Who ripped off who? Part 2

A further look at shared ideas in the comic book industry.

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By CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011
Welcom to part 2 of "Who ripped off who"? I had a lot of good responses to part 1, as well as some requests to do a part 2. The same thing applies to this article. This is not a Marvel Vs. DC discussion. I repeat, this is NOT a Marvel Vs. DC discussion. The purpose of these articles is to show that while some characters and stories may seem like they were stolen from the other company, its very hard to understand the true intentions of the writers. Were they ripping off another company for a quick money grab? Were they maliciously trying to outdue the competition by showing that they can do their competitor's character even better? Or were they simply inspired by the work of another, and wanted to show that inspiration in their own work? Again, this is something that is next to impossible to know for sure. So lets get to it.


Superman (June 1938) and the Legion of Superheroes (1958) / Gladiator and The Imperial Guard (Oct 1977)




Today we'll start with Superman again. Superman has been mimicked by many characters over the years and Gladiator is no exception. Gladiator is a member of the Strontian alien race. Much like Superman, Gladiator has the abilities of super strength, super speed and reflexes, heat vision, frost breath, super human stamina, and durability. All of these powers are obviously derived from the Man of Steel. The only real difference in their powers is that the level of Gladiator's powers increases and decreases with his confidence level. Much like Superman's weakness to Kryptonite, Gladiator is also vulnerable to a certain rare form of space radiation. If all of these things are not evidence enough, Gladiator's real name is Kallark. An amalgamation of Superman's Krypton name Kal-El and Earth name Clark Kent. Kal-Lark. Get it?

It is also important to mention that Gladiator is the leader of the Imperial Guard. Another team that is full of characters that directly mimic characters in the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Imperial Guard: Mentor = Brainiac 5 / Earthquake = Blok / Fang = Timber Wolf / Nightside = Shadow Lass / Hobgoblin = Chameleon Boy / Oracle = Saturn Girl / Smasher = Ultra Boy / Manta = Lightning Lass / Scintilla = Shrinking Violet / Electron = Cosmic Boy / Titan = Colossal Boy / Astra = Phantom Girl / Pulsa = Wildfire




Deathstroke the Terminator (Dec 1980) / Deadpool (Feb 1991)




This is one of the rare cases where the creator actually fully admits that their creation is a direct parody of someone else's character. Creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza came up with the idea for a new character. Liefeld was tasked with drawing a concept. When he showed the concept to Nicieza, Nicieza quickly replied, "This is Deathstroke." Deadpool was so like Deathstroke that Nicieza was afraid they would be sued. Deadpool and Deathstroke both have healing factors, are incredibly skilled assassins, they both use a mix of guns of blades, and their costumes are very similar looking. Both characters were also the villains of teenaged teams as well. Deathstroke primarily targeted the Teen Titans while Deadpool went after The New Mutants. Also their names are a dead give away. Deathstroke is Slade Wilson, and Deadpool is Wade Wilson. Deadpool is a rare case. He was originally created as a direct parody, yet over the years he has taken on a life of his own. Originally, he appeared as only a smart-mouth who talked too much, much in the vein of Spider-Man. However, he eventually discovered that he is just a character in a comic book, and ever since then, he has taken on a completely new persona. One which makes most characters that interact with him think he is completely idiotic and insane.




Darkseid (Nov 1970) / Thanos (Feb 1973)



There is a lot of debate over whether or not Thanos is actually a rip off of Darkseid, so I thought it important to include this. When asked, Jim Starlin, the cretor of Thanos, had this to say:

"Kirby had done the New Gods, which I thought was terrific. He was over at DC at the time. I came up with some things that were inspired by that. You'd think that Thanos was inspired by Darkseid, but that was not the case when I showed up. In my first Thanos drawings, if he looked like anybody, it was Metron. I had all these different gods and things I wanted to do, which became Thanos and the Titans. Roy took one look at the guy in the Metron-like chair and said : "Beef him up! If you're going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!"

So initially, Thanos may not have necessarily been a direct rip off of Darkseid. The final version of Thanos and the Titans, however, were obviously heavily influenced by Darkseid and the New Gods. It is also important to note that Thanos is obsessed with Death, while Darkseid is all about the Anti-Life Equation, which is really just another way of saying death.


Red Tornado (Aug 1968) / Vision (Oct 1968)




This is another one of those cases where both characters debuted so close together that it is truly hard to imagine that they were stolen ideas...originally anyways. Both characters derived their names from very obscure characters from the Golden Age of Comics. They are both robots that were created by villains. Red Tornado was created by T.O. Morrow while Vision was created by Ultron. Both characters were sent on a mission by these villains to destroy super teams. Vision was sent to destroy the Avengers while Red Tornado was sent to destroy the Justice Society of America. After being sent on these missions, Red Tornado and Vision would end up betraying their creators and joining the very teams they were sent to destroy. Another funny coincidence is the fact that they both have red skin. Regardless of how close together these characters and stories were created, the coincidences just seem too numerous to write off.

However, even if you are one to write this off as coincidence, the truly unwrite-offable occurs later on in their comic careers. Both characters ended up having different beings or "entities" living inside their minds. Vision had Simon "Wonder Man" Williams' brain patterns imprinted on his own, while Red Tornado had a being called the Tornado Champion living within him. Both characters also ended up falling in love with human women, Scarlet Witch and Kathy Sutton.


Suicide Squad (Sept 1959) / Thunderbolts (Feb 1997)




At first the only real similarities between these two is the fact that they are both a team of B-list villains that joined together to fight the forces of evil. The Suicide Squad is a secret government program that took dangerous criminals with no chance of rehabilitation, and sent them suicide missions. The criminals were mostly second raters and agreed to take on these missions because they had nothing else to hope for in life. They were stuck in prison for life, but were offered commuted sentences for taking on missions that would almost certainly kill them. This also helped explain how villains were constantly getting captured by heroes and then being seen running loose again. The revolving door of the criminal justice system if you will. The most notable characters in the Suicide Squad were Rick Flag Jr., Bronze Tiger, Deadshot, and Captain Boomerang. The Thunderbolts were originally the Masters of Evil in disguise, and they were doing good deeds to further Baron Zemo's own motives. It wasn't until later in the Thunderbolts' run that they were taken under the wing of the government and used in much the same way as the Suicide Squad. Presently, the Thunderbolts program takes prisoners that they feel can be rehabilitated, put them on the Thunderbolts team, and give them a chance at redemption. This has actually worked for a number of former villains, namely Songbird, Moonstone, Mach V, and Fixer. Other T-Bolts that have not been rehabilitated by the program include Venom, Bullseye, Crossbones, and Juggernaut. There have many other characters that have had a shot at the T-Bolts' lineup over the years.


Super Hero Registration Acts



The idea of superhuman registration acts has been used quite a few times. Most notable and memorable is the recent Marvel story Civil War. In this story, a tragedy befalls a small town that kills thousands of innocent people. This tragedy was caused by a young, inexperienced team of would-be superheroes. The general public voted for the government to enact and enforce a registration act that forced superhumans to register their identities or be thrown in super jail. This was hardly the first time this kind of thing has been done in comics.

In DC's monumental Kingdom Come storyline, Superman reforms the Justice League after they have been disassembled for years. The children of superpowered heroes and villains alike have now grown up and do not know the meaning of truth and justice. These people are now rampaging across the globe and fighting for the sake of it, destroying city after city in their wake. Superman and his newly reformed Justice League decide to take matters into their own hands, and more or less create a worldwide police state for super powered individuals. These people are given a choice, join the Justice League and fight for justice, or be thrown in a gulag for re-education and reinstitution purposes.
Again, this was not the first time a story like this was done.

In the 80's a prominent storyline in X-Men comics revolved around the Mutant Registration Act. Again, the government tried to force mutants to register their powers with them, or be contained. This was taken to an extreme with the creation of what is now one of the most hated and feared enemies of the X-Men, the Sentinels. The ultimate symbol of hate and prejudice towards mutants the world had ever seen.



And there you have it. More examples of companies rehashing ideas. Were these malicious acts? Were the creators out of ideas? Or are some examples just a sign of the times. A time when the comic community/industry as a whole was much smaller, and ideas were easier to get a hold of? Unless these explanations are ever given, only you can be the judge.

As always, thanks for reading,
~CDB
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CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 10:05 AM
As a side note, I just wanted to let anyone know that if you haven't read the classic run of Suicide Squad, I suggest you track down the trade asap. In my opinion that series is one of the best to ever come out of DC in the entire history of the company. :)
MarkJulian - 8/24/2011, 10:45 AM
I like these man. Good stuff!
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 10:47 AM
@ Graphic City

thanks!
Fastestmanalive - 8/24/2011, 10:56 AM
These are great man, jsut to add one off the top of my head Ms Marvel was a take off of Supergirl, Im pretty sure I read Roy Thomas admitted she was take off, but Im not 100 percant on that.

Regardless tha similarities are there, the most blatant is her name Carol Danvers, Danvers as in Linda Danvers.

But I dont mind theyre both favorites of mine.

Although I like Ms Marvels bad ass atitude better then Supergirl's personality.
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 11:01 AM
@ fastestmanalive

cool man, I didn't know that. I'll look into it for a part 3. :)
kriswone - 8/24/2011, 11:05 AM
LOVE IT!!!

Great article!!

I wonder(wish) if Superman and Gladiator have fought?

That would be a battle! Granted, Superman would prolly win, but alas, it would be epic!
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 11:12 AM
@ yossarian

oh, are you talking about the title? Thanks :)

@ kriswone

I don't think they've ever fought, but I would have to think Gladiator would win. As long as he is confident he could win, he would. Superman would have to pull out a seriously amazing attack against Gladiator to really hurt his confidence.
marvel72 - 8/24/2011, 11:31 AM
@ corndogburglar

very good editorial,i think you could go on forever with these comparisons.

as i said before,they're as bad as each other,with so many characters that each company as created over the years it would near on impossible to create an original character nowadays.

each company wants their version of a particular character i.e superman marvel can't have superman so they create a character that is based on that template.

CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 11:37 AM
@ goddamnsuperguy

yeah, i haven't forgotten those guys. I'm trying to do a little series of articles for this, so i'm trying to save them for other parts. I'll definately take those into consideration, bud. :)

@ marvel

yeah man, its ridiculous. the comparisons really are endless. i just got so tired of marvel/dc fanboys constantly talking trash about the other company being ripoffs. so i thought i'd do articles just to show that ALL comic companies do it. I may start adding Image characters in as well. But for now i want to get through a good amount of Marvel/DC.
Stumblin - 8/24/2011, 11:51 AM
Nothing is worse than Liefield's Agent: America vs Captain America...like Liefield needed more reasons to be hated.
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 11:54 AM
@ stumblin

y'know, i honestly don't know how that guy gets work anymore. he has to be the most hated man in comics. he's definately the biggest laughing stock!
Stumblin - 8/24/2011, 12:13 PM
No kidding, I've been trying to break into comics for a couple years now as an inker and this asshole still has no concept of human anatomy or perspective.

Just found out he's drawing the new Hawk and Dove series for DC...The cover of course, looks like shit.
Hawksblueyes - 8/24/2011, 12:13 PM
This is a great series CDB. I hope you continue with these.
Fastestmanalive - 8/24/2011, 12:14 PM
I know these are a little old school but back in the 70's DC did a parody on Marvel in thier Freedom Fighters series with them battling a team that was clearly a parody on the Invaders, and Marvels series the Invaders (which was coming out at the same time) were fighting a team that were clearly the Freedom Fighters.

The way it was done, by those stories coming out at the same time, and both patriotic teams, and both clearly being parodys I would think that DC and Marvel did it collaborately. it was really cool and funny.


And btw both great series, even though they dident last very long.
URmomsLEGZ - 8/24/2011, 12:24 PM
CorndogBurglar is gods rip off of me. That's where this deep seeded hate for this topic has come up twice now. ZOLTAN!
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 12:30 PM
@ URmomsLEGZ

hahahahahahaha...i hate you.
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 12:34 PM
@ hawks

I plan to. thanks. :)
Destroyer14 - 8/24/2011, 12:39 PM
This and part one are some of the best editorials I've read on this site. Another maybe rip-off is Spider-Man and Black Spider. (Check out the Young Justice episode "Infiltrator," way too similar to Spidey.)
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 12:46 PM
@ destroyer and Tea

thanks guys!

tea, look, i got my first troll badge, lol. yay!
SCOURGE - 8/24/2011, 12:54 PM
Actually the modern day Vision is a rework of the Timely Comics Golden Age Vision. So Red Tornado is a rip of that...
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 1:00 PM
@ scourge

actually, the Timely Comics version of Vision wasn't a Robot at all. He was an alien and didn't really share any similarities with either the modern day Vision, OR Red Tornado.



The golden age Vision didn't even have similar powers. He could only create illusions, generate ice and cold, and teleport wherever there was smoke. He wasn't really anything like Vision or Red Tornado at all.
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 1:00 PM
@ scourge

basically, there is no way that Red Tornado is a rip off of Timely's Vision. They have nothing in common.
MovieMaster - 8/24/2011, 2:15 PM
what about black cat/catwoman? i dont know which was a rip off of who but im suprised nobody has mentioned it. and i feel red skull/black mask should be mentioned! great series mate, im really enjoying this! i love all your editorials!
Jefferys - 8/24/2011, 2:35 PM
Yes! Yes, do a part 3 CorndogBurglar! I'll love you more than my dead ex-wife!

But this has made me think...

where is Pollmaster?

He used to do those awesome Character Bios. I haven't seen him once in a couple of weeks!
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 3:48 PM
@ tea

lol, yeah man, and the guy that reported me wasn't even commenting in the article, lol. what a weirdo.
CorndogBurglar - 8/24/2011, 3:51 PM
@ Moviemaster

yeah man, they would be good. i'll have to look them up and see what the deal is with them. :)

@ Jefferys

lol, I'm going to keep doing these as long as i can find characters to compare. :) and Pollmaster is back to being called The Witness. He's doing those Vs. polls again. I heard he got banned for some reason, but now he seems to be back, so I don't know. Don't care really, lol.
Supes17 - 8/24/2011, 4:35 PM
Damn Marvel took a lot of shit from DC.
It surprises me.

But i Dont really give a flying [frick].
I love Marvel AND DC, so...yeah
superbatspiderman - 8/24/2011, 6:05 PM
Does it really matter who created the character first? All the characters are great so it shouldn't matter. I love Marvel and DC the same.
ThreeBigTacos - 8/24/2011, 8:19 PM
I may be late to the party, but these are awesome! Keep it up
Fastestmanalive - 8/24/2011, 8:51 PM
@MovieMaster
Those are actually pretty easy to figure out which came first.
Catwoman first Debuted in the 40s, shortly after Batman himself first appeared and Im not sure when Black Cat first appeared but shes from the Spidey universe and Spidey only first came around in 62 so its safe to say that Catwoman came decades before Black cat.

And same goes for Red skull, he came out shortly after Cap himself in 41, and Black mask is a biit more of a modern Batman villian, came out in the late 70s or early 80s.

Btw I still remember Black mask's first appearance, it was creepy as hell, definetly worth checkin out if u wanna freak urself out a little lol.
Fastestmanalive - 8/24/2011, 8:54 PM
Also I dont know who ripped off who, but DC's Deadshot and Marvel's Deathlock are complete copies of each other, from being assasins to thier costumes.
Fastestmanalive - 8/24/2011, 8:57 PM
Never mind just looked it up, Deadshot first appeared in Batman in 1950 while Deathlock first appeared in Astonishing Tales in 1974.

ScionStorm - 8/25/2011, 2:17 AM


:D
CorndogBurglar - 8/25/2011, 5:12 AM
@ scion

haha! The Infragnable Crunk!

@ tacos

Thanks buddy!

@ fastestman

I don't know, Deadshot and Deathlok might have similar costumes and both be assassins, but their similarities stop there. Deathlok is a zombie-cyborg mercenary. They don't really have much in common.
Fastestmanalive - 8/25/2011, 9:04 AM
@CBD
Oh I just thought Deathlock had some added machinary to him I dident know he was a zombie too, well at least I get them mixed up alot, probably also due to thier names, u know death/dead or shot/lock.

Oh and I just remembered Black mask is actually not a copy of Red skull, first off who thet are, Red skull is a Nazi, and Balck mask is a mobster.

And as far as looks go, originally Black mask did not have a skull face just a......well, Black mask, the skull thing came much later.
m1312020 - 8/25/2011, 9:05 AM
@Stumblin I know I'm late for the party,but to be fair
to that scum Liefield Captain America himself isn't
that original.CorndogBurglar can do a whole series on
the patriotic hero's that sprang up from the Shield.

Shield(January 1940)
Captain America(March 1941)
CorndogBurglar - 8/25/2011, 5:48 PM
@ fastestman

yeah dude, Black Mask and Red Skull get a lot of flack, but they really have nothing in common.

Even Black Mask's skull face is just one of his masks that got permanently burned to his face. Before that, he wore all types of masks, because he's obsessed with them. :)
OptimusPool - 1/25/2012, 8:52 AM
Deadpoool is actually a spoof of Deathstroke, doesnt rally count. Hmm... have you thought about Vermin and Killer Croc? Naw, that one sucks. Killer Croc and Abomination?
OptimusPool - 1/25/2012, 8:54 AM
@Fastestmanalive Theres always Deathlock and Cyborg!

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