I began this article thinking I might come up with 10 or possibly 20 comic book characters and their counterparts, but it quickly became evident that it wasn't going to be as simple as I first thought. For starters, it's difficult to define what exactly constitutes a character as being a counterpart to another character. Is it their costume, their personality, their power set, their origins or their relationships, or is it all of them?
So I paired up who I think acts as a counterpart to, or was at least inspired by another comic book character for varying reasons that I will go into. Sometimes it was one undeniably strong similarity that tied the characters together, or other times it was many smaller similarities that tied them together, but one thing's for sure, all these characters share some remarkably solid similarities with each other that extend far beyond many mere coincidences.
Green Arrow (1941) - Hawkeye (1964)
Green Arrow and Hawkeye both lost their parents when they were young and were subsequently forced to become adept with a bow in order to survive. Both were trained by other notables in physical combat and both have a natural aptitude with varying weapons. They would both harness their skills with a bow in order to fight crime. Green Arrow is a member of the Justice League and Hawkeye is a member of the Avengers. Green Arrow was in a relationship with Black Canary and Hawkeye was in a relationship with Black Widow. Both Green Arrow and Hawkeye were also killed off and brought back to life too. This one is staggeringly obvious.
Catwoman (1940) - Black Cat (1979)
Catwoman and Black Cat are both skilled thieves and combatants who roam the rooftops of their respective cities as if it were nothing but second nature to them. Both could be considered anti-heroes and they both develop a relationship with the main hero in their original comics. Catwoman with Batman and Black Cat with Spider Man. Plus the Black Cat's near identical name and costume to Catwoman are a bit of a give away as to where her character drew inspiration from.
Deathstroke (1980) - Deadpool (1991)
It's no secret that Deadpool was... inspired by Deathstroke, the many similarities go on and on between them. Deathstroke and Deadpool are both highly skilled mercenaries and assassins. They're both morally ambiguous anti-heroes and both were experimented on by the Army which gave them extraordinary abilities. Both Deathstroke and Deadpool share disfigurements that prompt them to wear very similar costumes. Both of them have a strong healing factor and both like to use guns and explosives, but they prefer to use their dual blades, if they can, and is if that wasn't enough, Deathstroke is called Slade Wilson, while Deadpool is called Wade Wilson.
Namor (1939) - Aquaman (1941)
The similarities between Namor and Aquaman are blatantly obvious. Both of them have human fathers and Atlantean mothers who fell in love with land dwellers who both shared an affinity for the sea. Namor's father was a boat captain, while Aquaman's father was a lighthouse keeper. Both are considered royalty and both have lofty obligations to the Kingdom of Atlantis. Their power sets are almost identical, except Namor can't communicate with aquatic life and Aquaman can't fly.
The Flash (1940) - Whizzer (1941) - Quicksilver (1964)
The Flash is the original speedster in the world of comic books, Marvel would go on to release Whizzer a year after The Flash made his debut, Marvel would also later release Quicksilver, another speedster relating to the X-Men franchise. All of them have virtually the same powerful abilities as each other, to varying degrees of course, but the Flash exceeds them all. It's not hard to see where Marvel got the idea to include a super fast superhero in their universe from.
Clayface (1940) - Sandman (1963)
Clayface and Sandman can both mold and manipulate sand particulates, shape shift at will, alter their size, shape and density and render themselves mostly intangible. There have been numerous versions of these characters over the years, but their defining powers have largely remained the same. The first Clayface (Basil Karlo) couldn't manipulate sand, but the second Clayface (Matt Hagen) could, Matt first made his appearance as Clayface in 1961, a full two years before the Marvel counterpart.
The Heap (1942) - Swamp Thing (1971) - Man Thing (1971)
Swamp Thing and Man Thing are virtually the same character, albeit with a few subtle differences, and to this day, no one can definitively say who came first. Nevertheless, I think it's safe to say that both DC and Marvel drew inspiration from The Heap character created all the way back in 1942. This one's a tie between DC and Marvel.
The Atom (1961) - Ant Man (1962)
The Atom and Ant Man both gained the ability to manipulate their size from normal, to gigantic and microscopic at will, they both have total control over their size. Both the Atom and Ant Man are doctors and both of them are highly regarded as scientific geniuses in their respective universes, but it doesn't take a genius to see all the inherent similarities between these two characters.
Doctor Polaris (1963) - Magneto (1963)
Doctor Polaris and Magneto both share virtually the same, and extremely cool power set, the inherent ability to manipulate and control magnetic fields, irons and metals. Both were first published in 1963, while Doctor Polaris was seen three months ahead of Magneto, although ironically, one of Magneto's daughters would later be named Polaris and she could also control metals. This one is also a tie between DC and Marvel.
Deadshot (1950) - Bullseye (1976)
Deadshot and Bullseye are both fearsome super villains in their universes. Deadshot and Bullseye both grew up in an abusive household and depending on the version, they both killed their own fathers, without remorse either. Both men take pride in their expert marksmanship and both boast that they never miss their intended target. The similarities between these two are obvious, they're the neglected and tormented sharpshooters with daddy issues.
Deathlok (1974) - Cyborg (1980)
Deathlok and Cyborg are both humans who were fatally injured and yet were both subsequently saved through the use of an advanced cybernetic system. Both characters share much the same power set as each other and they both constantly struggle to find and retain their humanity among all the machine that's become a major part of them. Even though the Deathlok name seems to be bequeathed to each new test subject, while Cyborg is the only Cyborg, so far.
Scarlet Witch (1964) - Zatanna (1964)
The Scarlet Witch and Zatanna were both conceived to be the all-powerful magical based superheroes in their universe, although they both suffer from a wildly inconsistent and poorly defined power set, but the fundamental similarities between the two of them are obvious. Even though DC had magic users before Zatanna, I think they were both conceived to fill the same void in their universe. I would say that despite both Zatanna and Scarlet Witch appearing in 1964, that Zatanna's birth was a major plot point for Zatara and Sindella.
KGBeast (1988) - Omega Red (1992)
KGBeast and Omega Red are both ruthless Russian assassins that were trained by the KGB and were enhanced via the use of advanced cybernetics. They were both conceived as psychopathic and unhinged serial killers who were given these formidable gifts of destruction to unleash upon America, thus turning each of them into a highly effective super villain in their respective universes.
Doctor Fate (1940) - Doctor Strange (1963)
Doctor Fate and Doctor Strange are the resident sorcerers of their universes and both of them are capable of wielding incredibly powerful magic, both can fly and both were given their magical abilities by another supreme sorcerer. Nabu the Wise gave Doctor Fate his abilities, while the Ancient One gave Doctor Strange his abilities, and their names are not totally unlike each other either. Both Doctor's fill much the same role in their universes, they're the resident magician and mystic.
The Wasp (1963) - Bumblebee (1977)
The Wasp and Bumblebee both gained their abilities through advanced science, although Bumblebee is perpetually stuck in her tiny size, while The Wasp can control her size and can even increase her size at will. Nevertheless, I think there are enough visual and intrinsic parallels here between the two characters to say that one character, at the very least, inspired the other character.
The Spectre (1940) - The Living Tribunal (1967)
The Spectre and The Living Tribunal are both omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent cosmic entities capable of altering reality itself. They are both charged with maintaining some semblance of balance in their realities. They both drift throughout their universes and appear spontaneously from time to time. Neither are easily defined as being a hero or a villain yet despite their omnipotence, they both seem to serve someone higher.
The Phantom Stranger (1952) - Uatu the Watcher (1963) - The Stranger (1965)
The Phantom Stranger, Uatu the Watcher and The Stranger are all vaguely defined yet highly mysterious and powerful celestial entities that float around their selected cosmos'. They all seem to possess esoteric knowledge of the universe, yet none of them are easily definable as villains or heroes. All of them are omniscient, immortal and can instantaneously travel anywhere they desire, including different dimensions on a whim. They can all fire some sort of energy blasts and The Phantom Stranger and Uatu the Watcher are both prohibited from directly interfering in provincial crisis', although they both break those laws repeatedly.
Sgt Rock & Easy Company (1959) - Sgt Fury & his Howling Commandos (1963)
Sergeant Rock and Easy Company and Sergeant Fury and his Howling Commandos were both centered around a tough as nails, cigar chomping hard ass leading a group of soldiers through some of the toughest missions during World War 2. It's not hard to see the similarities between these two concepts, in fact, it goes beyond mere similarities, this one was a straight up copy, almost verbatim.
Doom Patrol (1963) - X-Men (1963)
The Doom Patrol and the X-Men share more similarities than simply being led by a brainy guy in a wheelchair. For starters both ostracized groups (Doom Patrol and X-Men) are galvanized by the humans rejection and fear of the 'freaks' yet they still insist on using their powers for the greater good. The Doom Patrol even features a guy called 'Beast Boy', a powerful psychic capable of mind control, and a man who can fly and shape shift.
The Brotherhood of Evil (1964) - The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (1964)
The similarities between the Doom Patrol and the X-Men are striking, to say the least, and the similarities continue with the Doom Patrol's sworn enemies comprising a group called 'The Brotherhood of Evil' and the X-Men's sworn adversaries comprising a group called 'The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants', with both groups serving the same narrative purpose.
Teen Titans (1964) - Young Justice (1998) - Young Avengers (2005)
Teen Titans, Young Justice and Young Avengers all follow the escapades of the sidekicks, children and relatives of all the other mainstream superheroes in their universes. Young Justice came around because all the Teen Titans eventually grew up, although the Teen Titans would later reform. While Young Avengers is the new kid on the block, so to speak. DC had this youth orientated organization stitched up very early on in the game.
Timber Wolf (1964) - Wolverine (1974)
Timber Wolf aka Lone Wolf and the Wolverine were both experimented on and gained powers as a result, thus their power sets are almost identical to each other, Timber Wolf has superhuman reflexes, enhanced senses, including smell, the ability to heal, claws, super strength, and is prone to violent outbursts and Wolverine is all of that, except instead of claws, he has blades. And if all that wasn't enough, you'd be forgiven for thinking that is Wolverine below, but it isn't, that's Timber Wolf. The resemblance is uncanny, no?
Superman (1938) - Thor (1962) - Hyperion (1969) - Kallark (1977)
Superman is pretty much the original superhero, so it seems inevitable that traces of him will turn up in other characters, so I've narrowed it down to the three most obvious examples. Thor was designed as Marvel's red cape wearing heavy hitter. Hyperion was originally created as a villainous re-imagining of Superman (I will touch on this later) but now Marvel has redefined Hyperion as a baby that was sent from a dying world and was raised by ordinary folks who instilled him with a strong sense of morality, sound familiar? Next is Kallark, whose name is a combination of Kal El and Clark Kent. Hyperion and Kallark both contain much the same power set as Superman, Kallark even has freeze breath and heat vision.
Batman (1939) - Iron Man (1963) - Black Panther (1966) - Moon Knight (1975)
Batman is highly comparable to Iron Man, Black Panther and Moon Knight. They're all mega rich personalities who choose to fight crime with an array of weaponry and gadgets that are bought with all the copious amounts of money at their disposal. All of them are master strategists and elite fighters second to none in their universes. Marvel has essentially diluted down the character of Batman in order to create three different shades of the original playboy, billionaire, genius, philanthropist, Bruce Wayne in the form of Iron Man, Black Panther and Moon Knight.
Wonder Woman (1941) - Power Princess (1982)
Wonder Woman and Power Princess share many, many similarities. Power Princess was raised on an isolated and hidden island called Utopia Isle and is a Greek Goddess. Power Princess became the first emissary to Earth and she fought in World War 2. Power Princess also became romantically involved with the first guy she met outside of Utopia Isle, he was the sole survivor of his sinking ship. They both have much the same power set as each other, although Power Princess is very forgiving, she even had sex with The Hulk after she beat him up.
Green Lantern (1940) - Doctor Spectrum (1969) - Nova (1976)
A Green Lantern is a member of the Green Lantern Corps and is given his power via a ring to make visual constructions with his mind. The Green Lantern Corps is an intergalactic military/police force who derive their energy from Oa. Doctor Spectrum derived his power from a gem called the Power Prism which was located on his fist. The Power Prism enabled him to create energy constructs using his mind and flight, even in space, he was also typically dressed in Green. A Nova is a member of the Nova Corps, which is basically an intergalactic military/police force who derive their power from the 'Nova source', is this ringin' any bells yet?
Darkseid (1970) - Metron (1971) - Thanos (1973)
Originally Thanos was loosely 'inspired' by Metron, however Thanos was later re-imagined as a Darkseid clone. These facts are not even in dispute. Even Thanos' race of Titanian Eternals was lifted in 1973 from the New Gods concept established in 1971, although it was the same creator behind both ideas, nevertheless, Thanos undeniably sprung from the shadows of Metron and Darkseid.
Hawkman (1940) - Archangel (1963)
The Hawkman and Archangel are both gifted with the power of flight, obviously, by the power of their large angelic wings, and they both have a strong healing factor as well. While their personalities and backgrounds are quite different, they have to be different in order to avoid a lawsuit. Despite their minor differences, it's definitely easy to see where, at the very least, the visual inspiration for Archangel came from.
John Constantine (1985) - Pete Wisdom (1995)
Maybe this one isn't such an obvious comparison at first glance because one's a mutant and the other isn't, but just look at the core components of the characters for a second. They're both British born mages, they both share the same sort of sardonic and bitter personality as each other and they both share a long and colorful history with the occult. It's not hard to see that Pete Wisdom emerged as Marvel's answer to DC's popular John Constantine.
Doctor Mid-Nite (1941) - Daredevil (1964)
Doctor Mid-Nite was the original blind crime fighter. Doctor Mid-Nite lost his sight in a grenade attack while he was trying to save the life of someone who was going to testify against a notorious mobster. Daredevil lost his sight while saving a pedestrian from an oncoming truck. In other words, both men lost their sight while they were trying to save a life. Both men develop their own unique way of seeing and both men have developed unique equipment and weapons to help them fight crime with.
Mr Mxyzptlk (1944) - Impossible Man (1963)
Mr Mxyzptlk and Impossible Man are virtually the same character. Both seem to share a real affinity for the color purple and both share a pretty much unlimited power set. They can basically do anything they want, they float around different dimensions with the ability to shape shift and manipulate reality itself. They mostly hang around to annoy whoever the feel like and usually that's Superman and The Fantastic Four in this case.
Red Tornado (1960) - Vision (1968)
Red Tornado and Vision are both automatons that were initially created by villains. Bad automatons who struggle with their identities and automatons who both rebel against their creator and both also end up marrying human women. Both also go on to found the younger superhero teams ie Young Justice and Young Avengers, and they're both super strong, they both fly, they can both self repair, they both have bright red faces and they both wear capes.
Scarecrow (1941) - Scarecrow (1964)
Marvel didn't even try to be subtle here with their blatant copying, they even kept the same name as the DC version of Scarecrow. Marvel made their scarecrow an acrobat who has the ability to produce a fear toxin, while the DC version was a gifted psychiatrist and chemist who also plays around with fear toxins. This one isn't even up for debate, Marvel clearly lifted the Scarecrow from DC, almost verbatim.
Hourman (1940) - Captain America (1941) - Guardian (1942)
The Hourman took a super serum that gave him enhanced abilities, super strength, durability, speed and endurance to fight crime with. Obviously, this serum only lasted for one hour, now take the concept of that serum, make its affects permanent and you get the core abilities and sensibilities of Captain America, and then only one year later DC would create a shield carrying vigilante called the Guardian as well.
Blue Beetle (1939) - Beetle (1964)
Blue Beetle and Beetle are incredibly similar characters, even if you exclude the obvious similarities in their names. They're both ordinary humans who fight crime in a suit of armor. The Blue Beetle's suit has become more magical lately, but it wasn't always like that. Both suits allow them to fly, armed them with an impressive arsenal and both had a heads up display similar to Iron Man, among many other similar features.
Justice Society of America (1940) - Justice League (1960) - The Avengers (1963)
The concept of a team up comic book series featuring stand alone heroes was a format that DC was playing with for a number of years in the early days of comic books. Starting with the Justice Society of America, continuing with the Seven Soldiers of Victory and would culminate in the Justice League itself. Clearly, this was a popular approach and it was one that Marvel would look to replicate later on, much later on.
Seven Soldiers of Victory (1941)
As I mentioned above, these are the Seven Soldiers of Victory. They're the second superhero team up from DC comics after the Justice Society of America premiered in 1940. They're still in print too.
The Justice League (1960) - The Squadron Supreme (1971)
The Squadron Supreme was specifically designed as a... homage to the Justice League. Every character was designed in the image of a lot of DC stalwarts, even ones outside of the Justice League. Hyperion (Superman), Nighthawk (Batman), Power Princess (Wonder Woman), Whizzer (Flash), Doctor Spectrum (Green Lantern), Amphibian (Aquaman), Skrullian Skymaster (Martian Manhunter), Golden Archer (Green Arrow), Lady Lark (Black Canary), Tom Thumb (Atom), Blue Eagle (Hawkman), Arcanna (Zatanna) and Nuke (Firestorm).
The Squadron Supreme would battle a group called the Institute of Evil, whose ranks included Ape X (Gorilla Grodd), Lamprey (Parasite), Shape (Plastic Man), Doctor Decibel (Sonar) and Quagmire (Sinestro). Nighthawk (Batman) would also go on to found the Redeemers (2001) in this perpetual homage to DC, while the real Batman founded the Outsiders (1983).
The Squadron Supreme would battle a group called the Institute of Evil, whose ranks included Ape X (Gorilla Grodd), Lamprey (Parasite), Shape (Plastic Man), Doctor Decibel (Sonar) and Quagmire (Sinestro). Nighthawk (Batman) would also go on to found the Redeemers (2001) in this perpetual homage to DC, while the real Batman founded the Outsiders (1983).
Injustice Society (1947) - Crime Syndicate America (1964) - Masters of Evil (1964)
And with all these superhero team up groups forming in the early 1940s, other groups of villains also combined forces to combat their might. The first of them was the Injustice Society, which formed as a result of The Justice Society of America. Although there would be many other villainous team ups over the years, too many to list here, but the Masters of Evil was a notable team up of villains from Marvel as well.
Solomon Grundy (1944) - The Hulk (1962)
The visual similarities between Solomon Grundy and The Hulk are unmistakable. Both of them are virtually indestructible, towering behemoths of uncontrollable rage that are nigh unstoppable forces of nature. Yet at their core is Cyrus Gold and Bruce Banner, two demure men who struggle to retain their identity while their overpoweringly destructive forms try and take control of their bodies.
Shazam (1940) - Captain Marvel (1967) - Superior (2010)
Marvel pounced on the 'Captain Marvel' name and quickly trademarked it back in the day, they fumbled around with the 'Captain Marvel' name for decades before putting it to legitimate use. This debacle forced DC to rename the original Captain Marvel as Shazam, but the obvious parallels between these two characters and Superior are all there. All of them regularly switch bodies between boys and men, and instantly became super strong heavy hitters in the same class as Superman and Thor.
Mary Marvel (1942) - Supergirl (1958) - Ms Marvel (1968)
Mary Marvel, Supergirl and Ms Marvel are the female counterparts to the heavy hitters in their universe, although I do think the similarities are stronger between Mary Marvel and Ms Marvel. Both share the same name, both are based on the same character, both have much the same power set and both of them only received their powers when they made contact with Captain Marvel, literally, Mary Marvel was empowered by Shazam, while Ms Marvel was empowered by Captain Marvel.
Martian Manhunter (1955) - Skrullian Skymaster (1985)
The visual similarities between Martian Manhunter and the Skrullian Skymaster are indisputable. It's no secret that the Skrullian Skymaster was originally created to be Marvel's counterpart to the Martian Manhunter. Both of them are the last of their race, both of them choose to fight for Earth and they both share an identical power set. It wouldn't be understatement to call them twins as opposed to counterparts, that's how similar they are.
Robin (1940) - Red Hood (2005) - Bucky Barnes (1941) - The Winter Soldier (2005)
Robin and Bucky both fulfilled virtually the same role in the comics, acting as the trustworthy sidekick for their larger hero. For Robin it was Batman and for Bucky it was Captain America. But the similarities don't end there either. They were both famously killed off in the comics, Robin in more spectacular fashion and then they were both conspicuously brought back to life as evil, or anti-heroic characters going by different alias' in 2005.
Black Canary (1947) - Black Widow (1964) - Mockingbird (1971) - Siryn (1981)
Black Canary, Black Widow and Mockingbird are all the resident female heroes with no real superpowers to speak of, but they're all martial arts experts, of course. Black Canary was married to Green Arrow, Mockingbird was married to Hawkeye and Black Widow also shared a relationship with Hawkeye. Black Canary would later develop a high pitch scream, a familiar power that Siryn would later use in the X-Men continuity.
Captain Atom (1960) - Solar (1962) - Molecule Man (1963)
Doctor Manhattan (1986) - The Sentry (2000) - Mister M (2004)
A strong comparison could be made for all of these guys against people like Superman and Thor, they're definitely strong, but I think their power sets are more unique. They're all insanely powerful beings that are capable of the usual feats, flying, strength, endurance, energy blasts, transmutation and most importantly, molecular manipulation in the same vein as Dr Manhattan. This is what truly sets them apart from the likes of Superman and Thor, their ability to control their atoms and molecular structure on a sub-atomic level.
Challengers of the Unknown (1957) - The Fantastic Four (1961)
The Challengers of the Unknown were a group of scientific explorers who survived a plane crash and then decided to investigate all manner of dangerous situations. The similarities between them and the Fantastic Four became especially evident in issue #3 when one of the explorers goes up into space and is exposed to cosmic rays. When he returns, he has powers that include, the ability to project fire, grow and shrink at will, super strength and the ability to become invisible. The Challengers of the Unknown would also incorporate a female member very early on and the alpha male of the group had a tendency to say 'clobber' a lot. It's ironic that Marvel's 'first family' essentially came from DC, but there you have it.
Brainiac (1958) - Ultron (1968)
Brainiac and Ultron are both remarkably intelligent automatons, depending on what versions they're using. Both Brainiac and Ultron can replicate themselves and control their clones from afar, both of them can control other machines as well, both of them can self repair and both of them are immensely powerful fighters capable of taking on either The Avengers or The Justice League by themselves. Brainiac wasn't always a machine though, but his transformation into a machine came about in 1964, still four years before Ultron came on the scene.
Plastic Man (1941) - Elongated Man (1960) - Mr Fantastic (1961)
I think the similarities between these three all speak for themselves. They all share much the same power set and weaknesses as each other. While all their back stories were changed just enough to make them slightly unique from each other, but it's obvious that the Elongated Man and Mr Fantastic were cut from the same cloth as the original Plastic Man. I always find it odd that despite being powerful mainstays in the comics, none of them have really found much of a following outside of the comics.
Lobo (1983) - Dirty Wolff (2000)
Lobo was created to be an over the top parody of other popular anti-heroes like the Wolverine and the Punisher, but the only things that carried over between them was their anti-heroic nature, much less so for Lobo. I found Dirty Wolff to be more of a direct counterpart to Lobo than Wolverine or anyone else. Lobo and Dirty Wolff both exterminated their own race and were subsequently the last survivors of their race. So both of them just traverse their way throughout space, murdering, pillaging and plundering everything in their path.
Suicide Squad (1959) - Thunderbolts (1997)
The Suicide Squad came about as a group of super villains that were forced to act on behalf of the Government in exchange for a shorter prison term. While The Thunderbolts were conceived as a group of super villains operating under the guise of superheroes. Both teams would pretend to be heroes for a time and The Thunderbolts would soon drop all pretense and become a Government controlled organization working under the promise of reduced prison terms and the threat of death for noncompliance.
Dinosaur Island (1960) - The Savage Land (1965)
Okay this one isn't necessarily a who, it's a where, but the similarities between the two are strikingly unambiguous. DC decided that they needed a secluded place where dinosaurs roamed free and five years later Marvel decided that they needed a secluded place full of dinosaurs as well, for whatever reason... because who doesn't like seeing superheroes fight dinosaurs I suppose...
The Presence (1940) - The One Above All (1977)
The Presence and The One Above All both fulfill the same part in DC and Marvel comics, they're both seemingly the progenitors of their own universes. They're both basically the one God above all the other gods in their universe. While these pictures are merely a shell of who they truly are ie not their true forms, both of them are ultimately the be all and the end all when it comes to the hierarchy of the many deities that occupy both DC and Marvel.
Orion (1971) - Drax the Destroyer (1973)
Thanos killed Arthur Douglas' family and Arthur was subsequently given the powers necessary to kill Thanos and then became Drax the Destroyer. Meanwhile Orion is the son of Tigra and Darkseid, Hathak could potentially be his father too, but ultimately Tigra and Hathak were killed by Darkseid. Orion was raised on Earth since he was a baby, as was Drax, and both were on a collision course with the murderer of their families. Orion and Drax would both face their adversaries and seemingly beat them, but Darkseid and Thanos simply wouldn't stay dead.
The Legion of Superheroes (1958) - The Imperial Guard (1977)
The Imperial Guard of Shi'ar is a direct homage to The Legion of Superheroes. The leader of The Imperial Guard is Gladiator aka Kallark, a direct counterpart to Superman, all the other Imperial Guard characters have direct counterparts too. Oracle (Saturn Girl), Electron (Cosmic Boy), Mentor (Brainiac 5), Nightshade (Shadow Lass), Smasher (Ultra Boy), Titan (Colossal Boy), Astra (Phantom Girl), Scintilla (Shrinking Violet), Starbolt (Sun Boy), Pulsar (Wildfire), and so on.
The Legion of Super Villains (1961) - Starforce (1992)
For every superhero team up that occurs, there's usually a team up of super villains that'll unite in order to combat that particular team up of superheroes. This wasn't always the case, but it proved to be true in this case. The Legion of Superheroes spawned The Legion of Super Villains in the DC universe, while The Imperial Guard would spawn the Starforce in the Marvel universe.
Detective Chimp (1952) - Howard the Duck (1973)
Detective Chimp and Howard the Duck are both anthropomorphic animals with a proclivity towards smoking and drinking. Both of them started out as funny and light hearted characters, but both developed into short-tempered and surly characters. Both would also go onto join other larger groups known for specializing in magic and the occult, Detective Chimp would join Shadowpact and Howard the Duck would join The Defenders.
The Lizard (1963) - Man-Bat (1970) - Killer Croc (1983)
The Lizard and Killer Croc is more of an aesthetic comparison, both are obviously villainous reptiles, but The Lizard and Man-Bat share more inherent similarities. Both of them were originally scientists who were looking for a cure for their disability and their tests would transform them into the very creature they were hoping could fix them. Doctor Curt Connors was hoping the lizards regenerative abilities would grow his arm back, while Doctor Kirk Langstrom was studying Bats in an attempt to find a cure for his deafness, suffice to say that neither case worked out too well for them.
Lex Luthor (1940) - Doctor Doom (1962)
Lex Luthor and Doctor von Doom are both insanely wealthy megalomaniacs who have devoted themselves to battling anyone who dare stand in their way to world domination. Both are considered the smartest mortals in their universe, both have used science to recreate seemingly 'magical' technologies and both have used this technology to create and wield highly advanced battle armor. Doctor Doom dabbles in magic more so than Lex Luthor does, but the many fundamental similarities in the characters are still there.
Lady Shiva (1975) - Elektra (1981) - Cheshire (1983)
Lady Shiva, Elektra and Cheshire are all highly feared assassins and martial arts experts in their universe, but have no real superpowers to speak of. They're all morally questionable and highly unpredictable characters that drift between being a villain, an anti-hero and a reluctant hero at times. All three of these ladies are largely linked to one character too, for Lady Shiva (Batman), for Elektra (Daredevil) and for Cheshire (Red Arrow).
Krona (1965) - Galactus (1966) - Imperiex (2000)
Krona, Galactus and Imperiex are all supreme cosmic beings that usually require the combined might of the world's superheroes to even stand a slim chance of beating them, it's all hands on deck whenever they show up. All of them have destroyed entire galaxies on a whim and possess much the same power set as each other, power sets that make Superman look like a little boy in comparison. All of these guys are inter-galactic threats of the highest magnitude, not many other villains can stand against them.
Icon (1993) - Blue Marvel (2008)
Icon and Blue Marvel are both, to be blunt, the black version of Superman in both the DC universe and the Marvel universe. While Icon is an alien and Blue Marvel is a human who was endowed with his abilities, both provide the same things for DC and Marvel. Icon and Blue Marvel both have the same identical power set that allows them to battle the other heavy hitters like Superman and Sentry on equal footing and they also bring diversity to their universe in a big way.
Big Barda (1971) - Gamora (1975)
Big Barda and Gamora were both taken as babies and were raised to be warriors loyal only to Darkseid (Big Barda) and Thanos (Gamora). However over time, they both came to reject Darkseid and Thanos and became heroes in their own right. Both contain an incredibly similar power set, both are expert fighters, both have super strength, both of them are super fast, and so on.
Hercules (1941) - Hercules (1965)
Ancient mythologies have proved rich picking grounds for both DC and Marvel over the years ie Wonder Woman and Thor. Both versions of these Hercules characters were lifted straight from Greek mythology and they're both essentially the same character with the same power set, although the DC version of Hercules is seen as more of an arrogant douche, while the Marvel version is generally a more amiable fellow.
Ares (1942) - Ares (1966)
Ares is another character lifted straight from Greek mythology, and again, both versions of this character are virtually the same, although I do think the DC version of Ares is more magical. Both versions of Ares are considered the God of War, so naturally, they're both adept at fighting and killing, they also possess the normal powers of a god. But the abilities of the DC version of Ares includes the capacity to induce malevolence through his mere presence and can subsequently gain strength through all the death and suffering that constantly surrounds him.
Zeus (1940) - Zeus (1987)
Zeus is yet another character lifted straight from Greek mythology and both incantations of Zeus from Marvel and DC are pretty much identical to the other. Both versions of them are considered among the strongest in the pantheon of the gods and both have much the same power set, immortality, super strength, shape shifting, weather and size manipulation and control over the supernatural.
Death (1971) - Death (1973)
The personification of Death has appeared in both the DC and Marvel universes over the years and both versions of Death are these immutable cosmic entities tied to the fate of the universe itself. Both versions of Death are omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent beings with no set avatar. Both of them also appear often with different personas and characteristics over the years as well.
Lucifer (1962) - Mephisto (1968)
Where there is The Presence (DC) and The One Above All (Marvel), there is Lucifer (DC) and Mephisto (Marvel). Both of them personify the Devil, even though DC and Marvel call them by different names. Both of them are immortal deities who are omnipotent and omniscient beings capable of shape shifting, altering time, reality, matter and space. These two are practically the overlords of the supernatural realms in DC and Marvel.
Boomerang (1960) - Boomerang (1966)
Boomerang, or Captain Boomerang first appeared as an arch-nemesis of The Flash back in 1960. Boomerang first appeared as an arch-nemesis of Spider Man just six years later. Both characters obviously live up to their namesake, utilizing Boomerang's in practically every way imaginable.
Amazo (1960) - Super Adaptoid (1966)
Amazo and Super Adaptoid were both androids and appeared as fearsome villains for any superhero because their ability was the ability to mimic and retain any superheroes power set, including their weapons.
Superman (1938) - Batman (1939) - Spider Man (1962)
Here's a bit of food for thought for you fans. What do you get when you cross a bright blue and red spandex wearing superhero who works for a local city newspaper with an orphan who was raised by an older authority figure, who would later choose to fight crime while swinging through his city? A Spider Man perhaps? The similarities between the Batman and Spider Man names are noticeable too. Bat Man, Spider Man, get it? I'll refrain from saying outright that Marvel copied DC here, but I do think that Superman and Batman played a larger part in the conceptualization of Spider Man than most people might realize.
I'm sure there are more examples floating around out there of Marvel copying DC and vice versa throughout the history of comic books, but this is where I choose to stop, seventy is enough. What do you think? Is there any I forgot, or is there any you'd like to suggest? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading!
Written by - The Sentry - 13/07/2014