6 Times It Totally Felt Like Marvel And DC Copied Each Other’s Homework

Good artists take inspiration, great artists copy outright.

In which case Marvel and DC must be bloody brilliant because, throughout their illustrious history, both publishing giants have taken more than a leaf from the other’s book.

It makes sense – comic books were once the only way to catch up with your favourite superheroes, making it necessary to keep up with your main rival in the marketplace.

Which is why it’s interesting to look at how long the two have been trying to one-up each other – long before the first Iron Man was even a pipe dream.

#1 Deathstroke v/s Deadpool

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Let’s get the most popular ones out of the way, shall we?

Slade Wilson, also known as Deathstroke the Terminator first appeared in New Teen Titans #2 in 1980.

He was tough, silent and deadly – which cannot be easy to do when your costume heavily features the colour yellow. But with enhanced speed, abilities and a healing factor, he was a formidable opponent.

The shamelessly named Wade Wilson or Deadpool showed up in New Mutants #98 in 1991.

With a far superior healing factor and superhuman speed and strength, Deadpool was a pretty vivid middle finger on Marvel’s part. But he also possessed the power of the fourth wall break – back when it was still refreshing for a character to have one.

So while Deadpool came out on top in terms of relevance and current popularity, there’s no ignoring that DC tried to do it first.

#2 Catwoman v/s Black Cat

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A lady burglar in a catsuit occasionally falling for her morally rigid superhero friend – that sounds like Catwoman. And Black Cat. Because a woman in a catsuit is an image far too integrated into our cultural psyche.

Catwoman first showed up in Batman #1 in 1940 as “The Cat”.

To be fair, back then they didn’t take her character too literally by shoving her into a latex catsuit, but they didn’t take her too seriously either – because…she’s a woman?

But with a dedicated set of fans and deadly set of martial arts and burglary skills, her character has aged well, turning her into a figure of empowerment who occasionally gets Batman hot and bothered.

Felicia Hardy, the Black Cat, debuted in 1979, a skilled robber with martial arts training and the small addition of “probability manipulation”.

She was created to be an obstacle to Spiderman with an on again off again romance.

Even though her creator Marv Wolfman has been very clear he wasn’t thinking of Catwoman when he drew her, the resemblance between the two is just too much to ignore.

#3 Plastic Man v/s Elongated Man v/s Mr Fantastic

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Did I know Elongated Man existed? No.

Am I surprised two talented artists came up with a stretchy superhero at practically the same time? A little.

DC’s “Elongated Man” and “Plastic Man” both showed up in 1960 and 1941 respectively.

Both essentially with the powers of stretchiness. Except Plastic Man somehow also got immortality in the bargain whereas Elongated Man had to develop his own soda/drug to gain his power. It’s weird but worth a Google.

Reed Richards or the obnoxiously named “Mr Fantastic” made his debut in 196 as part of Marvel’s original super-team – The Fantastic Four.

The super-genius who gained his stretchiness thanks to some trippy cosmic radiation got a huge boost in popularity thanks to his movie appearances, however misguided they were. He shares the powers of resistance to mind control with Elongated Man and near invulnerability with Plastic Man.

#4 Green Arrow v/s Hawkeye

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The two comic book characters who confidently use bows and arrows in an age of automatic assault rifles have got to be related.

DC’s Oliver Queen premiered in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941.

While he was an obvious amalgamation of Batman and Robin Hood, he eventually developed into a lighter character with left-wing leanings. In the comics, Oliver Queen and the Black Canary have often been shown as romantically interested and eventually married.

Nobody’s favourite Avenger Hawkeye debuted in 1964 as a villain in an Iron Man comic.

With similar powers as Green Arrow, Hawkeye was seen by many fans as Marvel’s attempt to incorporate a popular Archer into their ranks.

#5 Doom Patrol v/s X-Men

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The X-Men are way too iconic to ever think of them as rip-offs. And this isn’t to say they are – except you know – they might be.

The lesser-known Doom Patrol was a team made up of misfits thought of as freaks by the world around them – and were led by a guy in a wheelchair.

The X-Men were also a group of misfits thought of as freaks by the world around them and led by a guy in a wheelchair.

Except it turns out the Doom Patrol first appeared in comics in 1963.

But wait! So did the X-Men.

But since Doom Patrol came out in July and the X Men in September, it was natural for both parties to be suitably doubtful of the other’s intentions.

In fact, the creator of the Doom Patrol, Arnold Drake, even went so far as to say,”I’ve become more and more convinced that [Stan Lee] knowingly stole The X-Men from The Doom Patrol.

In later years, however, he did admit it might just have been a coincidence.

#6 Spider-Man v/s Black Spider

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WAIT! They copied Spiderman!

No. Spiderman is 100%, artistically made, organic superhero. This time DC was trying to take a cue from Marvel when they created the terribly named “Black Spider”.

Was it because he wore a black suit? Lol, no.

But a well rounded African-American spider-themed character whose girlfriend gets killed when a supervillain discovers his secret identity is as good as a well rounded spider-themed character whose girlfriend gets killed when a supervillain discovers his secret identity.

Except when he’s not because while Spiderman rocketed in popularity, Black Spider was relegated to smaller appearances as a part of Batman’s rogue gallery.

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Posted by

Mehernaz Patel

"Not as funny as she thinks she is..." -Facebook Comment Section

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