“Marvel vs DC: the True Civil War”

So Captain America: Civil War is coming out in a few days… I guess.

My long gripe with the MCU has been well documented. Needless to say, I don’t plan on watching this movie. I’ve watched more than half of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and failed to enjoy them. Props if you can, but Winter Soldier put me to sleep, Age of Ultron was a mess, and most of the others spend more time being farces than delivering any kind of tension or sense of threat for the featured heroes. I can’t really care about the characters being in danger if they’re just yucking it up constantly. Maybe that’s just me.

But what I’ve been saying for the past several years is that Marvel really has no shame. Not only do they create pandering, formulaic and highly-successful carbon copy films, but they couldn’t have an original idea to save their company. That’s why they steal ideas, instead. Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration? Maybe. Call it “copying”, “inspiration” or “paying homage” but sugar coat it all you like. You can’t deny it if you take a hard look at the long rivalry between America’s two greatest comic book companies (DC and Marvel). There’s a lot of “inspiring” going on.


And sure, it’s not like DC comics are saints. They stole a fair share too…

Namor (1939) > Aquaman (1941)
The Lizard (1963) > Killer Croc (1983)
Wolverine (1974) > Lobo (1983)
Spider-Man (1962) > Black Spider (1976)
Wasp (1963) > Bumble Bee (1973)
Multiple Man (1975) > Multiplex (1978)
Black Lightning (1977) > Electro (1964)
Captain America (1941) > Commander Steel (1978)

But there’s no contest… If you can name 20 times DC stole from Marvel, I can name over 100 times Marvel stole from DC, the granddaddy of superhero comics production. Some of the copycats below were brushed off as “parodies”, some have merely passing similarities, some were parallel characters created by the same artist for two different companies, and many are blatant, ridiculous, “how-do-you-sleep-at-night-you-dirty-shameless-trollop” rip offs.

“Joe Russo says Captain America: Civil War was made because of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”

Marvel is the young, hip, flash-in-a-pan. They landed on the scene well after DC had created a wealth of characters, and Marvel created theirs with the novelty of “broken” and “humanized” superheroes… and that’s about it. Spider-Man may be their only original idea. Doubt it? Check out the list below. And if you want to argue… bring it. I’m very good at arguing this point. Heh heh heh.

Now it is true that this rivalry has helped to create some amazing characters and stories throughout the 20th century, but… does that mean stealing ideas is right? Marvel, the annoying little brother, is getting rich off of someone else’s ideas. That’s the very definition of corporate evil.

And please don’t give me that tired “B-but DC ripped off from Greek mythology!” and “Superman is just space-Moses!” Last time I checked a history book, DC comics was not a contemporary rival with Hebraic or Greco-Roman culture… Drawing from archetypes and stealing characters by changing a few letters in their name, changing a few colors on their costume are two totally different things.

Might as well call him Spam Lee… Plagiarism? Excelsior!



DC original > Marvel copycat

  1. Deathstroke (1980) > Deadpool (1991)
    (“It’s a parody!” –Marvel)
  2. Slade Wilson (1980) > Wade Wilson (1991)
    (“…” –DC)
  3. The Flash (1940) > Quicksilver (1964)
    (I mean… duh.)
  4. The Flash (1940) > Whizzer (1941)
    (Right down to the earpieces)
  5. Challengers of the Unknown (1957) > Fantastic Four (1961)
    (Shared concept of scientists exposed to cosmic rays in space with the ability to project fire, gain super strength and become invisible)
  6. Starfire (1980) > Firestar (1981)
    (“Nobody’ll notice if we just switch the words around… Right?”)
  7. Parasite (1966) > Rogue (1981)
  8. Solomon Grundy (1944) > the Hulk (1962)
  9. Ultra-Humanite (1939) > Gorilla Man (1954)
  10. The Martians (1955) > The Skrulls (1962)
  11. AMAZO (1960) > Super-Adaptoid (1966)
    (Androids that copy heroes’ abilities…)
  12. Doom Patrol (June 1963) > X-Men (Sept 1963)
    (Doom Patrol was a team of alienated super-powered misfits. You do the math.)
  13. The Chief (June 1963) > Professor Xavier (Sept 1963)
    (Leader of the Doom Patrol, leader of the X-Men, both in wheelchairs)
  14. Brotherhood of Evil (Mar 1964) > Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (Mar 1964)
    (Simultaneous debut of the archenemy team of both the Doom Patrol and the X-Men, but considering the Patrol came first, they were around to have their enemies first)
  15. Captain Cold (1957) > Iceman (1963)
  16. Alfred Pennyworth (1943) > Edwin Jarvis (1964)
    (Stan the man… more like: Stan the charlatan)
  17. Martian Manhunter (1955) > Skrullian Skymaster (1985)
  18. Martian Manhunter (1955) > Vision (1968)
  19. Plastic Man (1941) > Mr. Fantastic (1961)
  20. Elongated Man (1960) > Mr. Fantastic (1961)
    (“They’re killing us on the stretchy superhero front!” –Marvel board meeting)
  21. Circe (1949) > Enchantress (1964)
  22. Lobo (1983) > Dirty Wolff (2000)
  23. Kryptonians (1938) > Kree (1967)
  24. Bruce Wayne (1939) > Tony Stark (1963)
    (Billionaire-playboy-techno copycats!)
  25. Superman (1938) > Hyperion (1969)
    (Hyperion was sent to earth before his planet exploded… REALLY?!)
  26. Superman (1938) > The Sentry (2000)
    (S on his costume, solar powers, heat vision, super strength…)
  27. Superman (1938) > Kallark (1977)
    (Kal-El + Clark Kent = Kallark)
  28. Icon (1993) > Blue Marvel (2008)
  29. Superman (1938) > Cyclops (1963)
    (Dat team-leader heat vision, tho)
  30. JLA (1960) > Squadron Supreme (1971)
  31. JLA (1960) > The Avengers (1963)
  32. Suicide Squad (1959) > Thunderbolts (1997)
    (Thunderbolts are another team of reformed villains, with a lame name)
  33. Shazam (1940) > Captain Marvel (1967)
  34. Injustice Society (1947) > Masters of Evil (1964)
  35. Gorilla Grodd (1959) > Ape-X (1986)
  36. Sinestro (1961) > Quagmire (1985)
  37. Mary Marvel (1942) > Ms. Marvel (1968)
  38. Green Arrow (1941) > Hawkeye (1964)
    (*heavy breathing* “DC has a guy who shoots arrows! Whaddar we gunna do?!”)
    (Literally just a palette swap…)
  39. Red Hood (2005) > Sharp/Shogun (2014)
  40. Cheetah (1943) > Cheetah (1977)
  41. Cheetah (1943) > Tigra (1974)
  42. The Creeper (1968) > Legion (1985)
  43. Weather Wizard (1959) > Storm (1975)
  44. Catwoman (1940) > Black Cat (1979)
    (Not to be confused with Meow-Man)
  45. Polaris (June 1963) > Magneto (Sept 1963)
    (Yes, the archenemy of the X-Mens was a cheap knock off of Dr. frickin’ Polaris)
  46. Robin (1940) > Bucky (1941)
    (Ah the old kid sidekick bandwagon…)
  47. Nightwing (1984) > Winter Soldier (2005)
  48. Mxyzptlk (1944) > Impossible Man (1963)
    (Was Mxy such a good idea they had to rip him off?)
  49. Captain Boomerang (1960) > Boomerang (1966)
  50. Big Barda (1971) > Gamora (1975)
  51. Wonder Woman (1941) > Power Princess (1982)
    (Yay alliteration…and PP had an invisible shield, too)
  52. Wonder Woman (1941) > Hippolyta (1966)
  53. Wonder Woman (1941) > Thor (1962)
    (this one is mind-blowing the more you think about it…)
  54. Wonder Woman (1941) > new female Thor (2014)
    (Diana became the god of war in the New52. Marvel changes Thor to a woman… really?)
  55. Batman (1939) > Black Panther (1966)
  56. Negative Man (1963) > Mr. Negative (2007)
  57. The Dark Knight (1939) > Moon Knight (1975)
  58. Doctor Mid-Nite (1941) > Daredevil (1964)
    (“Why you’re blind as a …”)
  59. Spectre (1940) > Phoenix (1963)
  60. Spectre (1940) > Living Tribunal (1967)
  61. Cyborg (1980) > Cable (1986)
  62. Brainiac (1958) > Ultron (1968)
    (Makes me want to “throw up in my mouth”, as opposed to throwing up anywhere else…?)
  63. Brainiac (1958) > Galactus (1966)
  64. Clayface (1940) > Sandman (1963)
  65. New Gods (1971) > The Eternals (1976)
  66. Darkseid (1970) > Thanos (1973)
    (Thanos’ creator admitted to being influenced by Jack Kirby’s work)
  1. Darkseid (1970) > Apocalypse (1986)
    (Poor Jack Kirby…)
  2. Green Lantern Corps (1959) > Nova Corps (1979)
  3. Green Lantern (1940) > Doctor Spectrum (1969)
  4. Green Lantern (1940) > Quasar (1978)
  5. The Atom (1940) > Ant-Man (1962)
  6. Hawkman (1940) > Archangel (1963)
  7. John Constantine (1985) > Pete Wisdom (1995)
  8. Lady Shiva (1975) > Elektra (1981)
  9. Fate (1940) > Doctor Strange (1963)
  10. Clark Kent (1938) > Peter Parker (1962)
  11. Orion (1971) > Drax the Destroyer (1973)
  12. Black Canary (1947) > Mockingbird (1971)
  13. Black Canary (1947) > Black Widow (1964)
  14. Captain Atom (1960) > Molecule Man (1963)
  15. The Presence (1940) > The One Above All (1977)
  16. The Joker (1940) > Green Goblin (1964)
    (Crazies with the same basic color scheme too)
  17. The Joker (1940) > The Jester (1968)
  18. Dinosaur Island (1960) > The Savage Land (1965)
  19. Doctor Manhattan (1986) > Mister M (2004)
    (Not funny…)
  20. Sarge Steel (1964) > Nick Fury (1963)
  21. Lex Luthor (1940) > Kingpin (1967)
  22. Lex Luthor (1940) > Norman Osborn (1966)
  23. Lex Luthor (1940) > Doctor Doom (1962)
  24. Kid Flash (1959) > Speed (2006)
  25. Timber Wolf (1964) > Wolverine (1974)
  26. Blue Beetle (1939) > Beetle (1964)
  27. Hourman (1940) > Captain America (1941)
    (Ahem… super-soldier serum)
  28. Scarecrow (1941) > Scarecrow (1964)
    (Marvel’s like “I wanna use that character!” The result: both are chemists and psychiatrists who use a fear toxin… You didn’t even try!)
  29. Deadshot (1950) > Bullseye (1976)
  30. Dream (1989) > Sleepwalker (1991)
  31. Legion of Super-heroes (1958) > Imperial Guard (1977)
  32. Legion of Super-villains (1961) > Starforce (1992)
  33. Mirror Master (1959) > Mysterio (1964)
  34. The Penguin (1941) > The Owl (1964)
  35. Detective Chimp (1952) > Howard the Duck (1973)
  36. Vigilante (1941) > Punisher (1974)
  37. KGBeast (1988) > Omega Red (1992)
    (Da, Russian assassins)
  38. Phantom Stranger (1952) > Uatu the Watcher (1963)
  39. Phantom Stranger (1952) > The Stranger (1965)
  40. Rock and his Easy Company (1959) > Sgt Fury and his Howling Commandos (1963)(verbatim)
  41. Young Justice (1998) > Young Avengers (2005)
  42. Justice League 3000 (2013) > Guardians 3000 (2014)
    (Real creative there…)
  43. The Death of Superman (1992) > The Death of Captain America (2007)
    […and the death of everybody else]
  44. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Mar 2016) > Captain America: Civil War (May 2016)
    (You think that’s a lie? Even the director admitted they’d taken the idea from BvS!)


-The Well-Red Mage


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28 replies »

  1. I generally enjoy Marvel movies more than DC ones. Thank goodness the alleged imitators can make entertaining flicks out of the borrowed ideas. DC, for the most part, hasn’t been doing anything constructive with their characters anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah if we’re talking films, DC is in bad shape. Bats v supes was a major disappointment with a lousy director though I enjoyed man of steel and of course the dark knight trilogy. Before iron man nobody knew who the avengers characters were besides for the hulk so props to the MCU for bringing some d-listers to the forefront. Before that it was all DC (animated series, tv shows, bats and supes movies) and Spider-Man. I can only hope the future of the DCEU does the iconic originals… justice. Heh.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What the Russo Brothers actually said is that one of the ideas they had for Cap 3 was Civil war, and Warner Bros decision to do Batman v Superman gave the people in charge the last push to agree to this concept. Happens in the movie world all the time that different studios have different ideas and offer a similar movie around the same time.

    Otherwise, as an avid reader I know that nothing under the sun is new. It is never about what you write but how you write it. So who cares who had the idea first?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As a comic fan: I agree with the blatant rip offs. Yes, Marvel have indeed ripped many an idea from DC… But then again, I generally found Marvel comics a bit more entertaining… Or I did.

    I genuinely dont look at either sides modern comics any more. The stories arent fun for me: It’s too nitty gritty, it’s too “Look at how dark we are”, it’s too… teenage. Strangely enough, thats probably an audience they want.

    Case in point are both MCU and DC movies. All of their films, at least a vast majority, are written to be dark and “oooh! People will die!!” at least, from a casual observers PoV.

    From a casual film watcher’s perspective, (Last time I went to the Cinema was for Star Wars in December. Yes, I rarely go to the cinena!) Civil War was just that… But it was also damn good fun!

    Great article by the way, loved the look at the film by comparing it to its rival in a historical way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I rarely go to the cinema myself, for mostly the same reasons. Everything seems geared for a younger generation, and I’ve begun to find it unappealing. To me Marvel films have seemed more whimsical and comedic than dark, but that’s just me. And it’s certainly been said that “dark” in itself is pandering. I just want to see good movies.
      I read a lot of Batman and Spider-Man as a kid but I’ve enjoyed a lot of DC graphic novels and some of the New52. I tried getting into X-Men in the 90’s but found it too convoluted. Comics are weird, hahaha!
      Thanks for your compliments and your comments! Comic history is fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nice to find someone who shares my cinema gripes (That and I kind of get fidgety!) I see what you mean with the comedic elements, however some of their films are rather dark – Civil Wars “backstory” is pretty dark, after all!

        To be fair, I think you’re right with the X-Men comics! They certainly are convoluted haha 🙂 It wasn’t until the early 00’s did I get into X-Men… And then I saw X-2 – Loved it!

        Liked by 1 person

        • X-2 was pretty cool. I remember walking out of the theatres excited. And then I saw X-Men III… 😦 Imo, the jokes were the worst in Age of Ultron. I may see Civil War, but only when it comes to redbox. Probably not in cinemas. My heart has been broken too many times lol


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