Who ripped off who? Part 3
A further look at borrowed ideas in the comic industry.
Welcome to the third part of "Who ripped off who?" I'm really pleased with all the positive feedback and just wanted to thank everyone for reading these. I'm very glad so many people enjoy them, because I certainly enjoy doing them. As usual, for anyone that may be reading this part before the others, I just wanted to go over the premise again. This is not a Marvel Vs. DC debate. The purpose here is to show as many of the similar character creations and stories between Marvel and DC as possible. It is to show that BOTH companies are guilty of "sharing ideas". After doing parts one and two, I have learned that this list really is endless. At some point down the road I would like to involve Image and some of the other smaller companies, but for now, Marvel and DC have provided me with more than enough examples to keep me busy for a while! So again, thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy Part 3 of "Who ripped off who?"
Superman (June 1938) / Sentry (Sept 2000)
Robert Reynolds. The Sentry. The man with the power of a million exploding suns. What that means exactly is unknown, as the true limit to his power has never been shown. He has been known as Marvel's attempt at creating Superman in their universe. It is very hard to discount that claim. Superman has been known as being the ultimate superhero. Fans and haters alike can not argue the fact that the guy seems to have all the powers. He has been called the Eric Cartman of superheroes. "My power is to have all powers." Its easy to see that Sentry may have been an attempt to parody Superman, although this has never been admitted by his creators. Marvel has a tendancy to give even their most powerful characters some kind of serious flaw that makes them more grounded, and with the Sentry, its his mind. When the Sentry loses control, he transforms into the Void, an evil version of himself that wants only to take the same amount of lives that the Sentry has saved. Due to this violent, uncontrollable transformation, Sentry rarely lets loose and shows his true power.
Robert Reynolds became the Sentry after being injected by a serum that moves his molecules an instant ahead of the current timeline. This serum was a derivative of the super soldier serum used on Captain America, only this one was designed to be one hundred thousand times stronger, and was also modified by Weapon X. He has displayed total invulnerability. Nick Fury, SHIELD, and even Iron Man's scanners were unable to find any physical weakness to him. He has displayed other-wordly strength, even lifting a helicarrier with one hand. He also exhibits super speed which allows him to travel between Earth and the Sun in a matter of minutes. The feats that Sentry has accomplished are among some of the most unbelievable ever witnessed in the MU. Reynolds has fought the Hulk to a stand still, and once, the Void broke every bone in the Hulk's body. Sentry has even been shown to go toe to toe with Galactus all by himself. The Sentry may not be an alien like Superman, and his origin is very different, but again, he is clearly Marvel's answer to Superman.
War Machine (Jan 1979) / Steel (June 1993)
It is quite easy to see the resemblance between these two characters. War Machine is an African American male who is friends with Tony Stark. Stark built him his own Stark-Tech suit and dubbed it War Machine. It is a suit that was originally designed to take on enemies that were immune to Iron Man's repulsor and uni-beams. The War Machine armor was designed to be able to carry all different forms of practical, laser guided munitions that are more appropriately used by the U.S. Military. It has been outfitted with all forms of projectile weapons such as wrist mounted machine guns, a shoulder mounted mini-gun, and also shoulder mounted rockets. War Machine also has rocket powered boots that allow him to fly. War Machine took Iron Man's place at a time when Iron Man was battling alcoholism and was unable to carry on as the Armored Avenger. Like Tony Stark, John Henry Irons is a weapons designer. During the Death of Superman storyline, Irons created himself a powered suit that heavily resembles the War Machine armor. Irons dubbed himself Steel and set out to become a true Man of Steel during Superman's absence. The Steel armor is equipped with rocket powered boots which enable flight, much like War Machine. It is also outfitted with numerous conventional weapons. John Henry is also apt to use a run of the mill sledge hammer while in battle.
Galactus (March 1966) / Imperiex (Feb 2000)
Galactus has actually made an appearance in the DC Universe during a crossover story. In that story, Galactus attacked Darkseid's planet Apokolips. Galactus ceased his attempt when he realized that the planet is lifeless. DC saw the opportunity presented by a character like Galactus, so the character Imperiex was created. Imperiex is a massive cosmic being, much like Galactus. Also like Galactus, Imperiex is a survivor of the universe before our own present one. He gained his powers from our universe's Big Bang. In an attempt to one up Marvel's Galactus, DC created Imperiex to be able to not only consume/destroy planets, but he is also capable of destroying entire universes. The only thing Galactus has done that Imperiex can not, is create a website about comic book movies where people of Earth can talk about such things. (See what I did there?)
Elongated Man (May 1960) / Mr. Fantastic (Nov 1961)
Elongated Man, also known as Ralph Dibney and Mr. Fantastic, known as Reed Richards, are obviously characters from the same vein. About the only difference in these two characters is how they got their powers. Elongated Man admired contortionists as a teenager. He learned that most contortionists drank a popular soda called Gingold. Elongated Man was also an expert chemist, so he created a highly concentrated form of Gingold. This gave him his powers of elasticity. While Elongated Man created a soda, Mr. Fantastic was bombarded by cosmic rays while he and his family were on a mission in space. Their origin is about the only difference presented between these two characters. Both characters exhibit the powers of elasticity. They have rubbery skin that allows them to stretch their bodies, and also shape shift to a certain degree. Both characters are brilliant scientists and they have each been shown to actually "stretch" their brains and make them bigger in order to figure out solutions to highly difficult problems. Among their physical similarities, both characters are some of the earliest to reveal their secret identities to the public. They are also some of the earliest examples in the comic industry to marry the love of their lives, Sue Dibney and Sue Storm, respectively.
Catwoman (1940) / Black Cat (1979)
These two are a very interesting pair. I was actually very surprised at what I learned from this. Black Cat and Catwoman, it would seem, have everything in common. Being that Catwoman's first appearance predates Black Cat by almost forty years, and they are virtually the same character by today's standards, by proxy you would think that Black Cat is a complete rip off of Catwoman. This is actually a HUGE misconception. Let me explain. Back in 1979, Marv Wolfman was looking for a new villain for Spider-Man. He decided to base his creation off of an old Tex Avery cartoon called "Bad Luck Blackie". Bad Luck Blackie was a black cat that brought misfortune to anyone that was close in proximity. Black Cat is a cat burglar in the Marvel universe. She wears very low cut, tight leather costumes, a mask, and has claws at the tips of her fingers on her gloves. She is very nimble and agile, which helps her in her cat burglaries. She also has a love interest in Spider-Man.
At first glance, this sounds almost exactly like Selina Kyle's Catwoman. However, at that time in Batman comics, Catwoman was only known as "The Cat" and she was nothing more than a pickpocket in a green dress with no mask. It was not until 1987 in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, almost a decade AFTER Black Cat's appearance in comics, that Catwoman became the tight leather and mask wearing, clawed cat burglar that we know her as today. So if either of these characters are guilty of copying the other, one would have to say its Catwoman that is the copy-CAT. (See what I did there, again? I'm on a roll!) Mostly because at the time that Black Cat was created, she had almost no resemblance to the Catwoman in comics at that time. Presently both characters are identical. They are both high profile cat burglars that operate in tight leather, are extremely agile, and they are both love interests in their respective do-gooders lives. Pretty interesting, would you not agree?
A hero's death
Anyone who has even a slight interest in comics knows that death is something that happens far too often. This was not always the case, however. Sure, characters have been killed off throughout the history of comics, but rarely did it involve fan favorite characters or mainstays. It was not until the Death of Superman story in 1992 that the revovling door of death came into full swing. In 1992, Superman's sales were down and plummeting. Not only was the industry in a rough place at the time, but there was a huge influx in the Wolverine/Punisher style anti-heroes. Quite frankly, Superman was losing his cool factor. DC, in the first big bamboozling in the modern comic book era, tricked fans and non-fans alike into thinking that Superman really was buying the farm for good. Everyone and their brother's goldfish rushed to comic retailers to buy up every issue they could get their grubby little hands on that would show the day a Man of Steel would fall. (Me included, woe is me.) The problem was that DC made so many copies and variant editions of the comic that it will never be worth anything of importance. We will all be long dead before that issue is worth what everyone thought it would be.
Not only that, but Superman was brought back to life a year later. The amount of money that DC raked in due to this tomfoolery is unfathomable. I can just picture the DC execs swimming in their vault of money, Scrooge McDuck style. This opened the flood gates for the revolving door of death that we see in both Marvel and DC. Ever since the Death of Superman, Marvel as well as DC has made it a point to kill off important characters on a regular basis. These days, it seems like you can not read a major story arc without a major character dying, only to be brought back shortly thereafter. The deaths no longer mean anything, unless of course you are talking about everyone's favorite Ted "Blue Beetle" Kord. Go figure, the one character everyone wants back, and they won't give him to us. Anyway, did DC create death in comics? Of Course not. But in my opinion, they did create the revolving door of death, something that both companies have come to use a little too much.
Part 1: http://comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Corndogburglar/news/?a=45016
Part 2: http://comicbookmovie.com/fansites/Corndogburglar/news/?a=45086
Thank you for reading once again!
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