2230: Versus Bracket

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Versus Bracket
Some works didn't make the cut; in "Ecks vs. Sever" vs. the passage of time, the latter seems to have won pretty decisively.
Title text: Some works didn't make the cut; in "Ecks vs. Sever" vs. the passage of time, the latter seems to have won pretty decisively.


This comic shows a tournament bracket in which the initial matches represent works of fiction or non-fiction with "versus" (represented as versus, vs., v, etc) in their names (e.g. Batman is initially matched against Superman in reference to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). The list includes 13 movies, 2 video games, and one television episode. The works referenced are:

---> SPOILER ALERT: The below descriptions contain spoilers about each work's titular conflict <---
  • Kramer vs. Kramer, a 1979 legal drama about a couple (the Kramers) divorcing. Winner: Kramer (Joanna Kramer wins custody of her son in court, but chooses not to take custody of him as he has mostly been raised by his father).
  • Ford v Ferrari, a 2019 film (released Nov 15, the weekend before this comic strip was released) about the two auto builders competing to win the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Winner: Ford
  • The People vs. Larry Flynt, a 1996 documentary film about the life of Larry Flynt, creator of adult magazine Hustler. Depicted in the film is the Supreme Court case Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, which Hustler magazine (and Flynt) won. Winner: Larry Flynt
  • Joe Versus the Volcano, a 1990 romantic comedy about a man, Joe, who offers to throw himself into a volcano on behalf of superstitious natives. Joe does not succeed in pacifying the volcano, as it erupts as soon as he jumps in, although he survives and lands safely in the ocean. Winner: Volcano
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla, a 1962 film pitting the two titular monsters against each other. There is a persistent myth that the Japanese and American cuts of the film have different winners but it is false. At the end of the film, only Kong swims away from an underwater battle. Winner: King Kong
  • Freddy vs. Jason, a 2003 slasher film combining the universes of A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Friday the 13th series. Winner: Jason, although Freddy's severed head winks and laughs at the end of the movie.
  • Dracula vs. Frankenstein, a 1971 horror film. Winner: none (both monsters kill each other)
  • Alien vs. Predator, a 2004 film in the shared universe of Alien and Predator series. The tagline for the film was "Whoever wins...we lose." Winner: Predator, although an Alien chestburster does emerge from the Predator's chest at the end of the film.
  • Marvel vs. Capcom, a video game fighting game series combining the Marvel Universe and characters from Capcom. Winner: none (players can choose and achieve victory with characters from either franchise)
  • Marge vs. the Monorail, a 1993 episode of The Simpsons, where Marge leads a campaign against a monorail project in Springfield. This is often considered one of the best Simpsons episodes of all time. Winner: Marge
  • Justice League vs. Teen Titans, a 2016 direct-to-video animated superhero film. The Justice League and Teen Titans are both superhero teams and usually are on the same side, but in this film, the Justice League are possessed by demons and forced to fight the Titans. The Teen Titans defeat Superman to free him from possession and turn the tide against the rest of the League and defeat the demons. Winner: Teen Titans
  • Asterix Versus Caesar, a 1985 animated film and a film adaptation of the Asterix comic book series. Winner: Asterix
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a 2016 superhero film in which Lex Luthor manipulates Batman and Superman into fighting each other. Batman is on the verge of killing Superman when he realizes Lex Luthor's manipulation. They decide to end their hostilities toward each other. Lex Luthor releases Doomsday, and Superman sacrifices himself to defeat him. Winner: Batman.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a 2010 film based on the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel. Scott Pilgrim does not fight against the entire world; rather, he fights Ramona Flowers's Seven Evil Exes so that he can be her boyfriend. Winner: Scott Pilgrim
  • Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, a 2009 monster film. Winner: none (both monsters kill each other)
  • Plants vs. Zombies, a 2009 tower defense and strategy video game. The player commands an army of plants who defend their home against the zombie apocalypse. Winner: Plants, assuming the player wins.

Assuming the tournament bracket reflects the results of each original work, the second round would result as follows:

Kramer vs. Ford - a newly-single mother against an automotive company. Marge vs. ___ - an American housewife against any possible representative from a superhero comics continuity or a company known for its action games.
Larry Flynt vs. Volcano - the creator of a magazine against a natural rock formation spewing lava. Teen Titans vs. Asterix - a young superhero team against a Gaul warrior with a magic potion of super strength.
King Kong vs. Jason - a giant gorilla against an ambiguously-human serial killer. Batman vs. Scott Pilgrim - a billionaire-turned-vigilante against an ambiguously superpowered Canadian.
Predator vs. (bye) - the Predator has no opponent, advances to the next round unopposed. Plants vs. (bye) - the plants have no opponent, advance to the next round unopposed.

The title text refers to the 2002 action film Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, which is qualified to be in this tournament by virtue of having the word "vs." in its title, but as the film is regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, it has been defeated in a pre-entry match vs. "the passage of time" - it is thus not considered worthy of entry in the tournament.

Tournament brackets is a recurring subject on xkcd, most recently used in 2131: Emojidome and 2037: Supreme Court Bracket. The latter is especially similar to this comic, considering that it also extends normal "versus" situations to a second round. The first bracket comic, 1529: Bracket, prompted people to create a series of polls to determine the end results, much like Randall later did himself with Emojidome. Randall even made a reference to one of those polls in the header text.


[A tournament bracket tree is shown with 16 participants each on the left and right side. From both sides toward the middle the brackets reduce to eight, then four, two, and one line where the latter join to a rectangle in the middle.]
[Left side:]
Kramer - Kramer
Ford - Ferrari
The People - Larry Flint
Joe - The Volcano
King Kong - Godzilla
Freddy - Jason
Dracula - Frankenstein
Alien - Predator
[Right side:]
Marvel - Capcom
Marge - The Monorail
Justice League - Teen Titans
Asterix - Caesar
Batman - Superman
Scott Pilgrim - The World
Mega Shark - Giant Octopus
Plants - Zombies


  • The same Twitter account that covered a previous XKCD bracket over three years ago, @xkcdbracket, was back to determine the winner of this one by public vote. The Volcano defeated Asterix in the final.

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Because I didn't know: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballistic:_Ecks_vs._Sever - "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is a 2002 action thriller film directed by Wych Kaosayananda (under the pseudonym of "Kaos"). The film stars Antonio Banderas and Lucy Liu as opposing secret agents who team up to fight a common enemy. It is an international co-production between Canada, Germany and the United States. The film has been called one of the worst ever made. At the box office, it made $19.9 million on a $70 million budget. With a total of 117 reviews, the highest for a film with a 0% score, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever is the worst reviewed film in the history of Rotten Tomatoes." Afbach (talk)

Re: King Kong vs Godzilla - the winner? WikiP notes: "After an underwater battle (off-screen) only Kong resurfaces from the water, and he begins to swim back towards his island home. There is no sign of Godzilla, but the JSDF speculates that it is possible that it survived." We never see another K.K. movie (from Japan, anyway) and plenty more Godzilla so maybe K.K. is just swimming home with his tail between his legs ... er, metaphorically speaking. Godzilla could just be taking a well deserved post-fight nap! Long live Godzilla!! Afbach (talk)

There's no clear indication that Kong won, and we know Godzilla survived because he appeared later in additional films. King Kong vs Godzilla looks like a draw to me. ```

Some of these matchups have relatively clear outcomes, e.g. Ford beat Ferrari (at least in the movie), and presumably we can say Kramer won Kramer v. Kramer (well, everybody lost, but...). That in mind, if we fill out the bracket with such nominal wins that lead to matchups, (Kramer v. Ford), do we learn anything interesting? And what does the resulting bracket look like? JohnHawkinson (talk) 18:44, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

  • Kramer vs. Ford
  • Larry Flynt vs. Joe
  • King Kong vs. Jason
  •  ? vs. Predator
  •  ? vs. Marge
  •  ? vs. Asterix
  • Batman vs. Scott Pilgrim
  •  ? vs. Plants

(Also, the @xkcdbracket twitter account is running a version of the tournament starting 2019-11-19.) Yomikoma (talk) 22:03, 18 November 2019 (UTC) edited twitter handle/link JohnHawkinson (talk) 02:56, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

I was hoping for a visual presentation of what we know, something like this:

versus bracket 2x known.png
JohnHawkinson (talk) 09:17, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Thats a good idea. However an image like that is not as easily editable as the wiki itself. Therfore we should first discuss all the winners. As mentioned in this discussion page, all Joe vs volcano, Freddy vs Jason and King Kong vs. Godzilla are debatable in their outcome. (I myself have no strong feelings on either, since I didn't follow any of the 3 franchises. In fact I am only sure about Asterix, Marge and the plants. For all other setups I rely on this wiki. Nevertheless they should be discussed before something static as an image is added.) --Lupo (talk) 10:02, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
Considering that all of these matchups are derived from the titles of entertainment media (movies, mostly) & considering the outcomes most often depicted in entertainment media, after reading the description "an American housewife against any possible representative from a superhero comics continuity or a company known for its action games", I have to put all my money on Marge. Fictional housewives seem to benefit from plot-armor; the strongest armor there is.
ProphetZarquon (talk) 18:11, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Should a table of all the match-ups and their sources be made? -- 19:16, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Should this be referencing the other time (or times?) Randall made a silly brackets where all first-round matchups are based on actual oppositions in a particular theme? I'm thinking of Supreme Court Bracket. Also I kinda wonder what happens when the winners of these two brackets clash. 19:22, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

Added this to the Tournament Bracket category for just that reason.

I stole the description directly from Supreme Court Bracket, is that okay? Duraludon (talk) 20:22, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

The winner of Freddy vs. Jason is unclear. Freddy's head is severed but he then winks and you hear his laughter implying it is another trick. That is a reoccurring thing with Freddy.

I was excited to see the winner of the bracket. Scott Pilgrim vs Kramer? 21:09, 18 November 2019 (UTC)

My non-scientific guy feeling is that the final bracket would be Larry Flynt vs Plants.

Joe does not defeat the volcano. Joe is supposed to throw himself into the volcano as a sacrifice, thus stopping the volcano from accomplishing it's presumed goal of destroying the island. But Joe is blown out of the volcano (and out of any applicable laws of physics) and the volcano does destroy the island. So, clearly, the volcano was victorious. Joe survived the encounter, but did not accomplish the stated goal of the match-up. Give the bracket to the volcano. --Suttkus (talk) 02:46, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

They have a fight, Triangle wins. 09:57, 19 November 2019 (UTC) YAAY TMBG!

What about Kirk vs Picard?? 12:08, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

These are all specifically matchups that are titles of movies or TV episodes. (But Picard, obviously.) Yomikoma (talk) 16:28, 19 November 2019 (UTC)
(( Post-Locutus Picard > Kirk > Pre-Locutus Picard <~> Post-Nexus Kirk ... just sayin' )) 16:46, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Does this explanation set a record for most spoilers on an explainxkcd page? ... and should we add a spoiler alert?Boatster (talk) 13:04, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

Apart from Ford vs Ferrari, all content is at least 3 years old. Ford vs Ferraris is set upon historical events, so a spoiler allert shouldn't be needed. --Lupo (talk) 13:14, 19 November 2019 (UTC)

SCOTT PILGRIM, ZA WARUDO! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Can we agree that:

  • Ford beats Kramer - they'll litigate her to death (this isn't Erin Brockovich)
  • Joe beats Larry Flynt - he's clearly got luck on his side
  • King Kong easily beats Jason
  • Teen Titans vs Asterix - who cares? This is clearly the weakest part of the bracket. But let's say Asterix, taking the Titans as similar to the Romans.
  • Batman leads Scott Pilgrim until he tries to date Ramona Flowers. winner: Scott Pilgrim

Next round:

  • Joe beats Ford (this *is* Erin Brockovich)
  • Predator beats Kong. What a cute monkey!
  • Marge beats Asterix, because nobody actually cares about Asterix.
  • Plants eat Scott Pilgrim (Audrey III?)

Semi Finals:

  • Predator beats Joe. Um, that wasn't a question, was it? Who made this bracket anyway? Predator and Alien shouldn't have faced-off until the finals.
  • Marge sautes the Plants.


  • The only way Marge wins is if this is a comedy. Predator. Was there ever any doubt?

Schnitz (talk) 00:07, 20 November 2019 (UTC)

How does this change with Volcano winning? “That Guy from the Netherlands” (talk) 13:09, 21 November 2019 (UTC)
Asterix is possibly the best comic ever conceived! However, Asterix is not interested in fighting teenage super heroes which he would in most instances probably ally with. Asterix secedes the match to the Teen Titans and returns home after defeating Caesar to have a feast with his village. Now... would Marge beat the Teen Titans? She'll either secede the match as well or win by scolding the unruly teenagers, imo. Kapten-N (talk) 14:06, 6 February 2024 (UTC)

No! we cannot agree. In what world does Pilgrm defeat Batman. No one cares about Asterix?.... you're a monster.

Re: Plants vs Zombies The game is a tower defense game, and while players can win individual rounds, the zombies always win in the end. This one should go to the zombies. 22:14, 21 November 2019 (UTC)Spark

No Cowboys vs Aliens, which, although probably no Oscar material, is an all time winner on the ratio suckyness(premise)/suckyness(movie)? (If you disregard Attack The Block, which should have been called Hoodies vs Aliens.) I'm disappoint. 10:32, 22 November 2019 (UTC)

If The Passage Of Time defeated "Ecks vs. Sever", why isn't it in the bracket? Obviously they were were robbed by the hypocritical XKCD! These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 02:53, 25 November 2019 (UTC)