Is The Boys DC or Marvel? The Boys is a comic book series, written by Garth Ennis and co-created, designed, and illustrated by Darick Robertson. The first volume was published by WildStorm, which canceled it after six issues; the series was picked up by Dynamite Entertainment, which published the following eight volumes. Debuting in October 2006, the series concluded in November 2012 after 72 issues were published.
In the fourth volume, the series is revealed to be set in the same fictional universe as Ennis’ previous 1995–2000 DC Vertigo series, Preacher, with former vampire Proinsias Cassidy cameoing as a bartender. Three 6-issue spin-off limited series were also produced during the series’ original run: Herogasm, Highland Laddie, and Butcher, Baker, Candlestickmaker, with an 8-issue epilogue series, Dear Becky, published from January–December 2020.
The book was adapted by Amazon Studios and Sony Pictures Television into a streaming television series that premiered on Amazon Prime Video on July 26, 2019, through a brand licensing rights agreement with Dynamite Entertainment, from which a franchise was launched—web series Seven on 7 with Cameron Coleman, which premiered July 7, 2021—spin-off animated anthology series, Diabolical, which premiered on March 4, 2022 (of which the third episode, “I’m Your Pusher”, is set in the same continuity as the comic series)—and live-action spin-off series Gen V, which premiered September 29, 2023.
Is The Boys DC or Marvel?
There’s no question that Marvel changed the landscape of the superhero genre in Hollywood. Successful superhero movies before Iron Man in 2008 were few and far between compared to the regular blockbuster blowouts we now receive. DC has aided in that effort, delivering much-needed grit to Marvel’s comparatively polished veneer.
But neither franchise has dared to do what The Boys has done: showcase the reality of superheroes in the modern world. The Prime Video series is the underbelly of the genre, offering a stark contrast to both Marvel and DC. Its three seasons have exposed a raw, cruel, and often horrific universe characterized by not-so-virtuous superheroes holding positions of power puppeted by a corrupt corporation known as Vought International that sees only dollar signs instead of humanity.
The series has captured and retained viewer attention since its inception in 2019, and while executive producer Eric Kripke has made clear changes from the source material, the show never strays from the satirical tone and overall premise of the comics. In the show, almost nothing is off limits, including poking fun at other comics and cinematic universes.
Is The Boys connected to DC or Marvel comics?
The Boys is not connected to DC or Marvel comics, unless you consider it’s satirical jabs at the two companies a connection. The Boys touts a list of similar superheroes we’ve come to know from Marvel and DC (Homelander as Superman, Solider Boy as Captain America, Queen Maeve as Wonder Woman, Ezekiel as Mr. Fantastic) and takes jabs at the cinematic universes they have created.
For instance, The Boys‘ in-universe movie, Dawn of the Seven, is both a jab at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Marvel Studios. In the show, Vought Studios produces all of the Vought Cinematic Universe films such as Queen Maeve: Her Majesty and Dawn of the Seven. The list of hilarious comparisons goes on and on.
The Boys did have a brief real-world connection to DC during its first year of publication in 2006, when it was picked up by WildStorm, an imprint of DC Comics. However, the next year it switched to Dynamite Entertainment after concerns arose about its dark take on superheroes. The comic book was picked up and adapted by Amazon Studios years later, premiering on the streaming platform in July 2019. Since then it’s amassed millions of viewers, some of whom are only just discovering the show is based on a comic book.
What makes The Boys so different from Marvel and DC?
The differences between The Boys and both Marvel and DC are vast and dramatic. For starters, The Boys is much more violent, gory, and profane than either comic or cinematic universe combined. Like Marvel’s Avengers and DC’s Justice League, The Boys consists of a superhero group known as The Seven, but unlike either comic, The Seven don’t actually care about saving innocent people from danger. (Unless you count Starlight and Maeve, then sure, I guess they care a little). They are merely corrupted puppets working for Vought with nothing but fame and influence on their mind.
The Boys share a sliver of similarity with Marvel when it comes to how superheroes — or “supes” — receive powers. Like Captain America, supes in The Boys are administered a chemically engineered super serum known as Compound V that enhances the human body and grants access to superhuman abilities. However, unlike Marvel, none of the supes in The Boys are aware that they’ve been given the super serum. In fact, many believe they were born with their powers, a contentious plot point later explored in Starlight’s storyline on the show.
The Boys also deviates from Marvel and DC in terms of analyzing the up-close-and-personal lives of its supes. They are not simply a reporter by day and a superhero by night, they are a foul-mouthed sex addict sneaking sex acts in between artificially manufactured displays of heroism. They are egotistical fame junkies more obsessed with praise than purpose. The list goes on and on, but essentially, The Boys shows what it would look like if an ordinary person got superpowers in today’s world.
Perhaps the biggest difference between The Boys and other superhero comics is the political aspect. Yes, Marvel’s Sokovia Accords bring politics into the picture, but The Boys explores what politics would really look like if the world was inhabited by dangerous superheroes in positions of power, not simply good guys being asked to stay in their lane. That means corruption, that means deceit, that means secretly blowing people’s heads off if it guarantees you a few extra votes. Think: what would politics look like if Donald Trump had superpowers?
At the end of the day, superhero stories have often been placed in a neat and orderly box that allows for neat, orderly storylines to help restore our faith in humanity. The Boys does the opposite of that. It stands in stark — yet sometimes welcome — relief to the movies and TV shows that have been made before it. It blows up said box with as much dynamite as possible, and with about as much impact as, say, an exploding head.
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