DC Comics began in 1934, starting with the two big powerhouse heroes, Superman and Batman. Subsequently in 1939, shortly after DC had come into existence, Marvel Comics began publishing their superhero work. There is no mistaking that DC and Marvel have butted heads over the years in their constant battling of which is the superior medium in the comic world.
Both companies have shared ideas, and there have even been times of peace coming in the way of crossover events. But what about the characters that exist in both worlds? There are plenty of heroes that seem to share the same powers, but what about the costumes? These are 5 costumes that DC has ripped off from Marvel and 5 costumes that Marvel has, in turn, ripped off from DC.
10 DC: Bumblebee (Ripped Off The Wasp)
There is no mistaking the literal similarities between Bumblebee and The Wasp. They both resemble the same color pallet as an orange and yellowish attempt to make the heroines the color of their inspirational honey-suckling insects. Also, having very similar wing patterns, making their look a little too identical for DC getting out of the claim that the costume was a complete rip-off. The Wasp made her debut in Tales to Astonish #44, in 1963. Whereas Bumblebee, being a part of the Teen Titans, didn’t see the light of day until 1976 in Teen Titans #45. This whopping thirteen-year difference leaves little to the imagination of DC claiming this was all but an original character choice.
9 Marvel: Hawkeye (Ripped Off Green Arrow)
Green Arrow has been one of the first DC heroes ever created, having entered the comic world way back in 1941, in More Fun Comics #73. Hawkeye, a similar bow and arrow user, made his debut in Tales of Suspense #57 in 1964.
This 23-year break in between gave Marvel plenty of time to fine-tune their version of the bow-wielding hero. Hawkeye has a very similar style in costume and ability. Hawkeyes’ forearm guards are also eerily similar, which isn’t out of the norm for a bow user, but there was very little difference in the fingerless gloves and forearm style.
8 DC: Atomic Skull (Ripped Off Ghost Rider)
Atomic Skull and Ghost Rider have a telling sign that someone stole the idea from someone else, they are both composed of flaming skull heads. The similarities do not stop there. Ghost Rider’s famous biker look has a very basic style, with a black jacket. Atomic Skull has the almost same getup, only missing the black spikes and chain. Atomic Skull found his way into comics in the 1978 issue Superman #323. Whereas, Ghost Rider has a much more tenured comic life in Marvel Spotlight #5 in 1971. There is only a minimal seven-year difference in their creations, but there is no mistaking DC’s attempt to pass off Atomic Skull as the not so Ghost Rider.
7 Marvel: Vision (Ripped Off Red Tornado)
Vision, one of Marvel’s most beloved heroes, has his creative roots in DC’s own Red Tornado. Not only does the duo possess similar backstories, but their look is almost identical. Both Vision and Red Tornado are red, have long flowing capes, and an elongated collar. Red Tornado’s first iteration came in 1960 as the character Ulthoon, before his ultimate Red Tornado form appearing in Justice League of America #64 in August of 1968. Coincidentally enough the similar-looking hero Vision came to be a mere two months later. Appearing in The Avengers #57 in October of 1968. Marvel has some explaining to do.
6 DC: Aquaman (Ripped Off Namor)
DC finds itself in a lacking creative mind with one of its most prolific heroes. Aquaman and Namor share similar Atlantian roots, but what makes things fishier (pun intended) is the complete similarities in their aquatic threads. They both have scale-like upper bodysuits that seemingly allow them to maneuver the deepwater of their respected worlds much easier.
The copying does not stop with their bodysuits, Aquaman even finds himself in the same green spandex that Namor wears on many occasions. Namor boasts his first appearance in Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, while Aquaman appears two years later in More Fun Comics #73 in 1941.
5 Marvel: Black Cat (Ripped Off Catwoman)
Black Cat and Catwoman are not only similar in their names, but the costumes showcase deadset stylistic copying. There can’t possibly be that many ways to give off the “cat burglar” look, but Marvel’s black cat looked almost too much the same as Catwoman. Black Cat’s “black mask” around the eyes offered little change in exactly how Catwoman’s was laid out too. The skin-tight leather outfits left little to the imagination in ways of sexuality and Black Cat’s costume copied Catwoman on that front as well. Catwoman is one of Batman’s biggest adversaries, and as such, appeared in Batman #1 in 1940. Black Cat appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #194 in 1979. The 39-year difference allowed Marvel to attempt some “so-called” costume changes.
4 DC: Red Lion (Ripped Off Black Panther)
DC’s attempt at not completely copying the look of Black Panther couldn’t be further off. The costumes of Red Lion and Black Panther boils down to a simplistic eye and costume color difference. Red Lion has the same muscular physique and costume style as Black Panther, even complete with the tiny ears at the helm of the outfit.
The only thing that DC attempted to change was the fashionable utility belt that Red Lion has. Black Panther first appeared in 1966, in Fantastic Four #52. Red Lion has found his way to the fold in 2016, during Deathstroke: Rebirth #1. Possibly a prolific creation to the massive success of Marvel’s Black Panther film in 2018.
3 Marvel: Deadpool (Ripped Off Deathstroke)
Deadpool and Deathstroke are almost the same. Although, Deathstroke finds himself having a much more mean streak. Wade Wilson and Slade Wilson painstakingly share much more than similar monikers. Deadpool not only copies the dual katanas that hang on Deathstroke’s back, but the two-toned colored costume is also a dead giveaway. Their ninja masks share similarities as well, though Deadpool’s eyes are much bigger. Deathstroke appeared in The New Teen Titans #2 in 1980, while Rob Liefeld’s comedic inspired copycat Deadpool came into existence in The New Mutants #98 in 1991. Rob Liefeld meant Deadpool to be a “tip of the hat.”
2 DC: Guardian (Ripped Off Captain America)
The Guardian is DC’s attempt at not completely making up their own Captain America. The half-cut mask starts the list off with what is the telling ripping off of Cap’s stylistic features. Guardian showcased a similar army-like helmet in his creation, which was a perfect example of what Captain America’s first helmet also looked like. There is nothing more obvious in the similarities of the costume choice that DC’s Guardian has than his usage of a giant shield. Captain America made his debut as one of Marvel’s flagship characters, debuting in 1941, in Captain America Comics #1. Guardian made his first appearance a year later in 1942, in Star-Spangled Comics #7. It is no surprise that DC would attempt to copy one of the most beloved comic heroes in all of history, but they did very little to show that with their costume choices.
1 Marvel: Thanos (Ripped Off Darkseid)
The Mad Titan himself was not that of an original idea. Marvel held their creative ideas from a previously released titan in his own right, Darkseid. Not only are the two the most powerful villains in their respected comic company imaginations, but their size frame is almost identical as well. Thanos was created showcasing the almost same skin weirdness that plagued Darkseid too. The only difference coming in the skin color tone. Thanos’ costume resembles Darkseid’s in almost the same way. Both are blue, they have shoulder pads, and the helmet choice only covers the face just partially. Darkseid made his first full appearance in Forever People #1 in 1971. Thanos’ debut happened two years later in 1973, The Invincible Iron Man #55. Marvel was out to prove they need a mountainous titan themselves, to keep up with DC’s, they just didn’t go as far with the look differences.
Imitation may be flattery, but DC & Marvel have taken the phrase seriously. Here are 10 times the publishing giants played copycat with each other.