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This question already has an answer here:

While watching the Flash season 3 episode 5, I just saw Felicity Smoak reference “The Incredible Hulk”.

Then, after doing some research, I found out that’s also happened often on other shows of the Arrowverse.

I find it extremely odd with Marvel and DC being kind of rivals in the business. It’s like doing marketing for you competition.

What’s the reason behind those references instead of referencing DC superheroes?

marked as duplicate by Thunderforge, Rogue Jedi, recognizer, amflare, Möoz Jan 18 '18 at 2:32

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    Cause DC is real... Marvel is pretend... – Odin1806 Jan 17 '18 at 21:38
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    I think DC and Marvel are rivals like Microsoft and Apple. (Did you know Microsoft bailed out Apple back in the day so they could stay in business?) They need each other to push each other and get better themselves... I'm sure that they are referring to Marvel as a gentle nod. Admitting that Marvel (your rival) exists isn't illegal or bad practice. It is acknowledging that both your companies exist and that fans of one can (and often are) fans of the other as well. No real real downside referencing each other... IMO – Odin1806 Jan 17 '18 at 21:48
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    It’s not a duplicate of that one. I was aware of that other question and I understand why there’re no legal implications from using it. I just found it very weird for DC to reference Marvel. So far Odín’s comment sounds quite reasonable. – Jorge Córdoba Jan 17 '18 at 22:29
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    If they reference a DC property, they risk creating a continuity error down the line or implying that a DC character, one you might want to use in the future, is fictional, or well-known enough to be a pop-culture reference that everyone is expected to 'get'. If they reference Marvel, it's not a problem. If they mention Image, then the audience will have no idea who they are or what the reference means. – starpilotsix Jan 17 '18 at 22:45
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    The companies are competitors, but the people writing the show (and writing/drawing the comics) are just people. I doubt anybody at DC hates Marvel enough to enact a "no mentioning Marvel ever" rule. What would be the point? I doubt anybody was watching Flash, saw Felicity mention the Hulk, and say "I know! I'll stop buying DC comics and only buy Marvel comics from now on!" – Kevin Workman Jan 17 '18 at 22:57
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It's been a long tradition that characters in one comic company make explicit reference to characters in another comic company, based on the premise that "our" characters are in the "real world" and those characters are fictional and in comic books.

So in the Arrowverse there's Marvel comics, and the Marvel movies, and the Incredible Hulk TV show from the 1970s, and Spider-Man cartoons, and the lame live-action Spider-Man series from the 1970s, and Jessica Jones on HBO, and people watch and reference them just like they do Game of Thrones or Star Wars.

And although it's not come up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, people there might be watching Arrow and The Flash, going out to see Wonder Woman in theaters, and arguing over just how much Dawn of Justice sucked.

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    This answer can be improved by adding examples of this being a "long tradition", rather than just the arrowverse. – ibid Jan 18 '18 at 1:54
  • Note there are also, let's call them implicit references. Example: Thor wearing glasses as a part of his "Sigurd Jarlson" secret identity during the Walt Simonson run. I don't think they explicitly say "Superman" or "Clark Kent', but it's clear that they're thinking of him. – RDFozz Jan 18 '18 at 17:38

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