Bad news, hardcore Marvel nerds: many of your favorite marvel characters were probably remorselessly stolen from your terrible arch-nemesis. Yes, it’s true; DC Comics has been busting out awesome characters since 1934, so they had a five-year lead when Timely Comics, which would eventually become Marvel, launched in 1939, and Marvel’s been trying to catch up ever since.
Read also: DC characters stolen from Marvel
Sure, Marvel is pretty great, but it has quite a few characters of questionable origin. Here are some of Marvel’s greatest pitted against their earlier DC counterparts, so you can be the judge.
1. The X-Men (September 1963) vs. The Doom Patrol (June 1963)
It’s a comic about a team of misfits who have been shunned by society, coming together and learning to use their powers for good while fighting for acceptance, under the leadership of a brainiac in a wheelchair. They’re called The Doom Patrol, and they were first published four months before the X-Men even existed. The conspiracy deepens, however, because in March of 1964, the X-Men were fighting the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, while the Doom Patrol was fighting The Brotherhood of Evil. The similarities between the two comics were so strong that Doom Patrol creator Arnold Drake accused Stan Lee of somehow stealing his ideas, though it’s never been proven. Maybe great minds think alike. Or just have an inside track.
2. Black Cat (1979) vs. Catwoman (1940)
Originally known as simply “The Cat,” Catwoman appeared in the first issue of Batman in 1940 as a cat-themed burglar with no fancy powers, and today, Catwoman is still a pretty standard, ultra-agile anti-hero with a romantic interest in Batman. Marv Wolfman basically ripped off the whole “literal cat burglar” Catwoman thing when he created Black Cat in 1979, from the cat-themed anti-hero burglar thing all the way down to her weird love of the hero, Spider-Man. Over time, Black Cat got weird “bad luck” powers and a suit that gives her super-strength, but she still has her origins as a cheap Catwoman ripoff.
3. Deadpool (1991) vs. Deathstroke (1980)
Rob Liefeld is notorious for not being able to come up with truly original ideas, so when the Teen Titans fan showed his original drawings of Deadpool to writer Fabian Nicieza, it was glaringly, shamefully obvious that Deadpool was an unoriginal “homage” to DC Comics’ Deathstroke, and Nicieza ran with it. The terrible joke expanded to the fact that Deadpool was eventually named Wade Wilson, after Deathstroke’s real name, Slade Wilson. Ultimately, Deadpool was such a stupid character that he took on a life of his own, and became an ongoing and hugely popular parody of comics themselves, while Deathstroke is still just a boring assassin obsessed with killing super-teens. But he was there first.
4. Super Adaptoid (1966) vs. Amazo (1960)
The idea of an android designed to copy the superpowers of a team of heroes was created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson in 1960, and when their Amazo robot faces off against the Justice League, he usually kicks their butts for at least a little while. Six years later, Stan Lee came up with a strikingly similar idea, sending a robot foe with identical power-stealing powers up against the Avengers. Granted, Lee’s Super Adaptoid looks way cooler than Amazo’s weird grandpa-pants-pulled-up-to-his-nips thing, but that’s all thanks to Jack Kirby’s awesome art. Unfortunately, Super-Adaptoid was just six years too late to be the original.
5. Vision (1968) vs. Red Tornado (1963)
You may know Vision from Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he first appeared in 1968 as an evil creation of Ultron designed to destroy the Avengers. And just like in Age of Ultron, Vision ultimately turns against his creator and becomes a hero as he searches for his humanity. However, in 1963, a very similar set of circumstances were written for the Justice Society of America, wherein a supervillain designed a robot called Red Tornado to infiltrate and defeat the team. Team-destroying androids are pretty common, and the two have different powers, but the their costumes have just a few too many similarities to be purely coincidental. Those huge, wide belts and enormous collars are way too gauche to just be accidents.
6. Bullseye (1976) vs. Deadshot (1950)
Will Smith will be playing Deadshot in the upcoming Suicide Squad film, but he’ll look nothing like his 1950s origins, where he first appeared wearing a top hat while attempting to replace Batman as the hero of Gotham. Later, in the world of Marvel characters, another street-level hero, Daredevil, would face a similar foe in Bullseye. Both Deadshot and Bullseye are master marksmen who never miss their targets, experts at hand-to-hand combat, have metal body enhancements, and come from abusive families. They’re basically a couple of sad sacks with really good aim, and that aim is good enough to keep both of them working in comics and on screen… but Deadshot was first by a longshot.
7. Boomerang (1966) vs. Captain Boomerang (1960)
Why Marvel comics would want to mimic DC Comics’ boomerang-tossing bad guy is anyone’s guess, because both of them kinda suck. Obviously, both characters were born in Australia, but while Captain Boomerang primarily fights the Flash, Boomerang spends a lot of time fighting Marvel’s fast-talking Spider-Man. Both use ridiculous augmented boomerangs that include everything from bombs to razors to probably bumblebees or something, and Marvel characters Boomerang even wears a boomerang on his face, just so everyone knows what he does. At least Captain Boomerang keeps it limited to a really terrible boomerang-print shirt. Boomerang.
8. Thanos (1973) vs. Darkseid (1970)
Darkseid is Jack Kirby’s giant-jawed alien overlord of Apokolips, hell-bent on seeking out the anti-life equation and eradicating the universe of all free will. Thanos, on the other hand, is the giant-jawed overlord of Titan, fixated on making Death his girlfriend and subjugating the galaxy. Both are super-strong, telekinetic teleporters who seem to be ageless and can travel through time, and both are pretty much the most powerful bad guy in their respective universes. You can’t really blame Jim Starlin for trying to come up with his own version of Darkseid for Marvel characters Comics, because Darkseid is one heck of an awesome villain. It doesn’t get much cooler than soul-seeking eye-lasers.
(This article appeared on Looper)