didn’t help the career of Bucky at all.  Marvel has other teenage sidekicks like the golden age Toro but all and all Marvel does not have the rooster of well known teenage sidekicks that DC has. DC also wins in terms of teenage sidekick teams.  DC has the aforementioned Teen Titans and Young Justice.  Marvel has teenage teams including the Young Avengers and the Runaways but they are not sidekick teams but teams of teenage heroes.  In many ways Marvel sidestepped the need for teenage sidekicks by making more teenage heroes than DC.  Spiderman began his career in high school.  The X-Men operate out of Xavier’s Academy which trains teenagers.  The New Mutants are teenagers that go to Xavier’s Academy and are not sidekicks.  I think overall Marvel may have been smart to make teenage heroes to fulfill many of the teen identification functions of teenage sidekicks.

DC just has a lot more sidekicks than Marvel period.  DC has 71 sidekicks on their list.  Marvel has 34 sidekicks on their list.  Beyond numbers, DC has a rooster of more famous sidekicks especially in the teenage sidekick category.  DC and Marvel have pursued different strategic approaches to the use of teenage sidekicks in their respective universes.  Marvel, however, is doing great things with animal sidekicks with the Pet Avengers and funny sidekicks like Franklin Richards and H.E.R.B.I.E.  Unfortunately, a two year trend does not negate the fact that DC has historically had the most and best sidekicks.

DC wins the sidekick wars!

Answer to DC Sidekick Quiz

1. Stripsey

2. Proty

3. Doiby Dickles

4. ?

5. Streaky?

6. Brute

7. Qwsp

8. Glob

9. Cyrll

10. Mr. Twaky Tawny

11. Zook

12. Ace the Bat Hound

13. Wing

14. ?

15. ?

16. Ilda

17. Skeets

18. ?

19. ?

20. ?

I do wonder if some of the sidekicks I can’t figure out are actual sidekicks in DC comics.  Number 5 might be Streaky the Super Cat but looks more like a mouse than a cat.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Super pets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

WesternHeroes

Women in Refrigerators

WorkingWomen

DC vs. Marvel: Robots

Braniac ponders the God/Sandwich paradox

Introduction

This is the third post in a series dealing with technology in the DC and Marvel universes.  The first post dealt with weapons at:

https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/marvel-vs-dc-weapons/

The second post dealt with transportation technologies at:

https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/dc-vs-marvel-transportation/

This post deals with robots in the DC and Marvel universes.  Robots come in three flavors: good guys, bad guys and funny.  Which universe has the coolest good guy robot and which universe has the coolest bad guy robot?  Which universe has the funniest robot?  I refuse to make a distinction between robots and androids in this post.  The terms are used haphazardly in both universes and basically in comic books the only real difference is that the androids are more human looking than the robots.  This is fairly superficial distinction and even this is not a consistent factor.  In more sophisticated science fiction universes there is some attempt to also distinguish between robots and androids using some quality of sentience rather than mere appearance.  Below is a list of DC robots with at least their first appearance in parentheses.

List of DC Robots

  1. Ajax ,Wonder-Man, Superman #163
  2. Aluminium, Metal Men #2
  3. Amazo, The Brave and the Bold #30
  4. Amazon Tin Queen, Metal Men #4, #5
  5. Automan, Robot 32198, Tales of the Unexpected #91
  6. Barium, Metal Men #2
  7. Batman Machine, Detective Comics #224
  8. Batman’s Robot Twin, Detective Comics #239
  9. Batman Robot, Detective Comics #281
  10. Black Widow Robot, Metal Men #17
  11. Bozo the Iron Man, Smash Comics #1
  12. Brainiac, Action Comics #242
  13. Brainiac 12, Superman Vol. 2 #200
  14. Brimstone, Legends #1
  15. C.A.P.D., Computerized Automatic Patrol Dog, Weird War Tales #116
  16. Calcium, Metal Men #2
  17. Carbon Dioxide, Metal Men #10
  18. Chemo, Metal Men #14, #25
  19. Chloroform, Metal Men #10
  20. Cobalt, Metal Men #31
  21. Computo, Adventure Comics #340
  22. Construct, Justice League of America #142
  23. D.A.V.E. –Digital Advanced Villain Emulator, The Batman: Episode #039
  24. Death Metal Men, Metal Men #2
  25. Derek Reston, Ace of Spades, Justice League of America #203
  26. Doctor Bedlam, Mister Miracle Vol. 1 #2
  27. Drone, New Teen Titans Annual Vol. 2 #1
  28. Duke of Oil, Outsiders Vol. 1 #6
  29. Dybbuk, Suicide Squad vol, 1 #45
  30. Electrical Warrior, Electric Warrior Vol. 1 #1
  31. Eradicator, Action Comics Annual #2
  32. Eterno, Action Comics #343
  33. Female Amazon Robots, Metal Men #32
  34. Floating Furies, Metal Men #9
  35. Gas Gang, Metal Men #6
  36. Giant Robot, Tales of the Unexpected #68
  37. G.I. Robot, Star Spangled War Stories #101
  38. Gallium, Metal Men #31
  39. Gold, Showcase #37
  40. Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard, Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #2
  41. Healer, Action Comics #387
  42. Helium, Metal Men #10
  43. Hourman, Android, Justice League of America #12,
  44. Ilda, Star Hawkins, Strange Adventures #114
  45. Indigo, Titans/Young Justice Graduation #1
  46. Kelex, The Man of Steel #1
  47. Kid Amazo, Justice League America Classified #37
  48. Krakko, Weird War Tales #113
  49. Krydel-4, Green Lantern Corps Vol.2 #1
  50. L-Ron, Justice League International #14
  51. Lead, Showcase #37
  52. Living Robots, Mystery in Space #99
  53. Lord Havok, Justice League Europe #15
  54. Man Horse of Hades, Metal Men #19
  55. Manhunters, 1st Issue Special #5
  56. Mechanical Masters of Rann, Mystery in Space #65
  57. Mekanique, All Star Squadron #58
  58. Mercury, Showcase #37
  59. Metallo, Action Comics #252
  60. Missile Men, Metal Men #1, #12, #54
  61. Mister Atom, Captain Marvel Adventures #78
  62. Osmium, Metal Men #31
  63. Oxygen, Metal Men #10
  64. Platinum, Showcase #37
  65. Plutonium, Metal Men #2
  66. Plutonium Man, Metal Men #45
  67. Pulsar Stargrave, Superboy #223
  68. Red Tornado, Justice League of America #64
  69. Red Volcano, DC Universe #0
  70. Reverse-Flash, The Flash Vol. 2 #134
  71. Robbie the Robot Dog, Star-Spangled Comics #25
  72. Robby Robot, House of Mystery #164
  73. Robin, Young Justice #1000000
  74. Robin Robot, Detective Comics #290
  75. Robo, Superman #132
  76. Robot Cop of Gotham City, Batman #70
  77. Robot Eggs, Strange Adventures #197
  78. Robot Master’s Robots, Superman #152
  79. Robot Juggernauts, Metal Men #9
  80. Robot Raiders, Mystery in Space #53
  81. Robot Renegades, Metal Men #2, #3
  82. Robot Space Ranger, Tales of the Unexpected #73
  83. Robot Town, Strange Adventures #164
  84. Robot Who Lost His Head, Strange Adventures #136
  85. Robot Woman, Wonder Woman #48
  86. Robot Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman #111
  87. Robot Wonder Woman 2, Wonder Woman #137
  88. Robot World of Ancient Rann, Mystery of Space #102
  89. Robot X-1, Strange Adventures #169
  90. Robotica, Legion Worlds #1
  91. RRU-9-2, Guy Gardner #11
  92. Servitor, Kobra #1
  93. Shaggy Man, Justice League of America #45
  94. Shaolin Robot, 52 #6
  95. Silver, Metal Men #31
  96. Skeets, Booster Gold Vol. 1 #1
  97. Skyscraper Robot, Metal Men #13
  98. Sodium, Metal Men #2
  99. Solaris, DC One Million #1
  100.  Stel, Green Lantern Vol. 2 #11
  101. Superman Robots
  102. Synthetic Men, Strange Adventures #17
  103. Termite Robots, Metal Men #16
  104. The Metal Mods, Metal Men #26
  105. The Rebel Robot, Metal Men #15
  106. Thor the Thunder Dog, Police Comics #8
  107. Tin, Showcase #37
  108. Tomorrow Woman, Justice League of America #5
  109. Torgola Robot Eater of Metalis, Metal Men #29
  110. Toyman, Action Comics #837
  111. Urthlo, Adventure Comics #300
  112. World Wreckers, Strange Adventures #50
  113. Zirconium, Metal Men #2
  114. Iridium, Metal Men #31

One robot stands out in the DC universe as the ultimate baddie and that’s Brainiac.  Brainiac is so famous that the word is now derogatory slang for someone who is too brainy.  Brainiac has changed from the golden age and is currently human.  Brainiac also changed from being green skinned humanoid with studs in his head and wearing a pink yes pink outfit to being made of metallic silver and looking a lot more robotic.  For me the classic Brainiac will always be the green guy with pink tights.  This Brainiac went around shrinking cities and putting them in bottles.  The guy collected cities!  I collected comic books and this guy is collecting cities.  How cool is that?  One of the cities was Kandor which Superman confiscated and kept in his Fortress of Solitude.  Kandor was the source of many, many adventures with the Superman family in the silver age which seem silly now but were great fun when I was a kid.  Brainiac also had an indestructible force field that he could project around himself via a belt or around his space ship.  Superman could not penetrate this force field and Brainiac was basically impervious to attack from Superman.  Brainiac also teamed up with Luthor on and off and of course each one tried to prove he was more brilliant than the other.  Brainiac had a twelfth level intellect which I guess is pretty smart.

I do want to mention the Metal Men.  The Metal Men were a team of good robots that had their high point in the sixties.  The Metal Men included the Gold, Lead, Mercury, Platinum and Tin and they premiered in Showcase #37 but soon got their own title.  The one adjective I would use to describe the Metal Men is zany!  They were shape shifters and had the personality traits of their respective metal.  Mercury was volatile.  Lead was steady and so on. Platinum was female and of course was in love with her creator Dr. Magnus.  This love was not reciprocated and was an ongoing plot line.

The Metal Men mostly fought other robots which makes no sense whatsoever except that in sixties logic the robot title should have lots of other robots.  The Metal Men inhabited their own little corner of DC robot land.  The second most famous good robot in the DC universe is the Red Tornado.  The Red Tornado is a long standing member of the Justice League of America and spent a lot of time spouting robotic angst about not being human.  I really don’t like the Red Tornado at all.  The name is stupid.  The costume is stupid.  The angst rhetoric is forced and not well done.  The Metal Men win!

DC has used robots for comic relief a great deal.  The Metal Men were basically a funny tile if you consider zany to be a shade of funny.  DC did have at least one ongoing character that was a funny robot.  Star Hawkins was bumbling private eye of the future who first appeared in Strange Adventures #114 in 1960.  Ilda was his robot secretary and the brains of the team.  Ilda provided consistent comic relief in a manner similar to Rosie the Robot in The Jetsons.  As I have pointed out in other posts in this series, DC has a much greater willingness to mix genres for extremely silly effect.  This isn’t even the silliest DC private eye title of this period.  That honor belongs to Detective Chimp.  These silly early silver age DC titles do not age well.

You have not one but three robot dogs: C.A.P.D. Robbie the Robot Dog and Thor the Thunder Dog.  Robot Man of course has to have Robbie the Robot Dog instead of a regular dog.  Why?  No reason just more DC zaniness.  Robbie can talk and Robot Man and Robbie had some very surreal conversations.  L-Ron is a robot that works for the Justice League and is obsequious to the point of hilarity.  Skeets is the side kick of Booster Gold and is not as funny as L-Ron but has his moments.  L-Ron wins the funny robot category in the DC universe.

There are some pretty powerful robots in the DC universe including Amazo, who has all the powers of the original Justice League of America but can absorb more powers beyond that.  The Shaggy Man is another scary robot who has vast strength and vast recuperative powers and is a mindless fighter who can take on the whole Justice League at the same time.

For sheer weirdness, G.I. Robot is probably the winner in the DC universe.  G.I. Robot is a robot that runs around in standard G.I. gear.  This is a mix of science fiction and the war comic genre.  Not a lot of companies have the guts to mix these two genres and perhaps this is just as well.

The winner of the best DC evil robot is clearly Brainiac.  The winner of best DC robot hero is not a hero but the Metal Men group as a whole.  The funniest robot is L-Ron.

 

List of Marvel Robots

 

  1. Acidroid, Earth-616, Cable #65
  2. Adam II, What If #4
  3. Adap-Tor, Earth-616, Iron Man #217
  4. Agent Cheesecake,Earth-616, She-Hulk Vol. 2 #15
  5. Air-Walker, Automaton, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #120
  6. Albert, Earth-5211, Exiles #85
  7. Albert, Earth-616, Wolverine Vol. 2 #37
  8. Alchemoid, Earth-616, Captain America #187
  9. Alex Ellis, Earth-616, Amazing Spider Man Annual #27
  10. Alkhema, Earth-616, Avengers West Coast #90
  11. Alpha, Earth-616, Marvel Team-Up #129
  12. Alpha Ray, Earth-616, Storm Breaker: The Saga of Beta Ray Bill #1
  13. Analyzer  As Recorder Thor #132, As Analyzer Thor #422
  14. Android Andy, Earth-238, Daredevils #7
  15. Android Man, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #79
  16. Aquarius, LMD, Earth-616,
  17. Arch-E-5912, Earth-616, World War Hulk: Front Line #1
  18. Aries, LMD, Earth-616
  19. Arsenal, Earth-1610, Ultimate Comics Armor Wars #4
  20. Arsenal, Robot, Earth-616, Iron Man #114
  21. Arthur Zix, Earth-616, She-Hulk Vol. 2 #19
  22. Assassin, Mimeyoshi, Earth-616
  23. Avalon, Caretaker, Earth-616, Thor #219
  24. Awesome Android, Earth-10102, Exiles Vol. 2 #4
  25. Awesome Android, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #15
  26. B’nee and C’cll, Earth-616, X-Men #137
  27. Bastion, Earth-616, X-Men #5
  28. Baymax, Earth-616, Sunfire and Big Hero Six #1
  29. Behemoth, Atlantean, Earth-616, Tales to Astonish #77
  30. Benedict, Inner Guard,, Earth-616, Avenger #398
  31. Bi-Beast, Original, Earth-616, Incredible Hulk #169
  32. Big Brain, Earth-982, What If Vol. 2 #105
  33. Billy Bird, Earth-616, Marvel Comics Presents #34
  34. Biotron, Earth-616, Micronauts #1
  35. Boak, Earth-4935, X-Factor #67
  36. C-Gram, Earth-928, Ghost Rider 2099 #2
  37. Cancer, LMD, Earth-616
  38. Cavalier, Earth-616, All this and World War II #1
  39. Centrally Located Organic Computer, Cloc, Earth-616,
  40. Cerebrus, Earth-68091, Iron Man #5
  41. Chief Examiner, Earth-616, Questprobe #1
  42. Colosso, Earth-616, X-Men #22
  43. Conscience, Earth-616, Marvel Comics Presents #19
  44. Conserve And Protect, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #554
  45. Cornfed, Earth-616, Livewires #1
  46. Crimson Sage, Earth-9997, Earth X #1
  47. Cyberex, Earth-616, Captain Marvel #8
  48. Cybortrons, Earth-616
  49. Cyclops, A-Chiltarian Robot,, Earth-616, Tales to Astonish #46
  50. Danger, Earth-616, Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #9
  51. Dark-Crawler, Incredible Hulk #126
  52. David Jenkins, Livewires #1
  53. Deadeye, Starriors, Starriors #1
  54. Death’s Head, UK #113
  55. Death’s Head, Lupex, Death Head #1
  56. Death Metal, Earth-8410, Death3 #1
  57. Deathlok, Astonishing Tales #25
  58. Destructon, Destruction #100
  59. Diamondback  LMD
  60. Doctor Sun, Earth-616, Tomb of Dracula #16
  61. Dominus, The Uncanny X-Men #21
  62. Doom-Knight
  63. Doombot, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #5
  64. Doomsday Man, Earth-616, Silver Surfer #13
  65. Dragon Man, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #35
  66. Dragorr, Earth-616, Tales to Astonish #94
  67. Dreadnought, Strange Tales # 154
  68. Dynamic Man, Earth-616, Mystic Comics #1
  69. Egghead, Earth-616, Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1
  70. Electro, Robot,Earth-616, Captain America #78
  71. Elektro, Earth-616, Tales of Suspense #13
  72. Eleven, Earth-4935, Cable #1
  73. Elsie Dee, Earth-5211, Exiles #85
  74. Elsie Dee, Earth-616, Wolverine Vol. 2 #37
  75. Eradikator 6, Earth-616, Punisher Annual #6
  76. Exterminators, Earth-616, Thor #220
  77. F.A.C.A.D.E., Earth-616, Web of Spiderman #113
  78. Factor-X, Earth-616, Nova #23
  79. Fixer, Strange Tales #141
  80. Flexo, Earth-616, Mystic Comics #1
  81. Frankenstein’s Monster, Silver Surfer #7
  82. Fury, Earth-238
  83. Galactus’ Cat, Earth-616
  84. Gargantus, Tales of Suspense #40
  85. Gawain, Earth-616, Knights of Pendragon Vol. 2 #1
  86. Ghost Rider 2099, Ghost Rider 2099 #1
  87. Godseye, Earth-616, Incredible Hulk Vol. 2, #89
  88. Gol-19, Earth-616, Bishop the Last X-Man #7
  89. Gothic Lolita, Earth-616, Livewires #1
  90. Growing Man, Earth-6311, Thor #140
  91. Guardian Robots
  92. Guns Gummy, Earth-616, Marvel Comics Presents #34
  93. H.E.R.B.I.E, Fantastic Four #209
  94. Hardwire, Robot, Earth-616,
  95. Hate-Monger, Psycho-Man’s Creation, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #279
  96. Hollowpoint Ninja, Earth-616, Livewires #1
  97. Homebrew, Livewires #1
  98. H.U.B.E.R.T., Fantastic Four #38
  99. Hugo Longride, Earth-616,
  100. Hulk, Arcade Robot, Earth-616, Eternals #14
  101. Hulk, Robot,, Earth-616, Incredible Hulk #4
  102. Human Torch, Jim Hammond, Marvel Comics #1
  103. I.S.A.A.C., Earth-616, Iron Man #55
  104. Invader-1, Earth-616, Avengers Vol. 3 #83
  105. Invincible Robot, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #85
  106. It the Living Colossus, Tales of Suspense #14
  107. Jack Rollins, LMD, Earth-616, Nick Fury vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. #5
  108. Jahf, Earth-616, X-Men #108
  109. Jocasta, Earth-616, Avenger #162
  110. Jocasta, Earth-943
  111. Katherine Pryde, Earth-811
  112. Klag Tales of Suspense #21
  113. Leo, LMD, Earth-616,
  114. Libra, LMD, Earth-616,
  115. Life Model Decoy
  116. Livewires
  117. Living Brain
  118. LYrate Lifeform Approximation, Earth-928, Spider-Man 2099 #11
  119. M-11, Earth-10102, Exiles Vol.2 #44
  120. M-11, Earth-616, Menace #11
  121. M-21, Earth-616, Agents of Atlas Vol. 2 #44
  122. Machine Man, 2ZP45-9-X-51, Earth-10102, Exiles Vol. 2 #3,
  123. Machine Man, Earth-2149, Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness #1
  124. Machine Man, 2ZP45-9-X-51, Earth-616, 2001, A Space Odyssey #8,
  125. Machine Man, 2ZP45-9-X-51, Earth-8410, Machine Man Vol. 2 #1
  126. Machine Teen, Machine Teen #1
  127. Machinesmith, Marvel Two-In-One #47
  128. Macro-Men
  129. Magneto, Arcade Robot, Earth-616, X-Men #124
  130. Magus, Technarch,, Earth-616, New Mutants #8
  131. Mainframe, Earth-982, A-Next #1
  132. Mammoth, Hydra, Earth-616,
  133. Man-Slayer, Earth-616, Captain Marvel #18
  134. Mandroid, Kree,, Earth-616
  135. Manipulator, Earth-616, Avengers #178
  136. Maria Petrova, Earth-50701, Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects #2
  137. Master Mold, Earth-5700, Weapon X Days of the Future Now #1
  138. Master Mold, Earth-616, X-Men #15
  139. Mastermind, Computer, Earth-616,
  140. Maxis, Earth-93060, All New Exiles #8
  141. Mechadoom
  142. Mechano, Earth-616, Strange Tales #86
  143. Megalith, Incredible Hulk #275
  144. Mekkanoid, Thor #482
  145. Mekkans, Fantastic Four #91
  146. Mendel Stromm, Earth-616,
  147. Metalloid, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #179
  148. Micro-Sentry, Marvel Fanfare #114
  149. MK-9, Earth-616
  150. Mogul, Earth-616, Incredible Hulk #127
  151. MX39147, Earth-616
  152. N-ME, Earth-93060
  153. Nanny, Magneto’s Robot, Earth-616, X-Men #112
  154. Nicole, Robot, Earth-616, X Factor Vol. 3 #16
  155. Nimrod, Earth-811, Uncanny X-Men #191
  156. Number Two, Sentinel, Earth-616, X-Men #59
  157. Omega, Android, Earth-616,
  158. P.L.A.T.O., Earth-616,
  159. Pacifier Robot, Fantastic Four #57
  160. Paradox, AI, Earth-616,
  161. Pisces, Male LMD, Earth-616,
  162. Prime Mover, Earth-616, Strange Tales #167
  163. Prosh, Earth-616, X-Factor #24
  164. Protector, Rhunian Android, Thor #219
  165. Punisher, Galactus’ Robot, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #49
  166. Pyronanos
  167. Quasimodo, Quasi-Motivational Destruct Organism, Earth-10102, Exiles Vol. 2 #4
  168. Quasimodo, Earth-616, Fantastic Four Annual #4
  169. Recorder, Earth-616,
  170. Red Ronin, UJ1-DX, Earth-616, Loners #5
  171. Remnants, Earth-616, Beta Bill – The Green of Eden #1
  172. Replica Model X-2, Thor Vol. 2 #9
  173. Replica Model X-3, Earth-616, Thor #141
  174. Robot X, Amazing Adventures #4
  175. Robota, Planet Terry #1
  176. Robotron, Dazzler #4
  177. Roger Bochs, Box, Earth-616, Alpha Flight #1
  178. Rooster Cockburn, Earth-616, Marvel Comics Presents #34
  179. S.H.I.V.A., Earth-616, Wolverine Vol. 2 #50
  180. Sagittarius, LMD, Earth-616,
  181. Scavenger, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #69
  182. Scorpio, Android,, Earth-616, West Coast Avengers #1
  183. Seeker, Android,, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #144
  184. Sentinel Mk I, Earth-616, X-Men #14
  185. Sentinel Mk II, Earth-616, X-Men #57
  186. Sentinel Mk III, Earth-616, X-Men #98
  187. Sentinel Mk IV, Earth-616, Uncanny X-Men #51
  188. Sentinel Mk V, Earth-616, New Mutants #2
  189. Sentinel Mk VI, Earth-616, Alpha Flight #43
  190. Sentinel Omega Class, Earth-811, The Uncanny X-Men #14
  191. Sentinels, Earth-9997, Earth X #0
  192. Sentry, Kree, Fantastic Four #64
  193. Sentry 213, Earth-616
  194. Sentry 459, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #64
  195. Sentry 9168, Earth-616
  196. Servo-Guards, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #84
  197. Ship, X-Factor Vol.1 #19
  198. Sikorsky, X-Men #156
  199. SJ3RX, Earth-10102, Exiles Vol. 2 #44
  200. SJ3RX, Earth-616, Godzilla #6
  201. Skeletron, Earth-616, Quasar #53
  202. Skrull-X, Earth-616,
  203. Sleeper, Nazi Robot, Earth-616, Tales of Suspense #72
  204. Southpaw, Loonies,, Earth-616, Marvel Comics Presents #34
  205. Spider-Slayers, Amazing Spider-Man #25
  206. Sputnik, Captain America #352
  207. Social Butterfly, Livewires #1
  208. Stem Cell, Livewires #1
  209. Starktech 9, Earth-616, Mighty Avengers #2
  210. Super-Adaptoid, Earth-10102, Exiles Vol. 2 #4
  211. Super-Adaptoid, Earth-616, Tales of Suspense #82
  212. Super-Humanoid, Earth-616, Incredible Hulk #116
  213. Supremor, Captain Marvel #46
  214. Swarmbot, Fantastic Four #20
  215. Tabula Rasa, Earth-Tabula, Avengers #359
  216. Tailgunner, Earth-616, Marvel Comics Present #34
  217. Tara, Avengers Vol. 3 #83
  218. Taurus, LMD, Earth-616,
  219. Temujai, Earth-616, Yellow Claw #2
  220. Ten-Thirtifor, Earth-616, Maximum Security Annual #8
  221. TESS-One, Earth-616, Captain America #8
  222. The Ham, Earth-616, Marvel Comics Presents #34
  223. The Living Brain, Spider-Man #8
  224. Thermal Man, Earth-616, Thor #168
  225. Time-bot, Thor #409
  226. Tomazooma, Robot, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #80
  227. Tommy, Sleeper, Earth-616, Plasmer #1
  228. Torgo, Mekkan, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #91
  229. Tracer, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1
  230. TransHuman ROBot, Earth-616, Fantastic Four #311
  231. Tri-Sentinel, Earth-616, Amazing Spider-Man #329
  232. Ultimo, Earth-616, Tales of Suspense #76
  233. Ultron, Earth-10102, Exiles Vol. 2 #3
  234. Ultron, Earth-1610, Ultimates Vol. 2 #6
  235. Ultron 8, Earth-90210, Wolverine Vol. 3 #67
  236. Unit, Earth-616, S.W.O.R.D. #1
  237. Victor Mancha, Earth-616, Runaways Vol. 2 #1
  238. Virgo, LMD, Earth-616,
  239. Vision, Earth-161, X-Men Forever Vol. 2 #1
  240. Vision, Earth-2149, Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness #1
  241. Vision, Earth-616, Avengers #57
  242. Vision, Earth-691
  243. Vision, Earth-932, Avengers #359
  244. Vision, Gah Lak Tus, Earth-1610, Ultimate Spider-Man #86
  245. Volton, Earth-616, Invaders  Vol. 2 #1
  246. VOR/TEX, Earth-616
  247. Vostok, Earth-616
  248. Walkabout, Earth-616, Marvel: The Lost Generations #12
  249. Walking Stiletto
  250. Warhawk, Earth-616, Ms. Marvel #12
  251. Warrior Robot, Fantastic Four #85
  252. Watchtower, Earth-616, Wolverine Vol. 2 #154
  253. Widget
  254. Wild Sentinels, Earth-616, New X-Men #114
  255. X, Amazing Fantasy #4
  256. X.E.R.O., Earth-616,
  257. Zero, Earth-4935, New Mutants #86

Some of the top evil robots in the Marvel universe include the Sentinels, Ultron and the Super-Adaptoid. Probably the most powerful evil robot is Super-Adaptoid.  The Super-Adaptoid is a clear clone of Amazo.  The Super-Adaptoid absorbs the powers of the Avengers.  A common what if battle on bullentin boards is the Super-Adaptoid versus Amazo which is basically an extension of the Avengers versus JLA what if battle?  The Super-Adaptoid while a lot of fun visually, due to all his super powers, doesn’t have much in the way of characterization.

Ultron does not have this problem!  Henry Pym, Giant-Man, Yellow Jacket, etc. is the creator of Ultron.  Ultron is one scary looking robot who is made out of adamantium, an indestructible metal, and can project massive energy bolts.  Ultron may be tough looking but he is a big softie at heart and even creates his own robot mate called Jocasta.  Jocasta’s mind was based on the brain patterns of the Wasp, the wife of his “father” Henry Pym.  Jocasta is a robot copy of Ultron’s “mother”.  Ultron is filled with Oedipal rage towards his creator.  Jocasta rejects the love of Ultron because she doesn’t like meglomaniacal sociopaths who want to destroy all organic life on Earth.  What a picky lady!  Ultron is no quitter when it comes to the game of love and creates a second robot lover called Alkhema and was more ruthless than Jocasta but ended up turning on Ultron as well.  Poor Ultron!

Poor Ultron!

The Sentries are created to hunt down mutants and actually there are different models with vastly different power levels.  The Sentinels often try to capture mutants so they have all sorts of gadgets for this purpose including gas, nets, cables, you name it.  The Sentinels have probably appeared in more issues than all other evil Marvel robots put together.  The Sentinels are an interesting plot device but have zero personality with very few exceptions.  The Master Mold was kind of an individual.  There was the Sentinel with a big 2 on his chest so he’s named Sentinel 2.  Sentinel 2 appeared in Avengers # 104 and was mutated when he flew towards the Sun.  A batch of Sentinels had decided that the source of mutation was the Sun so they attacked the Sun!  No one said the Sentinels were geniuses.  That mutated Sentinel was destroyed by his fellow sentries when they realized he was a mutant of sorts.

There is Nimrod who is an advanced Sentinel from an alternate future that takes on a human identity and starts to grow more human.  Nimrod and Master Mold merge to create Bastion and an overly complicated plot line, the great weakness of Marvel plotlines.  However, all in all the Sentinel are a mindless army that is dangerous precisely due to their simple cognitions that often lead to draconian solutions.  I love the Sentinel but just find Ultron more interesting. Ultron wins the evil robot title in the Marvel universe.

The top two good guy robots in the Marvel universe are the original Human Torch and the Vision.  The Human Torch was huge during the Golden Age and current comic book readers are probably not aware of this.  The fist important comic book crossover was a battle between the Human Torch and Namor the Submariner in Marvel Mystery #9 back in 1940.  This is of course a fire versus water theme.  The android Human Torch came back in the silver age in Fantastic Four Annual #4.  Despite this reappearance the android Human Torch is nowhere near as popular as he once was.

Probably the most famous robot of the current Marvel universe is the Vision who is a member of the Avengers.  The Vision was probably created by the same scientist, Phineas Horton, who created the Human Torch but this plotline keeps changing.  The Vision had a long running affair with the mutant the Scarlet Witch.  There was lot of angst in the relationship and Quicksilver, the brother of the Scarlet Witch, and also a mutant, was extremely vocal about his opinion that the relationship was an abomination.  There is of course the irony that Quicksilver is a target of anti-mutant prejudice but this does not stop him from being prejudiced against robots.

I will mention that the Human Torch and the Vision are both referred to as androids probably because they are pretty human looking especially the Human Torch.  The Vision had bright red skin and currently is ghostly white so, minus make up, is not passing for a human.  The Vision used to be chock full of all sorts of deep emotions and existential angst but is currently lacking in emotion much to the chagrin of the Scarlet Witch.  The Vision wins the good robot title in the Marvel universe.

There aren’t as many funny and/or zany robots in the Marvel universe as in the DC universe.  There is the Humanoid Experimental Robot B-Type Integrated Electronics or H.E.R.B.I.E. for short created by Reed Richards who provided some comic relief in the Fantastic Four title and that’s about it.  There isn’t even one robot dog in the Marvel universe and maybe that’s a good thing.  Most of the humor in the Fantastic Four title involving H.E.R.B.I.E. is slap stick rather than verbal and not that funny.

H.E.R.B.I.E. was hilarious in the title Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius.  The art was cartoony and Franklin, the son of Reed Richards was a very Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes, type character.  H.E.R.B.I.E. plays the serious nanny trying to keep Franklin out of trouble with little success.  The Awesome Android provided comic relief in volume two of the She-Hulk that was a funny title overall.   However, H.E.R.B.I.E. in Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius is funnier and of course H.E.R.B.I.E. is one of the major characters in this title versus the peripheral role of the Awesome Android who changes his name to Awesome Andy.  While the title She-Hulk is very funny, Awesome Andy isn’t necessarily all that funny.  H.E.R.B.I.E. wins the funny robot contest in the Marvel Universe.

Conclusion

Brainiac is one of the top super villains of all time and clearly wins the bad robot category.  A fight between Brainiac and Ultron would be a lot of fun to watch and is the subject of at least one online post (http://www.electricferret.com/fights/issue_186.htm).  Who wins the good robot category?  The Metal Men have a zaniness that the Vision does not but they are definitely an acquired taste and the Metal Men comic book was always a second rate title.  The Vision is an important member of the Avengers.  The Avengers are a first rate title.  The Vision wins the good robot category.

I do want to mention that the Vision and the Red Tornado are both red and androids.  The Vision belongs to the Avengers.  The Red Tornado belongs to the DC equivalent of the Avengers, the Justice League.  Is this a coincidence?  I think not.

L-Ron is funny but H.E.R.B.I.E. is funnier.  Marvel wins the good robot and funny robot contests and wins overall.  DC won the weapons and transportation posts so this is a comeback for Marvel.  I would make another observation about the role of robots in the DC and Marvel universes.

Marvel has a lot more robots than DC!  DC has 114 robots.  Marvel has 257 robots!  I counted all sorts of one-shot robots from the Metal Men title and the DC count was still much lower than the Marvel count.  My after the count theory is as follows.  Marvel has a consistent multiverse, so many robots get double or triple counts depending on which universe in the Marvel multiverse they appeared.  DC’s multiverse is a total mess!  Don’t get me started.

I think the idea of multiple universes to explain away continuity lapses was a great invention that was started by DC but DC decided to use a Crisis of the Infinite Earths comic book series to get rid of the other multiverses and create one universe.  That might have been ok but they then created a brand new 52 system that assumes there are only 52 universes.  There is also something called Zero Hour, and something else called hypertime.  I almost vowed to never ever read another DC comic book after the Crisis of Infinite Earth fiasco but let’s face it I am addicted to comic books and need overpowers reason in the long run.  The way DC has handled their multiverses has led to a destruction of DC universe continuity.

  1. Continuity leads to suspension of disbelief!
  2. Suspension of disbelief leads to much greater reading pleasure!
  3. Greater reading pleasure leads to greater comic book sales!

I urge all comic book writers to repeat the above three sentences at least once a day in a mantra like manner!  Plus there are comic book geeks like myself that love their ability to explain the history of a comic book universe and this is a task that is largely impossible with the DC universe.  I would also like to make a comparison of how DC and Marvel have treated robots in their respective universes from a historical perspective.

In the golden age robots were treated in a similar manner by both DC and Marvel.  Jack Kirby created a slew of monsters in the golden age before the success of the silver age Spider-Man and many of these monsters are robots that have ended up on the list Marvel robot list.  Even the one-shot robots had great names and you remembered them.  The Marvel golden age monster stories often had a Twilight Zone style ironic twist at the end that stuck with you after you read the story.  Marvel titles that featured monsters include Tales of the Unexpected, Strange Tales and Amazing FantasyAmazing Fantasy was a title that was pure monsters until Amazing Fantasy #15.  Amazing Fantasy #15 is the issue in which Spider-Man premiered and this was the beginning of the end of Marvel’s golden age monster stories.  Long before everything was reprinted in graphic novels, Marvel honored their golden age monsters in the silver age with the Fantasy Masterpieces title that I collected avidly having missed the golden age due to my age.

There were plenty of one-shot robots in the equivalent DC titles Strange Adventures, Tales of the Unexpected and Mystery in Space that are on the DC robot list but even their inclusion in my DC robot list did not change the numbers that much.  DC and Marvel in the golden age treated robots in a similar manner.  Overall, the robot stories of Marvel, especially those by Jack Kirby, were superior to those in DC in the golden age.  However, in both universes in the golden age, robots were one-shot characters limited to certain omnibus titles with an ironic twist at the end but things changed in the silver age.

In the silver age, Marvel developed over reaching themes using robots that DC does not have even now.  Overall, humans in the Marvel universe see robots as the equalizer in their dealings with superhumans.  The Marvel universe uses robots a lot more as a tool of government.  Marvel assumes that the relationship between government and superhumans will be antagonistic.  Robots are a major tool of the government to combat superhumans in the Marvel Universe.

The Sentinels versus mutants storyline is a giant one in the Marvel universe that has no equivalent in the DC universe.  There is even a little retcon pre-Sentinel history.  TESS-One is a robot created by the US government to fight super soldiers like Captain America near the end of 1945.  The right hand of the government creates super soldiers and the left hand of the government creates the robot contingency plan to destroy them if they get out of hand. . S.H.I.E.L.D uses Life Model Decoys (LMDs) to infiltrate and spy on enemies but in at least one storyline the LMDs turn on S.H.I.E.L.D because they are tools without conscious who can be controlled by others.  Agent Cheesecake is a quite gorgeous LMD that goes the extra mile and seduces targets!  Agent Cheesecake is probably the sexiest comic book robot and maybe the sexiest robot period.

Agent Cheesecake

You just have to love Marvel’s paranoid vision of the world!  This use of robots by government includes alien governments.  The Kree are an intergalactic empire and their use of robotic Sentries as immortal sentries at the peripheries of their empire, where a Kree humanoid base is not practical i.e. Earth, is also a major storyline that has no equivalent in the DC universe.

All in all, the Marvel universe has a more developed thematic way of dealing with robots than the DC universe.  What makes robots special?  Obedience and functional immortality!  They are the perfect servants of the state that needs obedient servants that can mimic the functional immortality of the state.  Leaders come and go but the goals of the state can be enforced in the long run via robots.  Robots are also tool of state whose obedience and immortality can be the downfall of the governments that create them.  The Sentries in alternate Marvel time lines often outlive the US government that created them and enforce the Mutant Registration Act in a draconian manner that is ultimately harmful to humans and not just mutants.

This idea of technology out of control is of course a major science fiction theme.  I don’t think it’s just science fiction anymore.  The US government seriously looked at a Star Wars ballistic system that would have had to operate at the speed of light to be practical and humans and their command, control and communications systems (C3) cannot operate at this speed.  The C3 of Star Wars would have had to been relegated to computer systems.  Since the Star Wars system is basically defensive that’s ok but sooner or later someone would have decided, well heck why stop there and get rid of that obsolete football the Prez carries and hand the whole shebang to the computers.  I don’t worry too much about Sentries over even Skynet, of the Terminator movie series, but I do worry about a computer in the future with bad code that starts WW III due to a glitch.  Our technology is moving ahead much faster than our international social systems and eventually we will go the way of the dinosaurs.  Bigger computers are great but we also need wiser minds to control those computers.

I think DC is still stuck in a very fifties usage of robots where robots are a novelty and more modern themes of robots as out of control technology due to social rather than novelty reasons is absent.  Individual robots go haywire in the DC universe but the idea that social systems such as the government are haywire and create haywire robots as a result is not explored.  The robot as novelty was highlighted in DC’s Metal Men.  I love the Metal Men! However, the Metal Men are totally dated.  The way Marvel uses robots is just a lot more interesting that the way than how DC does.  This is my third post comparing technology in DC and Marvel and I want to make an overall observation.

Marvel treats technology in a more consistent thematic manner.  Iron Man’s armor leads to the Armor Wars.  Mutants are treated with a consistent pseudo science genetic “Gene X” explanation.  Adamantium, a super metal, is used consistently to create many super weapons.  Robots as institutional servants and the plotlines that follow from this idea are repeated.  The government continues trying to create super soldiers after the success of Captain America and the Weapon X program that creates Wolverine and many other characters is the result.

DC treats technology in a much more haphazard manner.  Technologies are created for one issue and never seen again.  There are far fewer overreaching storylines in the DC universe that tie the different technologies together.  Technology has more continuity in the Marvel universe than the DC universe!  Again!

  1. Continuity leads to suspension of disbelief!
  2. Suspension of disbelief leads to much greater reading pleasure!
  3. Greater reading pleasure leads to greater comic book sales!

I think whatever the results of individual posts in this series, Marvel treats technology in a superior manner compared to DC.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

DC vs. Marvel: Transportation

The most important category of objects in the comic book universe of DC and Marvel has to be the weapons.  I look at this topic at:

https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/marvel-vs-dc-weapons/

I would argue that the second most important category of objects in the DC and Marvel comic book universe are objects of transportation.  Superheroes fight supervillains and weapons are needed to do this.  Unfortunately for superheroes, supervillains are often a cowardly lot that will flee with the loot rather than fight.  Some warrior supervillains like Doomsday will stand and fight Superman but many supervillains try to flee Superman.  This means the superhero needs a speedy mode of transport to catch the supervillain and the supervillain wants a mode of speedy transportation to escape.  Plus when a crime occurs, the superhero needs to show up at the scene of the crime in the first place.  Last but not least, most superheroes patrol anything from a sector of a galaxy, Green Lanterns, to a section of city, Daredevil and Hell’s Kitchen, and need a way of getting around.

In other science fiction universe there is a “vehicle” category but comic books are more speculative fiction than science fiction and some of the most iconic and important forms of transport only vaguely fit even the most general definition of vehicle.  This post will look at vehicles but also discuss other objects that provide transportation.  Does DC or Marvel have the coolest objects of transportation?

DC Transportation

Below is a list of objects of transportation in the DC universe.

  1. Adam Strange’s Jetpack
  2. Alpha Centurion’s Pax Romana
  3. Ambush Bug’s Teleport Suit
  4. Batboat
  5. Batcycle
  6. Batmobile
  7. Batplane
  8. Birds of Prey – Aerie One
  9. Birds of Prey – Aerie Two
  10. Black Manta’s Sea Saucer
  11. Black Manta’s Walker
  12. Blackhawk Planes
  13. Blue Beetle’s Bug
  14. Blue Tracer
  15. Boom Tube
  16. Booster Mobile
  17. Brains Submarine
  18. Braniac’s Skull Ship
  19. Braniac’s Star Ship
  20. Brontadon (Ship)
  21. Catwoman’s Catmobile
  22. Catwoman’s Catplane
  23. Challenger SST
  24. Clockincopter
  25. Cluster Ship
  26. Cometeer
  27. Craddock Carriage
  28. Di’ib
  29. Doomsday Ship
  30. Eye of Zared
  31. Fiddler’s Fiddle Car
  32. Flash’s Cosmic Threadmill
  33. Flying Fish
  34. Flying Sundial
  35. Fokker Dr. I
  36. Gentleman’s Horse
  37. Gibel Ship
  38. Golden Knight Flying Horse
  39. Gorandian Battle Tripod
  40. Gorandian Submarine
  41. Green Arrow’s Arrowcar
  42. Green Arrow’s Arrowplane
  43. Green Lantern Ring
  44. Grumman XF5F
  45. Gyrosub
  46. Haunted Tank
  47. Hawkman’s Wings
  48. Hourman’s Timeship
  49. Huntress Motorcycle
  50. Javelin-7
  51. Jokermobile
  52. Jonah Hex’s Mechanical Horse
  53. JSA’s Steel Eagle
  54. Justice League Cruiser
  55. Justice League Teleporter
  56. Kal-El’s Rocketship
  57. Kanjar Ro’s Spaceship
  58. Lansarian Morphing Disk
  59. Legion Cruiser
  60. Legion Flight Rings
  61. Legion of Superheroes Flying Rings
  62. Legion of Superheroes Time Bubble
  63. Legion of Superheroes Time Cube
  64. Lobo’s Spacehog
  65. LX-811 Star Cruiser
  66. Mark 494 Star Cruiser
  67. Mitsu-Bishi
  68. Mobius Chair
  69. Multipurpose Intercept/Reconnaissance Vehicle
  70. Mustang Three
  71. Nautilus of Earth ABC
  72. Newsboy Legion’s Whiz Wagon
  73. Omega Men Mothership
  74. Orion’s Astro-Harness
  75. Owlship
  76. P-40 Warhawk
  77. Paco’s Convertible
  78. Panzer-Ship
  79. Peacemaker Hog
  80. Pilgrim One
  81. Quantum Jet
  82. Rip Hunter’s Timesphere
  83. Robin’s Redbird
  84. Royal Flush Gang’s Flying Cards
  85. Sam
  86. Samson’s Chronomobile
  87. Sandals of Hermes
  88. Scanner One
  89. Scarlet Skier’s Cosmic Skis
  90. Scorpion-Ship
  91. Sea Witch
  92. Sheba
  93. Space Cab
  94. Space Shuttle Excalibur
  95. Star-Rocket Racer
  96. Starhunter’s Sunrider
  97. Steel Eagle
  98. Super-Cycle
  99. Superman’s Phantom Zone Projector – It transports you to another dimension!
  100. Supermobile
  101. Swinging through the rooftops – Batman
  102. T-Jet
  103. T-Sub
  104. Teen Titan’s Helicopter
  105. Thangarian Star Cruiser
  106. Time Bubble
  107. Trickster’s Air Shoes
  108. User: Bonesaw 19
  109. Vig-Cycle
  110. Vigilante’s Motocycle
  111. Warehouse X Toys
  112. Warhound
  113. Warlord’s Plane
  114. Whirly-Bat
  115. Whiz Wagon
  116. Wildcat’s Motorcycle
  117. Wingcycle
  118. Wonder Woman’s Invisible Plane

Some of the more famous objects of transportation are Adam Strange’s Jetpack, the Batmobile, the Flash’s Cosmic Threadmill, the Haunted Tank, Hawkman’s Wings, Green Lantern’s Ring, Kal-El’s Rocketship, Legion of Superheroes Time Bubble, and Wonder Woman’ Invisible Plane.  The top two of this list, the crème de la crème, are the Batmobile and Kal El’s Rocketship.  If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then the Batmobile has been praised again and again.  The Arrowmobile, Catmobile, Jokermobile and to some extent the Spider-Mobile, as parody, are all derived from the Batmobile.  Kal-El’s Rocketship refers to the space ship that delivered Superman to the planet Earth from Krypton.  The Batmobile has been the subject of schematics from the beginning and you can buy toy collections of Batmobiles from the golden age to the present.

Superman’s rocket is a very different affair and the particulars of how the ship looks have varied tremendously from the golden age to the present.  This is a contest between a very visually defined vehicle and an icon.  The historic significance of Superman’s rocket ship is more important than the Batmobile.  The rocket ship is an integral part of the Superman mythos and that mythos in turn largely defined comic books from the beginnings to the present.  On iconic grounds I would say Kal El’s rocketship is the most important object of transportation in the DC universe and the coolest.

Marvel Transportation

Below is a list of objects of transportation in the DC universe.

  1. Asgardian Star Jammer
  2. Avengers Quinjet
  3. Big Wheel
  4. Dr. Doom’s Time Machine
  5. Dr. Strange’s Cloak of Levitation
  6. Fantastic Four’s Fantasti-Car
  7. Fantastic Four’s Pogo Plane
  8. Flying Horses – Valyky, Black Knight
  9. Galactus Ship
  10. Ghost Rider’s Hell Cycle
  11. Green Goblin’s Glider
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy – Freedom’s Lady
  13. Hawkeyes Sky-cycle
  14. Iron Man’s Armor
  15. Kang’s Time-Ship
  16. Moon Knight’s Helicopter
  17. Nextwave’s Shockwave Rider
  18. Quasar’s Quantum Bands
  19. Runaway’s Leapfrog
  20. S.H.I.E.L.D. Flying Car
  21. S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier
  22. Silver Surfer’s Board
  23. Spider-Man’s Spider-Mobile
  24. Stiltman’s Stilts
  25. Swinging through the rooftops – Spiderman, Daredevil
  26. Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir
  27. X-Men’s Blackbird

Some of the most important objects of transportation in the Marvel universe include:

the Fantasti-Car, Iron Man’s Armor, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Thor’s hammer and the X-Men’s Blackbird.  I have to mention is the Spider-Mobile that is largely forgotten but was in Spider-Man during the seventies and was hilarious.  The Spider-Mobile was a parody of consumerism.  Spider-Man agreed to ride the Spider-Mobile for an ad agency.  Spider-Man is about always broke.  The problem was the Spider-Mobile was constantly having troubles.  Webhead would have been better of sticking to his webbing and swinging through the roof tops.

My Marvel favorites are the Fantasti-Car and Iron Man’s armor.  Both are marvels of comic book engineering.  Schematics of both were provided early on and you could almost believe these machines could be created.  They represent very different ideas of design.  Iron Man’s armor is a sleek, streamlined, minimalist machine that is a high tech, red and yellow, hot rod of the skies.  If Iron Man’s armor is a hot rod then the Fantasti-Car is a Volkswagen that is not streamlined but very practical.  The Fantasti-Car has a modular design that looks goofy but allows the individual Fantastic Four members to break away from the main ship and fight more effectively as a group.  Iron Man led to any number of armored imitators and again if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Iron Man’s armor wins.  However, does Iron Man’s armor deserve to win in this sort of contest?  Iron Man’s armor is more weapon than transport.  I think because of this the Fantasti-Car is the winner in the Marvel universe.  The modular design of the Fantasti-Car might have real life applications.

The Soviet Union often used tank riders instead of trucks for transportation during WW II.  Men hung onto tanks for dear life.  This was done due to a lack of trucks on the part of the Soviet Union.  However, later many tactical advantages came out of this experience.  The men could quickly jump from the tank and provide support to the tank and vice-versa in a way troops in trucks could not.

I wonder if there is the possibility of some sort of helicopter rider system in which special forces could break away from a helicopter using some sort of individual pod rocket system attached to the outside of the helicopter allowing for greater speed in exiting than the current rappelling system used by special forces.  You enter the external rocket pod using a door on the inside of the helicopter to provide maximum protection until the moment of exit.  The rocket pod also allows quicker dispersal of special forces around an area and the pod also offers some extra protection upon exiting the protection of the helicopter.

Conclusion

The winner of the DC competition is Superman’s rocket ship.  The winner of the Marvel competition is the Fantasti-Car.  I love the sixties campiness of the Fantasti-Car but iconic value beats campiness and Superman’s object wins as the coolest object of transportation!  DC wins!  In the course of this study something else stood out.

What is very interesting when comparing the objects of transportation of DC with Marvel is that there is a giant difference in the number of such objects.  This difference in numbers took me by surprise and is serendipitous result of this study.  DC has 117 objects of transportation.  Marvel has 27 objects of transportation.  I have done my best to be exhaustive in the compilation of both lists but still may have missed an important object of transportation here and there but the difference in numbers is so great that one must come to the conclusion transportation, as reflected in the numbers above, is more important in the DC universe than the Marvel universe.  I have my own after the fact theory about this.

I am old enough to have read comic books from the golden age to the present and let me assure younger readers that comic books have changed tremendously!  The Marvel universe is a relatively new universe compared to DC whose superheroes and story line foundations were largely created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the sixties.  I would argue one basic difference between Marvel and DC, especially in the sixties, was that Marvel focused a lot more on fights than the chase.  For example, Superman spent way more time flying around looking for crooks than Thor.  Thor quickly found his enemy and most of the issue focused on the fight.  Thor fought characters like the Hulk.  The Hulk does not flee from Thor that’s for sure.  I actually bought the first issue in which Thor and the Hulk fought solo and even then I knew this was something different.  For one thing Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created all these fight scene cartoon blurb sounds that had no equivalent in the DC universe.  Jack Kirby used a lot more  lines showing shock waves than anyone else.  The fight looked more real and the key to this was actually using exaggerated action that is less real but interestingly looks more real due to the nature of the medium.  I am into martial arts and have at least fifty books in the area with pictures that show each move of a kata and the pictures look pretty boring compared to a well done Jack Kirby punch or kick.  I came to the conclusion that Marvel had better fight scenes and certainly longer fight scenes than DC.  The difference in the quality and quantity of fight scenes between Marvel and DC has largely lessened over time.

I mentioned Doomsday and Superman in the introduction and their fight as chronicled in the Death of Superman storyline was generally one giant multi-issue series of fight scenes.  I hate to admit it but I enjoyed the series!  Remind me to grow up one of these days.  For the record, Superman didn’t die despite the title of the series and I knew darn well Superman wouldn’t die and was amazed how my friends and family bought the lie hook line and sinker!  And also for the record, Captain America and Batman are not going to stay dead!

The greater emphasis on fight scenes made Marvel more “modern” from their beginnings.  Movies and TV were becoming more violent in the sixties and it made sense for comic books to go this route as well.  Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were more attuned to modern media trends than their counterparts at DC at the time and this is one reason Marvel became such a success at the expense of DC.  As a side note, I do not consider comic books overly violent at all compared to other media.

Comic books have become more violent from the sixties to the present but are still much less violent than other media.  I am especially amazed at some of the cutesy violent video games on Facebook that have tremendous appeal to my nieces and nephews who are in the six to ten year old age group.  I would much rather my nieces and nephews were reading the most violent DC or Marvel comic book out there than playing those horrible video games.  I guess I am getting old because despite the best efforts of my nieces and nephews to explain the games, I had no interest.

The games are kind of Hello Kitty meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  You have these very cute cartoon characters wielding knifes or whatever and doing terrible things to other cute cartoon characters with blood and guts pouring out.  I like my genres purer than that.  I like Hello Kitty and I like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but I really don’t care for Hello Kitty acting like Leatherface, the bad guy in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  The games are very similar to Ren and Stimpy of The Simpsons fame but again are video games rather than a cartoon within a cartoon.  I do think the interactive nature of a violent video game as opposed to a violent cartoon on TV is worrisome.  Back to the topic of this post!

Another example of fight versus chase, many fifties Batman issues were reprinted in 80 page Giants in the sixties that I read when I was young and in many ways I grew up with this version of Batman.  The fifties Batman is all about the chase!  The Batman of the fifties invariably ended up in some sort of scenario with giant objects.  Batman chased and fought crooks in an almost surrealistic landscape.  Batmite was introduced at this time and used his reality warping powers not to fight Batman but to make the chase more interesting.  There is no Marvel counterpart to this sort of chase.

I would argue the greater number of objects of transportation in the DC universe is due to DC having a golden age inheritance in which the chase was more important than the fight.  Marvel does not share this inheritance and presumably would have more weapons than DC.  Counting weapons is much harder than counting objects of transportation.  I spent hours compiling lists of weapons in the DC and Marvel universe for my last post and am still not happy with the result.  Weapons are ubiquitous in comic books.  Objects of transportation are much smaller in number and easier to count definitively.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women