The success of comic books has gone up and down in the past several decades like a roller coaster. While companies like Marvel and DC may succeed and sell well some years, other years they may struggle.
In order to boost their success, comic book companies have picked up the practice of copying from their competitors.
While DC has a history of copying many of Marvel's characters, both companies have been copying each other for quite a while now. DC has copied a number of Marvel characters like Namor and Iron Man, but Marvel has arguably ripped-off even more from DC.
Considering that DC has understandably been the face of comic books for almost a century, this doesn't come as much of a surprise.
While Marvel is currently a lot more successful in the movies, DC has a much stronger comic-book track record. They've made some of the most iconic heroes of all time, from Superman to Wonder Woman, and Batman to the Flash.
Realizing how wildly successful DC has been, Marvel took it upon themselves to try to ride off of their success, sometimes creating almost identical characters.
While many of Marvel's rip-offs of DC characters crashed and burned, there were quite a few rip-offs that seriously paid off, and are some of Marvel's most popular characters today.
With that in mind, here are Marvel's 10 Most Pathetic Attempts At Ripping Off DC (And 10 That Actually Worked).
20 Pathetic: Hawkeye (Rip-Off Of Green Arrow)
DC's superhero character Green Arrow was first introduced in 1941, and over the next two decades became quite the success.
In 1964, Marvel noticed the success of DC's bowman and created their own version of the character, named Hawkeye. While Hawkeye first appeared as a villain, it didn't take long before he became almost exactly like Green Arrow in nature.
While Hawkeye was actually quite successful for Marvel, appearing in the Avengers movies, his success never matched that of Green Arrow, who managed to earn his own TV series which spawned CW's Arrowverse.
Both characters managed to become quite successful in their own right when it came to being on screen, but in the comics, Hawkeye never felt like much besides a blatant rip-off of Green Arrow.
19 Actually Worked: Deadpool (Rip-Off Of Deathstroke)
Deadpool may actually be one of the most obvious rip-offs that Marvel has ever done, and that may be for good reason. When Deadpool first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1991, he was made hastily as a very obvious rip-off of DC's anti-hero Deathstroke.
Deadpool was never meant to be taken as a serious character, but moreso a parody of comic-book characters, which is why Marvel didn't care about making him different from Deathstroke.
According to copyright law, you can blatantly copy another entity if it's for the purposes of parody, at least to a certain extent.
The appearance and weaponry isn't the only similarity between the two characters. Even Deadpool's alter ego Wade Wilson is almost identical to Deathstroke's alter ego Slade Wilson. Marvel really did not try too hard with this character, but miraculously, their laziness paid off.
18 Pathetic: Quicksilver (Rip-Off Of The Flash)
One of DC's most notable heroes for the past 78 years has been the Flash. First appearing in 1940, the Flash has become something of an icon among the comic-book community.
While he may not be as universally popular as Batman or Superman, his logo is still seen on many T-shirts, and for decades, comic-book fans have adored him despite many of the general population not knowing much about the speedster at all.
Twenty-four years after the creation of the Flash, Marvel created their own speedster who was almost completely identical, just with a different color scheme.
Quicksilver first appeared as a member of the X-Men, and later joined the Avengers. While Quicksilver has gained a bit of popularity in recent years, appearing in Avengers: Age of Ultron and the X-Men franchise, he is still another one of Marvel's blatant copies of a more popular and successful DC character.
17 Actually Worked: Thanos (Rip-Off Of Darkseid)
Thanos has become very popular among people other than hardcore comic-book fans in recent years, entirely due to his genius build-up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
What many MCU fans don't realize, however, is that Thanos is actually a rip-off of DC's almost identical villain Darkseid.
Darkseid first appeared as a cameo in DC Comics in 1970, and appeared as his full self in 1971, whereas Thanos didn't appear in Marvel Comics until 1973, following an almost identical puppet-master plot as Darkseid.
While Thanos has ultimately become more popular among the masses of the population in recent years, it's likely that Darkseid may soon catch up, as he is being set up to be the main antagonist of the DCEU franchise, even being mentioned by name in Justice League.
16 Pathetic: Hyperion (Rip-Off Of Superman)
Superman is DC's most successful superhero of all time, first appearing in 1938. He has become a cultural icon around the entire world, earning a plethora of movies, merchandise and even songs written about him.
His notable "S" symbol on his chest is one of the most universally known symbols of the past century, making him without a doubt the most successful comic book entity ever created.
It is for this reason that Marvel has tried to mimic this success a number of times over the years. Marvel's first notable attempt at copying Superman was in 1969 with the creation of Hyperion.
Hyperion was a superhuman character from another dimension whose abilities were almost identical to those of Superman.
The character has had a number of incarnations over the years, with one of them setting his origin story up just like Superman's (a baby sent to Earth from a destroyed planet). The similarities are overtly distinguishable.
15 Actually Worked: The X-Men (Rip-Off Of Doom Patrol)
For decades, the X-Men were arguably Marvel's most successful entities. Characters like Magneto, Rogue, Phoenix, and Wolverine were the reason why Marvel fans bought their comics off of the shelves, and the success of the early X-Men films were proof of that.
What many people don't realize, however, was that not even the X-Men were an original creation by Marvel.
They were in fact based on DC's Doom Patrol, who first appeared in June 1963, opposed to the X-Men's September 1963 debut.
Both teams were formed of gifted superheroes who were the misfits of society. Most of them struggled in their personal lives due to their abilities, which is what brought them together.
While this was a clever idea for DC, Marvel apparently did it better, which is why the X-Men are much more of a household name today than the Doom Patrol.
14 Pathetic: Gladiator (Rip-Off Of Superman)
The character Gladiator first appeared in Marvel comics in 1977, and was made with the sole intent of serving as an homage to the iconic DC superhero from which he was based. However, this was one of Marvel's more clever attempts at a rip-off.
Instead of copying the hero's entire likeness, as Marvel had done in the past, they instead looked to the source material for Gladiator. Superman was originally based on the protagonist of the 1930 book Gladiator by Philip Wylie, which is where Marvel looked to get ideas for their new character.
Marvel's Gladiator is essentially a cross between Superman and the hero of Gladiator, which made him into a very clever rip-off. Unfortunately, it did not pay off well for Marvel, as even this clever attempt at a rip-off didn't sell well either.
13 Actually Worked: Mister Fantastic (Rip-Off of Elongated Man)
Mister Fantastic, the leader of one of Marvel's most iconic teams, was even a rip-off of a DC character. He was actually based off of Elongated Man, who appeared as a sidekick to the Flash in 1960.
Marvel realized the potential with this kind of character and created Mister Fantastic in 1961.
It's safe to say that Marvel has done a much better job with the "stretchable superhero" idea, as their version of the character has become much more well known and successful.
This isn't to say that Elongated Man is a success, of course. The stretchable sidekick actually appeared in the latest season of the TV series The Flash, and continues on the show as a recurring character.
Also, during his first few years in the comics, Elongated Man earned DC nominations for numerous comic awards, including an Alley Award win in 1961 for Best Supporting Character.
12 Pathetic: Bullseye (Rip-Off Of Deadshot)
Deadshot has become much more of a household name in recent years, mostly due to his appearance in Suicide Squad, where he was played by Will Smith.
While most people would admit the movie was not the best, there were only a spare few who disliked Deadshot in the movie.
However, in the comics themselves, Deadshot has never really been a stranger to popularity. His incredible marksman skills and deep character have attracted comic-book readers since his first appearance in 1950.
In turn, Marvel made their own version of the character, the nemesis to Daredevil, Bullseye. While Bullseye was certainly a great character for Marvel, he never reached the same height as his DC counterpart, and the less said about his live-action portrayal, the better.
11 Actually Worked: Ultron (Rip-Off Of Brainiac)
When it comes to some of the Avengers' greatest foes, there are few who are as well known today as Ultron. While this is mostly due to his antagonistic role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he was voiced by James Spader, his success is notable nonetheless.
Ultron was actually a rip-off of one of DC's greatest villains ever made: Brainiac. Outside of Lex Luthor, Brainiac is likely Superman's greatest foe, and often manages to pose a greater threat to the Krypotonian than Luthor himself.
Brainiac was first introduced into DC comics in 1958, ten years before Ultron's debut in 1968. Ultron has managed to evolve over the years, fortunately, gradually becoming less and less of a mimic of Brainiac.
Today, they are hardly identical, which makes it easier to see them both as equally formidable foes.
10 Pathetic: The Owl (Rip-Off Of Owlman)
In September 1964, DC introduced a new attempt at a unique superhero with Owlman. This bird-like superhero would often be set against Batman, but never really clicked as well as the rest of the Caped Crusader's rogue gallery.
Later that same month, Marvel tried the same thing with the introduction of The Owl. The Owl became a regular enemy to Daredevil and Spider-Man but, much like his DC counterpart, never really took off.
The Owl did manage to get a bit of fame in recent years when he appeared in the first season of Daredevil. However, he never appeared in his full Owl suit, and instead went by his alter ego, Leland Owlsey.
While this is certainly more success than Owlman ever saw, The Owl still never managed to be much more than another pathetic rip-off.
9 Actually Worked: Vision (Rip-Off Of Red Tornado)
In 2015, worldwide audiences became more familiar with the Avengers' android superhero Vision when he was first introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe during Avengers: Age of Ultron. While the idea of an android superhero is actually clever, he wasn't necessarily an original idea for Marvel.
Vision was actually based on the superhero Red Tornado, who debuted in DC Comics in August 1968. Vision, on the other hand, didn't debut until two months later in October 1968.
Marvel really didn't try to hide how much they were copying. Not only was Vision an android just like Red Tornado, but they both look practically identical, with only their color schemes being different.
Despite how obvious Marvel was being, it certainly paid off for them, as Vision is still one of the Avengers' most popular characters today.
8 Pathetic: Boomerang (Rip-Off Of Captain Boomerang)
Captain Boomerang has never been a big seller for DC Comics. Even after his role in Suicide Squad, the boomerang-slinging supervillain is still not taken too seriously.
Despite this, Marvel still took it upon themselves to rip-off this DC supervillain. Six years after Captain Boomerang's creation in 1960, Marvel introduced their version of the villain, Boomerang.
Boomerang wasn't even anything special from Marvel. Instead of trying to develop a cooler character off of one of DC's lesser characters as they've done in the past, they pretty much made Boomerang into an identical version of Captain Boomerang, but somehow even less memorable.
The only advanced part of the villain is that he uses boomerangs designed by Justin Hammer. Besides that, he's just another supervillain that has a talent of throwing boomerangs at good guys.
7 Actually Worked: Sandman (Rip-Off Of Clayface)
While Spider-Man 3 was a critical failure, one of the most notable and heartwarming pieces of the film was the troubled antagonist Sandman. This Spider-Man villain has been one of the most notable to read in the comics, and was certainly a success for Marvel.
The DC character he was based on, however, did not meet as much success. While Clayface, who debuted in 1940, has been a notable foe to Batman, his character never went as in depth as Sand Man, who debuted in 1963.
This is one of Marvel's rip-offs that they really expanded upon. Rather than just making Sandman another copy-and-paste rip-off, they made him into a truly emotional and interesting character that readers were excited to see return in later issues.
6 Pathetic: Black Cat (Rip-Off Of Catwoman)
This is certainly one of Marvel's most well known rip-offs. Catwoman has been one of the most memorable and in-depth characters in Batman's rogue gallery, even earning herself her own solo film in 2004 (but the less we touch on that, the better).
Thirty-nine years after Catwoman's first appearance in 1940, Marvel realized the potential they would have if they made a "Catwoman" of their own. Thus Black Cat was born.
Black Cat first appeared as a hero / villain hybrid for Spider-Man, often becoming a romantic interest for the web-slinger. While Black Cat was certainly an interesting character for Marvel, she has never really evolved much from a blatant rip-off of Catwoman.
While this worked for many Marvel readers, as it was interesting to see Spider-Man interact with the character, it also made her hard to take seriously for other readers.
5 Actually Worked: Hulk (Rip-Off Of Solomon Grundy)
Since his first appearance in 1962, Hulk has continuously sold Marvel comic-books off of the shelf as one of Marvel's most notable and beloved superheroes of all time.
While deep characters like Wolverine and Spider-Man are always interesting, sometimes readers just want to see a giant green monster who senselessly beats the crap out of bad guys.
What many Hulk fans never realized, however, was that Hulk himself was also a rip-off of a notable DC character. He was actually based off of the villain Solomon Grundy, who has had many different origins over the years, most is most notably a zombified, brutish murderer.
While Grundy was a great character for DC, Hulk easily surpassed him, becoming one of Marvel's most iconic and well known heroes.
4 Pathetic: Night Thrasher (Rip-Off Of Batman)
Considering how much success Batman has brought DC since his creation in 1939, it is no surprise that Marvel has tried to ride off of the Caped Crusader by making their own versions of the character.
One of Marvel's most recent attempts at ripping-off Batman occurred in 1989, the same year Tim Burton's Batman movie was released.
Night Thrasher was created as a dark-suited, martial-arts trained vigilante who would often hunt criminals at night and was skilled at making his own technological advancements. Sound familiar?
It is clear that Marvel was just trying to make their own version of Batman to ride off of his movie. While Night Thrasher was certainly an interesting character for Marvel, he never really picked up well with readers, as anyone who wanted to see a hero like him was already avidly reading the Batman comics.
3 Actually Worked: Wolverine (Rip-Off Of Timber Wolf)
In 1964, DC created a wolf-like superhero with claws, super strength, and the ability to heal quickly. While they presumably expected the character to pick up, they certainly did not expect it to pick up for their biggest competitor instead.
Ten years after DC created Timber Wolf, Marvel ripped-off the character by creating Wolverine. Ultimately, Timber Wolf did not become very successful for DC, whereas Wolverine became one of Marvel's best sellers.
Over the years, Wolverine has evolved to be rather different from Timber Wolf. While their abilities are still almost identical, their personalities are now drastically different.
For decades now, Wolverine has been one of the most in-depth and tragically detailed characters in comic-book history. No one would argue that this was one rip-off that worked out phenomenally for Marvel.
2 Pathetic: Moon Knight (Rip-Off Of Batman)
Of all of Marvel's attempted Batman rip-offs, the most notable and most beloved has been Moon Knight, who first appeared in 1975. Moon Knight is one of Marvel's darkest characters, who searches for crime in the night, just like Batman.
The character first appeared as a villain, before evolving into the martial-artist superhero that he is today. Like Batman, Moon Knight doesn't have any superhuman abilities, and instead uses his hand-to-hand and combat training to take out crime.
While Moon Knight was a fairly successful character for Marvel, he never came close to matching the success of his DC counterpart.
Additionally, he has yet to appear in any live-action movies or shows, and is currently not planned to make a debut in the near future, so it's likely that his popularity may never be close to matching that of Batman.
1 Actually Worked: The Avengers (Rip-Off Of The Justice League)
Both Marvel and DC are most notable for their primary superhero teams. While the Avengers, led by Captain America and Iron Man, were certainly a success for Marvel Comics, they never truly matched the comic-book success of the Justice League, led by the wildly more popular heroes Superman and Batman.
The Justice League first formed in DC Comics in 1960, while the Avengers didn't assemble until 1963, making them a rather apparent rip-off of the Justice League of America.
Since The Avengers was released in 2012, however, it is arguable to say that their success may have recently surpassed that of the Justice League. All in all, both team-ups have become quite successful in their own right, but there is no changing the fact that DC did it first.
Can you think of any other pathetic or successful attempts Marvel has had at ripping of DC? Let us know in the comments!
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