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Old December 26th, 2006   grimston1 is offline   #1
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Default What is the Marvel formula?

Joe Q mentioned that Batman was the closest DC character to the Marvel Formula. That started me to thinking. What is the Marvel Formula? Is there a DC Formula?
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   dragon.king is offline   #2
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I won't expound on this at the moment, but the easiest way to see the Marvel formula is to consider the origin stories of their different characters. There is definitely a trend that runs through most of them. And they share such with Batman.
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   Infernorhythm is offline   #3
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For one thing, Batman doesn't really follow the "Marvel Formula", considering he predates it by over a decade.

The Marvel formula at its inception was making the characters 3 dimensional. No cardboard cut out heroes. They would squabble, have tragic origins, doubt themselves, etc.

Although, I'm pretty sure it should be called "The Batman Formula".
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   Walking Deadman is offline   #4
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Anti-heroes.
Disliked or feared (possibly hated) by the General Public.
Tragic backstories.

But again BATMAN was first long before the Punishers, Hulks, Wolverines,
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   superfriend is offline   #5
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I think what Joe would like to attempt to lay claim to is something that emerged with the Silver Age.

The Silver Age of Comic Books is an informal name for the period of artistic advancement and commercial success in mainstream American comic books, predominantly in the superhero genre, that lasted roughly from the late 1950s/early 1960s to the early 1970s. It is preceded by the Golden Age of Comic Books.

During the Silver Age, the character make-up of superheroes evolved. Writers injected science fiction concepts into the origins and adventures of superheroes. More importantly, superheroes became more human and troubled, and since the Silver Age, character development and personal conflict have been almost as important to a superhero's mythos as super powers and epic adventures.
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Age_of_Comic_Books

The Marvel Formula or Marvel Way is a marketing term made popular by Stan Lee but if it does have credence, it is distinct in it's divergence from DC during it's inception.

In the late 1950s, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the superhero genre and experienced a significant success with its updated version of the Flash, and later with super-team the Justice League of America. In response, publisher Martin Goodman assigned Lee to create a new superhero team. Lee's wife urged him to experiment with stories he preferred, since he was planning on changing careers and had nothing to lose.

Lee acted on that advice, giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for pre-teens. His heroes could have bad tempers, melancholy fits, vanity, greed, etc. They bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, and even were sometimes physically ill. Before him, superheroes were idealistically perfect people with no problems: Superman was so powerful that nobody could harm him, and Batman was a billionaire in his secret identity.
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These major differences have long since blurred as most of what was so revolutionary about Stan and Marvel during it's origins have been amalgamated into how comics are generally done nowadays.
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   aflahive is offline   #6
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I think the flawed marvel characters vs. the dc perfect heros faded awhile ago. Take the split in the big three durring IC for an example, all because they have flaws.
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   tcjohnson is offline   #7
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For one thing, Batman doesn't really follow the "Marvel Formula", considering he predates it by over a decade.
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But the Batman in the 60s and earlier is NOTHING like the Batman now.

Besides, he didn't say that they copied the Marvel Formula with Batman, just that Batman is the closest thing DC has to it. It was not a chicken before the egg thing.
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   Morrison is offline   #8
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But the Batman in the 60s and earlier is NOTHING like the Batman now.

Besides, he didn't say that they copied the Marvel Formula with Batman, just that Batman is the closest thing DC has to it. It was not a chicken before the egg thing.
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You might want to re-read those early Batman stories again...
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   Winston100s is offline   #9
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You might want to re-read those early Batman stories again...
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Yep--Batman killed villians,carried a gun,and was a real ladies man.among other things.
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   Matches is offline   #10
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While the early Batman stories were quite a bit darker than the 50's and 60's material, they bore very little in common with what we now think of as the "Marvel formula". Although Batman's origin has always been tragic, it's really only in the last 20+ years that the tragedy was brought to the forefront of the series. (And the gun-toting, vampire-slaying Batman was gone in about a year after his debut).

The notion of Batman being, as Mark Waid described him, "the zenith of human fortitude and ambition", has always been a part of the character (even in the Silver Age), but the presentation was very different from a typical Stan n' Jack (or Stan n' Ditko) Marvel book. Batman was only an everyman in that he possessed no superpowers. In every other respect Bruce Wayne was very far removed from his audience - he was fabulously wealthy, had an endless supply of cool gadgets, was a father, and dated a string of gorgeous women. One of the big reasons Robin was introduced to the series was to provide a reader identification figure. Batman was who the reader would aspire to be when he grew up; Robin was who he'd aspire to be now.

The Marvel characters, by contrast, were deeply flawed. Peter Parker was a nerd whose family was dirt-poor. Bruce Banner was a nerd *and* his "powers" were a curse. The Thing was freakishly strong but also freakishly ugly. And so on. There was always a "hook" for readers (many of whom were also outcasts) to hang onto.

If anything, Superman was more "relateable" than Batman because, despite his incredible strength, he had to act like a doofus around the woman he loved. He tapped into the notion of "She'd love me if she only knew what I'm REALLY like". (A notion, by the way, whose removal from the modern Superman mythos has made it poorer.)
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   J-Liv is offline   #11
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While the early Batman stories were quite a bit darker than the 50's and 60's material, they bore very little in common with what we now think of as the "Marvel formula". Although Batman's origin has always been tragic, it's really only in the last 20+ years that the tragedy was brought to the forefront of the series. (And the gun-toting, vampire-slaying Batman was gone in about a year after his debut).

The notion of Batman being, as Mark Waid described him, "the zenith of human fortitude and ambition", has always been a part of the character (even in the Silver Age), but the presentation was very different from a typical Stan n' Jack (or Stan n' Ditko) Marvel book. Batman was only an everyman in that he possessed no superpowers. In every other respect Bruce Wayne was very far removed from his audience - he was fabulously wealthy, had an endless supply of cool gadgets, was a father, and dated a string of gorgeous women. One of the big reasons Robin was introduced to the series was to provide a reader identification figure. Batman was who the reader would aspire to be when he grew up; Robin was who he'd aspire to be now.

The Marvel characters, by contrast, were deeply flawed. Peter Parker was a nerd whose family was dirt-poor. Bruce Banner was a nerd *and* his "powers" were a curse. The Thing was freakishly strong but also freakishly ugly. And so on. There was always a "hook" for readers (many of whom were also outcasts) to hang onto.

If anything, Superman was more "relateable" than Batman because, despite his incredible strength, he had to act like a doofus around the woman he loved. He tapped into the notion of "She'd love me if she only knew what I'm REALLY like". (A notion, by the way, whose removal from the modern Superman mythos has made it poorer.)
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Dude, that's the best, most succinct analysis of Batman and Superman I think I've ever read. Kudos.

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Old December 26th, 2006   tcjohnson is offline   #12
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While the early Batman stories were quite a bit darker than the 50's and 60's material, they bore very little in common with what we now think of as the "Marvel formula". Although Batman's origin has always been tragic, it's really only in the last 20+ years that the tragedy was brought to the forefront of the series. (And the gun-toting, vampire-slaying Batman was gone in about a year after his debut).

The notion of Batman being, as Mark Waid described him, "the zenith of human fortitude and ambition", has always been a part of the character (even in the Silver Age), but the presentation was very different from a typical Stan n' Jack (or Stan n' Ditko) Marvel book. Batman was only an everyman in that he possessed no superpowers. In every other respect Bruce Wayne was very far removed from his audience - he was fabulously wealthy, had an endless supply of cool gadgets, was a father, and dated a string of gorgeous women. One of the big reasons Robin was introduced to the series was to provide a reader identification figure. Batman was who the reader would aspire to be when he grew up; Robin was who he'd aspire to be now.

The Marvel characters, by contrast, were deeply flawed. Peter Parker was a nerd whose family was dirt-poor. Bruce Banner was a nerd *and* his "powers" were a curse. The Thing was freakishly strong but also freakishly ugly. And so on. There was always a "hook" for readers (many of whom were also outcasts) to hang onto.
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Yeah, I was going to say exactly that. Honest!


As Matches said, the reason he was not a good "marvel" character in his beginnings is that he really didn't have any flaws. They mentioned the guilt over his family's death but they never really showed it in the character. His obsession makes him the perfect crime fighter but hurts other parts of his life. He has trouble forming relationships, relating to other people. the writers these days actually show the damage of witnessing his parent's death rather than paying lipservice.

Denny O'Neil in the 70's was the first to introduce these elements into Batman's character. Then later in the 80s Frank Miller took off with what Denny O'Neil started.
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   Capt America1941 is offline   #13
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Batman's early stories might have been darker and more grim in tone, but the characterization wasn't as deep as it became in the Denny O'Neil and later, Frank Miller stories, which is what i believe Joe Q is refering to when he says Batman is closest to following the Marvel formula
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   Capt America1941 is offline   #14
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Yeah, I was going to say exactly that. Honest!


As Matches said, the reason he was not a good "marvel" character in his beginnings is that he really didn't have any flaws. They mentioned the guilt over his family's death but they never really showed it in the character. His obsession makes him the perfect crime fighter but hurts other parts of his life. He has trouble forming relationships, relating to other people. the writers these days actually show the damage of witnessing his parent's death rather than paying lipservice.

Denny O'Neil in the 70's was the first to introduce these elements into Batman's character. Then later in the 80s Frank Miller took off with what Denny O'Neil started.
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oops, ummmm....yeah, what HE said !!!!
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   alucardbarnivous is offline   #15
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Marvel formula: A hero who acts almost on obsession to some degree; one who is seemingly pushed by fate into becoming a hero. In addition, the hero is plagued with "real world" problems and is many times their own greatest enemy. Lastly, they will consistently have their entire world tore down, only to build themselves back up again to be inevitably torn down again (wash, rinse, repeat).

DC Formula: In the past, some niche is created to catch on with children (teen sidekick, super-powered animal companion, fantastic vehicles and toys, etc) and the hero shall always be portrayed in a positive light as a role-model to said audience. However, this has largely shifted to blend to varying degrees with the cookie-cutter definiton of the Marvel formula given above.

Just my two cents, but this is by no means a strict code or anything.
 
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Old December 26th, 2006   alucardbarnivous is offline   #16
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Yep--Batman killed villians,carried a gun,and was a real ladies man.among other things.
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Yep. Superman use to let bad guys die around him all the time too.
 
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