Why The Boys Parodies DC Comics Heroes More Than Marvel

Why The Boys Parodies DC Comics Heroes More Than Marvel

There’s a reason why The Boys uses the Justice League instead of the Avengers as their super-team template, and it’s now what you think.

WildStorm Comics’ The Boys has become incredibly popular in the last few years, owing to the popularity of the Amazon Prime television show of the same name – but one quirk about both the show and the comics can’t be overlooked: The Boys uses the Justice League as a baseline. The superheroes in the series, known as Supes, are almost universally awful; they are criminals, have God complexes, and are all beholden to a mega-corporation who covers up their crimes. They are also modeled after DC superheroes more than Marvel – but there’s a very good reason why.

The series, spanning 72 issues, revolves around Hughie, Billy Butcher, and the other members of the titular Boys as they attempt to bring down the Supes who pretend to be public paragons while in reality are violent sociopaths. The villains of the piece are undoubtedly the members of “The Seven”: a seven-strong superhero team that is quite transparently modeled after DC’s Justice League. The members include an Aquaman analogue (The Deep), a Wonder Woman-esque character (Queen Maeve) and a version of Superman in the form of the infamous Homelander.


Related: The Boys Reveals The Sad Origin Of Homelander’s Catchphrase

In the comics, The Seven even meet on a floating base in the sky that serves as a stand-in for the Watchtower (but they mainly talk about merchandising and publicity instead of actually fighting supervillains). The question remains: why does The Boys attack DC with their parodies but rarely Marvel? The answer has nothing to do with the well-known classic Golden Age DC characters and everything to do with the Silver Age Marvel heroes – and the way they were written.

Superman and Antony Starr as Homelander in The Boys

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s famous Fantastic Four series was revolutionary, but not simply because the heroes had no secret identities or sidekicks. Each member of the group had significant weakness – and they were character flaws rather than exotic green rocks or an inability to fight the color yellow. Nearly every Marvel character has well-defined character flaws, and half of the characters’ struggle is about overcoming their flaws. While DC characters certainly have character flaws of their own, they noticeably did not have them during the Golden Age – and The Boys uses these versions of the characters to parody.

Thus, A Train is a showboating celebrity, Black Noir is a violent brute who kills without hesitation, and Homelander – the Superman analogue – has a God complex and a hair-trigger temper. The comic series was perfectly capable of parodying Marvel heroes, but said heroes already had an inner darkness that they overcame in their own stories. For that reason above all others, The Boys uses the Justice League’s Golden Age heroes and takes them to their violent extreme.

Next: The Boys Antony Starr Teases Homelander’s Story For Future Seasons

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