Batman versus the Joker. Spider-Man against the Green Goblin. Superman opposite Lex Luthor. Captain America facing off with the Red Skull. All of these classic match-ups pale in comparison to the real greatest rivalry in comic book history: Marvel vs DC. While Marvel and DC have been duking it out in theaters across the globe for the better part of the 2010s, their duel extends back for more than half a century when it comes to publications. Unlike the battle on the silver screen, neither side has ever been able to gain a permanent advantage over the other on the four-color page.
Perhaps this is due to the frequently parallel nature of the rivalry between Marvel and DC. Whereas music contemporaries, like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, make every effort to differentiate themselves, or sporting rivals, like Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, develop drastically different playing styles, Marvel and DC have always sought to keep things pretty similar. This has led to characters that are direct analogues of their rival’s best qualities, frequently identical merchandising, and, most notably of all, the occasional freakishly similar storylines that leave readers feeling like they’ve just read the same thing twice. Whether Marvel stole from DC or DC stole from Marvel, here are some of the most egregious times Marvel and DC ripped each other off.
Black Cat And Catwoman Becoming Crime Kingpins At The Same Time
Black Cat is already a blatant ripoff of Catwoman, but their storylines ran ridiculously parallel in 2014. The year before, Catwoman had turned fully towards a life of crime in her self-titled series, becoming the head of organized crime in Gotham City. Black Cat followed up by becoming the new Queenpin of crime in New York City during 2014’s run of The Amazing Spider-Man.
In each case, these characters were motivated by perceived slights at the hands of their frequent love interests, Batman and Spider-Man. Catwoman’s antics landed her in prison, but Black Cat is still at it.32639Too similar to be a coincidence?
Rick Jones And Dick Grayson: Former Sidekicks Go Spy
Dick Grayson and Rick Jones are two classic comic book sidekicks. Grayson was the first Robin, while Jones palled around with the Hulk and Captain America. Despite innocent beginnings, each character grew and matured throughout the years.
In recent years, both characters also happened to take up careers in spying. In 2014, Dick Grayson used his apparent death as a cover to join international spy organization Spyral and spy in the name of good. Rick Jones took a less hands-on approach to spying in 2016’s Captain America: Sam Wilson, as an Edward Snowden-esque government whistleblower known as the Whisperer.19247Too similar to be a coincidence?
Jane Foster And Lois Lane Taking On Heroic Roles, Dying Because Of Them
In 2014, Thor lost his title when something whispered by Nick Fury made him unworthy. The mantle was picked up by his on-again, off-again love interest Jane Foster. Superman’s occasional partner Lois Lane repeated this trick in 2016 when she became Superwoman following the apparent death of the New 52 Supes in the series of the same title.
Both characters also happened to be dying because of their new powers. In the case of Jane Foster, her transformations into Thor were negating the effects of chemotherapy on her cancer. When it comes to Lois Lane, her new powers actually already killed her in a similar fashion to Superman’s death, although all may not be as it seems. Another Superman love interest, Lana Lang, has now taken up the Superwoman mantle.22580Too similar to be a coincidence?
Scarlet Witch And Gotham Girl Both Losing Life Force From Their Powers
DC Comics introduced a new hero in 2016’s Batman: Rebirth, Gotham Girl. Gotham Girl has somewhat ill-defined Superman-esque powers and questionable mental stability. She is somewhat reminiscent of Marvel hero Scarlet Witch, who also has ill-defined power and a sometimes shaky grasp on reality.
Every time Gotham Girl uses her powers, she takes time off her lifespan. Despite this flaw, Gotham Girl continues to use her abilities to help others, putting herself at risk. Coincidentally or not, soon after Gotham Girl's debut, Marvel announced that Scarlet Witch’s self-titled solo title will feature a storyline where she will also learn that her powers are draining time from her life, causing her to have to employ them more judiciously.17760Too similar to be a coincidence?