There’s no question that Marvel changed the landscape of superhero-based content in the media. The few successful superhero movies before Iron Man in 2008 were few and far between compared to the regular blockbuster blowouts we now receive. DC has aided in that effort, delivering much-needed grit to Marvel’s comparatively polished veneer.
But neither franchise has dared to do what The Boys has done — showcase the reality of superheroes in the modern world. The Amazon Prime Video series is the underbelly of the genre, offering a stark contrast to both Marvel and DC. Its three seasons have exposed a raw, cruel, and often horrific universe characterized by not-so-virtuous superheroes holding positions of power, superheroes puppeted by a corrupt corporation that sees only dollar signs instead of humanity.
The series has captured and retained viewer attention since its premiere in 2019, and much to the relief of fans, has stayed mostly faithful to its comic book counterpart. In the show, almost nothing is off limits, including poking fun of other comics and cinematic universes.
Is The Boys connected to DC or Marvel comics?
The Boys is not connected to DC or Marvel comics, unless you consider it’s satirical jabs at the two companies a connection. The Boys touts a list of similar superheros we’ve come to know from Marvel and DC (Homelander as Superman, Queen Maeve as Wonder Woman, Ezekiel as Mr. Fantastic) and takes jabs at the cinematic universes they have created. For instance, The Boys‘ in-universe movie, Dawn of the Seven is both a jab at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Marvel Studios. In the show, Vought Studios produces all of the Vought Cinematic Universe films such as Queen Maeve: Her Majesty and Dawn of the Seven. The list of hilarious comparisons goes on and on.
The Boys did have a brief real-world connection to DC during its first year of publication in 2006 when it was picked up by WildStorm, an imprint of DC Comics. However, the next year it switched to Dynamite Entertainment after concerns arose about its dark take on superheroes. The comic book was picked up and adapted by Amazon Studios years later, premiering on the streaming platform in July 2019. Since then it’s amassed millions of viewers, some of whom are only just discovering the show is based on a comic book.
The differences between The Boys and both Marvel and DC are vast and dramatic. The Boys sports much more violence, gore, and profanity than either comic or cinematic universe combined, causing some fans to speculate how the satirical superheroes would fare in an actual battle against the MCU superheroes.
To date, superheroes have often been placed in a neat and orderly box that feel unrealistic and constricting. For that reason, The Boys stands in sharp — yet welcome — relief, as the show has made it a point to blow up said box with as much dynamite as possible, with about as much impact as, say, an exploding head.