DC or Marvel? Who’s more “Inspired”?

In industries with two major players the competition can become rather cutthroat. Take a look at the mobile phone market. Every new version of iOS has incorporated some features of previous Android versions and vice-versa.
Similarly the comic book industry for long has been a duopoly. The Big Two have created some of the most iconic characters in popular culture but are they original as well? Honestly, cheating goes both ways, maybe a bit more towards Marvel than DC.
Here’s a list of some very similar characters that the two rivals published whose resemblance to each other can create “reasonable doubt” of plagiarism.

Deadpool is “inspired by” Deathstroke



This one is as deliberate as it gets. Marvel’s The former appeared 10 years after the latter.

Personality aside, they are both masked mercenaries and antiheroes. But if that wasn’t enough the creators of Deadpool actually named him Wade Wilson because it was funny in their heads when it rhymed with Deathstroke’s Slade Wilson.

Both of these antiheroes are very popular today. Deathstroke has appeared in various media including the TV series Arrow where he played the primary antagonist in season 2. However, the Merc with a Mouth is getting a complete feature film in his name!


Apocalypse & Thanos are “inspired by” Darkseid



Just look at them. Death-obsessed, god-like, super-muscled, dull skinned, weird-jawline jerks. I don’t even know how Marvel can defend this one. Darkseid predates Thanos by 3 years and Apocalypse by 13, yet each of them have reached the same pedestal in their respective pocket universes.

Thanos has been teased twice in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and is expected to appear in Avengers 3. Audiences will meet Apocalypse much sooner in the next X-Men movie. Yet no official announcement regarding Darkseid’s feature film appearance has been made.


Black-Cat is “inspired by” Catwoman



Nobody is really complaining about this one, but I’d still point it out.

Both women have the hots for the superhero who’s trying to catch them (Spidey and Bats respectively) or are the heroes the ones who are chasing the kittens?Also they are very feline in their fighting style. Not to forget their extremely irrational (and sexy) dressing sense for super villains.

Apart from which they are quite different. Their alter egos’ personalities and motivations are vastly different. Moreover Felicia can even manipulate her luck (she needs to have something extra if she’s 30 years younger).


Red Hood is “inspired by” Winter Soldier



This one is a very close call. The former sidekicks of two of the greatest (non-super powered) superheroes had returned back to life. Jason Todd was roughly a month later than Bucky Barnes in 2005.

But the idea is the same; both of them are against their mentors in some way or another, only to reform at the end (well to some extent). Another similarity is that Todd used the alias of one of Batman’s earliest enemies and Barnes served the Soviets (Hydra), Cap’s old enemies.

So much for the saying “Only Buck Barnes, Jason Todd and Uncle Ben stay dead in comics”


X-Men is “inspired by” Doom Patrol



This one might sound blasphemous but this claim is widely suspected to be true.

The X-Men appeared nearly 3 months later than the Doom Patrol gang. Both groups were detested by the public for their freakishness. The most interesting fact is the both the teams were led by a paraplegic.

In this case it can be argued that Stan Lee had no way of knowing during the conception of the team (which may have been months ago) and was just late in the publication race.


Aquaman is “inspired by” Namor the Submariner


If both of them were in the same universe we’d see a Game of Thrones style power struggle for the throne of Atlantis.

For the record Namor is much cooler for some strange odd reason. Their personalities, moralities and powers differ. Also Namor is only 2 months older than Arthur Curry.


Green Lantern Corps “inspired” Nova Corps



A dying alien passes his powers to a fated individual. This is the exact same origin story for Richard Rider and Hal Jordan, our first connection to Nova and GL corps respectively. A galactic peace keeping force, with different powers though. Something’s going to change in 20 years.
Makes you wonder if Marvel purposefully sailed safe with their depiction of the Nova Corps in Guardians of the Galaxy.

Note: I deliberately left out certain comparisons like Hawkeye-Green Arrow and Flash-Quicksilver, for I believe the powers/abilities to be too generic to rip of another. The same goes for characters similar to Superman who are either homages or clearly inspired.