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Off My Mind: Marvel & DC, Why So Many Similar Characters?

Does it matter that characters have similar powers?

Often it seems people ask "Do you prefer Marvel or DC?" While I'm not sure why it has to be one or the other, there already are several similarities between the two. Have you noticed how many similar characters there are? Do these similarities make a difference? Are the publishers being inspired by each other or is it just a matter of there being a finite number of superpowers creators can use?
 

 

152 Comments
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Posted by Phantim555

Hmm, good points but Marvel still has Storm whose the only character ever to be able to control the weather
Posted by sithden81
@Phantim555:  What about  DC's Weather Wizard he can control the weather.
Posted by darkxman123
@Phantim555:  whether wizard 
Posted by longbowhunter

The Flash even predates Marvel's Whizzer by like a year.    
Posted by Hobbitgoth

Interesting perspective on the whole Marvel vs. DC debate.

Posted by .Mistress Redhead.
@Phantim555 said:
" Hmm, good points but Marvel still has Storm whose the only character ever to be able to control the weather "
wow you Storm fans will actually find a way to mention her no matter what the situation! XD 
 
@G-Man: love the vid Tony, was fun to see a vid like what you guys used to do before Green Screen and special effects making it all fancy pants !
Posted by ComicMan24

Sure there are similarities, but it all comes down to how the character is handled.
Posted by G'bandit

G didn't mention the mercs....... I'll mention them! 

Deadshot / 1950/ DC/ mercenary
Deathlok the demolisher /1974/ Marvel/ Futuristic gunman cyborg (Deathlok and Deadshot are original each have their diff paths)
Deathstroke the terminator/ 1980/ DC/ mercenary (But then Slade was created as "The terminator" awfully similar to Deathlok's name and title)
Deadpool the merc with a mouth /1990/ Marvel/ Mercenary (Deadpool was created as an original idea but later was changed to be a parody of Slade)
Deathtrap/ 1993/ Wildstorm/ mercenary (Deadpool Ripoff looks just alike him even has a red costume.)
 

Edited by danielddavis

Yah know it always seemed that DC would make characters, and then marvel would make similar characters, maybe it's ironic, although sometimes it's quite obvious they're just blandent rip offs, while DC would sometimes make characters that were similar to marvel characters that already existed. Just my thought on it.
Oh yeah there are some errors here too, for starters the flash concept actually first appeared in 1940 (Even though the design is different than the regular flash costume) and quality comics (Not DC comics) was responsible for giving us plastic man, the super pet comics seem to be based off the legion of super-pets, a team that's been around since the 60's.

Edited by Hamz

I think it's fair to say the biggest difference is how each publication presents their characters.
 
Quicksilver is a colossal screw up that lies, cheats and causes more problems than he fixes where as the Flash is a hero, he saves the day and gets the glory through legitimate means. They're similar yet entirely different.
 
Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic are polar opposites yet similar in some ways. One's a pervert who would literally chop an arm off at a chance with any hot lady on the Justice League roster and the other's more in love with science than his extremely hot wife :|
 
Great video, any chance we'll see G-Man rocking out with the geeetaaar sometime?

Posted by DEGRAAF
@Phantim555 said:
" Hmm, good points but Marvel still has Storm whose the only character ever to be able to control the weather "
Dc has the villain called weather wizard that controls the weather
Posted by Baddamdog

Hmm I think maybe sometimes it's co-incidence and because of, like you said, the limited amount of super-powers, powers like super-speed and strength and flight are going to have more than one hero that can use them. But sometimes i think it's obvious when company's copy characters, I'm looking at you Cyblade (A clear rip of Psylocke)!!

Posted by G-Man
@.Mistress Redhead.: If you leave the production to me, it's pretty much as far from fancy as you can get.
Staff
Posted by War Killer

This video is epic just by having all of those different places in one video!!!!!! :D

Posted by logan48227

Very good points, but you didn't even get into the intentional ripoff characters both companies have of each other's characters. Like the Squadron Supreme being intentional JLA clones & that villain team of DC's that are copied from several Marvel villains (Dr. Doom, Sabretooth, Dr. Octopus, and one more that I can't recall now). 
 
And we won't get into all of the Superman pastiches that exist everywhere now (Sentry, Gladiator, Hyperion, Majestic, The High, Plutonian, Superme, Mark Millar's upcoming Superior).
Posted by Roehm21

Awesome video, learned some new stuff G-man.

Posted by grimm
@Phantim555: There is a whole list of them here. 
Posted by danhimself

lol at the pic of Xavier that you used and the scene changes for certain characters...I don't know if you intended but the office room for Green Arrow was pretty ironic

Posted by .Mistress Redhead.
@G-Man said:
" @.Mistress Redhead.: If you leave the production to me, it's pretty much as far from fancy as you can get. "
well I say Kudos sir, Kudos!
Posted by DavidRose

 It's funny, because it's true! MARVEL and DC mirror each other in so many ways, and I'm glad to see someone fact check it. Thanks Tony! 
 
 But he does also make a good point at the end... Which characters do you like more? For me, JSA/JLA will kick Avengers butt any day of the week. I like Spidey more than I like Batman. I think Flash and Green Lantern are cooler than most of MARVEL's characters...

Posted by Nova`Prime`

Lets not forget a lot of the same people worked for both companies, so its inevitable that if one thing works one place its going to be copied at another.

Posted by SUPER-MAN 23

That was the best Off My Mind

Posted by Theodore

haha good work G-Man

Posted by Zoning Phantom

 
   
 

What about Iron Man/War Machine and STEEL (John Henry Irons) ??? 
Or Captain America and Commander Steel ???

Posted by speedlgt

for me i guess its what character I was exposed to first that makes me like that more.

 

Aquaman

green arrow

dr strange

flash

 I knew as a kid before there counterparts ans thus I prefer those characters however I do like namor and hawkeye quite a bit.

too me the main thing that helps me like both marvel and DC is basically the rank and file of each company

 

in marvel IMO

its Captain America as the # 1 guy and hero and he greatly contrasts DCs # number one guy Superman in just about every way. The fact there is such a huge difference between them makes it more enjoyable and defines both universes

 

Same goes with the #2 spot spiderman for marvel and Batman for dc. this couldnt get any better! the unsure kid wraped up in a world of problems and too many enemys contrasts the stone cold trained super discplined master who can take down gods and do it with only his wits.

 

this is what makes it all ok now if sentry was marvels main guy  then it would all go down the drain

Posted by Phantim555
@.Mistress Redhead.:
Thats the thing. I'm not really a storm fan. I'm not even really a marvel. I like DC and Batman, the Teen Titans, Justice League and Green Arrow. I just knew storm was the only hero w/ the ability to control the weather as an actual ability and not some gimmic. At least I thought she was anyway
Posted by Phantim555

OK OK aparently I missed weather wizard. I was only thinking of heroes. I apologize lol

Posted by Black Lantern Mar-vell
@Phantim555:
If Storm is the only HERO WHO CAN CONTROL THE WEATHER, how do you explain THOR?
Posted by kerukun878

Hmm. Does DC have a 'Phoenix' based character? That's the only one I can think of without character similarities.

Posted by arrowfan237

Because one of them sees a goldmine that the other is making with a character so they make one just like it.
Posted by Sobe Cin
@Phantim555:
way back before the all-new all-different X-Men were coming out. Storm was originally going to be a DC comic book character for the Legion of Super-Heroes (but she was known Black Cat and completely different powers.) But the creator got swooped up by marvel and lo Storm was born. 
 
But G-Man is right, we all have our favorites. But I will take Marvel over DC any day, but that's just because I know the universe a lot better. The histories of all the characters and the way it works. With DC I just get confused. I'd love to read Green Lantern comic (i love the concept) but I'm just so lost. Also I prefer the Batman when he's translated into Cartoon or film versions. Just like him so much more than.
Posted by scorpius72

Yes i think the writers can only come up with so many characters powers so you have mirror image characters at both companies.  
the biggest knockoffs tend to be the smaller newer companies tkaing ideas from the big 2. (Spawns 'clown' character for example).The real difference that make each company unique even if they are using characters that share the same powers is the writting style. DC has always had this aloof fantasy world quality. in the silver age especially this was obvious. all their cities then were make believe ones, the tone was very 2D simple morality tales for kids.very little characterization or plot development. Marvel set out to be the opposite. their stories were alot more mature and grounded in reality,99% of all characters lived in and around NYC. That tone of these worlds is still felt today. there is still an otherworldly 'wholesome' quality to DC while Marvel is lived in.    
Edited by Mr. Dead Pool
@Phantim555:
Your also forgetting Thor
Posted by TonyStark

The way I see it is that while DC was first with it's characters, no doubt, Marvel infact PERFECTED the characters.

Posted by TheMarvelFanboy

Why did you shoot it in so many different places? Lol

Posted by joshmightbe
@Black Lantern Mar-vell: also what about zeus and rainmaker
Posted by goatman2112
@kerukun878: The Corps entity's could be considered similar to the Phoenix force in terms of power.
Posted by InnerVenom123
@TonyStark said:
" The way I see it is that while DC was first with it's characters, no doubt, Marvel infact PERFECTED the characters. "
The video shows that it went both ways. For example, Namor and Aquaman.
Posted by afierce

I wish to see more of G-Man's pet sidekick. =D

Posted by JarJarMinks

I'm sure there was plenty of the "Anything you can do, I can do better" mentality over the years with these two companies.  The competition between the top 2 is a very important thing IMHO.  If there was no sense of competition between the two companies things could get stale quick for us readers. 

Posted by sparty-dbq

Not just powers, but there are a few simularities in terms of personality or even appearance: 
 
Both have megalomanical businessmen who at one point held the keys to the kingdom. 
Marvel: Norman Osborn 
DC: Lex Luthor 
 
Both had obscenely overpowered beings with personality disorders who were easily manipulated 
Marvel: Sentry 
DC: Amazo (I base this observation off the Justice League cartoon, because I have no idea if the character even exists in the comics) 
 
Both have crater-faced cosmic entities hellbent on galactic domination. 
Marvel: Thanos 
DC: Darkseid
Posted by sora_thekey

Somebody help Tony... he's drowning as he talks about Namor and Aquaman!
 
Great points... I do agree there are a lot of similarities between the two companies, but some characters are better in one company than in the other. Hawkeye and Green Arrow are pretty much the same character, but I like Clint better than Oliver...
or Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic, one's smart the other is funny...
etc...

Moderator
Posted by joshmightbe

honestly unique characters have a tendency to not sell well 

Posted by Mediant

I have to agree with Tony on this one. There are going to be similar characters with similar powers, but what really matters is the quality of the writing for and involving each.

Posted by Crazy Pan

WELL it seems to me that Marvel takes more from DC. Which is good for my arguments that I prefer DC more. But then algebra (I think it was algebra anyway) was created at the same time by two different men who did not know each other on two separate locations with no way they could've stolen each others ideas. Same with the telephone I think. Correct me if I'm wrong on those two it's been a while since I learned about those in history class! lol :)

Posted by goldenkey

I don't think it matters unless it's a complete rip-off.  Ever think one company thinks a character from the other company would be a good fit on a team so they make similar one.  It's why the Sentry is so lame.  He's so close to in power to Superman but so similar so Bendis made him a weirdo and backfired.  No one really likes him.  Scary thought having Superman power level guy who is nut case. 

Posted by Xenozoic Shaman

I'm not swimming in your pool.  EVER. ^_~

Posted by RedHurricane24
@sparty-dbq said:
" Not just powers, but there are a few simularities in terms of personality or even appearance:  Both have megalomanical businessmen who at one point held the keys to the kingdom. Marvel: Norman Osborn DC: Lex Luthor  Both had obscenely overpowered beings with personality disorders who were easily manipulated Marvel: Sentry DC: Amazo (I base this observation off the Justice League cartoon, because I have no idea if the character even exists in the comics)  Both have crater-faced cosmic entities hellbent on galactic domination. Marvel: Thanos DC: Darkseid "
He does exist in the comics, and he's less manipulated and more manipulative. Read Justice League of America: The Tornado's Path.
Posted by imaginaryman

I think the only hero i can think of from DC without a counterpart is GL, but i mean he doesn't actually need one since DC provides so many ring-bearers 
 
I guess marvel has spiderman and i don't think Dc has a spider themed superhero

Posted by Agent9149
@joshmightbe:  rain maker is from wildstorm which is under the branch of dc
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