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Top 5 Biggest Rip-Off Characters in Comics


 

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As they always say, “It’s all been done before”, or to appeal to my Battlestar Galactica brethren, “All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.” But when it comes to the sheer unoriginality of some comics characters, I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t. Obviously this has been a topic in some nerd forums since the inception of the interwebs, but I feel the need to make my most overwhelming grievances in this regard known.

There are so many head-scratchingly unoriginal characters in comics it’s almost unbelievable. I was recently watching an episode of Young Justice and saw another face I had never seen before,  and my rip-off meter went deep into the red.

It’s high time we separate the prototypes from the posers, determined by date of publication. Let’s do some chronologically critical comparisons, shall we?

 

WASP vs BUMBLEBEE

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This was the straw that broke the carbon-copy camel’s back I mentioned before. As I watched a recent episode of Young Justice, I couldn’t help but notice a female character, with the aesthetic of a small, stinging insect who can shrink to the size of said insect and blast  little yellow energy blasts from her hands.

Um, what? Doesn’t that character exist as a well-known Avenger, regardless of skin color? Well as I check the Almighty Wikipedia, I find that while Wasp first appeared in Tales to Astonish #44 in 1963, Bumblebee didn’t appear until Teen Titans #45 in 1976. Of course the costume is similar, as they are both similarly themed, but DC could maybe go out of their way to carve their own unique bug-woman niche instead of just saying “But ours is black! Not the same!”

Rip-off artist: DC


 

DEADPOOL(WADE WILSON) vs DEATHSTROKE(SLADE WILSON)

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This one is fairly well-known to comics fans, and actually has a happy ending, thanks to Marvel taking steps to not only separate their Liefeildian mutant knock-off(Deadpool) from his muse(Deathstroke), but fashion an entirely original aspect to comics narrative at the same time. While Deathstroke, who is a great villain in his own right, appeared first in The New Teen Titans in 1980, Deadpool didn’t show up for another decade, when world-famous hack/thief Rob Liefeld introduced him as a villain in a New Mutants comic at Marvel. When writer Fabian Nicieza saw the design, he was quoted as saying, “this is Deathstroke from Teen Titans”.  No kidding?

Well, thankfully Deadpool was re-imagined later as a fourth-wall-breaking psychotic smart-ass anti-hero with his own successful series of books, and is now one of the most popular characters of all time, in several titles featuring his hilarious banter…with himself. He’s even maybe someday possibly going to eventually get his own solo movie, perhaps? Alas, because Deathstroke came first DC gets the win for this round, but I’d say Marvel earns some major originality points for redeeming the character of Deadpool.

Rip-off Artist: Marvel


 

AQUAMAN vs NAMOR

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I was pretty sure going into this one that Namor came first, knowing that he was the original Marvel superhero, appearing way back in 1939′s Marvel Comics #1. Still, my curiosity got the best of me (as well as a small urge to stick it to DC), and I figure it’s time we call a spade a spade and name the True King of Atlantis. Aquaman first appeared in More Fun Comics #73, just 4 years later than the half-mutant, half-Atlantean Sub-Mariner, and has some very different, and a few comparable, abilities.

I’m not one to bash on Aquaman, as many are wont to do, and one look at his power set will tell you that a battle between these two royal bad-asses would be an epic one indeed. Namor is not one to take lightly either. They both certainly seem to have the whole “sad- bastard King sulking on a giant seashell” thing down to an art. Still, the crown goes to the more arrogant a**hole Atlantean in this match-up, King Namor himself.

Rip-off Artist: DC


 

X-MEN vs DOOM PATROL

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Here’s a highly original concept: A group of misfit teenagers with strange and awesome powers faces supervillains and fights against bigotry and hate, led by a brilliant, compassionate hippie paraplegic.  Sounds great! But… it seems there are two of those teams, and we all know in this tournament there can be only one. So who are the First-Born Freaks? It looks like everyone’s favorite Marvel mutants are the losers here, having arrived just three months after The Doom Patrol debuted in June 1963.

This is awkward. I’m curious to know Stan Lee’s reasoning behind the “coincidence”. Or could it be that The X-Men were created, but not published first; who knows? With this close of a finish, we’d have to ask the publishing houses themselves, and I doubt either side would admit to any swiping of details. By the way, the X-Men’s greatest adversaries are The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, whereas The Doom Patrol regularly battle The Brotherhood of Evil. Of course anyone with taste can agree on the better property being the X-Men, which boasts a long history of topping monthly sales charts and a string of successful films. So once again, Marvel gets points for taking their stolen goods and polishing them up real nice, but to DC go the spoils this round.

Rip-off Artist: Marvel


 

CHARLTON CHARACTERS  &  WATCHMEN

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This is more of an exercise in comics history trivia, so some of you are likely aware of this in-house swipe, in which DC allowed writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons to create intentionally-similar heroes to the Charlton characters. When DC Comics bought most of Charlton’s heroes as the latter company was in the red, DC at first planned to let Moore use them for his would-be Watchmen, but later changed their minds and apparently didn’t seem to care much about the similarities when he went on to write the best-seller.

Captain Atom/Dr. Manhattan, Blue Beetle/Nite Owl, The Question/Rorshach, Nightshade/Silk Specter, Shield/The Comedian, and Ozymadias/Thunderbolt  are all very clever in both their subtle shared and contradictory qualities, to be sure. Watchmen is of course a much-lauded graphic novel, having been named best of all time by many, as well as inspiring a movie and new prequel comics series.  Yet, the fact remains, that DC replicated itself here. It has even been said that many of the Charlton characters were somewhat inspired by various other heroes.

Yes, all of this has happened before, and it will happen again soon; because there’s so damn many of these examples that I will need to write at least one more part to this thing. So look for me to rip myself off  in Part 2.



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S#!T Talking Central

  • Lucia Malpense

    The Doom Patrol/X-Men thing is best left alone because c’mon- Doom Patrol is an obvious rip-off of the Fantastic Four.

    • dhacker615

      And the Fantastic Four was a rip-off of the JLA (and the Challengers of the Unknown). This kind of the thing is bottomless.

  • ThatOneGuy

    Doing it first and doing it right are two completely different things. Go complain to somebody who can’t think for himself/herself.

  • ZealousRAM

    There’s a lot of Marvel rip-offs of DC that you didn’t include. I wonder why. :)

    • ‘_’

      Because it’s a top 5 list?

      • George Tamunokuro

        So X-Men/Doom Patrol makes the list but the likes of Green Arrow/Hawkeye, Flash/Quick Silver, Dark Seid/Thanos and Superman/Hyperion which are all higher profile and Marvel clearly ripped off DC, don’t count. Hell, you can even argue Bruce Wayne/Tony Stark adn Hulk/Doomsday

        • neoncandi

          Tony Stark vs Bruce Wayne makes no sense because well they are both millionaires they have different back stories completely as with most of the rip offs but the also fight crime in completely different ways. batman searching for the villains( the joker,cat woman ex…). and Iron man protecting himself from the next challenger to step his way. iron man also never interacts with the league of shadow (or assassins as they are now named) where as batman is trained by Ra’s al ghul and then becomes his greatest enemy. every claim you just made can easily be argued with many valid points just by doing 5 seconds of research. its the opinion of the writer it may be biased but that’s because he made it stop complaining.

  • Mimo

    Judigng by what u write.. You are a Marvel Supporter… and reading this form someone with a Prejudice, is definitely not worth it.

  • Lyle

    To defend some of these: Bumblebee started out as just having a power suit that made her able to fly and shoot out ‘stings’. The size changing came different, and one could argue that Wasp eventually stole her fashion sense, since Bumblebee always had a black and yellow costume.
    I don’t believe that X-Men ripped off Doom Patrol. I think this was just an idea whose time had come, and both came out pretty much at the same time. The fact that Doom Patrol came out 3 months later really doesn’t prove that this idea was thought up first.

  • charlie

    Black Cat is a pretty blatant ripoff of Catwoman. And I think that as far as Marvel characters go Taskmaster is more like Deathstroke than Deadpool. Except for the masks and a few small random accessories Taskmaster and Deathtroke have virtually the same outfits.

    • Anon

      Well the only real resemblance to Black Cat and Cat Woman is they are both women, they have cat in their name and they dated a superhero but other than that there is nothing similar between them.

      • Edward Nigma

        Really? How about the fact that they’re BOTH burglars, who use gymnastics as their main “power” ?

    • Anon

      Black cat donned the black out fit and was a cat burgler before catwoman. Catwoman is definitely older but black cat was the character that brought the features that are similar to the 2 of them first.

    • TS3

      Catwoman is a rip off of Miss Fury so what now???

    • TS3

      Miss Fury who came years before in 1943. Dig deep.

  • Conor Dunne

     in 1987.”Watchmen” originated from a story proposal Moore submitted to DC featuring superhero
     characters that the company had acquired from Charlton Comics
    . As Moore’s proposed story would have left many of the characters unusable for future stories, managing editor Dick Giordano
     convinced Moore to create original characters instead.

  • Nick

    Stan Lee has admitted to creating the Fantastic Four (1961) after hearing of the success of DC’s Justice League of America (1960). Not that they’re similar teams, just he was inspired by the idea of a group of superheroes.
    I can’t keep up and don’t follow it closely enough (though I love it!) Flash/Quicksilver. Elongated Man/Mr Fantastic. Green Arrow/Hawkeye. Hawkman/Angel, etc. Hell, even though Marvel’s (arguably) preeminent Spider-man was created nearly 30 years later, there are more than a few similarities between him and DC’s (unarguably) fundamental Superman.
    I am often puzzled by it. I am kinda surprised there hasn’t been any massive lawsuits (to my – admittedly inferior – knowledge.) But I love both DC and Marvel pretty much evenly, and I’m glad we have all these spectacular characters…

    • Section 8 Insanity

      Finally someone who isn’t taking sides and bitching.btw love both dlc and marvel the same 2 just some characters better than others.

  • Section 8 Insanity

    If everyone’s going to bitch about who was first then every super hero is a ripoff of the original super hero and every comic is a ripoff of the original BUT it doesn’t matter if you like a character then more power to you but all this copy characters bull is a pointless waste of time that we can be using to just show our appreciation of the characters themselves.

  • kylos

    The Comedian is a version of Peacemaker, not Shield. Shield was an Archie Comics superhero, not Charlton. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peacemaker_%28comics%29

  • Miles

    Clearly your a Marvel supporter by what you write and totally biased.. Also there are a lot of Marvel rip offs of DC n other characters you “forgot” to mention.. Captain Marvel, Hawkeye, Angel, Mr.Fantastic etc…

  • Bob Graff

    TIMBERWOLF AND WOLVERINE

  • Carl Hallowell

    Go back far enough, and everything is a rip-off going back to the Bible, or the Greeks, or Shakespeare, or Egyptian hieroglyphics, or cave paintings…

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