Marvel versus DC. The debate rages on (in spite of any efforts to the contrary.) And, again, in a DC-dominated comics blogosphere, I feel the foolish need to reassess why Marvel appeals to me. It's probably so much bullshit, but I think... I think this is why. At least, it is today.
It's about hope. Not the hope of the civilian on the ground cheering on the hero who's flying in to save the day for the umpteenth time, ogling (depending on your tastes) Green Lantern or Power Girl. You know, the "It's a bird, it's a plane" civilian. That can be fun and all, but... it seems like that's DC hope.
I tend to prefer Marvel-style hope. The hope that the world will go on, that things will go back to the way they were before Tony Stark unmasked (for the umpteenth time, I hear), before Hawkeye sort of died, before the New Warriors screwed up.* I don't want to be a civilian on the ground admiring iconic greatness; I want to get inside the heroes' heads and hearts, into their hopes: that they will live to fight another day; that their lost friends will return; that the civilians will let them do their jobs; and that Damage Control will clean up afterwards.
DC hope versus Marvel hope. It's the hope of the sanctimonious mayoral millionaire archer versus the hope of the archer who rose from a life of poverty and petty thievery to earn his status.
It's the hope of the god-gifted Amazon princess that she can live up to the works of her predecessor versus the hope of the woman warrior that she can simply be good enough to protect her people.
It's the hope for utopia versus the hope for survival. The hope that the multiverse will endure without shattering.
It's a hope for the underdog we know will win.
Yes. That kind of hope.
*Yes, I have been reading '80s reprints and back issues. Why do you ask?