Last October comics writer Steve Englehart found himself in the busy Exhibit Hall at the Baltimore Convention Center. For 15,000 comics, sci-fi and fantasy fans, it was time for Baltimore Comic-Con, the biggest event of the year. The crowd was a Halloween party on the move, except that it was nine in the morning. Englehart, known for his work at Marvel and DC during the 1970s and ‘80s, and for writing the definitive “Batman” series that became the first Warner Brothers “Batman” film, was in his element. Englehart let drop that he would soon be interviewed for a new documentary treatment of Reed Tucker’s book “Slugfest: Inside the 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC.”
Author and lifelong comic book enthusiast, Reed Tucker, was pleased to confirm that a documentary film series was in progress. In 2006, Tucker had started writing about film for the New York Post. Tucker explained, “That’s right when all the comic book movies were coming out, at least the Marvel universe movies.” In 2011, Marvel and DC both announced plans to release a new film on the same day. Tucker was fascinated to see how “the Internet just kind of exploded. It sort of reminded me of the days growing up when kids used to argue about ‘could Superman beat up the Hulk’ and that sort of thing. It gave me the idea to look into the rivalry and see if there was enough for a book. I did not have to look too long to figure out that there was.”
Tucker’s extensively researched book shows that the way that comic companies operate and interact has changed dramatically over time. Tucker says, “For years the publishing companies were kind of ‘mom and pop’ nothing companies—family businesses. Now, Marvel has been absorbed by Disney and DC is just one small cog in the Warner Brothers machine. It’s about this corporate rivalry where there’s billions of dollars at stake.”
The author admits to having his own preference saying, “I definitely preferred Marvel. I think it was my preference growing up, but I just think Marvel is better objectively.” However, Tucker promises he never let Marvel fandom influence his work documenting the history of the comic industry.
To promote his book, Tucker spoke on wrestler Chris Jericho’s podcast, “Talk is Jericho,” and soon the author was hearing from producers. Anthony and Joe Russo, better known as the Russo Brothers, expressed interest in developing the book into a documentary series. When Tucker heard the news from his agent he was astonished saying, “I never thought that would ever happen, but I’m glad it did. I hope it turns people into my book or more people into comics.”The documentary series adaptation of Tucker’s “Slugfest” will be executive-produced by the Russo Brothers, produced by Todd Makurath, Peter Rieveschl, Nick Gilhool and Jen Casey, and directed by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce. Try to get your own copy of “Slugfest: Inside the 50-Year Battle Between Marvel and DC” to learn about the transformation of comics culture and industry before the series airs on Quibi.