For some comic fans, the battle lines are still firmly drawn between Marvel and DC Comics. While many of us are willing to embrace any comic book character with a striking outfit, an intriguing backstory, and some cool abilities, others still hold strict allegiances to the big names of one company or the other. But while some heroes or villains are synonymous with one of the two big comic companies, there are quite a names that can create confusion due to Marvel and DC both having a character with that alias.
We’re not talking about characters who are blatant parodies of the competition. These are genuine characters who just coincidentally happen to share their title with another well-known comic character. And while some of these folks are so obscure you’ve probably never heard of them, others actually had their name before their more popular counterparts, or are even incredibly popular in their own right. Believe it or not, there are actually hundreds of cases like this between the two companies, so we’re only going to be focusing on the most noteworthy characters of the bunch. Get ready to start seeing double, as we take a look at 15 Marvel And DC Comics Characters Who Share A Name.
This is an obvious one for most comic fans, so who better to kick things off with than the poster boy/girl (depending on the company) for a topic like this? So technically it was Fawcett Comics who introduced the world to the original Captain Marvel (now known as Shazam), and for a time, he was one of the most popular comic book characters out there. But as that popularity waned, the company fell on hard times, and eventually DC acquired the rights to the character. The problem was, while DC was contemplating whether or not to reintroduce the character, the competition saw a gap in the copyright on the “Captain Marvel” name, and were quick to capitalize.
Before DC could get their own copyright on the name of the historic character, Marvel Comics introduced their own Captain Marvel and quickly copyrighted the name, basically swiping the title from their main competitor. Even to this day, depending on who you ask, this move from Marvel is either regarded as clever or underhanded. Regardless, Marvel’s version of the hero started out as Mar-Vell, and they have made sure to keep the title going today with Carol Danvers as the new Captain Marvel, who will be getting her own movie in March of 2019.
And the original Captain Marvel? He too lives on, though at DC now. As we mentioned, he goes by Shazam these days, and even though DC can’t ever call him by his original name again, he'll always be Captain Marvel in the hearts of many.
You definitely shouldn't assume that just because a character from one of these companies is a hero or a villain that their counterpart will have the same morality as them. The first example of many that you'll see here is with Doctor Strange. To Marvel fans, the name belongs to the heroic sorcerer who will be getting his own movie this fall. The powerful magic user stars in his own comic, and will definitely be unlike any of the other Marvel protagonists who have made it to the big screen so far.
Dr. Hugo Strange of DC Comics, meanwhile, stands opposed to the Marvel character in more ways than one. Any Batman fan worth his salt knows that Dr. Strange is one of the Dark Knight's most intelligent enemies, and decidedly not a friendly guy. But unlike the magic using Doctor Strange, Dr. Hugo Strange is a man of science, and is so calculating that he's one of Batman's few foes who has managed to figure out his secret identity. While he definitely won't be getting his own movie, and will probably even be low on the list of villains to cross paths with the Bat on film, he's still a strong threat in Gotham.
In this case, it's DC who has the more well-known usage of this name, though the Scarecrows of DC and Marvel aren't all that different. Jonathan Crane is a psychologist who definitely seems like he should have paid more attention to his own mental health instead of worrying so much about others. He's taken to wearing a burlap sack on his head and living up to his name by inducing fear in others through chemical compounds. He's gone from a minor mook in Gotham to becoming one of its most dangerous masterminds.
And Marvel's Scarecrow, Ebenezer Laughton, is someone you describe in pretty similar terms. He's a villain who adopts a costume very true to his name, complete with tufts of straw poking out of his clothes. And while he doesn't whip up any hallucinogens to use against his opponents, his body actually naturally emits pheromones that make people afraid. He's so similar to his DC counterpart they even teamed up once, although they wound up getting the straw knocked out of them.
What a difference a hyphen in a name can make. Some might dispute inclusions like this since they are visually different names, but the fact is when you’re talking aloud about these characters, you wouldn’t be able to tell which is which without more context. But in the case of Marvel, it’s a case of like father like daughter when styling the names of their heroes. The hyphenated Spider-Girl, May Parker, is the teenage offspring of Peter Parker and Mary Jane. Her powers are very similar to her dad’s, as is her costume, equipping her to effectively take on the mantle of New York’s wall-crawler for a new generation.
Spider Girl without the hyphen isn’t a hero at all, and doesn’t live up to her name all that well. You’d think she’d be known for some kind of web-based power, or maybe something poisonous (as spiders often are). But instead her primary ability is owning hair that she can manipulate like one of her limbs. And while that’s a cool and useful ability, it’s still a bit underwhelming when comparing it to May Parker swinging between the streets of New York.
Since you can't exactly trademark the name of a Norse god, it's probably no surprise that there is more than one Thor in the comic book world. We're obviously not going to count every historical god in a topic like this, since they alone could comprise an entire article. But we'll make an exception for heroes like Thor, since the character has evolved beyond the mythological background. Or at least Marvel's Thor has. Especially now that Jane Foster has taken on the mantle of Thor and provided her entirely unique background to the character.
DC's Thor on the other hand is pretty similar to what you already know about the Norse mythological figure. Big muscular bearded dude, likes to carry around a large hammer, has dominion over thunder, etc. While the god himself isn't anything too unusual, characters within the DC universe have actually channeled him at different times for various reasons. So in case you were wondering, this has even resulted in Batman having a battle with the God of Thunder himself.
Though he doesn’t receive anywhere near as much attention as some of the other founding members, in recent years Cyborg has been granted a very important place in DC by replacing Martian Manhunter as one of the founding members of the original Justice League. Of course, Teen Titan fans will also recognize the half man half robot, but somehow we think it’ll be his time rubbing shoulders with Superman and Wonder Woman that’ll be all the talk after 2017’s Justice League film.
Over at Marvel, Psi-Borg is the title of a couple characters, but we’re going to focus on the one who is part of another super group: S.H.I.E.L.D. Like her DC counterpart, Psi-Borg is a bionic human with a few other special abilities thrown in to help her in combat. Her popularity didn’t grant her more than a handful of issues, but even Nick Fury wound up impressed by her skills after witnessing her fight.
Our first X-Men character of the list (but not the last) is the most well-known rival of Wolverine, the mutant Sabretooth. The big clawed mutant is the closest thing we’ve really had to an evil version of Logan, but usually he comes up short in his confrontations with his adversary. Still, he has a long history with Wolverine that has made him one the more recognizable figures in the world of the X-Men, and his allegiance to characters like Magneto often put him at the center stage for some very memorable and brutal conflicts in the comics.
Going over to DC Comics, Sabretooth isn’t such an incredibly unique name where you wouldn’t expect any other company to use it, but DC’s is a bit visually distinctive, thanks to their hyphenated version. Although that obviously doesn’t help when verbally speaking about both of the characters. Not that you’d remember the Sabre-Tooth of DC that well. He’s a villain for the Flash who enjoyed dressing in a vaguely cat-like outfit with some furry boots. He was in a handful of Flash issues, but never really caught on as one of DC’s better villains.
Bane is one of the more unique entries here, because not only does the name belong to characters from both DC and Marvel, but it belongs to a multitude of characters at the latter company. The villainous forces in Marvel’s Knights of Pendragon comic series are a collective known as the Bane. It’s hard to judge an army rather than an individual character, but seeing as how they managed to endanger Britain and necessitated the summoning of the Knights of Pendragon in the first place, it seems safe to say they could be an effective bunch. Plus. they eventually had their master the Red Lord to bolster their forces and make them even more effective in spreading chaos in the world.
And then at DC we have the Bane that most of us are more familiar with. He’s only one man rather than an army, but that doesn’t stop him from doing as much damage as an army is able to. Of course, he is most known for orchestrating the near permanent retirement of Batman by deducing his identity as Bruce Wayne and subsequently leaving him with a broken back during their first encounter. Actual armies have tried and failed to do that much to Batman, so it's safe to say that DC’s Bane handily comes out on top in this pairing.
As you've likely noticed by now, not every pair of characters on this list has had the same amount of success for both companies. In several cases, there’s a clear case of Marvel or DC making better usage of the name. And for this entrant, Marvel is the clear winner with this homicidal psychopath of a Spider-Man villain. The symbiotic offspring of Venom bonded with serial killer Cletus Kasady and created one of the most sadistic characters in the Marvel Universe, Carnage.
And then we have DC’s Carnage, who leaves a lot to be desired in comparison to his scarlet counterpart. This one shot villain was a test pilot who was involved in an accident behind the controls of a plane and left disfigured as a result of the incident. Rather than be grateful he was even alive, he was intent on revenge for his maiming, as comic book villains so often are. After killing his employer, the Blackhawk Squadron became involved and the confrontation ended in another firey accident. DC’s Carnage wasn’t lucky enough to escape the flames a second time, and just like that, he was gone for good.
Okay, so DC couldn’t hit it off with their version of Sabre-Tooth, but at least their other jungle cat-themed villain faired pretty well. Comic fans will know Cheetah as one of Wonder Woman’s frequent antagonists, and arguably one of the best ones she has had over the years. Ranging from everything from a mere woman in a cheetah costume, to an actual woman and cheetah hybrid, she’s evolved into a popular villain among fans. And she’s certainly more appealing than Marvel’s version, so that makes up for the failed Sabre-Tooth.
Esteban Carracus is a Marvel character who dubbed himself Cheetah after getting super powers from aliens which caused him to look vaguely cat-like. Unfortunately for Esteban, the powers were more of a loan, and he soon lost them once his alien benefactors were defeated. Not to be deterred, he simulated his former glory days of having genuine fur by draping himself in fake fur so he could keep his villainous name! Yeah, so he basically became a villainous furry. Sorry Marvel, you lose this one.
This is a prime case of it’s not who does it first, it’s who does it better. DC had their own character named Doctor Doome years before the more famous Doctor Doom even existed, and the Fantastic Four comics themselves were two decades away from launch at the time Wilfred Doome gave himself his villainous title in 1942. But as you can see, he lacked his future counterpart’s intimidation factor, and looked more like some relation of Doctor Octopus than Doctor Doom.
The Doom we’re all familiar with (with no ‘e’) needs little introduction. His green hooded cloak and metal mask are recognized as the face of the primary antagonist for the Fantastic Four. Not only that, but Doctor Doom is even considered one of the most powerful Marvel villains in general. In fact, one of the most disappointing things about the Fantastic Four characters not being accessible to the MCU right now is the fact that Victor Von Doom would make for such a great villain to heroes like the Avengers.
Yeah, another god makes the list. This time it’s from Greek culture, and it’s DC who owns the more iconic character to use the name. That would of course be the Ares that Wonder Woman regularly battles with, and even teams up with on occasion in her adventures. This version of the God of War (pictured up on the left) not only craves conflict in the world and thrives on it, but it even empowers him. The armies of the dead who have fallen in battle are his to command.
Or hers. As fans who have been keeping up with Wonder Woman's New 52 adventures will know, Diana Prince recently claimed the role of the God of War, and has gained her predecessor's powers.
Unlike DC's Thor, who was pretty similar to his mythological counterpart, the Marvel version of Ares is actually pretty distinct from his Greek namesake. He's still a war god, and logically has clashed with Marvel's Thor as an adversary. But over the years, Marvel's Ares has grown to be more, even becoming a hero at times. He's shown enough good intentions that the Avengers even let him become a member.
Our next pair of characters who share a name are both villains, and are also both members of groups that antagonize some of the biggest names from their respective companies. Unfortunately for DC’s Magneto, that’s where the similarities between these two end.
Marvel’s Magneto is the well-known arch-nemesis of the X-Men, as well as the frequent leader of the Brotherhood of Mutants. In addition to having an iconic look with his red cape and helmet, he is also one of the most powerful mutants in the Marvel universe.
DC’s Magneto has control over metal like his Marvel counterpart, but is actually a robot rather than a mutant. He and his fellow robots terrorize Aquaman and his family as part of the group known as the Awesome Threesome. That name is probably more likely to induce laughter rather than fear these days, and clearly doesn’t have the name recognition of something like the Brotherhood of Mutants.
It’s honestly surprising how many similarly-named characters there are between Marvel and DC where both individuals are actually fairly well-known. You’d think there would be a lot more cases where one of them would have faded into obscurity. Nonetheless, DC’s Enchantress is probably the one with more mainstream recognition at the moment, thanks in no small part to her decidedly meh appearance in this summer’s Suicide Squad. As movie goers learned, DC’s Enchantress is a powerful entity that possesses the typically good-hearted June Moon. June can switch between herself and this spirit by uttering the name “Enchantress”, but her other half frequently has darker intentions (and capabilities) than Moon does.
Over at the Marvel side of things, the Enchantress is yet another character from the stories of Thor. As such, supernatural abilities are to be expected, and she puts them to use by initially attempting to kill Thor’s romantic partner, Jane Foster (who now appears to be all but dead in the MCU, interestingly enough). Obviously, this doesn’t endear herself to the powerful superhero, and the Enchantress and her magical powers have been causing trouble for him ever since.
While the entrants for this topic aren’t meant to be a ranking, we still had to save the biggest name for last. And this is a case where one of Marvel’s most recognizable heroes actually adopted the title after DC had already used it. Years before the Spider-Man we all know and love hit the scene, DC unveiled their Spider Man (with no hyphen), who was actually a villain. And just like we started this topic with a Fawcett Comics character, we’re ending it with another one with this one shot criminal. Spider Man was even a villain for Captain Marvel/Shazam, so since DC now owns the rights to him, maybe they could even bring back this old guy to spin some webs. Though they’d probably have to change the name thanks to Marvel’s slightly more well-known character.
Whether you know him as Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Doctor Octopus, or anyone else who has pulled on the red mask, Spider-Man is an icon. There’s little to be said about him here that isn’t already known, but it is a bit funny to think of what DC could have had on their hands if they had tweaked their character a bit. Unlike the Captain Marvel/Shazam incident, this is a case where Marvel became synonymous with this character not because of any tricks, but simply through the creativity to make an idea work really, really well.
As we said at the start of this story, there are literally hundreds of shared names between Marvel and DC. If you know any interesting history about shared characters between the two companies, share it in the comments!
Doctor Strange will be in theaters on November 4, 2016, Spider-Man: Homecoming comes out July 7, 2017, and Captain Marvel is scheduled for March 8, 2019.