Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

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Ares
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Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by Ares »

So, hypothetically, lets say the comic industry gets so bad that Marvel and DC Comics decide to merge under a single company that will produce books for both universes. And lets say that, for some reason, you get chosen as EIC of this new merged company, will get to make decisions on staff, hiring policies, storylines and everything else.

But before that, you have to decide what flavor of merging these two universes will have. After talking with the owners, the other editors and the writers, it's decided that it must come down to one of two options.

1) Separate But Equal: Marvel and DC will remain as two separate universes, but will be available for semi-regular crossovers, akin to how the JLA and JSA used to crossover during the Pre-Crisis days. Said crossovers can be regular enough to remind folks that the universes are close, but not so regular that people forget that the universes are separate.

If you take this option, the continuities of both universes will remain largely intact, but you are allowed to do some spring cleaning. You can't wipe out an entire decade of continuity, but you are allowed to tweak things here and there, render some a few storylines non-canon, and otherwise tighten things up.


2) Total Merger: Marvel and DC become a completely shared universe with characters from both settings existing on the same world with a shared history. Characters would be expected to interact with each other on a regular basis to really sell the idea of this being a shared universe, some heroes might wind up on different teams, and some characters might have shared origins.

For instance, Daxamites might be part of the Shi'Ar, and the Shi'Ar have a process that cures them of lead poisoning, but doing so turns their skin purple and makes them have to supply some of their power psionically via their willpower. The Shi'Ar refer to this as the Gladiator Process, and they only give it to a single Daxamite who swears loyalty to the Empire and serves as the leader of the Imperial Guard.

If you take this option, however, it's a completely clean slate. All previous continuity is thrown out the window and everything gets a fresh start. Older stories will still be printed and collected as a "Classics" line, and those older stories will definitely be used as road maps for future story telling, but those exact stories will no longer be canon. How you handle this blank slate will be up to you.


In either case, you will be tasked with working with other editors and select writers to create a Setting Bible for the new universe/universes, which you will have the final say on. Someone will also be hired to continually update the company's internal Wiki page so that writers will know which characters were last used and their history, so there will be no excuses for continuity snaffus.

So, which option do you go with and what choices do you make regarding said choice?
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RUSCHE
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by RUSCHE »

For me it woild have to Marvel at the helm of the merge. They are without a doubt the most prominent in the social conscious due theor overwhelming box office take of the last decade plus. There are so many non-comic readers who are fans due to this now.

Keep Marvels cosmic scene as is, Galactus destroys Krypton, Green Lanterns are formed to stop or at least mitigate the damage. Death can have several aspects, Nekron being the ugly ,angry aspect of Death ect. My 2 cents.
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Sidious
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by Sidious »

keep it separate but equal for the next 5 years. Do the whole cross-over thing fom time to time, etc.
THEN for the big 5 year anniversary do another Secret Crisis War on Infinite Earths. You get the idea.
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Ken
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by Ken »

Option 1 leaves too many of the stories that have made the comic industry so bad that it's been hemorrhaging fans. So, upon further reflection.... I'll take option two. But use the multiverses to my advantages, and mingle things but not quite the way people expect.

On Earth-M, during the second World War, many costumed crime fighters and super-powered people appeared. People like Captain America and Bucky, Uncle Sam, the Human Torch and Toro, the Ray, Black Condor, Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Blue Beetle, the Whizzer, and others. Some of them banded together to fight the Axis as the Invaders (Cap, Torch, Namor); others formed the Liberty Legion. Many of the others stayed largely independent. However, near the end of the war, Uncle Sam gathered a team of six heroes for a secret mission. These Freedom Fighters would be lost under mysterious circumstances. Years later, Reed Richards would take his best friend, his best girl, and her kid brother on a mission into space and they would become the Fantastic Four. History would largely follow known Marvel Comics history (at least as far as the FF, Spider-Man, the Avengers, and Defenders are concerned.) However, a few other heroes, people like two more Blue Beetles, Captain Atom, Nightshade, and the Question would also appear.

On Earth-X, there were no super-powered people for a long time. When they did appear, they were usually people born different from birth. Charles Xavier gathered the ones he could find and put them in a school for gifted youngsters. Others fell in with the terrorist called Magneto, and his Brotherhood of Mutants. The public has a hard time telling them apart and any super powered person is viewed with contempt and distrust. When Uncle Sam, Black Condor, Doll Man, the Ray, Phantom Lady, and the Human Bomb arrived mysteriously on this different Earth, decades into their own futures, these Freedom Fighters were also hounded as criminals. The Shi'ar Star Empire is in this universe, and includes the Strontian homeworld which orbits a red sun.

On Earth-S, during the second World War, many costumed crime fighters and super-powered people appeared. Many of them formed the Golden Agency. These included Professor Imam, Minute Man, Power Princess, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Spy Smasher, Ibis, the Invincible, Mr. Scarlet and Pinky. The Agency's greatest allies, though, were the Marvel Family, a group of six young people transformed by the power of the ancient gods. Eventually, the Marvel Family's greatest foes, the Sivana Family, would trap three of the six (Billy, Mary, and Freddy), along with many of their friends, is a transdimensional trap. The Golden Agency broke up after the war. The three remaining Marvel family members reinventented themselves in the 1950s as Marvelman (blond, in blue), Tall Marvel Man (dark hair, yellow uniform), and Fat Marvel Man (brown hair, in red.) They eventually disappeared. Years after that, the Milton family would find an alien foundling, and raise him as their son Mark. Young Kyle Richmond would see his parents murdered right in front of him. Stanley Stewart would gain superspeed, and name his heroic identity after a comic book hero he read as a child (who actually existed on Earth-M). And so on. Hyperion, Nighthawk, Power Princess, Dr. Spectrum, Amphibian, the Whizzer, and the Skrullian Skymaster would found the Squadron Supreme of America. They'd have many adventures including some with the Avengers and Defenders from Earth-M, but dire circumstances would lead to them taking over their world. Their reign would be resisted by Nighthawk, and his team. Nighthawk's team, though, would eventually win when they rescued the Marvel Family from the Suspendium Realm.

On Earth-D, during the second World War, many costumed crime fighters and super-powered people appeared. Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Starman, the first Green Arrow, Liberty Bell, Johnny Quick, etc. They formed teams like the Justice Society and the Soldiers of Victory, but FDR assembled all of these mystery men into the All-star Squadron. Years later, Superman, Wonder Woman, a new Flash, a new GL, a new Hawkman, a new Green Arrow, a new Atom, the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and Batman formed the Justice League. Their sidekicks form the Teen Titans, the children of the JSA become Infinity Inc. And in New York City several street level heroes appeared: Luke Cage, Daredevil, Power Fist, Jewel, and Spider-Man (not dissimilar to the Earth-M Spider-Man, but this one is happily married to Mary Jane Watson-Parker.)
Last edited by Ken on Mon May 16, 2022 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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csyphrett
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by csyphrett »

The problem with the DC universe is that it has had ten temporal crisises and no one knows what the history should be at this point. The declaration that everything is canon until it is not doesn't help things either.

I would like a clear indicator of where these characters are before I can use them for anything.

(I was always more of a DC reader over Marvel until the years after the Crisis. I find as a reader I like clear road maps and context, and dislike writers who rewrite things for their own plots instead of building on what was already written. I guess that is why I have always hated Neil Gaimon and James Robinson. The fact that both Green Arrow and Green Lantern were both 15-20 years older than their friends on the League should have caused someone in Editorial to be boiled in oil.)

I liked the shared universe idea but I have a hard time thinking about making it work other than slowly winding down current books and ending both universes. Then restarting from scratch.

So the current books would be Avengers and Justice League. Batman is the most popular DC guy at this point so he gets a solo, and whomever is the most popular Marvel gets his solo. Captain America leads the Avengers, Superman leads the League. Various characters from both companies fill the slots. A team up book like Brave and Bold would explore how solo heroes operate in their own part of the setting, and as a testing ground for their own solos like Falcon and one of the five Robins having an adventure. Maybe a space based book like the Guardians of the Galaxy or GLC would be the sixth book launched.

Gradually I would add things like the All Star Squadron with the Invaders/Freedom Fighters/Crimebusters/JSA/Seven Soldiers to focus on historical heroes who still might be in action in the present. The X-men would be an underground team focusing on a single issue like Winged Victory from Astro City. Stormwatch/Global Guardians would be a precursor to the JLAvengers or as defenders of the planet when the other teams aren't there. Teen Titans/Infinity Inc would be like a school for heroes to train kids to use their powers and join the big leagues. The Legion would be the Guardians of the Galaxy in the future with their own versions of current heroes and mainstays of that time like Mon-El.

Miniseries would round out the line up so I could put solo heroes in action, do teamups that I like, capitialize on movie things.

A team of fact checkers would be added to Editorial to keep writers from simply changing characters any way they wanted so that retcons would be kept at a minimum.
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by csyphrett »

The 5G timeline that bleeding cool put up is a good start. All you would have to do is put in Marvel events like the Lost Generation and the Eternals/Inhumans. The problem would be writers that like to use retcons to write stories when you can just get someone else like the new Banshee skin wearing Moira MacTaggert.
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Ares
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by Ares »

As the guy who started this thread, I've decided to finally get around to giving my own two cents on the matter.

And to me, I'd go with option #2: The clean slate.

Part of me hates to do it, but I feel comics in general have been on something of a decline since the mid-2000s, things really hit the fan in the early 2010s, and it's been one flavor of shit show after another since then.

Like it says in the original post, I'd keep collecting older stories under the Classics line and use those older stories as guides for new ones, but overall I feel like this would be an opportunity to build something that could revitalize modern comics, to start things off with something great built from the ground up with all of the lessons of the past available to us.

Set the history of the universe in place from the word go. Have a setting bible with most major things fleshed out, with a little wiggle room. Try for a tight continuity. Focus on teams of writers and editors willing to work together with other writers and editors to create something that feels cohesive. Focus on a core stable of regular books but use mini-series to tell contained stories and introduce new characters, testing the waters for new books. Focus on creators who understand these characters are important cultural icons and they need to be treated as such.

What's especially fun is you have an opportunity to take characters from the two most popular superhero settings and weave a new history where they exist side-by-side and have immense potential for new stories. You can explain away certain things like the lack of superheroes between WWII and the modern age with clever use of lesser known characters, even giving some of those characters extra importance to history. Have a backstory all in place and work with writers to use these stories to explain that history.

Just thinking of the possibilities makes me kind of want to do a Merged DC/Marvel setting history thread.
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- Captain Marvel SHAZAM! : Power of Hope (2000)

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csyphrett
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by csyphrett »

Ares wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 2:18 am Just thinking of the possibilities makes me kind of want to do a Merged DC/Marvel setting history thread.
People have done this. I think Wold Newton has examples but I am not sure now. It's been years since I seen it
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Re: Hypothetical Marvel/DC Merger: Pick one and why

Post by Bladewind »

Ares wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 6:49 am 2) Total Merger: Marvel and DC become a completely shared universe with characters from both settings existing on the same world with a shared history. Characters would be expected to interact with each other on a regular basis to really sell the idea of this being a shared universe, some heroes might wind up on different teams, and some characters might have shared origins.

So, which option do you go with and what choices do you make regarding said choice?
Been awhile since I posted, but this thread caught my eye... No secret for anyone who has played in my games, this is my preferred universe style.
I started with a timeline based on the John Byrne's Superman/ Batman Generations (which is pretty much introduce the heroes the year they first appeared and then age them normally, with some exceptions...) I then added originals and legacies of my own.

I placed major cross over events (in house and the occasional company cross over - they fit more easily now) pretty much with their year of publication being their year of occurrence - other than sequential, I avoided tying anything to a specific month or date.

I also tweaked the X-Men a little. They are a linked to the Justice League and Xavier's school is known as the Justice League Academy. Professor X is an identity assumed by the Martian Manhunter.

My main reason for doing this is the so-called Sliding Time Scale that DC used for years (do they still use it ?) drives me nuts.

And then try to run original stories/ characters. This is tough because IMO the industry shot itself in the foot with their heroes being stagnant/ in a sliding time scale and not really aging unless.... reasons. So introducing new characters would be tough. But one way around it would be to create variant characters that are recognizable but have less baggage - a Young Avengers team unrelated to that comic, but instead based on Young Justice... with a clone of Thor instead of Superman, a Super-Skrull instead of Miss Martian, Taskmaster's daughter instead of Artemis... or you could still tell stories with the original Superman, but thereis a legacy Superman out there now who is not Superman's son but instead his nephew, rocketed to Earth more recently as Krypton was saved in the 1920s (our time) by a Green Lantern only to be destroyed by Galactus.

I also have a Justice Syndicate in modern times. the John Byrne comic above had Superman's son Joel lose his powers in the womb. He grew up hating his father, twisted by Lex Luthor (I am summarizing the story) and died killing his sister Kara. In my universe, they both survived with Kara not resurfacing as Superwoman until years later, and Joel actually forming a team of his own to subvert the JLA, a team he calls the Syndicate and is essentially a variant on the Crime Syndicate. in '93, Joel under his name Ultraman reconciles with his sister as he lays down his life to stop Doomsday... Kara then comes out of retirement to lead a new team, the Justice Syndicate...
Ares wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 6:49 am For instance, Daxamites might be part of the Shi'Ar, and the Shi'Ar have a process that cures them of lead poisoning, but doing so turns their skin purple and makes them have to supply some of their power psionically via their willpower. The Shi'Ar refer to this as the Gladiator Process, and they only give it to a single Daxamite who swears loyalty to the Empire and serves as the leader of the Imperial Guard.
This. You randomly tossed out an idea as an example and once again it will find its way into my universe.... :D
Thorpocalypse wrote: Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:01 pm Building to be comics "accurate" is different than building to run a PC or building something to challenge a group.
Bladewind's 3ed M&M Builds
The Merge Setting document
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