Total Nerd

The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It 

Cynthia Griffith
Updated June 14, 2019 11.4k votes 3k voters 203.4k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the comic ideas that were clearly stolen.

Just like there are movies accused of copyright infringement, there are comics charged with stealing intellectual property (IP). IP is a complicated thing. Protecting original ideas is a difficult, if not impossible, task. This is particularly true for indie comic book producers who seem to be exempt from the many copyright infringement loopholes major companies get to enjoy.  

Graphic novel producers, both large and small, have participated in some form of copying of other people’s works. The fine line between theft and admiration is often about as easy to see as a thread of silk on one of Spider-Man’s fingertips. In fact, even the creators of Spider-Man have had a few accusations thrown at them. Some of the worst cases of stolen comic materials have emerged quite recently.

Sadly, even in situations where plagiarism is blindingly obvious, people tend to look the other way. After all, it's always difficult to tell where the line is between inspiration and flat-out copying. This list is a thought-provoking look at comic book producers' darkest secret: plagiarism. These comics only exist because they pushed the limits of inspiration, sometimes even just stealing their material. Vote up the blatantly obvious copycat comics. 

1
Marvel Swaps Deathstroke For Deadpool
Marvel Swaps Deathstroke... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It
Photo:  Nigel Horsley/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

In the great rivalry between Marvel and DC, it's no surprise when one company decides to do a character rip-off from the other. For example, take DC's Deathstroke and Marvel's Deadpool. You can't deny that these two characters are identical, all the way down to their monikers. One is named Slade Wilson, the other Wade Wilson.

They both have military origins, become mercenaries, and take people down relentlessly. There is a single distinct difference between the two: one is an original idea. 

Obvious plagiarism?
2
Namor And Aquaman, Fish Of A Scale
Namor And Aquaman, Fish ... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It
Photo:  Aquaman/WarnerBrothers

While neither DC or Marvel have ever elected to take legal action in this matter, Namor the Sub-Mariner and Aquaman are undeniably similar. Created in 1939, Namor is the son of an Atlantean woman and a man from the surface. He's considered royalty in Atlantis, and he puts his underwater kingdom ahead of any consideration for the world of land-dwellers.

Aquaman, AKA Arthur Curry, was introduced in 1941 and has pretty much the same backstory. His powers are nearly identical to Namor and he has the same weakness (neither can survive forever on land). While the characters have certainly diverged over the years, it seems patently obvious that Aquaman's creators drew heavily on Namor for inspiration.   

Obvious plagiarism?
3
Green Arrow’s Creators Admit He’s Really Just Robin Hood
Green Arrow’s Creators A... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It
Photo: United Artists/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

When Green Arrow first emerged in issue 73 of More Fun Comics as a hardened archer with a soft spot for the impoverished, his striking similarities to Robin Hood were clear. Not only are both the men in green tights, but they use a bow as their main weapon.

More recently, Green Arrow’s creators have come clean about his origins, stating he is, in fact, inspired by the infamous outlaw. The end result? Green Arrow soars to fame. 

Obvious plagiarism?
4
The X-Men Were Marvel's Answer To The Doom Patrol
The X-Men Were Marvel's ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It
Photo:  Chris Favero/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

In June, 1963, the Doom Patrol debuted in the adorably named My Greatest Adventure #80. They were a group of misfits with special powers, and they stood against the Brotherhood of Evil. Tragically, the Doom Patrol fought to protect a society that hated and feared the superheroes because of their fantastic abilities and outsider status. Their leader was an extremely intelligent, older man who was bound to a wheelchair.

In September of 1963, X-Men #1 hit the shelves, featuring a group of misfits with special powers who fought against the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. The X-Men, despite being heroes, were scorned by the very people they fought to protect. Their leader was also an extremely intelligent, older man who was bound to a wheelchair.

While a few months may have not been enough time for Marvel to swipe the Doom Patrol from series creator Arnold Drake, Drake maintained Stan Lee stole his idea and used it to create the X-Men.  

Obvious plagiarism?