DC and Marvel have been foes since the 1930s, when the two companies began printing comic books. Since, they have ventured into all other forms of media, but the two have always maintained their own styles: DC with their truer-to-life, grittier stories (think The Dark Knight)while Marvel has always had a lighter feel (think Guardians of the Galaxy).
But perhaps the biggest difference is in their hiring practices, at least as evident in their job descriptions. Looking over the two’s career pages, Marvel focuses much more strongly on looking for people who love Marvel, while DC has a more traditional approach.
Two Very Different Job Postings
For example, compare two job descriptions for a very similar position at each company: an executive assistant for the Marvel Games and an executive assistant for DC’s creative services department.
The DC job description (seen here) is boilerplate. It lists the job responsibilities and its many job requirements, i.e. high school diploma and previous secretarial experience.
Now, look at the executive assistant for Marvel (seen here). Instead of specific job requirements (although there are some embedded in the post), Marvel highlights the specific person it wants: a chameleon, an optimist, a self-starter, etc.
The biggest difference though is that Marvel is searching for somebody who loves Marvel, or at least superhero video games – something not even mentioned in the DC job description. Just look at the first two sentences describing the position:
“If the words ‘Super Heroes’ and ‘video games’ get you excited, this may be the perfect job for you!,” reads the Marvel job description. “We are looking for an experienced, motivated, and incredibly well organized professional to join our energetic, fast-paced team to create the most amazing games in the universe.”
An Overall Philosophy
This difference between DC and Marvel is persistent throughout most of the companies’ job descriptions, particularly in the creative departments. For example, to become a franchise management manager for DC, you need five years of marketing experience and, preferably, an MBA.
For the position, a knowledge of comics or DC characters is considered “a plus.” Other jobs at DC list “a passion for the comic book and entertainment industry,” but it is the 11th or 12th job requirement listed in the job requirement section.
Now look at the job description for creative director for Marvel Entertainment’s games team. For this position, Marvel is looking for “a walking Wiki of Marvel Lore”. Additionally, to get the job, candidates have to write an essay on what Marvel character they would be and why.
The truth is, Marvel is defeating DC, particularly lately. According to Bloomberg, a Marvel movie, on average, makes 47 percent more domestically than a DC movie.
That gap has only widened recently. In the past few years, Marvel has unleashed incredibly successful movies like The Avengers, Ironman 3 and Guardians of the Galaxy, whereas DC has had the highly-successful Dark Knight trilogy and not much else. Additionally, Marvel owns a 33.5 percent share of the comics market, while DC owns 30.33 percent, according to digitalspy.com.
Marvel, as a hiring strategy, is marketing itself much more to candidates who love their products, as opposed to DC’s more generic approach. That results in different applicant pools, as Marvel is getting a lot of people who love Marvel and want to be part of the team, whereas DC is getting a more standard lot.
And that’s making a difference on the balance sheets. After all, who you hire really matters, and if you get people who love the company they work for, chances are they going to put in that extra effort.