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

Cynthia Griffith
2.8k votes 958 voters 129.3k 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. 

1 510 VOTES

Marvel Swaps Deathstroke For Deadpool


Marvel Swaps Deathstroke For D... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It
Photo:  Marvel Comics/DC Comics

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 kill relentlessly. There is a single distinct difference between the two: one is an original idea. 

362 148
Obvious plagiarism?
2 263 VOTES

Namor And Aquaman, Fish Of A Scale


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

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.   

200 63
Obvious plagiarism?
3 264 VOTES

Green Arrow’s Creators Admit He’s Really Just Robin Hood


Green Arrow’s Creators Admit H... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It
Photo:  DC Comics/Warner Bros. Pictures

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 that he is, in fact, inspired by the infamous outlaw. The end result? Green Arrow soars to fame. 

176 88
Obvious plagiarism?
4 155 VOTES

Greg Land “Swipes” Everybody, From Sandra Bullock To Famous Adult Stars And Everyone In Between


Greg Land “Swipes” Everybody, ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Comic Book Industry Is Plagued By Plagiarism, And No One Can Stop It
Photo:  Marvel

If you’re a hardcore comic fan, you might have already heard of “swiping,” a form of plagiarism that often goes unpunished. If you really know your stuff, then when you think of “swiping” as a concept, the name Greg Land (among a few others) immediately comes to mind. If all this is news to you, a simple explanation awaits. 

Swiping is a term used when a comic book illustrator traces a picture instead of drawing a character from scratch. Unfortunately, this is a practice that became commonplace when comics needed to be mass produced in a shorter timeframe. That said, most illustrators trace photographs they take themselves.

However, Greg Land, a Marvel illustrator who’s crafted countless characters like Iron Man and the Uncanny X-Men, has been accused of (and caught) tracing photographs taken by others that feature famous faces like Sandra Bullock as well as many famous adult stars. It's hard to separate a source of inspiration from plagiarism, and Greg Land certainly challenges that line by stomping right on it. 

103 52
Obvious plagiarism?