Marvel and DC (or “The Big Two” as we nerds call them) have a cornucopia of characters within their individual universes. And when you have that many, there’s bound to be some similarities. But sometimes, those similarities are too egregious to ignore. Here’s just 10 Marvel/DC characters that look to be cut from the same cloth.
Both Marvel and DC felt they needed to have excellent archers in their stable, and these two fit that bill. Though Hawkeye started off as a criminal, Green Arrow was always a do-gooder that mimicked Batman a little too much (an Arrow-Cave? Come on). Other than being the master archers for their respective universes, they also share a bizarre similarity when it comes to spouses; Green Arrow married the bird-themed superhero Black Canary and Hawkeye married the bird-themed superhero Mockingbird.
The Vision/Red Tornado
Do superhero androids dream of electric sheep? The Vision and The Red Tornado probably do. Not only are they both visually similar, but even their back-stories mirror each other. Both were artificial humans created with the intention of destroying a superhero team (The Avengers and The Justice Society of America respectfully), but eventually saw the error of their ways and became members of the very groups they were sent to destroy. But only The Red Tornado has a sick metalcore song written about him.
Elongated Man/Mr. Fantastic
The goofy ability of elasticity isn’t just contained to the more popular Reed Richards, a.k.a Mr Fantastic. DC’s Ralph Dibny, better known as the Elongated Man, has practically the exact same skill set as the patriarch of the Fantastic Four. Though one is the head of a scientific organization and the other is a lowly detective, both are depicted as extremely intelligent and gifted in their respective fields. And don’t even get me started on the utterly absurd Plastic Man.
It’s usually not fair to compare superhero teams, but the striking similarities between Doom Patrol and the X-Men and too big to ignore. Not only are both these teams made up of characters who are social outcasts due to their abilities, but the teams are both led by immensely intelligent older men who are confined to wheelchairs: the X-Men have Professor Charles Xavier and the Doom Patrol have Dr. Niles Caulder, a.k.a. Chief. Seeing as how these two teams debuted only three months apart (Doom Patrol making it to the stands first), their resemblances are a little suspect.
Dr. Fate/Dr. Strange
“The Big Two” certainly are no strangers to magic, but when your most powerful sorcerers both share a doctorate, it feels a little too tight-knit. To be fair, even though Doctor Strange is about to be a bigger household name, Doctor Fate predates the Sorcerer Supreme by over 20 years. This similarity wasn’t lost on Marvel, and when the gimmicky Amalgam Comics was launched (a limited run combining Marvel and DC characters into new heroes), the two characters were melded together to form Doctor Strangefate.
Yet another case where even the names are nearly analogous, but here we have another example of back-stories lining up. Both creatures were originally scientists that were turned into their respective “Things” due to an accident, both are often portrayed as lone monsters wandering their native swamplands (Swamp Thing in Louisiana and Man-Thing in the Florida Everglades), and both were even subjected to less-than-stellar film adaptations.
It makes sense to riff on the lost city of Atlantis for some good superhero shenanigans, and it was such a good idea that both Marvel and DC decided to do it. Marvel got out of the gate first in 1939 with Namor, a.k.a. the Sub-Mariner, and DC followed suit a mere two years later with Aquaman. It’s interesting that both characters usually find themselves in contentious positions with their superhero counterparts, due to their allegiance to their undersea kingdoms.
Why does shrinking seem like an incredibly advantageous superpower? It’s certainly fun to see everyday objects become mammoth structures, but the concept of being incredibly small looks to make one more vulnerable than powerful. Still, both Marvel and DC decided to have their own tiny titans as regular staples of their respective super-teams. This is another case where things seem a little suspect as Ant-Man debuted only four months after the first appearance of The Atom.
Cosmic despots always make for imposing and interesting villains, so “The Big Two” decided they both needed to have one. DC got to the table first with Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, and Marvel played catch-up two years later with Thanos the Mad Titan. Besides looking similar, both characters are obsessed with some form of total obliteration; Thanos worships an anthropomorphized version of death (appropriately called Death), while Darkseid gets a little more sci-fi by constantly searching for the Anti-Life Equation.
Probably the most flagrant entry on this list, Marvel’s Deadpool is an admitted “homage” (the industry way of saying “ripoff”) to DC’s super assassin Deathstroke, a character who was around for over a decade before the Merc with a Mouth showed up. Not content with making his look and name ape Deathstroke, creators Rob Liefeld and Fabien Nicieza got lazy when it came to their creation’s alias; Deathstroke’s name is Slade Wilson and Deadpool’s name is Wade Wilson. Talk about giving it no effort.