Will Marvel or DC do better in 2023? That's the question that our ComicBook Nation podcast show is asking, for the second year in a row. The ComicBook Nation crew started this segment back in 2022, when (early on) it looked like DC was about to have a landmark year. There were four films on the release slate (The Batman, Black Adam, The Flash, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom), a major TV spinoff (Peacemaker), plus the entire slate of DC TV on both HBO Max and the Arrowverse.
Needless to say, the year didn't go well. DC had to delay half its movie slate (The Flash and Aquaman 2); meanwhile, behind the scenes, the entire DC franchise and its Warner Bros. parent company were shaken up by the Warner Bros. Discovery merger. New CEO David Zaslav made sweeping changes to the gameplan for the DC franchise – culminating in an entire new studio imprint, DC Studios, being launched, with filmmaker James Gunn and producer Peter Safran in charge. Everything that fans know about the future of the DC Universe franchise as we know it has changed.
So: Who Will Do Better in 2023? Marvel or DC?
Why DC Could Do Better in 2023
ComicBook Nation host Kofi Outlaw took up the sole position of putting his chips on DC for 2023. The only argument he had was that DC's slate of movis for 2023 – Shazam: Fury of the Gods (3/17/23), The Flash (6/16/23), Blue Beetle (9/18/23), and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (12/25/23) – could be stronger draws as individual films, if not a connected universe. Blue Beetle is potentially going to be a strong introduction to a new hero (a Latino hero at that); Flash is the game-changer that could reset the entire DC Universe for Gunn's DC Studios era; Aquaman 2 is the sequel to a billion-dollar franchise-starter, with promise of bigger spectacle. As for Shazam 2? It's going to a the very least deliver another fun film experience to DC fans who love that version of the franchise. Marvel's slate (Ant-Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, The Marvels, Sony's Kraven the Hunter and animated sequel Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse) had only two guaranteed hits (Guardians 3 and Spider-Verse 2), while Marvel fatigue was something to consider.
Ultimately, Outlaw felt that where DC could score "the win" for 2023 was in brand perception and fan enthusiasm. Any win for DC resonates as a big win at this point; if the films do well enough, and Gunn and Safran unveil a major franchise gameplan that electrifies and excites the fanbase (and mainstream viewers), then DC could head into 2024 with greater momentum behind it – especially if the Marvel movies don't leave fans feeling amped.
Why Marvel Could Do Better in 2023
ComicBook Nation hosts Janell Wheeler and Matthew Augilar took the much safer (smarter?) position of putting their bets on Marvel for 2023. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania's latest trailer is already building massive buzz for that film (and Jonathan Majors' new franchise villain, Kang; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is a guaranteed smash – and even though The Marvels is still pretty much unknown to the general public, it is essentially an event film that brings Marvel TV (WandaVision, Ms. Marvel) and movies (Captain Marvel) together for an interstellar adventure.
Sony is its own thing, obviously, but Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has all the possibility of being THE best comic book movie of the year, let alone another big win for Sony. Kraven is a big unknown, but no one is banking this argument on the performance of that movie, anyway.
It's clear that Marvel TV is going to win in 2023 with shows like Loki Season 2, Secret Invasion, Ironheart, and Echo all bringing event TV worth watching, while DC TV had little to nothing beyond established hit series to offer. There was no argument there. So, it's easy to walk away with Marvel as your pick to win the year – yet again.
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