Thursday, December 2, 2010
I loathe the many inadequacies of DC Comics. There are all these great characters in their stable to be a fan of, but at the end of the day, their entire existence is about promoting two thirty-something white male protestants as the be-all and end-all of super-heroics. If someone besides Superman or Batman sells for DC, they'll play it out for a while, but as soon as the worm turns Property #3 will be abandoned or sabotaged to feed the World's Finest machine. Only in the last few years have Green Lantern and the Flash been given a sustained marketing push across all media. Wonder Woman remains a licensing goldmine but publishing afterthought. Meanwhile, Marvel Entertainment is worth a fortune because they spread the love across a whole spectrum of characters whose individual popularity ebbs and flows, but as a whole work to consistently sustain the company.
The above rant was inspired by Captain Marvel. You see, in his day, the guy outsold Superman. He had tons of merchandising and spin-offs, his own movie serial and TV series, cartoons and almost as many imitators as Superman himself. The name Shazam was so well known it became a regular catchphrase on one of the most popular sitcoms of all time. Your great-grandfather or grandmother think The Avengers was just a British spy show, but they know Captain Marvel. Their son at least knows Shazam. Yet, time and time again, DC has mismanaged the character in one failed launch after another. You know how Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? Captain Marvel at DC. He looks like Superman, but is written as dumber and less powerful, in an increasingly antiquated manner, by progressively lesser known creators. That sounds like suck-cess to me!
As you can see above, the Big Red Cheese has some almost unparalleled stats. A point of dexterity over Wonder Woman, two points of strength over Martian Manhunter, two points of bodily resilience over the Spectre. Yet somehow, the Wisdom of Solomon equates to a measly 4 Intelligence, his anti-psychic/magic defenses are middling, and he's 4-10+ points below the Man of Steel in everything. I won't even get into the 2+ times disparity in Hero Points. This guy is supposed to be a contender? This is how you handle what was once among the most famous heroes in the entire world? Holy Moley! Mess with a Kryptonian bull, and you get the horns, by golly!
Belated thanks to Tom Hartley, whose offering of a batch of about 30 character card scans was the taste I needed to seek more. He then sold his box set for a very reasonable price to a poor student to facilitate this crossover, because I just had to scan them all for myself.