Warning: spoilers for Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade # 4 are coming.
Marvel comics and DC Comics are among the greatest powers of American comics, and over the course of their more than half a century of activity, they have earned their own editorial distinctions over one another. Overall, many of DC’s greatest heroes have a mythological component, while a lot of Marvel’s are ordinary people who have become extraordinary by strange circumstances. While DC tends to adopt classic storytelling modes with characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman, Marvel first built its audience through types of men like Spider-Man, redefining a sense of heroism. which felt distinct in the second half of the twentieth century.
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These differences, however, did not remain static over time, as a new Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade comedy shows. In issue four, Black Knight (Dane Whitman) explains how Camelot was magically created by the wizard Merlin, only to purge his own creation of its unsavory parts when a violent uprising disturbed his peace (written by Si Spurrier and Sergio DÃ¡vila, inks by Sean Parsons with Marc Deering, colors of Arif Prianto with Chris Sotomayor and Andrew Crossley, and letters by Cory Petit of VC). By removing âanything that did not fit his mythâ of Camelot as an idyllic place of heroism, Merlin modernized the kingdom with a sanitized identity that could then be safely passed down through Arthurian myths and legends.
Black Knight’s gruesome discovery of Merlin’s actions reveals another emerging difference between Marvel and DC Comics, when it comes to their handling of mythological material. In DC Comics, myths generally embellish the existing universe, adding an extra dimension of adventure to a world that is otherwise primarily recognizable to readers. Marvel, however, recently showed how characters with mythical qualities struggle to fit into today’s world. The differences between Marvel and DC on this front are significant, as myths are the basis of how human society has understood itself and its values ââover time. The fantastical aspects of the myths dramatize the human experience in an easily understood way within a traditional framework of good versus evil. Superhero comics, which are already considered “the modern myth,” reproduce this same process with a contemporary bent.
In Black Knight’s case, the revelation about Camelot’s dark past is symptomatic of Marvel’s approach to myths as illusions, in stark contrast to DC’s view of myths as a hidden but truthful part of the story. reality. Merlin’s destruction of the rugged reality of Camelot highlights a process in which myths are made larger than life through the selective removal of their most objectionable qualities. So Marvel Myths are highly edited visions of reality, made to maintain an idealistic image. DC Comics, on the other hand, has welcome mythological material as a dynamic aspect of their universe which highlights an exciting multiplicity of reality.
Myths are incompatible with truth and reality in Marvel comics.
Black Knight’s brush with Camelot’s story isn’t the only time Marvel has espoused this approach to myths. Another example came with the debut of their new UK-based team, The Union. Led by a sword and shield hero named Britannia, the team quickly fell apart when Britannia was killed in their very first issue. Britannia’s introduction and subsequent death fit with Union themes relating to the persistence of myths related to British unity (especially in the Brexit era). While having Britannia on the team would have been nice, her death ultimately symbolized the inability of old-fashioned heroism to continue to thrive today.
Seen alongside the current Black Knight series, Marvel’s approach to mythological contexts indicates how many myths that exist in their universe were once dirty realities that have since been erased from their truth. From this vantage point, it’s easy to see why Britannia was killed so early in The Union’s history – having such an archaic character would have perpetuated a facade that the heroes of the UK have never had. to evolve. With the death of their leader, the Union realized that their country no longer had a unifying factor, or myth, to bring them together when they needed it most. The security in unity that Britannia symbolized turned out to be an illusion in the end.
In the DC Comics universe, myths are an underlying part of reality.
Unlike Marvel’s approach, DC has revamped its mythical accent by incorporating elements into the daily lives of its characters, most visible in Yara Flor, DC’s new Wonder Girl. Unlike Diana Prince’s Wonder Woman, Yara Flor is not from Themyscira, but rather the daughter of a Brazilian Amazon River God. The first issue of wonder girl delves into its history during its trip to Brazil to reconnect with its roots (written and illustrated by JoÃ«lle Jones, colors by Jordie Bellaire, letters by Clayton Cowles). There she is drawn into a waterfall, encountering a creature lurking in its depths.
Yara Flor’s story illustrates how Marvel and DC diverge in their treatment of myths and how they permeate the lives of the characters. Unlike Marvel, the mythical elements of Yara’s world exist as facets of a reality she never knew existed. Instead of being distilled from parts of real circumstances, like Camelot, the myths in wonder girl blend harmoniously into reality. Instead of being a deception, myths are truths hidden beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered.
The relationship the Marvel and DC universes have to mythological content only reveals one of many areas where America’s biggest comic book publishers diverge. Marvel takes a perhaps more self-aware approach with myths, as special attention is paid to how myths are carefully crafted to meet individual needs, much like how superhero stories are. themselves manufactured. On the flip side, DC offers a more upbeat outlook with Wonder Girl, as the myths are evidence of an expansion into reality just waiting to be discovered.
Either way, the stories of Marvel and DC Comics created some of the most popular myths in the world today. As both editors show, there is no correct way for myths to be involved in fiction, leaving endless possibilities for writers and artists in the future. For now, there are a lot of fans who can extrapolate from the two perspectives that Marvel comics and DC Comics have on understanding the world around them.
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