This is something of a special post. Today marks the first crossover writing between me and another blog. My friend, Movieguy17, is guest-writing today, and I am guest-speaking in his video blog. The topics of each video are the same: copycats between Marvel and DC.
This article is my personal list of top 10 copycats in Marvel and DC. MG17 is an expert in all things DC. We are combining knowledge today. I’m also guest-starring in his video on the same topic, but our lists are extremely different. My words are in red. His words are in blue. So let’s start the countdown!
10. Bullseye – Deadshot
Bullseye is the man who has killed more love interests than possibly any other supervillain in Marvel, making him one of the primary villains of Daredevil. Deadshot is the greatest marksman that never misses his target.
This makes my list because of the emphasis on “never missing”. This is the slogan of sorts for both characters. This emphasis on accuracy as the villain of horned heroes makes the copycat obvious.
I would make the argument that Bullseye is more defined than Deadshot as Deadshot seems to be a drifter villain that weaves in between Batman and Green Arrow storylines. Bullseye is distinctly a Daredevil villain. But both are distinct enough from each other with their own big screen appearances: Bullseye played by Colin Farrell and Deadshot played by Will Smith in the 2016 Suicide Squad.
Deadshot appeared first in 1950, with Bullseye coming later in 1976.
9. Justice League – Squadron Supreme
This would be the greatest instance of copycatting if Squadron Supreme was more well known. The Squadron Supreme is a team in an alternate reality. The members include Hyperion (who can fly, is super-strong, and shoot heat rays from his eyes), Nighthawk (a dark, brooding, martial artist), Power Princess, Doctor Spectrum (he can make rays of light into solid objects…powered by a “Power Prism”), and Whizzer (a speedster). The list goes on.
I’ll be honest I am not too familiar with Squadron Supreme but given that description, it does sound very much like a JL ripoff but I’m sure they are unique from their DC counterparts.
The Squadron Supreme premiered in 1971, where the Justice League formed in 1960.
8. Black Cat – Catwoman
Black Cat is the leather-clad feminine feline that has sported an on-again-off-again relationship with Spider-man through the year. Catwoman is the on again off again love interest of the Dark Knight himself.
Two leather-clad cat-centered sex symbol anti-heroes is too much of a coincidence. The white wig on Black Cat also does little to inspire originality. I love the character, but she is not the first.
This one is a really big rip off, I like both characters but yeah one clearly was taken from the other. Both are morally loose femme fatales that tease their respected hero and sometimes can do the heroic thing when necessary. Overall, not a ton separates the two women.
Cat Woman appeared first in 1940, where Black Cat appeared in 1979.
7. Thunderbolts – Suicide Squad
The Thunderbolts are a reformed team of Supervillains that now function as a hero group of their own. The Suicide Squad is a government appointed task force of anti hero inmates that does the tasks considered too dangerous for heroes.
The idea of a group of villains becoming a group of heroes is not owned by DC alone, but the tone of the Thunderbolts closely follows the tone of the Suicide Squad. Although the Thunderbolts are not forced to do good work and do not wear explosives, they are the Marvel equivalent of the Suicide Squad. I believe them to be based off the DC Team.
The Suicide Squad are a fascinating team that’s hard to fully explain but nonetheless are entertaining to read or watch. It’s hard to really find any comparison to them because of such a unique premise. The Squad has had an impressive appearance in the show, Arrow and is set to have its own film in 2016 starring several A list actors.
The Suicide Squad first appeared as far back as 1950, whereas the Thunderbolts appeared in 1997.
6. Deathstroke – Deadpool
Deadpool is the fourth-wall shattering anti-hero that loves his swords. Deathstroke is the world’s deadliest assassin with super strength and intelligence.
Although the modern characters no longer represent each other, Wade Wilson appeared very quickly after Slade Wilson, with similar color schemes and weaponry. The fan attention to Deadpool shifted him away from villain and into the lovable, yet lethal, Merc with a Mouth that we know and love today. That doesn’t mean he was not first a copycat.
Over time, the two characters distinguished themselves from each other but one could see the similarities in their early days. Now one is more comedic and has a huge cult following whereas the other has had a great interpretation on the show, Arrow. Deadpool has a movie coming down the pike and I wouldn’t be surprised if Deathstroke appears in the upcoming Suicide Squad film.
5. Green Arrow – Hawkeye
Hawkeye is the archer-Avenger with rebellious tendencies. Green Arrow is the Emerald Archer of DC drawing lots of its inspiration from Robin Hood.
At first glance, I would say that Archery, even accurate archery, is not a crime of copycatting. The characters don’t even look alike. But when we look at their love interests, it becomes apparent that the characters were based off each other. The team of Hawkeye-Mockingbird is identical to the team of Green Arrow-Black Canary. I don’t believe this is a copying of the love interest, but a revealing of the copying nature of Hawkeye off of Green Arrow.
Being the DC rep here, I would say Hawkeye copied Green Arrow then became his own character just as Green Arrow copied from Batman but became his own hero. More people are familiar with Hawkeye because of his Avengers appearance but I would say Arrow has been better written on his show. I think Hawkeye could be good if given screen time though.
Green Arrow first appeared in 1941, where Hawkeye waited until 1964.
4. Brainiac – Ultron
Ultron is the computer created by Hank Pym that attempts to save humanity by enslaving it. Brainiac is an extraterrestrial android and is a major antagonist of Superman.
Brainiac was a popular villain when Ultron came around. Physically, he is resemblant of the classic Brainiac designs. It’s important to remember that the first appearance of Ultron didn’t even contain his origin story. We didn’t know that Pym created it until later. Although Ultron smells of Brainiac, Ultron grew differently than Brainiac later through his career. Despite this, the two are basically the same character in different universes.
A brief description makes these two sound more alike than they actually are. They really are different but both are an incredible force to be reckoned with! Ultron tends to be a threat for the whole Avengers but Brainiac tends to flip flop between being a Superman villain and a Justice League villain. One has been mostly relegated to television whereas the other is headlining arguably the biggest summer blockbuster of 2015, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Brainiac appeared first in 1958, where Ultron showed up in 1968.
3. Robin – Bucky
Bucky is the child-like sidekick of Captain America, turned rebel sharpshooter Winter Soldier. Robin was the first ever sidekick of Batman, who later left the Bat and became Nightwing.
With Sebastian Stan’s performance as Bucky fresh in our mind, it is easy to forget that Bucky first looked almost exactly like Robin: the young, fresh boy next to the buff hero. This similarity alone may put him on the list, but it’s recent treatment that makes this a double event. Robin moves on and becomes Nightwing, his own stand-alone hero, due to issues with the Dark Knight. Soon after, Bucky returns as the Winter Soldier, a jacked rebel with some issues. This double event of copycatting on the same name moves Winter Bucky up to #3 for me.
After seeing the success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier I have a little more faith in someday seeing Nightwing but I’m still not optimistic. Both characters started as sidekicks, left and then eventually took on the mantle of their mentors at one point or another. However, unlike Winter Soldier, I believe Nightwing is better suited for a television appearance than film. But who knows? Maybe someday he will be in a film making this fan very happy!
Robin first appeared in 1940, where Bucky first appeared one year later in 1941. Nightwing came around in 1984, where Winter Soldier appeared in 2005.
2. JLA – Avengers
The Avengers is a team of heroes that banded together to protect the Earth. The Justice League was the comic world’s first team up. The concept is the same. If they’re great apart, they’re better together. Both teams have some of the most popular names grouping together to protect the Earth. Both have revolving rosters, despite core members. It’s the same concept in a different Universe. DC just came first.
It is really unfortunate that DC has to catch up as badly as they do because as you said, DC had the concept first. Both are great team ups and are distinctive enough that you can tell the difference between them. There are numerous reasons why they didn’t have a JLA movie sooner but that’s a rant for another day. Hopefully though in a few years both will be successful franchise with great team up films.
The Justice League formed in 1960, where the Avengers formed in 1963.
1. MCU – DCCU
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is the theatrical adaptation of the Marvel Universe, centering around the Avengers. The DC Cinematic Universe essentially is playing catch up with the MCU and has characters from DC universe sharing the big screen.
Finally we have one where Marvel came first. The MCU began with Iron Man and has restructured how movies as a whole, especially superhero movies, are made. You will rarely see another Superhero movie made outside of cinematic Universes. Numerous other Universes (from Spider-Man to DC to even Universal Monsters) are rapidly trying to catch up. DC is putting all their eggs in the Batman vs. Superman basket to set up the entirety of their Universe. It’s an obvious attempt to recreate what Marvel has.
Batman V. Superman really is trying to jam as much as they can in this film trying to play catch up with Marvel. We are already getting Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman in the film but we are also getting intros to Cyborg and Aquaman but to what extent remains to be seen and is still under speculation. If given time to develop, I think DC could thrive but they need to pace themselves much better than they are now.
Iron Man was in 2008, where Man of Steel was in 2013.
This is my list of copycats. MovieGuy has his list on the video below (which is actually much different than mine), in which I am a guest. Take a look around his channel and see if you like it.
Also, just for fun, here is a picture of MovieGuy and I dressed up as 2 of the copycats on this list for Halloween, Green Arrow and Deathstroke:
There is something to clarify, however. While yes, sometimes these companies copy each other consistently, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Both show extraordinary originality in their own areas (DC has no matching of X-men, Spider-Man, or dozens of others). By borrowing from each other, the two companies consistently better each other and the world of comics as a whole. Without competition between two major competitors (Pepsi and Coke, for example), excellence is not demanded nearly as much. Much of what we love in either Universe is because of this sharing of characters and concepts.
What do you think? Do you agree with my copycats? Did I forget any? What will be borrow in the future? Will we see a Marvel Flashpoint Paradox? Or a DC Secret Invasion? For now, only time will tell.