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

List RulesVote 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
    1191 VOTES

    Namor And Aquaman, Fish Of A Scale

    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?
  • 2
    1611 VOTES

    Marvel Swaps Deathstroke For Deadpool

    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?
  • 3
    538 VOTES

    Incarnate Reproduces Scenes From Bleach

    It’s odd that Incarnate, a barely heard of graphic novel, is the most famous one on this list in terms of the plagiarism controversy. This line of comics got shut down basically upon arrival after it was noted that several of the action scenes were lifted from DeviantArt illustrators. In addition, much of the plot and characteristics between the pages bore striking resemblance to the Bleach manga series.

    Under the circumstances, Radical Comics dropped Incarnate instantly, leaving it a distant memory instilled in the minds of only the most enthusiastic Kiss fans as this book was the work of Gene Simmons’ son. 

    Obvious plagiarism?
  • 4
    1012 VOTES

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

    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?