Stark Campus to host intellectual debate on superheroes, villains

Hannah Armenta

The battle between preferring Marvel or DC comics has raged on playgrounds, conventions and box offices and soon will make its way to the Kent State Stark campus this Thursday in a debate hosted by the History Club.

What began as a spirited conversation in a History Club meeting has quickly grown in scale and drawn enough attention to hold a public debate.

 “It started out as something very small,” said Christine Bowman, history professor and program coordinator. “I just noticed how popular their meetings were on comic books and thought, OK well let’s take this a step further?”

Bowman, who will act as emcee for the evening, worked with a team of moderators to compile a list of questions for the debate.

 The debate will be broken down into to four sections: humanities, social science, science and philosophy.

 “We took questions from the teams, faculty and different submissions. We had a list between 30 and 40 questions, and then narrowed down to 12,” Bowman said. “Within those groupings, we chose three questions and only one will be asked at the debate.”

 The five moderators are professors from multiple disciplines ranging from English to economics, and the nine student debaters are just as diverse.

 Senior psychology major Michael Brahlergrew up reading comic books and will be siding with Marvel.

 To him, the debate comes down to entertainment versus storytelling.  

 “The DC crowd is a lot more focused on the hidden, deep-seated motives for the characters,” Brahler said. “Marvel characters are focused more on diversity, and they are a lot more social.”

 Brahler believes this is the reason Marvel flicks tend to do better in the box office, too.

According to Box Office Mojo, in 2012, DC’s top grossing summer movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” earned a total of $448.1 million, which was quickly overshadowed by Marvel’s “The Avengers,” grossing $623.3 million.

 However, these numbers don’t reflect who would win in an actual battle. To Brahler, just like the debate, it all comes down to circumstance.

“When you look at the competition between both sides, it could go either way,” he said. “They both have strengths and weakness.”

The debate is free and will take place Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Kent State Stark Main Hall auditorium.

Contact Hannah Armenta at [email protected].