You're selective memory is conveniently glossing over the first 3-4 years post CoIE. My favorite Superman run of all time had a Marvelized version of the character who was fallible, de-powered, at times at odds with law enforcement and facing off against Kingpin Luthor.
A Superman that was still more powerful than practically any Marvel character outside the super-cosmic types, who still was a Swiss Army Knife of abilities. And he still didn't whine like a Marvel character, either. I'll take him!
Flash was relegated to courier jobs and trying to make things work because he could only travel at the speed of sound.
1. And then he won the lottery.
Post-Crisis didn't really keep the DC luck down.
2. Yet the Flash Museum, temple of all DC speedster worship, still existed.
Again: Eat it, Quicksilver!
Green Lantern was this new edgy character named Guy Gardner who was excessively violent and pretty sexist.
1. Guy Gardner wasn't new; he was created years before.
2. You know who was new at that time?? KILOWOG. A trustworthy GL, indeed.
Batman went full Marvel with the Dark Knight Returns
Batman has been Marvel since 1939, with that sob story origin of his.
and Wonder Woman had a sombre tone under George Perez where she ditched most of her old continuity for a closer bond to the pantheon of greek gods.
And she managed to best those Greek gods time and again while still being nominally mortal.
That's standard-issue DC right there.
Finally, there was the Justice League, where a group of 2nd stringers and Batman try to overcome their own short comings and personal infighting in time to stop the bad guys. These guys were fallible, to say the least, compared to the Seven Samurai and it was awesome to behold.
Those guys were too fun-loving, too rambunctious, too "Bwahaha!!" to behave in the Miserable Marvel Manner. And it was WELL PAST awesome to behold.
The first 3-4 years Post CoIE was DC's high water mark and they have struggled to maintain that level of quality ever since.
They shoulda kept the League funny.
DC didn't want to be Marvel lite then or now.
Tell that to Dan "Bring the X-Men to DC!" DiDio.
DC wanted to write stories for adolescents and ditch the upbeat, saccharine treatment for their licences that children find so appealing.
If that were true, they'd have let Alan Moore destroy the Charlton characters in Watchmen.
Or unleash his "Twilight of the Superheroes" on pretty much ALL the DC heroes.
Again, post-Crisis was still upbeat and enjoyable, particularly with the aforementioned Justice League "Bwahaha!!"-ing it up.
Children want to blindly worship heroes because it makes them feel safe about the world they live in while adolescents/teenagers want a vicarious experience with characters they can relate to. This is why Marvel dominates the market and why DC keeps sucking.
Limiting themselves to such small audiences is why this entire industry, including both DC and Marvel, has been in such deep trouble for so long.
They have these reboots like CoIE
COIE is not a reboot...
and for a few years they try to cater to the majority demographic but over time they get cold feet and they acquiesce to their excessively vocal minority fan base by farming the IP and rehashing the Silver Age Hero worship.
The "minority fanbase" wasn't asking for the #1 Silver Age icon, Barry Allen, back.
Unless you consider that fanbase to be made up of ONE PERSON: Geoff Johns.
DC needs to stop playing it safe and cut that Silver Age shit loose once and for all.
That would require cutting Geoff loose.
And God knows they wouldn't THINK of doing that...
Teenagers don't want to worship authority and that's who comic books should be written for. Marvel gets it and that's why DC has been playing catch up all these years.
Superhero comic books should be written for ALL ages, to maximize the potential audience. Disney Animation and Pixar get it and that's why this entire industry by comparison has been in the doldrums all these years.
"You're dead if
you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.
— Walt Disney