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Suspiciously-Similar Heroes

Hey, you two kind of look alike...


So people have been jawin’ lately… arguing over who’s cribbing whose playbook.   Does Necrosha facebite Blackest Night? Does Brightest Day copy Heroic Age?   I don't think either is the case, though I'm surprised nobody’s brought up the Lethal Legion storyline from the Busiek/Perez AVENGERS run where undead members come back to attack the living -- with their original personalities in tact. 

Troy Brownfield’s answered the whole question rather cogently already, so I’m not going to dig it up for more (it’s not a Black Lantern!).   I will point out, however,  that questions of “cross-polination” in the big bee hive that is the comics business are hardly new.  

 Aqua-Mariner

In the Golden Age, of course, the Sub-Mariner was followed by Aqua Man.   Both were princes of Atlantis, though their M.O.’s couldn’t have differed more.   Aqua Man was a super-hero who could talk to creatures of the sea, while Namor was a street talking, angry young fish-man who terrorized humanity (being the first in Marvel’s long tradition of anti-heroes like the HulkWolverine and Punisher).
 
 
 
 
 


 The Whiz
Around that time, as well, you had the Flash followed by the Whizzer.   Both were super-speedsters and both borrowed their winged helmets and inspiration from the original super-speedster, Hermes/Mercury.   Needless to say, the Flash proved far more successful, while the Whizzer’s had difficulty… shaking off the associations his name and color scheme have with urination.  


 
 
 
 
 

 X-Patrol

This may less obvious now, but in the Silver Age, there was the Doom Patrol and the X-Men.   Both were teams composed of freaks, both had powers with as many limitations as advantages and both were led by paralyzed, wheelchair bound geniuses.  

 
 
 
 
 

 

 Bat-Thing
In the Bronze Age, Swamp Thing and Man Thing debuted around the same time.   Both were scientists turned into hulking plant monsters, both enjoyed horrific adventures in the swamp, both were "things."   The interesting punchline is that they were both actually independent tributes to a Golden Age character called THE HEAP.
 


 


 
 
Marvel and DC are obviously aware of these similarities and have a good sense of humor about it.  You'll notice that all the pictures above are from the Amalgam crossover from the 90s, which feature combinations of all these characters. Now,   this is only just scratching the surface, so I’m going to dump some kerosene on this fire and put the challenge out to YOU to find some more!

--Tom Pinchuk is the writer of UNIMAGINABLE for Arcana Comics and HYBRID BASTARDS! for Archaia Comics.   Watch out for the HYBRID BASTARDS! hardcover collection this March - - available for pre-order now on Amazon.com

122 Comments
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Edited by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge
Posted by daveydavey

Slade Wilson........Deathstroke.   DC
Wade Wilson........Deadpool.       Marvel 
 
 
I know it's well known
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

I thought everyone knew this stuff

Posted by InnerVenom123

Killer Croc has a vurnerability to "hypersonics"...... 
 

 

Sounds familiar.....
Posted by Mbecks14

The Legion of Superheroes and the Imperial Guard of the Shi'ar empire

Posted by MichaeltheFly

Yes it's true that some characters and some story arks are to similar, but who knows, maybe DC and Marve are preparing a fusion, with one another.

Posted by Crackdown

How about Bizarnage, that's one comic villain that would scare me even from within the pages

Online
Posted by daveydavey
@Michael the Fly:
Please No...not again.
Posted by CosmicSpiral

Necrosha was planned before Blackest Night. 

Posted by TheMess1428
@daveydavey said:
" Slade Wilson........Deathstroke.   DCWade Wilson........Deadpool.       Marvel   I know it's well known "
So correct. Even their costumes look similar.
Posted by Theodore

hahahaha The Whizzer...

Posted by Son_of_Magnus
@CosmicSpiral said:
" Necrosha was planned before Blackest Night.  "
Blackest Night is a like 20+ year old Alan Moore idea
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@CosmicSpiral said:
" Necrosha was planned before Blackest Night.  "
what are you talking about, Alan Moore came up with Blackest Night decades ago...
Moderator
Posted by Son_of_Magnus

I mean it is pretty obvious that Marvel copied DC Stan Lee and the most hardcore of Marvel Fanboys have said it but I still love Marvel and so do them

Edited by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@aztek the lost: he mentioned it and he never said what it even was, he didn't figure anything would come of it
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @aztek the lost: he mentioned it and he never said what it even was, he didn't figure anything would come of it "
I know, just defending my favored of the two publishers :D
Moderator
Edited by CosmicSpiral
@Son_of_Magnus: I know the original idea was derived from that particular prophecy, but I'm pretty sure that Necrosha was started without Marvel knowing about Blackest Night. So the idea for BN was older, but the planning started later than Necrosha. It was mentioned as a defense against accusations that Necrosha was just a copycat attempt. 
Posted by Son_of_Magnus
@aztek the lost said:
" @Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @aztek the lost: he mentioned it and he never said what it even was, he didn't figure anything would come of it "
I know, just defending my favored of the two publishers :D "
I got yo back
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@aztek the lost:
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Son_of_Magnus said:
" @aztek the lost said:
" @Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @aztek the lost: he mentioned it and he never said what it even was, he didn't figure anything would come of it "
I know, just defending my favored of the two publishers :D "
I got yo back "
the best part is we both mention Alan Moore even though we think he's overrated :P
Moderator
Posted by Son_of_Magnus
@aztek the lost said:
" @Son_of_Magnus said:
" @aztek the lost said:
" @Emperor Gonzo Noir said:
" @aztek the lost: he mentioned it and he never said what it even was, he didn't figure anything would come of it "
I know, just defending my favored of the two publishers :D "
I got yo back "
the best part is we both mention Alan Moore even though we think he's overrated :P "
XD
Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Emperor Gonzo Noir: my hand is covered in Dorito residue and I don't want to tarnish my computer screen :(
 
but I feel triumphant enough to high-five some inanimate object!
Moderator
Posted by Little Richard
@aztek the lost said:

" @CosmicSpiral said:

" Necrosha was planned before Blackest Night.  "

what are you talking about, Alan Moore came up with Blackest Night decades ago... "
Please, please. We all know that I drafted the idea for Blackest Night in 1959 as an insert
for my upcoming album The Fabulous Little Richard. But it just didn't have the vibe I wanted
so i sold it to Ernest Moore and went back to writing my other story The Watchmen.
Posted by whirlwind6

They both have Scarecrows....

Posted by negamegas

Sentry or any of the other supermen clones from Marvel, anyone? XD
Posted by Illyana Rasputin


 

I enjoyed Amalgam. Amazon, in particular!
Posted by zombietag

um, deadpool deathstrike? duh? haha

Posted by jacobyLIVE

Batman and Captain America are returning from the 'dead' in the same fashion. The Nova Corps and The Green Lantern Corps are both galaxy-wide police forces. Thanos and Darkseid. Necrosha and Blackest Night have dead characters being brought back from the grave to fight their former allies. Lobo is a crap version of Wolverine. 

Posted by Ikkybooger

How could we not mention Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic?!

Posted by Emerald_General_Jai
@CosmicSpiral said:
" @Son_of_Magnus: I know the original idea was derived from that particular prophecy, but I'm pretty sure that Necrosha was started without Marvel knowing about Blackest Night. So the idea for BN was older, but the planning started later than Necrosha. It was mentioned as a defense against accusations that Necrosha was just a copycat attempt.  "

Hasn't it been part of the pic since Rebirth? An the new bigger version since SCW? When did they start on Necrosha?  
 
Has anyone listed the Supermen yet? I mean Kal, Cap Marvel, Sodam Ya (Yeah dats all DC), Apollo, Majestic, Glads, and Hyperion have drinks every weds i hear. 
Posted by CATMANEXE

i dont credit either party personally, Blackest Night, Necrosha, and if you want to precede them both
Marvel Zombies. but theyre both just biting (bad pun, sorry) on the current huge zombie trend and
cashing in on that. good for them.

Posted by timrothsays

>>Brightest Night
 

Dude, it's Day %)

Posted by Quintus_Knightfall
@zombietag said:
" um, deadpool deathstrike? duh? haha "
You mean "Deathstroke" ;)
Moderator
Posted by joshmightbe
@Gambler:
deadpool was meant as a parody of deathstroke at first
Posted by glforthewin

moon knight and batman

Posted by primepower53
@Ikkybooger said:
"How could we not mention Plastic Man and Mr. Fantastic?! "

More like Elongated Man and Mr. Fantastic!
Posted by chalkshark

I think the point of the article is being lost on the majority of the respondents. The article regards happenstance in the creation of similar characters or concepts at the same time by different creators or companies. Not direct copying of characters by rival publishers. The Imperial Guard were a direct "homage" to the decades old Legion of Super-Heroes, just as the Squadron Supreme was of the Justice League of America. Deathstroke, the Terminator had been in publication for over a  decade before Deadpool made his debut in the 90's. Plastic man predates both the Elongated Man & Mr. Fantastic by close to, if not actually, 20 years. In all those cases, the older character is being directly, & willfully, copied in the creation of the newer character. The same is true of the Green Lantern Corps/ Nova Corps correlation. I'd also argue that Darkseid & Thanos are wildly different characters that have virtually nothing in common, other than being powerful villains.  
The only one I can think of that the article didn't already mention would be the two Manhunters from the 1940's, one a DC creation, the other from Quality.

Posted by hyiena
What's the deal with this guy?
Posted by AirDave817
@chalkshark said:
"I think the point of the article is being lost on the majority of the respondents. The article regards happenstance in the creation of similar characters or concepts at the same time by different creators or companies. Not direct copying of characters by rival publishers. The Imperial Guard were a direct "homage" to the decades old Legion of Super-Heroes, just as the Squadron Supreme was of the Justice League of America. Deathstroke, the Terminator had been in publication for over a  decade before Deadpool made his debut in the 90's. Plastic man predates both the Elongated Man & Mr. Fantastic by close to, if not actually, 20 years. In all those cases, the older character is being directly, & willfully, copied in the creation of the newer character. The same is true of the Green Lantern Corps/ Nova Corps correlation. I'd also argue that Darkseid & Thanos are wildly different characters that have virtually nothing in common, other than being powerful villains.  The only one I can think of that the article didn't already mention would be the two Manhunters from the 1940's, one a DC creation, the other from Quality. "

I've got to second that. We're talking about characters like Namor and Aquaman. One of the Big Two creating a character, or developing a storyline and by either serendipity or design, the other of the Big Two creating a mirror copy. The Amalgam pictures were used as a fer instance. That's really when DC and Marvel started to really capitalize on the obvious similarities.  
 
Imaginauts on Borrowed Time!
I liked the Challengers of the Fantastic myself. What that did was bring together the Challengers of the Unknown and Fantastic Four. The Doom Patrol, The Challs, The FF, they're all pretty much cut from similar cloth.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night... I need a drink!
Another one of my favorites was Iron Lantern. This one was pure genius! combining the similarities between Tony Stark and Hal Jordan, Iron Man and Green Lantern. Sure, this one is a bit of a stretch - a little obscure - GL is an updating of the Golden-Age hero, but Hal and Tony have so many things in common. Even today, with all the super-hero movies that generate excitement - I'm looking forward most to seeing Iron Man II and Green Lantern. Why hasn't anyone put together a Green Lantern-Iron Man crossover yet? Or, better yet, a Green Lantern/Dardevil crossover. There's another one! Daredevil, The Man Without Fear. Hal Jordan is a man without fear! That's why Abin Sure selected him over Guy and John. I mean come on! Both are just screaming to be done! better yet - Iron Man/Green Lantern/Daredevil crossover. That would be the shizz-nit. Fo' shizzle. I'm sure either Stark or Jordan have done some things that they would need a lawyer for...  
Posted by dr.x

 


Amalgam,Amalgam : I love it for  3 reason . 
 
1.  it put to bed  the age old  question of who can beat up who (aka My Daddy can beat up Your Daddy).
2. This was time  when both companies  has  good  staff away around . 
3. This allow the voices of fans/fan boys to heard  with our votes 
 
In short  this  one of few  cross overs that matter in a lot  of  way ,beside  The Darkness Cross overs ,I have  the vol 1 issues  in my small collections(of over 2,000 comic books) with it's variuos cross book that came with it too. 
So in closing i like say " Good Times & Amalgam is Excelsior" 
 
Dr.X 
Edited by Marshall Madness

This site has 6 great example of characters who are total rip offs!
   
http://www.cracked.com/article_17299_6-famous-characters-you-didnt-know-were-shameless-rip-offs.html
  
But my fav is Miracleman aka Marvelman. Though the Alan Moore series may be one of the greatest comics of all time, Miracleman is a rip-off of Capt. Marvel aka Shazam!  Who in turn was originally a Superman rip-off. And as you may have read from the above article Superman was a rip-off of Gladiator a pulp novel from 1930.
 

Posted by Kid_Zombie

Death of captain america and death of batman

Posted by Marshall Madness
@Kid_Zombie said:
" Death of captain america and death of batman "
How are they suspiciously similar heroes?
Posted by ASKwhy
                                     
Posted by Neon_Knight8

Iron Man and Lex Luthor's suit?
Posted by CATMANEXE

Silver Age Superman from Popeye

Edited by Marshall Madness
@CATMANEXE said:

" Silver Age Superman from Popeye "

That's a stretch. I like this comparison courtesy of cracked.com better.
 
  Superman

"Hold on a minute!" you may be shouting from your cubicle. "Not only is he one of the most famous and recognizable icons in the world, he is also the first superhero ever created! So how can he be a rip off of anything if he was the first, you idiot?"

Well, that's where you are wrong, hypothetical Cracked reader who is talking to us and for some reason insulting us even though you are figment of our imagination; Superman may be the first superhero, but not the first character with those superpowers.

He is a Rip-Off of:

Philip Wylie's wrote a pulp novel called Gladiator in 1930, starring Hugo Danner, a man whose father invents a secret formula that can create superpowers. Instead of selling it and making millions, he just injects it into his son, because, hey, why not? Hugo gains super strength, bullet proof skin and the ability to jump over the tallest building in a single bound. Jumping, not flying--so it's sort of different, right? Well, actually, in Superman's early years he couldn't fly either, just jump really high.

All he was missing was the laser/telescopic eyes and the million retarded powers Superman pulled out of his @$$ in the 50s. And it was published eight years before Superman appeared.

But superpowers are kind of standard, right? Super strength? Hell, Hercules had that! It doesn't mean it's a rip-off!

But the resemblance doesn't end there. Both Superman and Hugo Danner grew up in a small farming town. Supes in Kansas and Danner in Colorado. Both pretended to be meek and weak to prevent people from finding out about their superpowers. And both had a special place where they went to be alone: Superman had his fortress of solitude in the Arctic, and Donner had his own place in northern Canada. Of course, his didn't have the total emo name, which really only proves that he was less of a huge tool.

And to boot, the first image of Superman the world saw, the cover of Action Comics #1, recreates a scene of the Gladiator novel where Hugo loses his $h!t, lifts up a car and scares the crap out of everyone.


"And screw you for cutting me... I mean Clark Kent off in the intersection."

Oh sure, Gladiator doesn't have five movies, several TV shows, a crapload of cartoons, a 70-year-old still going comic book and millions of dollars from merchandise. But he sure tapped way more @$$ than Supes.

Posted by CATMANEXE
@Marshall Madness: if your telling me ive alreayd read it. most people read cracked.com articles, outside of the fact that you provided the link already in your last post.
 
and no, sorry but its actually not.
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir
@Marshall Madness: he was even sort of adapted into DC where his son is the great Iron Munro

Edited by Son_of_Magnus
@jacobyLIVE said:

" Batman and Captain America are returning from the 'dead' in the same fashion. The Nova Corps and The Green Lantern Corps are both galaxy-wide police forces. Thanos and Darkseid. Necrosha and Blackest Night have dead characters being brought back from the grave to fight their former allies. Lobo is a crap version of Wolverine.  "

No sir Wolverine is a crap version of Lobo. Lobo is so awesome he raped time so that he came first
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