Marvel and DC’s is one of the most glorious rivalries in pop culture. Both the comic-book companies have been around since the 1940s (albeit with different names), and now both are owned by giant studios – DC by Warner Bros and Marvel by Disney. Both have given some of the most legendary characters to not just the print medium but also film and television. Even today, when humanity’s love-affair with printed material seems to be wearing off, comic-book characters like Superman and Captain America remain iconic, thanks to countless movies and TV shows they have appeared in.
Generally speaking, both the comic-book publishers have indulged in some sort of imitation. I am calling this imitation, as “plagiarism” comes with legal connotations and these are not necessarily legal issues. The thing is, rules are pretty loose in the comic-book industry. It is not that one could copy everything from rival and get away with it, but it is far common to see almost exact copies of different properties in comics than in any other industry without any consequence. Marvel and DC have actively imitated each other’s characters with the former indulging more in, shall we say, aping. And these are no minor character ripoffs. Many of these have had TV shows or movies made on them. Here are my top 10. There is no order.
1. Thanos (copied from DC’s Darkseid)
The Big Bad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos, is actually an imitation of the Big Bad in the DC universe, Darkseid. The God of Evil, Darkseid, is a universal tyrant who wants to subjugate all reality, is searching for the anti-life equation, and is obsessed with death. Sounds like somebody we know? Thanos is probably the most obvious copy in this list. Darkseid was created by Jack Kirby as a part of his brilliant New Gods storyline. Initially, Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos, was thinking of copying another New God instead, Metron. But he was told to, “Beef him up! If you’re going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!”
2. Deadpool (copied from DC’s Deathstroke)
Both are master swordsmen and mercenary assassins with costumes that have similar colour tones. Deadpool, to avoid the accusations of stealing, was reimagined as a foul-mouthed, wisecracking anti-hero – the Merc with a Mouth. The comparisons, however, persist. That is because although Deathstroke remains aloof and solemn, they are still pretty similar.
3. Aquaman (copied from Marvel’s Namor)
Both are half-human kings of the mythical kingdom of Atlantis. Although they do not look alike, it is easy to see from their description, abilities, weapons, and so on that who copied who. Namor appeared in the ancient misty days of modern comics and predated Aquaman by two years.
4. Hawkeye (copied from DC’s Green Arrow)
Hawkeye and Green Arrow have similar skill-set. They both use the now-antiquated bow-and-arrows. They do not have superpowers like their friends but use technology to complement their marksmanship.
5. Doctor Strange (copied from DC’s Doctor Fate)
Doctor Strange is one of the most famous characters in Marvel Cinematic Universe. But did you know that he was a blatant copy of a lesser-known DC character Doctor Fate? Both are wizards that wield powerful magic. Both can fly and tap power from a special source and were trained by powerful sorcerers. Doctor Fate predates Doctor Strange by two decades.
6.Quiksilver (copied from DC’s The Flash)
This one is easy. Marvel’s Quicksilver was the answer to everybody’s favourite speedster, DC’s The Flash. Both are lightning fast, quite literally, and have been known to manipulate time.
7. Vision (copied from DC’s Red Tornado)
Both are bald androids with red skin. It does not get any more obvious than that.
8. Commander Steel (copied from Marvel’s Captain America)
Yes, DC has a Cap equivalent. Both are patriotic, righteous superheroes that wear the star symbol proudly.