Who ripped off who?

Is there a fine line between ripping off and paying homage?

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By CorndogBurglar - 8/23/2011
The Marvel Vs. DC feud is one that will always be around. As long as these two rival companies are in business, there will always be certain fans that are pointing out the shortcomings of the company that is on the opposite side of their particular favorite. One of the biggest complaints is when one company seems to be "borrowing ideas" from their rival. It is a common misconception by these "one-sided" fans that the company of their disdain is the one that does more "ripping off". The truth of the matter is that both Marvel and DC are known for creating similar stories and characters. Some have been admitted parodies by their creators. Lets take a look, shall we?


Superman (June 1938) and the JLA (Feb 1960) / Hyperion (Oct 1969) and the Squadron Supreme (Feb 1979)




I find it fitting to start with Superman, as he is considered by many to be the world's first superhero. We all know that Superman is an alien who was sent to earth before his home-world was destroyed. Earth's yellow son gifted Superman with the powers of flight, super strength, heat vision, speed, near invulnerability and freeze breath. When he is not running around as Superman, he goes by the name Clark Kent and works as a reporter for the Daily Planet.

Hyperion is an alien in the Marvel Universe. Due to his alien DNA, Hyperion exhibits the powers of flight, super strength, speed, near invulnerability, and numerous vision powers. One version of Hyperion even had a journalism degree and went by the name of Mr. Kant.

Aside from Superman and Hyperion being very close in almost every possible way, they are also both the leaders of super teams. Superman and his JLA and Hyperion and his Squadron Supreme. Each Squadron Supreme member had very similar back stories and powers to their JLA counterparts.

Squadron Supreme: Doctor Spectrum = Green Lantern, Nighthawk = Batman, Power Princess = Wonder Woman, The Whizzer = The Flash, Blue Eagle = Hawkman, Golden Archer = Green Arrow, Amphibian - Aquaman, Lady Lark = Black Canary, Nuke = Captain Atom, Tom Thumb = The Atom.




Namor (Oct 1939) / Aquaman (Nov 1941)




Namor and Aquaman are both the rulers of their world's version of Atlantis. Both characters have very serious demeanor and are hot tempered. They consider themselves the protectors of their world's oceans. They both share to powers of super strength and durability, can swim at alarming speeds, and are able to breath under water. They do have a few differences, like Namor's flight, and Aquaman's ability to telepathically speak with sea life. These differences do very little to outweigh their similarities, however. It is unknown for sure if the creators of Aquaman purposely stole ideas from Namor for their creation, but the coincidences are impossible to ignore.




The Extremists (June 1990)



The Extremists were created with full of intentions of resembling various villains from Marvel. The coincidences are too many to overlook. They even went so far as to say that these villains came from another alternate universe. You could actually take that to mean that these guys are, in fact, alternate versions of Marvel's villains.

Lord Havok = Dr. Doom (the leader who wears a mechanical suit, much like Doom.)
Doctor Diehard = Magneto (Doc Diehard even has a school of students he calls his Zen Men, which is an obvious reference to the X-Men.)
Dreamslayer = Dormammu (heavily resembles Dormammu, flaming head and all)
Tracer = Sabretooth (heavily resembles Sabretooth and has similar powers to Wolverine)
Gorgon = Doctor Octopus (four mechanical tentacle arms protrude from his body)
Barracuda = Tiger Shark




Doom Patrol (June 1963) / The X-Men (September 1963)




The Doom Patrol was a group younger characters whose gifts made them outcasts. The world came to call them freaks and alienated them from normal society. Doctor Caulder, a man bound to a wheelchair with mental powers, took them in and created the Doom Patrol. As the Doom Patrol they went on various missions to help serve and protect those same people that treated them as outcasts.

The X-Men have a similar story to tell. A little too similar. Being born mutants, the X-Men were viewed as outcasts by the general public. The general public hated and feared mutants for what they were, mostly because they did not understand them. A wheelchair bound man with mental abilities took these mutants in and trained them in the use of their powers in order to serve and protect a world that fears them.




The Death and Return of Captain America (2007-2009) and Batman (2009-2010)



It is uncanny how close together these two events took place. First Marvel killed off Captain America, one of its most iconic characters at the end of the mega event Civil War. Mere months later, DC decided to end the life of one of its most iconic characters in the form of Batman. Captain America had surrendered at the end of the knock-down drag out fight in Civil War. He was being carted up the steps of the courthouse when a sniper's bullet struck him in the shoulder. During all the chaos, a brainwashed Sharon Carter was able to get close and finish him off with her own side-arm. But this was not just any hand gun, and the bullets were far from ordinary. The gun was Doom-Tech and it froze Cap's body in time. Cap became lost in time and forced to relive various moments throughout his life. It was not until his erstwhile friends discovered this that they were able to bring him back.

During Final Crisis, Batman went on a mission to end Darkseid's life. When he came face to face with the New God himself, Batman was shot with Darkseid's Omega Beams. This appeared to have killed The Dark Knight, however, it really sent him on a trip through time. Bruce went through various moments throughout history as The Batman. Eventually, Batman was able to return to present day through clues that he had left himself through time.

While both characters were missing and presumed dead, their predecessors, Bucky and Dick Grayson took over their mantles. When both Cap and Batman returned, they allowed their predecessors to continue on as Cap and Batman for a time.




Kingdom Come (1996) / Earth-X (1999)




Kingdom Come and Earth-X. Two stories that are known as both DC and Marvel's masterpieces. These two stories are set to be the pinnacle of all things DC/Marvel related. Everything that readers have learned about their respective company comes to a head in these two stories. Both stories are set 30 years in the future. The heroes of both stories have all grown old and either given up on heroism, or have passed on.

In Kingdom Come we begin the future. The world's heroes have given up and gone their separate ways. The children of powered beings have risen to power. The entire world is constantly under siege by super powered beings who never knew the importance fighting for what is right. These people fight for the sake of fighting. While city after city continues to be destroyed in this senseless violence, the duty falls on the shoulders of an aged Superman to return the Justice League to its former glory, and show these young guns what it means to truly be a hero. But do the normal humans even want the help of super powered beings anymore?

Similarly, Earth-X takes place in the future. The entire world's population has evolved into mutants. Everyone on the planet has super powers. Chaos rules the streets as the line between the normal and fragile populace and super powered beings no longer exists. Is there still a place in the world for the righteous and true defenders of the world when no one needs protecting anymore?

Again, there are definate differences in these stories, however, one can not overlook the basics. Both are apocalyptic stories set 30 years in the future in a world where the heroes we all knew and loved have either aged or died. These are both stories about the futile looking future of our beloved universes.




These are actually only a few examples of both companies borrowing ideas from each other. Sometimes it really does seem as if they are maliciously stealing ideas in order to make a quick money grab. But maybe its more than that. Maybe some creators truly do admire the work of each other and would like to express it in their own creations. Maybe its bound to happen. After all, how many power sets can really be devised? We have come to a point in this industry where ideas are running slim. Eventually, certain powers had to be reused. As creative as a lot of these writers are, not everyone can simply come up with a new power that has never been seen before. In the case of Kingdom Come and Earth-X, I believe that Marvel truly admired the work and look into the future of the DC Universe, and simply wanted to give that same glimpse of the future to its own readers. The bottom line is that both companies have been guilty of rehashing ideas from themselves and each other. As fans, we need to just take these stories for what they are, whether you are a DC fan or Marvel Zombie. A good story is a good story, and that is all we can really ask for from these fantastic creators who put their hearts and souls into this industry.


Thanks for reading!

~CDB
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39 Comments
m1312020 - 8/23/2011, 11:56 AM
You forgot Red Hood/Winter soldier,and Doom Patrol and X-Men both fought The Brotherhood of Evil(mutants).Swamp Thing/Man Thing(both rips of an old character called the Heap).
m1312020 - 8/23/2011, 12:01 PM
Timber Wolf/Wolverine(both very similar attitudes and look).
Challengers of the unknown/Fantastic Four
Cable/Magog
Green Arrow/Hawkeye(both robin hood)
CorndogBurglar - 8/23/2011, 12:03 PM
@ m1312020

I didn't forget those, lol, in the last paragraph i stated that these were just a few. There are definately many, many more.
CorndogBurglar - 8/23/2011, 12:04 PM
this article would be never ending, and impossible if i tried to look up every single similar character and their counterpart, lol.

Deadpool and Deathstroke are pretty obvious too
CorndogBurglar - 8/23/2011, 12:06 PM
@ goddamnsuperguy

okay, if you look at the article, i have an equal amount of examples of each company copying each other. the whole point is that both Marvel and DC are guilty of it.

you can name all the examples you want, but that doesn't mean DC isn't guilty as well.
m1312020 - 8/23/2011, 12:16 PM
I wasn't critiquing just thought I'd add some more,and I agree with your paragraph to just sit back in enjoy.
I personally like Aquaman and X-men more then the
originals.Hate Namor for some reason.
CorndogBurglar - 8/23/2011, 12:35 PM
@ m13

yeah, Namor pisses me off. He's always whining.
m1312020 - 8/23/2011, 12:48 PM
@TheGODDAMNSUPERGUY eEjoy them for what they are stories
they both have been unoriginal for along time.

@CorndogBurglar Agreed big whiner and always chasing
Sue.
Whitemartian - 8/23/2011, 1:12 PM
I'm just glad that, whether they began as homages or even blatant ripoffs, many of these characters have evolved into interesting protagonists with their own stories.
gamecreatorjj - 8/23/2011, 1:43 PM
well techinically the idea for cap's return was a copy of batman's, since at the end of final crisis they revealed bruce went into the past, and that was in 08
MarkJulian - 8/23/2011, 1:49 PM
Good job man.
kriswone - 8/23/2011, 2:28 PM
Deathstroke / Deadpool
Superman / Gladiator
Thanos / Darkseid
Quicksilver / Flash
JackDexx - 8/23/2011, 2:38 PM
FIRST SUPERHERO MY ASS!
i would consider the first to be sherlock holmes. watson was his side kick and moriarty could be considered his arch enemy.
but hell, green hornet was out before superman and his concept is still one of the most original.
m1312020 - 8/23/2011, 2:43 PM
@JackDexx You know Moriarty was only in one book.In
sherlock holmes would not be the first superhero. Hercules would most likely fit the bill as superhero
and hero Robin Hood.
Cerebro - 8/23/2011, 2:59 PM
I think jesus was the first super hero. Shit the dude walked on water, was immune to being stabbed in the heart, could turn water into wine, and had his own arch villain, mephesto.
m1312020 - 8/23/2011, 3:11 PM
Jesus was a blanket copy of Hercules.The Greeks comics came first then the Christians
golden123 - 8/23/2011, 3:16 PM
Rip-off characters, like Green Arrow, tend to evolve and be their own character. Some, like Aquaman, tend to be better than the original. Rip-offs occur within a single company. Green Arrow is an example of this. Also, there is a huge a difference between character rip-offs and storyline rip-offs.
golden123 - 8/23/2011, 3:27 PM
Oh, and Superman was the character that popularized the idea of Death's and planned Returns for plublicity and shock value. It wasn't Captain America. Doom Patrol and X-Men was just a coincidence since they were released three months apart. Some rip-off arguments are just silly like Ironman being a rip-off of Batman. If that was true then Batman is a rip-off of the Crimson Avenger. If that were true then Crimson Avenger would be a rip-off of Green Hornet. Every superhero has been accused of being a rip-off of somebody.
golden123 - 8/23/2011, 3:28 PM
@Nephillim: Really? That is very interesting. I may half to look into that. Nice knowledge you got there.
JackDexx - 8/23/2011, 4:04 PM
@m1312020
i know i read 'em, but you see films and tv shows portraying him as his arch enemy. with such a good protagonist people want an antagonist to be just as good. thats why i said "could be considered". i thought about the greek myth characters but they are called heroes. like 'superhero' is the term here so i figured they wouldn't apply.

@Cerebro
lol, dude that series sucked. even the author knew that. that is why he didn't put his name on it. it is riddled with plot holes, and it's fan club? those bastards are crazy!
JackDexx - 8/23/2011, 4:06 PM
@Nephillim
he came after superman, who here is the example.
JackDexx - 8/23/2011, 4:07 PM
@golden123
my skin is ripped off from my flesh
m1312020 - 8/23/2011, 4:13 PM
@JackDexx I've always considered superhero and hero as
separate.Superhero I consider someone with some sort of
power.Where a hero is a normal human who does great things.
Example Hercules and Superman are superheros.
Sherlock Holmes and Batman are heroes.
That's just what I believe,but each there own.
Minato - 8/23/2011, 5:28 PM
Good Job lemme get a part 2 soon with more exsamples
nuck82 - 8/23/2011, 5:46 PM
NAMOR is the best!!!!
nuck82 - 8/23/2011, 5:47 PM
i loved both kingdom come and earth x, i dont really feel that much the same to me, just that there in the future and thats about it. but i have only read 1 book of earth x
nuck82 - 8/23/2011, 5:49 PM
doom patrol and xmen are to close to call, i see if it was a year or 2 later then yes total rip off, but i dont see how they can come up with a storyline that fast back then, but thats just my opinion, and opininos are like ass holes
KaneVonDoom - 8/23/2011, 6:23 PM
Jesus is more of a direct ripoff of Horus, who predates Hercules.....but they all have the same backstory. Dionysus, Krishna, Attis, blah blah blah.
KaneVonDoom - 8/23/2011, 6:25 PM
Swamp Thing/Man-Thing and Doom Patrol/X-men. Back in the day the comic industry was really small. Some of these ideas got shared and aren't necessarily rip offs but just evidence of a creatively incestuous small industry.
JackDexx - 8/23/2011, 6:32 PM
@m1312020
I wouldn't say powers are needed, but something of = < value. like batman his gadgets, mind, and fighting skills make him a 'superhero' to most people. i think, i'm not sure the first "superhero" is green hornet. he has the gadgets that make up for his lack of power.
marvel72 - 8/23/2011, 6:50 PM
they're as bad as each other,with so many characters that each company as created over the years it would near on impossible to create an original character nowadays.

each company wants their version of a particular character i.e superman marvel can't have superman so they create a character that is based on that template.

KaneVonDoom - 8/23/2011, 6:52 PM
I think a lot of times, it's almost a parody. Squadron Supreme is written nowadays almost like they are sarcastically making fun of JLA. Sentry was kinda the same toward Supes
SigmaCenturion - 8/23/2011, 9:52 PM
merger merger merger
Berger45 - 8/24/2011, 4:46 AM
And what about Nova being a total rip-off of Green Lantern. DC has without a doubt the first templates that others began to recreate. Marvel has revolutionized several character-types. Both great!
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 4:57 AM
Thanks for all the great comments guys!

I should have a part 2 up sometime today. I really enjoyed looking these things up, I thought it was pretty interesting to see all the shared ideas. :)
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 5:07 AM
and yes, I realize that Doom Patrol and X-Men came out within 3-4 months of each other, so it could be hard to think that X-Men is a ripoff.

At the same time though, there are certain details that can't be overlooked. Sure the basic plot (outcasts protecting the people that fear and hate them) might be a coincidence. But look at the details. Doom Patrol came out first. Who is to say that originally Professor X wasn't a normal guy with no powers? Who is to say he wasn't wheelchair bound originally? They could have easily seen the success of Doom Patrol and decided to make little changes like putting Prof X in a wheelchair and giving him mental powers, just like Mr. Caulder in Doom Patrol.

There's really no way of knowing the little details like that...
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 5:09 AM
Its one thing to write stories and create characters that have a couple similarities, but with Doom Patrol and X-Men, its ridiculous just how similar they really are. Its very hard to think that with all those little details being the same, that it was all a coincidence.
ironpool007 - 8/24/2011, 9:05 AM
Marvel copied a lot of ideas from DC. Giving Captain America Bucky as a sidekick was inspired by Batman and Robin. And The Fantastic Four and The Avengers were meant to capitalize on the success of the Justice League. DC then tried to copy Marvel's style of characterization and making their heroes more socially relevant.
MarVell - 2/24/2012, 4:31 PM
Nice job.

This has been going on since Marvel started to rival DC in the 60's, though imatation is the sincerest form of flattery, sometimes it's ridiculous.

Like the return of Captain America and the return of Batman (as you mentioned), those story lines were too close to be coincidence. I felt ripped off after reading both.

Thanks for the links.

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