Many Marvel and DC heroes have comparable power sets. Here are 15 characters who have a lot more in common than you would think.
For decades, Marvel and DC Comics have become competitors. These guys have been fighting for a long time, whether in books, movies, tv, or merchandise. Often Marvel comes out on top (MCU), and other times DC comes out on top (TV). In either case, there is an ongoing controversy over which organization is superior because it just depends on who you ask, and both have rabid fan bases.
“Imitation is the sincerest kind of flattery that mediocrity will pay to greatness,” Oscar Wilde once said. The House of Ideas will run out of ideas, just like the Distinguished Competitor will forget his or her mind. Sometimes, one isn’t stronger than the other, and let’s face it, without this competition, we’d really have lost out on any genuinely fantastic tales.
Every DC character seems to have a Marvel counterpart, but plenty shares more than just a power set. Some of these heroes have a lot more to say. Here are 9 characters from Marvel and DC that are strikingly similar.
Deadpool (1991) and Deathstroke (1980)
Many comic book fans are now familiar with this notorious knockoff. It all began with Rob Liefeld’s sketches for the killer, which he and co-creator Fabian Nicieza intended to use in New Mutants. According to the plot, Niceieza saw this Deadpool character’s drawings and thought, “This is Deathstroke from the Teen Titans.” Liefeld had grown up a massive Titans fan, and the parallels were unmistakable. Deathstroke and Deadpool are master killers who can use weapons and blades as well as regenerate.
Not only were their costumes (if not color schemes) cut from the same fabric, but so were their names. As the makers of Deadpool knew what they were dealing with, they didn’t dial it down but then dialed it up, giving Deadpool the name Wade Wilson. This was a deliberate play on Deathstroke’s name, Slade Wilson.
These two men have carved out their own distinct niches in comics rather than any other pair on this list. While all have progressed from villains to anti-heroes, Slade and Wade’s paths have diverged. Deathstroke and Deadpool not only have different backstories, but their characters are both opposed.
Marvel may have taken a bit too much influence from the DC character, but they certainly made him their own. It’s the worst rip-off in comic book history!
Winter Soldier with Red Hood (2005)
Surprisingly, both of these deceased sidekicks turned anti-heroes were revived in the same year. Both characters served as stand-ins for two of their respective publishing companies’ most famous protagonists, Batman and Captain America. Bucky Barnes died tragically but valiantly while attempting to defuse a bomb during WWII. Aka, everyone’s least beloved Robin, Jason Todd, was effectively killed off by the fans’ wishes, carried out by the insane Joker. He was later killed in a blast (although he was pretty much beaten to death first).
One of the coolest aspects of how these guys were resurrected was how, yeah, awesome they were. Before their deaths, Jason and Bucky were arguably pretty lame characters. Still, upon their reappearance, they became two of the most awesome badasses in comics. Both men have returned in such a way that they were pitted against their former mentors. Jason Todd returned home fuelled by revenge, which Batman, of course, did not support. Bucky was transformed into one of the world’s best snipers, and we all know Cap couldn’t let that happen again.
Although both men returned in unfavorable conditions, they are still both considered legends. Jason was reimagined with Red Hood and the Outlaws during DC’s New 52, and he partially redeemed himself over time. Bucky finally returned to his senses and has become a hero ever since, even serving as Captain America for a short time!
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Hawkeye (1964) and Green Arrow (1941)
This one is difficult to overlook. While the two characters have very different backstories, they have a lot in common besides the bow and arrow thing (which, let’s face it, is a big one). Their temperaments are very similar. Both men are blunt and have a reputation for being impatient. They both have tempers and have pulled themselves out of some almost tricky scenarios. What is the most unlikely scenario from which Green Arrow and Hawkeye have escaped? It will be the end of the world. Both men died and returned to tell the story.
Their love lives are also strangely close. Clint and Ollie have also been involved with women whose superhero names begin with the letter B. (Widow and Canary, respectively). From a young age, the two men needed to learn archery to survive. Regardless of when they began their hero’s (or villain’s in Clint’s case) adventure, both ended up as critical members of the premier superhero team of their universes. Clint has been an Avenger through several squad versions, as has Ollie and the Justice League.
Namor (1939) and Aquaman (1941)
Here’s another couple of characters that have striking parallels. Obviously, it’s tempting to pit the two water guys together. Still, the similarities extend well beyond their love of the sea. For one thing, their talents are almost identical. The biggest distinction is that Namor can fly. Aside from their strengths, the two men have a weakness: they cannot live on land forever. Both were the offspring of Atlantean women who had fallen in love with mortal men. Namor and Arthur are considered royalty. Their duties to their realms have always taken priority over what happens on the Earth.
Their love lives, on the other hand, are very different. Though Arthur has always had a crush on Mera, Namor has been married many times and will definitely always have a soft spot for Sue Storm. Despite their involvement in several critical plots since their inception, the two have been limited to minor roles in their respective universes. However, Geoff Johns has done an outstanding job of reinventing Aquaman in recent years, while Namor has been relatively underutilized.
Black Cat (1979) and Catwoman (1940)
Selina Kyle and Felicia Hardy have an unmistakable resemblance. First and foremost, they both have the cat thing going on. Second, both are robbers, and not only professional ones, but the finest in the business. Next, all have severe romantic relations to the characters that first appeared in their respective comic books, Batman and Spider-Man. Furthermore, their costumes carry an eerie similarity. Both of these ladies have walked the line between villain and anti-hero.
It would seem that Marvel took influence from DC in this case, but that isn’t the case. According to producer Marv Wolfram, Felicia Hardy was inspired by a Tex Avery cartoon from the 1940s called Bad Luck Blackie. And let’s consider who Catwoman was when Black Cat first appeared in comic books. The two bear absolutely no resemblance. While Selina wore a catsuit in the campy 1960s Batman TV show, her comic counterpart wore a purple gown. Catwoman was totally rewritten in Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One, which came out in 1986.
Nova (1976) and Green Lantern (1940)
Green Lantern and Nova are all members of an intergalactic Corps. They essentially double as space police. True, Hal Jordan (the Silver Age GL) and Richard Rider are two entirely different characters. Jordan was the cockiest guy ever, while Rider was a timid man (although becoming Nova increased his self-confidence). Regardless of their personalities, they all have the exact location in their respective universes. While the ring chooses Green Lanterns depending on their worthiness, the Nova Corps members are selected in a particular manner. On the other hand, Jordan and Rider were given their current names by a dying member of the Corps.
Though their powers aren’t the same, they both have almost limitless strength from a different place. Nova is powered by the Nova Source, while the Central Power Battery powers GL. Both men commanded their Corps and were killed in the act. They’ve both come back from the dead.
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Power Princess (1982) and Wonder Woman (1941)
While she has a handful of Marvel Universe counterparts similar to her, such as Thor or Captain Marvel, none have as many parallels with Diana Prince as Power Princess. From the moment she was made, Princess Zarda was destined to be Marvel’s Wonder Woman version. The two have very little in common in terms of appearance. Still, it is basically the only thing that distinguishes them.
Both are goddesses that were bred on remote islands. Wonder Woman grew up on Themyscira, while Zarda spent her childhood on Utopia. Zarda, like Diana, became an emissary from her birthplace and served in World War II. They are also fearsome fighters with almost equal skill sets. Apart from that, Zarda, like Diana, fell in love with the first man she met. The Amazon Princess has been an unrivaled model over the years. J. Michael Straczynski and Gary Frank wisely decided to reimagine Zarda in the brilliant Supreme Power, an overhaul of Squadron Supreme, giving the character her own name.
Hyperion (1969) and Superman (1938)
Speaking of Squadron Supreme and Supreme Power, Hyperion is yet another hero that started as a thinly disguised effort to imitate a DC hero, only to be reimagined as something entirely different. Hyperion was initially created as a villainous version of Superman. Not long after that, a new Hyperion, known as Mark Milton, appeared on the superhero team Squadron Supreme. The character has been through many incarnations. The most well-known: a child with Superman’s abilities who was an alien brought to Earth from a dying planet and adopted by a kind couple. Nobody overstressed their muscles there.
However, like Zarda, Hyperion was granted new life (his own)Supreme Power pagesower. Although his origins were similar, Milton was discovered by the government rather than being raised by people who instilled in him an unwavering sense of justice. They treated him as a regular child while monitoring him and making decisions for him, to use him as a tool. When Hyperion discovers his life of deceit, he forges his own path, and his journey there is fantastic!
Yes, Sentry is also similar to Superman! You guessed it right
Moon Knight (1975) and Batman (1939)
Although several heroes share certain traits with the Dark Knight, none stands out as Moon Knight. Marc Spector is not a mirror copy of Bruce Wayne, but the parallels are striking. Both men are motivated by revenge, but Batman’s is on behalf of his ancestors, while Moon Knight’s is on behalf of the god Khonshu. They both use their wealth to combat crime with an exciting variety of gadgets, but neither has any superpowers.
While there are apparent similarities, the men are not that dissimilar under their disguises. Bruce Wayne and Marc Spector are the masks, while Batman and Moon Knight are the actual characters. Wayne is a genius, but he’s still an insane guy, a topic that has been discussed many times over the years. Spector is essentially the shattered mind brought to its logical conclusion, with him devolving into utter insanity.
There are many more characters in Marvel and DC that are similar to each other, like…
- DC’s Big Barda and Marvel’s Gamora
- DC’s Swamp Thing and Marvel’s Man-Thing
- DC’s Elongated Man and Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic
- DC’s Atom and Marvel’s Ant-Man
- DC’s Red Tornado and Marvel’s Vision
- DC’s Flash and Marvel’s Quicksilver
- DC’s Bumblebee and Marvel’s Wasp
- DC’s Dr. Fate and Marvel’s Dr. Strange
- DC’s Black Canary and Marvel’s Songbird
- DC’s Superman and Marvel’s Sentry
And the list goes on…