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Marvel superheroes succeed on being more relatable than DC’s characters, VP says

Plus, what’s in store for Marvel’s Spider-Man

Marvel’s Spider-Man Marvel

People are drawn to Marvel or DC superheroes because of a multitude of reasons, but Marvel Animation senior vice president, Cort Lane, thinks one advantage their characters have is being totally relatable.

Lane, who said he grew up loving DC’s Teen Titans and Superman, believes DC rests on its iconic characters whereas Marvel embraces its characters flaws and the human being that exists inside of the suit. While characters like Batman and Iron Man are equally damaged and interesting character studies, Lane said Marvel tries to make Tony Stark the character people care about, not Iron Man.

“Marvel characters are less iconic and more just like you,” Lane told Polygon. “They have flaws, they have a sense of humor and they have relatable problems. Every Spider-Man character is a relatable character. And Tony Stark, while wholly problematic by every definition, is still a lovable character.

“DC operates on a different level — and that’s not to say it’s bad,” he continued. “What all the movies and the media have shown us over the years is that mining the flaws and reliability — and mining through those threats — to try and find a personal moment people can relate to is what registers. It’s pure. A great Marvel story is about caring about the character in the costume, not the other way around.”

Marvel Animation’s next big series, hopefully, is Marvel’s Spider-Man, which will introduce a fresh Peter Parker and young Miles Morales. When asked how Marvel Animation was attempting to make the story different from every other animated iteration Spider-Man has undergone, Lane said the series will make Parker’s scientific aptitude an actual superpower, not just another interesting tidbit associated with his character.

“I want the opportunity to tell some new stories that while being really consistent of Spider-Man qualities feels fresh,” Lane said. “Peter’s smarts become a really important part of the show. It’s something that’s always been in the comics from day one. In the series, it’s another power, its something he has to take responsibility for. If that encourages kids to develop their science smarts, without being preachy, but just showing how cool that is, then we’ll consider the show a success.”

Lane said this will be a version of Parker who fans know, but because he’ll exist alongside Miles Morales, this will be a version of the character who takes on even more responsibility. He has a little more weight on his shoulders and that added complexity will hopefully create an even more interesting version of the character, Lane said.

“We have a great understanding that Miles is a really cool character,” Lane said. “His diversity — and not just in ethnicity, but in age, attire, and perspective — adds to the overall Spider-Man story. Peter is a little more awkward in social situations, but Miles has a recklessness and enthusiasm that it creates a nice contrast. Spider-Man’s great responsibility now includes looking after this kid and making sure this kid stays alive.”

Spider-Man is easily Marvel’s most iconic superhero, but the added complexity will give the character a new, grounded reality that Lane said plays into Marvel’s belief of how superheroes should be written.

“He has so much to learn, and it makes him even more powerful that he chooses to be a hero instead of running away from it under the circumstances he’s given,” Lane said. “He isn’t a grown man and we really want to emphasize that. He’s very smart, but he still has a lot to learn.”

Marvel’s Spider-Man will premiere on Disney XD at 7 a.m. ET on Aug. 17.

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