Alternate Company Equivalent
Occasionally, when two creators are striving to fill the same niche or appeal to the same demographic, one will end up creating characters and stories that bear a more-than-passing resemblance to the other's.
For instance, Marvel
, being the most prominent producers of comics, have led a sizable rivalry, sometimes friendly, sometimes not. This is sometimes reflected in the creation of characters. You could argue that, given the sheer number of characters in comic books, certain superpowers will overlap. Occasionally a new character, even one who appears for a short time, seems suspiciously similar to another.
Usually, this is done as overt parody or homage. If not, it can be seen as one ripping off the other; however, occasionally it happens by pure coincidence, and the characters become fondly remembered equivalents. When the rival creators both fully embrace this trope, it may be hard to sort out the original characters from the Captain Ersatzes
See also Expy
, when a character is probably based on another character but not obviously supposed to be that character. When this happens to TV shows, video games or movies, you have Dueling Shows
, Dueling Games
and Dueling Movies
, or a case of Follow the Leader
Compare Counterpart Comparison
, Serial Numbers Filed Off
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- Marvel RRREEEAAALLLLYYY likes to have characters based on Superman.
- The Sentry has a backstory that he was supposedly created in the '60s, but was powerful enough that he actually made his writers and readers forget he existed.) In both powers and personality, he's changed enough to be different from Superman, if only by being Ax-Crazy, and handled in (sometimes) interesting ways beyond being a rip-off.
- Gladiator is even more blatantly another Superman (his real name is Kallark, has heat vision and freeze breath, vulnerable to one specific type of radiation) not to mention a reference to Gladiator, the inspiration for Superman.
- Hyperion of Squadron Supreme. To make matters worse, this character has many alternate reality versions, such as the one in Supreme Power.
- For some strange reason, fans tend to regard the Incredible Hulk as the Marvel Comics equivalent of Superman. The two of them were even pitted against each other in the Marvel vs DC crossover.
- Blue Marvel has powers very similar to those of Superman. The character's purpose was to basically examine what would've happened if Superman had been black and ended up fighting crime during the 60's.
- One could also make the argument that Captain America is the alternate company equivalent of Superman. This isn't in terms of power, obviously, but due to their roles as leaders (and forefront boy scouts) at each company.
- Even Spider-Man can be seen as an equivalent to Superman by way of Clark Kent. A nerd who works at a daily newspaper office for a grumpy boss but secretly fights crime in a red & blue costume. Even the wisecracking nature of the character and being chased by the police have roots in Superman's early days.
- A number of people see Thor as Superman's equivalent due having similar powers (flight, super strength), coming from another planet, and being seen as a god by the people of Earth. The red cape helps as well.
- DC has a few different Captain America equivalents. The most notable is probably Commander Steel and his various successors, all of whom have costumes and abilities extremely similar to those of Cap. The original Steel even had the same basic origin, with the only difference being that his strength was derived from robotic limbs rather than a Super Serum.
- Justice League Unlimited Lampshaded the similarities between the two by having Steel perform Captain America's trademark shield throw during the final episode.
- There's also General Glory from the Justice League International, who was essentially Captain America crossed with Shazam. He even had an Expy of Bucky named Ernie.
- Agent Liberty is another Justice Leaguer who was influenced by Cap.
- The Guardian, who was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, the same duo that introduced Captain America. He wasn't a patriotic hero, but had abilities and an indestructible shield similar to Cap's.
- It can be said that Captain America is the equivalent of Uncle Sam of the Freedom Fighters, who predates Cap by 8 months.
- Marvel has had several Batman equivalents, starting with Nighthawk of the Squadron Supreme (of whom there have been at least three different versions) and Moon Knight, who has a similar role, abilities, equipment and even a butler assistant. Daredevil is often seen as one as well and operates in a vaguely similar City Noir setting, and Iron Man matches well in the department of gadgetry and Crimefighting with Cash.
- This was lampshaded in Mark Waid's Daredevil run, where a random passerby referred to the title hero as "Red Batman".
- One of the Nighthawks even gained artificial wings, turning him into an ersatz of another DC hero, Hawkman. Note that DC had their own masked hero named Night Hawk, but he was a gunfighter in the Old West (and apparently, a reincarnation of Hawkman!)
- Night Thrasher of the New Warriors was a close analogue, right down to an almost identical origin note and a similar role within his team.
- Also, Spider-Man has a similarly large and diverse Rogues Gallery.
- Mongul of DC, who was created by Jim Starlin to rip off Thanos of Marvel, who was created by Jim Starlin to rip off Darkseid of DC.
- King Faraday and Nick Fury.
- Still in the Marvel Universe, the original lineup of the superpowered Imperial Guard surrounding the Shi'ar empress Lilandra was composed of alternate company equivalents of DC's Legion of Super-Heroes.
- Also Marvel: The company's 1980s-vintage New Universe line originally started with the idea of taking DC's most famous character concepts and doing them Marvel-style; however by the time the New Universe reached the stands, the only survivor of this concept was Star Brand, based on Green Lantern. That said, Quasar is the Marvel-proper answer to Green Lanterns, as is Nova. Quasar's powers are nearly identical and Nova is part of an intergalactic police force, akin to Green Lanterns.
- Green Goblin, Arcade, Carnage and Bullseye are considered each corresponding hero's answer to The Joker, not just because of their status as Arch Enemies but because how they each have traits that only they truly share with the Joker, with the Goblin sharing the laugh, the ham factor, the inhuman madness and intelligence, and Joker Immunity (to a point). Bullseye shares the unknown identity, the unusual weapons, and rivals even Joker for the title of most insane man in comics. Nowadays though, Norman Osborn has a persona of a manipulative Lex Luthor and a persona of a crazed Joker and will flip between the two at the drop of a hat.
- Technically, Carnage is Mr. Zsasz with a symbiote, Arcade is more of an expy of The Mad Hatter, and Bullseye is equivalent to Deadshot.
- Fantastic Four homages in DC Comics:
- Adventures of Superman #466 told the story of a space shuttle crew whose encounter with a Negative Space Wedgie gave them mutations reminiscent of the Fantastic Four; in a subversion, the results were painful, unstable, more of a disadvantage than an advantage, and ultimately fatal. (One of the crew, however, was later brought Back from the Dead as the Cyborg Superman, a recurring villain who irrationally blamed Superman for the accident.) Amusingly, he was the villain in the Intercontinuity Crossover Superman/Fantastic Four. And he noticed the parallels between his origin and that of the Fantastic Four.
- The Fantastic Four and their origin are also homaged in an issue of Booster Gold, where Booster stops a rocket launch and four suspiciously familiar astronauts complain about it.
- The final issue of the "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite"(sic) Superman arc revealed an unusual fact about Mxyzptlk; he sometimes goes slumming in a universe that resembled the Marvel Universe, under the guise of a green-and-purple shapeshifting alien (in other words, Marvel's Impossible Man) while tormenting a quartet of heroes who vaguely resemble the Fantastic Four. The issue even borrowed the plot twist from Impy's first encounter with the FF, by having the FF walk away from their antagonist, essentially refusing to play with him. Later, though, after the two characters had developed in different directions, they confirmed themselves as separate characters, and really disliked each other.
- The Fantastic Four are themselves reminiscent of an older DC Comics team, the Challengers of the Unknown (also a Jack Kirby creation), albeit ones that became better known than the original.
- In Justice League America, the writers jokingly pointed out the similarities between Fire and the Human Torch by having a citizen mistake Fire for her Marvel counterpart. He was cut off before he could explicitly call her "Human Torch," but the intention was clear.
- DC's Lobo is an obvious parody of the gritty Nineties Anti-Hero (though he first appeared in the eighties), while his powers are specific parodies of Marvel's Wolverine. Lobo himself was parodied in Marvel when Deadpool meets up with a very similar character named "Dirty Wolff".
- The circle came 'round again when Marvel came up with Lunatik, an even more over-the-top (if that can be believed) parody of Lobo. It should be noted that both characters were created by the same person.
- Lobo also has another equivalent in Rob Liefeld's Bloodwulf. Of course, all of Liefeld's characters are stupidly overmuscled grizzled anti-heroes - this time he just meant it as a joke. The cover of the first issue of his comic features Bloodwulf smiling menacingly as Lobo's limp body hangs from his own chain, by the way. And the second issue features a cameo by Lobo as a drunken has-been.
- DC once did this to itself: In a Pre Crisis story, Superman met accidental dimensional traveler Captain Thunder, who was very obviously based on the Shazam version of Captain Marvel which DC owned and was publishing by that time.
- Of course, before DC bought the character, Captain Marvel was the Fawcett Comics Equivalent to Superman. Since DC's acquisition, they've put the characters through Divergent Character Evolution.
- Captain Marvel himself has what is considered to a Marvel Comics Equivalent, not specifically due to similar powers or characterization but because Marvel Comics has their own hero called Captain Marvel. (Fawcett's trademark to the name lapsed before DC got the character, so Marvel took advantage.)
- DC's Swamp Thing and Marvel's Man-Thing are very similar, yet debuted within a month of each other, too close together for one to be based on the other. It may be worth noting that Len Wein, the creator of Swamp Thing and Gerry Conway, the creator of Man-Thing, were roommates at the time. According to That Other Wiki, Man-Thing co-creator Steve Gerber later asked Wein about Swamp Thing in order to distinguish the two characters more. It's also worth noting that both characters are extremely similar to The Heap from Hillman Periodicals, who predates either of them and is now in the public domain. There is a copy of WHAT THE? in which Man-Thang fights Swamp-Thang over who stole whose origin.
- Same with Marvel's X-Men and DC's Doom Patrol (which may be inspired by Marvel's Fantastic Four).
- Though DC's Legion of Super-Heroes may be the origin of much copied in the X-Men.
- Iron Man's foe Blizzard and The Flash's foe Captain Cold. The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes even included a Shout-Out to this by having Blizzard wear a parka like Cold.
- The authors of DC's Freedom Fighters and Marvel's Invaders decided to do a pseudo-crossover; each team fought a team based on the other called (in both books) The Crusaders.
- Marvel's Squadron Supreme is a direct take off of the classic DC Justice League lineup. J. Michael Straczynski retooled them in Supreme Power, re-doing character backstories which made them both more realistic and a little more distant from their original versions (except for Hyperion, who became more like Superman). When Supreme Power was starting up, DC tried to sue Marvel over it, but the judge ruled that they'd let it stand too long.
- Lampshaded in the JLA/Avengers crossover series when Hawkeye, upon first seeing the Justice League, assumes they're nothing more than Squadron Supreme wannabes.
- Many consider the Avengers to be Marvel's equivalent of the Justice League.
- Most people forget that Marvel started out with JLA-equivalent villains called the Squadron Sinister, and it wasn't until a year or two later that their heroic counterparts the Squadron Supreme appeared. Making the Squadron Sinister a mild Take That, a semi-Affectionate Parody, or somewhere in between.
- Definitely the latter. It was a mutual in joke between DC and Marvel, see the below entry for clarification.
- In the 70s, the Justice League faced a team of Avengers-duplicates called the Champions of Angor. In the 80s, they joined forces with the remains of that team against duplicates of Sabretooth (Tracker), Doctor Octopus (Gorgon), Magneto (Dr. Diehard), Doctor Doom (Lord Havok), and Dormammu (Dreamslayer). Two members of the Champions would subsequently join Justice League Europe: Bluejay (based on Yellowjacket) and the Silver Sorceress (based on the Scarlet Witch). A few years after that Bluejay was, very briefly, the leader of the united Justice League.
- The original Squadron Supreme and Champions of Angor stories were the result of another pseudo-crossover, in the same spirit as the Crusaders stories, and instigated by the same writer (Roy Thomas).
- The 2007 miniseries Lord Havok and the Extremists, featuring an alternate version of Angor (the Supreme Power to the original's Squadron Supreme?), continued this, for instance establishing that Diehard is the Sorceress's father and used to run a school for metahumans. It also introduced the Champions' leader Americommando (Captain America) who is President (after the death of President Tin Man, that is) following something very like Marvel's Civil War and having an affair with Bluejay's wife (a reference to the Cap/Wasp relationship in The Ultimates).
- A Story Arc in Superman/Batman featured "The Maximums", parodies of both the Marvel Universe's Avengers and their Ultimate Marvel equivalents, the Ultimates. In the last issue, Mxyzptlk did a Lampshade Hanging on this, asking the other characters to guess who they were based on. (The in-story answer was that they were created by mix-and-matching aspects of Superman and Batman. What, if anything, this was meant to imply about the Marvel writers who created the Avengers is left as an exercise for the reader.) Ironically, the writer of that arc, Jeph Loeb, went on to write The Ultimates themselves some years later. Which, some might argue, also featured parodies of the original Ultimates.
- Particularly (and intentionally) brutal ACEs of the Justice League, the X-Men, and the Avengers appeared in Garth Ennis' The Boys - Superman has a very nasty counterpart in the Homelander, Batman's is suffering from a brain tumor which induces sexual deviancy, Wonder Woman's is a completely disillusioned drunken slut, and generally, all 'heroes' are either utter bastards and bitches, or, if well-meaning, ineffective idiots.
- And again in Garth Ennis' The Pro, which features a prostitute who accidentally gains superpowers and joins a JLA-equivalent whose members are at best borderline delusional ineffectives and at worst hypocritical perverts. This guy seems to have a major beef with superheroes.
- And in the early 80s, DC had Captain Strong, a sailor who got super-strength from chewing an alien weed, and who was, weirdly enough, an Alternate Company Equivalent of Popeye.
- Another unusual example was the group of gargoyles encountered by Justice League Europe in Justice League Showcase #1, based closely on the characters in Gargoyles, except that, apart from Behemoth (Goliath), his ex-wife Diabolique (Demona), and his Evil Twin Thomeheb (Thailog), they were named after areas in Paris, rather than New York. The story was written by Gargoyles creator Greg Weisman, making them Expies as well.
- Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi) of the JLA and Captain Marvel/ Photon/Spectrum (Monica Rambeau) of The Avengers. Not only do both heroines sport light manipulation powers and black and white costumes, but Doctor Light was actually conceived as a black woman before George Perez and Marv Wolfman realized this would make her seem too similar to Monica.
- The comic book series Planetary displays numerous examples of this trope in almost every issue, as the series focuses on the fantastic elements of popular culture and genre fiction as seen in a more 'realistic' context, often explored and examined from a skewed perspective; some are almost exact duplicates, others are loose homages. This includes versions of the Fantastic Four (who in this universe are the villains, the chilling part being that they aren't incredibly different from the originals), John Constantine, Superman, Wonder Woman, Nick Fury, Doc Savage, The Shadow, and many, many others.
- Kurt Busiek's Astro City takes what sounds like the Planetary approach. As above, the range runs from near-duplicates ("The Furst Family", who act like the Fantastic Four, are all related, and have the same initials) to ones that sounds like Silver Age characters you must have known about but can't quite remember.
- Wildstorm's The Authority has at least two counterpart teams in Marvel and DC. The titular hero of the X-Man comic visited an alternate world and met analogues such as Nicola Zeitgeist (Jenny Quantum), Thor (Apollo), Nightfighter (Midnighter), and City Dweller (Jack Hawksmoor). In the Superman comics, Superman faces off with the Elite over their extremely brutal and often fatal method of dealing with supervillains. Interestingly, two of the Authority's most recognizable characters, Midnighter and Apollo, are clearly based off of Batman and Superman, respectively. Ironically, a later series established Apollo as his universe's version of the Ray, a minor DC hero. (Probably because Wildstorm already has Mr. Majestic, a much closer Superman analogue who has met, and even briefly replaced, the original Man of Steel. As with many of the above examples, Majestic is more ruthlessly pragmatic in the use of his Superman-like powers— he generally just shoots them.)
- The Authority battled a team of A.C.E.s based on Marvel Comics' Avengers. The ones that were named were Commander (Captain America), Hornet (The Wasp), Titan (Giant Man), and Tank Man (Iron Man).
- Apollo and Midnighter originated as part of a super-black-ops team also containing analogues of Wonder Woman (Amaze), the Green Lantern (Lamplight, employing the lamp of another Green Lantern analogue destroyed by the Four in Planetary), Martian Manhunter (Stalker), The Flash (Impetus), and Black Canary (Crow Jane). The Authority itself forms partly as the result of a clash between earlier supergroup Stormwatch and another obvious JLA analogue, the Changers. The Doctor and the Engineer (technically, the Engineer II) of The Authority are spiritual successors of the Changers' Doctor Fate and Green Lantern analogues; despite having them as well as Apollo and Midnighter on board, the team is not actually Justice League-like at all.
- Planetary/Authority: Ruling the World also features nasty tentacly Lovecrafty versions of the Authority for about one panel. The Wildstorm universe is absolutely lousy with this kind of thing.
- They even riffed on themselves, really. In the Monarchy series (basically tl;dr in comic book form) the bad guys were a parody of the Authority...kind of. Really, their personalities weren't that far removed from the originals, the main difference was they were all reptiles and/or Lovecraftian monsters...for some reason, it was never very clear. Apparently the Carrier spread the Authority's "bad vibes" through the Bleed or something. It was a shitty comic, ok, no one knows what the hell The Monarchy was about.
- They were the authority of a parallel universe. In Stormwatch PHD Jackson says that the Doctor spiked his drink (LSD/drug trip) at the carrier party hinting it was Jackson wanting to be the "authority" and all the crazy situations they get into. He got over it. It seems as of Wildcats #22 the Monarchy is indeed real but the book and the ending still does not make any sense in the Wildstorm Universe.
- Then there was the Amalgam Universe Crisis Crossover (sort of) that resulted from the Marvel vs. DC storyline - Amalgam Comics being an Alternate Company of Marvel and DC, whose characters were pairs of Marvel and DC characters (Dark Claw, for example, was Batman mixed with Wolverine).
- A minor DC villain, Zuggernaut, is obviously based on the Guyver. What's odd is that the five issues he was in came out in the very late 80s, before the campy movies debuted and before America really heard of the franchise. (Most likely the author read the manga, which did not get a major translation until the early 90s to tie into the movies.)
- Marvel's Deadpool looks suspiciously like DC's Deathstroke, both of them starting off as evil mercenaries; even their names are similar (Wade Wilson and Slade Wilson respectively, though Wade was not named until years and many writers after his intro) but through Character Development, and Deadpool's No Fourth Wall ability, they're now completely different from each other.
- Acknowledged in Superman/Batman's first annual, written by former Deadpool writer Joe Kelly, which involves the heroes fighting both Deathstroke and their Evil Counterparts. Deathstroke's good counterpart from the same universe as the villains is portrayed as being an obvious Captain Ersatz of Deadpool, complete with the regeneration powers and smart-alec attitude.
- There's an old joke amongst comic fans: "Where you you practice your Deathstroke? In the Deadpool."
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog is full of these, having met in-universe versions of characters from Dragon Ball Z and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, as well as other comic companies.
- Cross-Pacific example! One issue of The Punisher has the titular Anti-Hero killing alternate versions of Lupin III and his gang.
- And in a back-matter side story in an issue of X-Men Classic (a series that reprinted the Chris Claremont run of Uncanny X-Men with new stories often enhancing the main feature or focusing on a particular character), Sean Cassidy/Banshee, while still an Interpol agent, is on the trail of a jewel thief called Arsene and his gang, who just coincidentally look like Jigen and Goemon.
- Another anime-to-American-comics example: Japanese super-team Big Science Action in The DCU features pastiches of Ultraman, Astro Boy, Kaneda from AKIRA, and the robots from Mobile Suit Gundam.
- And another: in the 90's, there was a Japan-based hero team at Marvel called Big Hero 6. One member was called Honey Lemon and is believed to be based somewhat on Cutey Honey.
- Jiro Osamu, the New 52 version of Batman Japan (formerly Mr. Unknown), is inspired by Kamen Rider.
- Skinbender from Ghost Rider is a pastiche of Sailor Venus.
- The new Sentinels from the short-lived X-Men spin-off Mystique were deliberately designed to resemble Evangelion Unit-02.
- An arc of Marvel's The Incredible Hercules featured the Amazons as villains, and the main villain, Princess Artume, was an obvious stand-in for Wonder Woman (her name is that of the Etruscan Goddess of the Hunt, compared with the Roman one, Diana). It was revealed she had not been born from her mother, but had been created from a marble statue (Harder than clay... that Wonder Woman was made out of).
- Marvel seems to be attempting to make Artume's mother Hippolyta into their Wonder Woman equivalent. They've rechristened her "Warrior Woman" and have given her a costume clearly based off that of Wonder Woman.
- She-Hulk is often as hailed as Marvel's Wonder Woman counterpart, as noted on her page quote, and the two are often pitted against each other in crossovers and "Who Would Win?" debates. However, it can be argued that Wonder Woman actually has more in common with Captain America, despite being different genders. See the Analysis page.
- In The Eighties, the Teen Titans teamed up with a group called the ReCombatants who bore a similarity to Eclipse Comics' DNAgents (the name is a pun on "recombinant DNA"). At the same time, the DNAgents teamed with the members of Project: Youngblood (no connection Rob Liefeld's later team of the same name, which was also a take on the Titans).
- The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book and cartoon have The Justice Force, yet another Justice League A.C.E. About half its members ape Justice Leaguers to some extent, with the most blatant being Green Mantle, a parody of Green Lantern on everything from costume to civilian name to comic book cover.
- In Thom Zahl's romance comic Love and Capes, the hero, his best friend, and his ex-girlfriend are clear expies of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman respectively.
- All of the super heroes in Love and Capes are thinly veiled A.C.E.s, and they're not all based on DC characters. The whole thing is a super hero parody in sitcom form.
- Big Bang Comics eats this trope for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has several snacks along the way. Every BB character is an A.C.E. of some Silver Age, usually DC, character. A few qualities are mixed and matched, but most are very recognizable.
- Similarly, Alan Moore's 1963 solely featured A.C.E.s of classic Marvel characters; Mystery Incorporated, for instance, forms a perfect 1:1 likeness to the Fantastic Four (Planet = The Thing, Crystalman = Mr. Fantastic, Kid Dynamo = The Human Torch, Neon Queen = Invisible Woman). Additionally, U.S.A. is Captain America, the Fury is Daredevil/Spider-Man, N-Man is the Hulk, and Hypernaut is a combination of Iron Man, the Silver Surfer, and (for variety's sake) the Green Lantern. Joined by Infra-Man and Infra-Girl, they form a counterpart team to the original Avengers.
- Many Image Comics characters are these. Spawn is officially based on Venom and the Prowler (the latter mainly in design and origin and the former in powers and personality) and detective Sam Burke is Harvey Bullock with another name. Omni-Man and Invincible are Darker and Edgier Superman and Superboy Equivalents, and many Invincible villains are similar to Spider-Man enemies (the Elephant is an obvious Rhino analogue, Doc Seismic is the Shocker, etc.). There's also Youngblood, which was originally Rob Liefeld's pitch for a Teen Titans series before becoming their own characters in Image. Supreme is a dubiously in-continuity version of Superman throughout the ages. And Doc Rocket is Jesse Quick.
- Most characters from Freedom Force and Freedom Force vs 3rd Reich are analogues of famous Marvel/DC characters. We have Minuteman (Captain America), the Ant (Spider-Man), Quetzalcoatl (Thor with little Captain Marvel), Law & Order (Cloak & Dagger), Bullet (The Flash), Tombstone (Ghost Rider + The Punisher + Deadman) and many others. Villains also fill in this trope with Time Master (Galactus), Pan (Loki), and Blitzkrieg (Leader/Red Skull).
- Although Time Master is probably closer in look and deed to Kang the Conqueror.
- Word of God says that Tombstone is their Batman, but his biggest influence seems to be The Spectre.
- Less Than Three Comics is full of these. Both Uncle Sams (Captain America), Thunderbolt (Thor), Blackbird (Batman), and Mr GL (The Flash) to name a few.
- The Punisher took the character of Mack Bolan, The Executioner, from a series of men's fiction novels written by Don Pendleton and translated it into comic book form. Family killed by the mob, swears revenge, becomes a vigilante and winds up taking on every type of bad guy in the world.
- Perry Moore's teen novel Hero has a superhero group called the League, which as you might suspect has a line-up full of very blatant A.C.E.s of the Justice League (and a brief cameo from a Captain America-equivalent), though the main character and his fellow new recruits are originals.
- Aaron Williams's PS238 is made of this trope, with elementary-school versions of Superman ("Captain Clarinet"), Green Lantern ("Emerald Gauntlet"), Batman ("Moonshadow"), Spawn ("Malphast"), Morpheus/Dream ("Murphy"), Plastic Man ("Polly Mer"), Spider-Man ("The Flea"), and Incredible Hulk (Bernard, who hasn't selected a name, probably because he's stuck in Hulk form). There are also some adult versions, as several of the kids have parents (and Moonshadow has a mentor) who represent the same superheroes they do.
- Nikolai Dante, from 2000 AD, ran into versions of the Fantastic Four and Captain America in the "Amerika" arc.
- It didn't start off like this but 52 DC's Monitors are basically Grant Morrison's version of Marvel's Watchers.
- The relationship between DC's Green Arrow and Black Canary is mirrored in Marvel's Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Their weapons and personalities are also all similar.
- DC has Amazo and Marvel has the Super-Adaptoid.
- Marvel has the Thunderbolts while DC has the Suicide Squad. Both teams are headed mostly by reformed villains or bad guys forced to fight crime.
- Marvel and DC have two futuristic superhero teams with ties to the present continuities: Guardians of the Galaxy and Legion of Super-Heroes. Both teams are vastly different but share the same concept as well as "modern" versions of said teams: Galactic Guardians and L.E.G.I.O.N.
- In later years Marvel has been trying to play up Ms. Marvel as their Wonder Woman, even though she started as their Supergirl. Storm is sometimes thought to be a better equivalent to Wonder Woman as they are both the most popular female heroes of the companies and fought against each other in a crossover.
- DC's Cassandra Cain (Batgirl) and Marvel's X-23 are very similar in many ways, which has been noted by fans. To clarify: they were both raised as assassins and had really crappy childhoods, they are both severely lacking in social skills because of that, they have similar relationships with their father/mentor (depending on which girl you're talking about), they have similar skill sets and fighting styles, and they're both rather dark and intimidating in looks/costume design. On the other hand, X-23 is superpowered while Batgirl is not, and X-23 has a Dark Action Girl personality while Batgirl is quite the opposite.
- As Hispanic (or Half-Hispanic) replacements for insect (or arachnid) based characters created (or co-created) by Steve Ditko this claim has been made about Jaime Reyes and Miles Morales.
- In the introduction of "The Judas Contract" Teen Titans paperback, Marv Wolfman says he was banking on a perception of this by readers. Chris Claremont had recently introduced young, cute, spunky, and slightly bratty Kitty Pryde to his Uncanny X-Men to much positive reception. So when the young, cute, spunky, and slightly bratty Terra joined the Titans, people assumed she would be much the same. From the beginning though, it was clear that Terra was absolutely opposite in personality from Kitty, constantly lying to and provoking her teammates and eventually revealed to be The Mole for Titans arch-enemy Deathstroke and a full-blooded sociopath to boot. Wolfman admitted he was totally banking on the shock value of a "Kitty Pryde turns evil" revelation.
- "Shiner", a comic strip from Whizzer and Chips by the publishers IPC, about a boy who always gets into fights, is very similar to an older strip in The Beano from rival publisher DC Thomson called Scrapper. The strip ran in the 1950s but it was a spinoff from "Lord Snooty and His Pals" focusing on one of his pals. Unsurprisingly this pal is called Scrapper, who was one of Snooty's original pals, first appearing in the Beano's first issue in 1938 and still making appearances in the Lord Snooty strip until the late 80s. Another strip in another of DC Thomson's comics, The Beezer, had a strip coincidentally called "Scrapper", also about a boy who always got into fights; unlike The Beano strip of the same name this strip ran at the same time as Shiner appeared.
- In terms of resident speedsters, DC has The Flash and Marvel has Quicksilver. Although there are beings capable of super-speed in both universes, both men are the best-known speedsters for their respective sides, both are considered the fastest, and they've been paired against each other in crossovers (which of them will win depends on the story and/or reader voting). The major differences between them include the fact that the Flash is a Legacy Character (at least four different individuals in DC's comic timeline have inherited the title from the Golden Age to now) whereas Quicksilver is the only known individual whose sole power is moving really fast; Flash is unquestionably a hero, whereas Quicksilver's gone through the Heel-Face Revolving Door several times; and Flash gained his speed through a Freak Lab Accident (Speed Force connection notwithstanding), whereas Quicksilver got his speed by virtue of being a mutant. Another key difference between them is that The Flash can run at the speed of light, whereas Wolverine's claws are unsheathed at a faster speed than Quicksilver can run.
- Static and Spider-Man. The main difference besides powers being that Static is an ethnic minority and deals with gangs more than jocks/bullies. Even confirmed by the late Dwayne McDuffie to be a modern reinterpretation of Spider-Man, that he came up with during his time working at Marvel, but it didn't go through 'til he published it under Milestone Comics, which DC eventually bought, making him the A.C.E. for two companies opposed to Marvel. Power wise, the much more powerful grown up Static is about the same as Magneto.
- Mogo The Living Planet, DC's answer to Ego The Living Planet, though more well known as he is a Green Lantern.
- Doctor Fate and Doctor Strange, DC and Marvel respectively, both of whom have been referred to as "The Sorcerer Supreme" though it's the latter's official title. Fate is a legacy character, however, and Strange actually is a medical doctor (former surgeon).
- Dan Dare from the Eagle had a couple one was Captain Condor in the Lion and another was David Garratt which appeared in Collins Boys' Annual. Eventually the publisher of the Lion bought the Eagle and the two comics merged although by that time both Captain Condor and Dan Dare no longer appeared in both comics.
- Not a character but a series, DC's Tiny Titans can be seen as an answer to Marvel's Mini Marvels. The difference being that Tiny Titans features the sidekicks as kids, whereas Mini Marvels features EVERY superhero as a kid (or not).
- During the Golden Age of Hollywood, film stars and other talent were normally contracted to a single studio. Sometimes one studio lent a performer or director to another studio, but in other cases, studios sought out performers in hope of replicating other studios' successes.
- Due to Disney Channel and Nickelodeon having affiliations with some record labels (Walt Disney Records/Hollywood Records for the former and Sony Music/Columbia Records for the latter), this is inevitable. Examples include:
- The Disney song "When You Wish Upon a Star" is compared to the Jim Henson song "The Rainbow Connection". This is pointed out in the TV special The Muppets at Walt Disney World.
- In the late 1920's MGM had a musical revue with a hit song, "Singing in the Rain". Warner Bros., on the other hand, had a hit song called "Singing in the Bathtub". Both would be immortalized later on, MGM's song through it's use in the Gene Kelly movie in the name name, Warner's song through its use in numerous Looney Tunes cartoons.
Myths & Religion
- The ancients found equivalent deities in every nation's religions, using the interpretatio graeca, in which any given foreign deity was equated to a Greek one, or the interpretatio romana, in which a foreign deity was equated to a Roman one. For example, the Semitic Astarte was taken as the equivalent of Greek Aphrodite; the Egyptian Amon was taken as the equivalent of Roman Jupiter. Sometimes syncretic temples were consecrated to the fusion of both gods into a single cult; for example, during the Roman period in Egypt, temples were built to Jupiter-Ammon.
- Most Indo-European mythologies have very similar gods, either as the result of them having their origins in a single ancient religion or because both are personifications of the same concept. Examples include Hades and Tuoni, Apollo and Freyr, and Zeus and Indra.
- Thanks to cultural syncretism, and on rare occasions, complete coincidence, Christianity shares many similarities with various other (older) religions. Jesus in particular seems to have several counterparts in other cultures, which makes a lot of sense if you think about it - most notably Horus, Mithra, and Dionysus (which are also similar to each other), all of which come from mythologies Christianity incorporated numerous elements of.
- Actually the similarities with said characters are few and far between. More often they only similar in the most basic senses of the words. Said similarities are only claimed due to them being blown out of portion by writers looking for a connection. Often things which are claimed as the same are not at all alike, for instance a parallel is drawn between the use of Bread and Wine by Dionysus and Christ's followers, however for Dionysus it was a symbol of hedonism and self pleasure, Dionysus being the god of such things, while with Christ it is used to represent him giving his body and blood to his followers. All in all, most similarities are rarely as similar as its sometimes claimed and there is very little evidence of them taking inspiration from each other.
- Demolition were an Alternate Company Equivalent version of The Road Warriors. Amusingly both teams ended up in the WWF in 1990 resulting in Demolition matches with the Legion of Doom. The Powers of Pain, initially created as Evil Counterparts of the Road Warriors in 1987 for Jim Crockett Promotions, were quietly split up in the meantime.
- Abyss can be considered the TNA version of Kane.
- Unintentionally, AJ Styles and John Cena. Both debuted in 2002, were the faces of their company, wore colourful attire and had a career degeneration in 2012 and a revival in 2013
- By being inept wrestlers and shown to be good lawyers, Joseph Park and David Otunga have become this in TNA and WWE.
- Originally AAA's La Parka Jr. was the Alternate Company Equivalent of WCW's La Parka (though the latter started in AAA, and thus they owned the mask). When WCW's La Parka joined CMLL, he was forced to become L.A. ParK, Alternate Company Equivalent to the now Jr-lacking La Parka.
- WWF's D-Generation X were created to rival WCW's New World Order. The popularity of the NWO meant that WCW was beating WWF in the ratings, and Vince McMahon couldn't let that happen. The main creative players behind the NWO, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, are best friends with the main guys who came up with DX, Triple H and Shawn Michaels. They were all originally in WWF together as a group known as the "Kliq." As a result, both groups had some similar mannerisms such as the crotch chops, the wolf hand signal, and leaning on the 4th wall referencing their counterparts.
- Sting in WCW and Ultimate Warrior in WWF. Both were frequent main event players who often played second bananas to the top guy of their promotion (Ric Flair in WCW and Hulk Hogan in WWF) but held the torch for a period of time. Ultimate Warrior and Sting started off as a tag team before they got into the major leagues, and were well-known for their face paint and overly toned and tanned physiques. Both men kept these traits in their major companies. Sting's initial WCW gimmick was that of a surfer while Ultimate Warrior's orange skin, long hair, and frequent use of the word "dude" implied he was some sort of surfer type. Their early theme songs are even both take offs of "Seek and Destroy" by Metallica. Sting eventually became known more as an agile technical wrestler after being mentored and groomed by Ric Flair while Ultimate Warrior was a power wrestler who would allegedly get tired after doing his trademark entrance of sprinting to the ring. Ultimate Warrior would come to WCW for a short stint and inherited Sting's penchant for gaudy trench coats. They would reunite for a tag team match against Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart making for a great contrast of their styles, such as Sting's more simple red and black clothes and Ultimate Warrior's vaguely military tye-dye attire.
- Bandai's Machine Robo line of Transforming Mecha (later licensed to Tonka as the Gobots) to Hasbro/Takara's Transformers. Made even more confusing by the fact that Hasbro later acquired the Gobots license, but not the one for the original Machine Robo.
- To make matters more confusing, since Hasbro's acquisition of Tonka, Go-Bots occasionally show up in Transformers: Cy-Kill and Scooter were both killed by Jhiaxus, Cop-Tur and Leader-1 are Minicons (possibly homages rather than ACES), and Crasher (under the name Fracture, sometimes) has officially crossed over and leads a squad of Decepticons, and even has a toy out.
- A number of companies tried to make their own equivalents to Mattel's Barbie. One notable example is Hasbro's Maxie. Although Jem predated her, she was primarily music themed, with Jem mainly shown as a singer (although Hasbro had planned to have Jem "branch out" at one point before the toyline was discontinued). Maxie is a much closer equivalent as a girl featured in many different roles (although she is mainly a high school student), though not as many as Barbie.
- Bratz sort of counts, but their main feature is removable feet, so they can wear different shoes. There's also the Moxie Girlz from the same company.
- Takara's Licca-chan has often been called "the Japanese Barbie". She's just as famous in Japan as Barbie is in the U.S.. Another doll made by Takara, Jenny, actually started out as Barbie before she got renamed sometime in the 1980s.
- Pedigree Toys' Sindy is the UK equivalent, especially in The Eighties. When she was first launched in The Sixties, she had a design that suggested she was the same age as the child playing, rather than the 20something Barbie. The most recent Sindy doll from New Moon has returned to that.
- Plastic-bricks-that-click-into-each-other construction toys other than LEGO:
- This also shows up in Fighting Games. For example, we have Mai, Yuri, Chun-Li and Sakura, the first two from SNK's The King of Fighters series and the latter two from Capcom's Street Fighter series. A great deal of lampshading is done in the prefight conversations of SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, as the characters who resemble each other comment on the similarities.
- Dan Hibiki of the Street Fighter series was created as a parody of Ryo Sakazaki and Robert Garcia, with some of Yuri's mannerisms thrown in. Similar to the above example, Dan is frequently mistaken for Robert in the crossover games due to a pronounced (and intentional) resemblance, and is also considered a counterpart of fellow goofball Joe Higashi.
- Of course, Dan was a response to Ryo and Robert, who were originally made as A.C.E.s of SF's Ryu and Ken. This isn't particularly surprising, considering that the men behind Art of Fighting (Hiroshi Matsumoto, Takashi Nishiyama) were also responsible for Street Fighter in the first place. (Furthermore, Ken's wealth and kick-happy style was established long after Art of Fighting came out, whereas Robert was always like this.)
- SNK Vs Capcom Match Of The Millennium goes one step further; picking one character (ex. Ryu) will result in you fighting your Alternate Company Equivalent (ex. Kyo) just before the final match. At least one of them is even a case of Distaff Counterpart (Guile and Leona).
- All these years later, and Capcom and SNK are still doing this. Back in 2000, SNK introduced Vanessa, a single Fiery Redhead mom with noticeable... assets who works as an Action Girl secret agent. Fast forward nine years later, and Capcom introduces Crimson Viper... A single Fiery Redhead mom with noticeable assets who works as an Action Girl secret agent.
- The recursive example of Iori-Remy-Ash Crimson. Remy, from Street Fighter III, was plainly designed to resemble SNK characters, Iori Yagami in particular, but given charge-based moves to differentiate him/establish him as III's Guile counterpart. Then KOF 03 debuts Ash Crimson, an effeminate bishounen with charge-based moves who is clearly designed to resemble Remy. Both characters are from France as well, adding another parallel.
- A video game example: SNK's Garou: Mark of the Wolves (1999) to Capcom's Street Fighter III (1997-1999). Both are critically praised, well-balanced, highly technical fighters known for pushing the technological capabilities of 2D fighters at the time and possess stellar soundtracks. In addition, many of the mainstays from previous games were Put on a Bus (but still made cameos) to emphasize the new roster (III only had Ryu and Ken at first, followed by Akuma in 2nd Impact and Chun-Li in 3rd Strike, while Terry Bogard was the only returning character in Garou; both games, however, featured analogues to previous fighters). The two games even featured similar defensive concepts: Parrying (Blocking in Japanese) and Just Defending.
- Few know that Art of Fighting 3 had done it before either of them (although it lacks the Time Skip factor present in both Garou and SFIII, as well as the aforementioned defensive maneuvers).
- Arcana Heart has a few blatant ones, as far as moveset. The most blatant is lead Heart Aino, who has half of Ryu's moveset herself, and the other half on her default Arcana.
- The King of Fighters roster welcomed squeaky, half-insane Muay Thai asshole Hwa Jai, right after the Super Street Fighter IV roster welcomed squeaky, half-insane Muay Thai asshole Adon. Although Adon was introduced before Hwa, Hwa was already pretty unhinged in his Fatal Fury debut in 1991 whereas Adon became so by way of his Street Fighter Alpha redesign in 1995.
- Midway gave us Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, an Intercontinuity Crossover which features the alternate major comic book publisher and major fighting game franchise of The Nineties to the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
- Later happened when they made Injustice: Gods Among Us, which, while not not a crossover as it features DC characters (and one Mortal Kombat character), can be seen as an answer to Marvel vs. Capcom 3, being released as the latter is played in tournaments and was made with the competitive scene in mind, which Marvel vs. Capcom 3 is a big part of. They're both seen as superhero fighting games and the cover of Injustice features Batman fighting Superman over Green Arrow's dead body, however, his hood is up and the metallic hue of his skin make him resemble Doctor Doom, a commonly played Marvel vs. Capcom character in the competitive scene, giving the illusion that they're fighting over the dead body of the franchise they're rivalling.
- Dark Reign is a near equivalent of Command & Conquer, even if both games are very different in several ways.
- From Software unfortunately didn't have the rights to their own game, Demons Souls, so they made their own cross-platform spiritual sequel, Dark Souls which was quite popular and successful.
- Though their gameplay styles are very different (almost polar opposites, in fact), the BioShock and Fallout series could be said to be counterparts of each other. Both have a similar style, playing off the culture and sci-fi visions of the future of early to mid-20th century "Golden Age" America while at the same time depicting what a hateful, nasty, paranoid mess it really was, one taking place in the past, the other in a future where said culture reached its logical conclusion; both are sequels or Spiritual Successors to hit computer games from The Nineties; both have soundtracks full of classic period music and their Aesops, reflected by their gameplay and story, are mirror opposites of each other, the former being a linear narrative about slavery and the inevitability of fate while the latter is an open world with various different options and Multiple Endings, showing how one person can change history. On a smaller scale, while Fallout: New Vegas's Robert House is mostly based on Real Life industrialist Howard Hughes, Bethesda makes no secret of the fact that he's partially inspired by Andrew Ryan, even giving you an achievement if you kill him with a golf club. Amusingly, they're even both played by actors whose most famous roles were opposite each other on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- Sega had Congo Bongo as their answer to Nintendo's Donkey Kong.
- The Battlefield franchise has been around since the early 2000s, but more recently has been aggressively marketed as EA's answer to the Call of Duty franchise, with Medal of Honor presumably there to pick up the slack in odd-numbered years.
- Likewise, Titanfall was funded by EA as a counterpart to Activision and its Call of Duty franchise.
- Dark Cloud was seen as Sony's answer to The Legend of Zelda series when it first came out, as with Kill Zone and Halo.
- Playstation All Stars Battle Royale was Sony's crossover-fighter equivalent of Nintendo's Super Smash Brothers, even acknowledging their inspirations and using the latter game's name as youtube tags in pre-release videos.
- The Kingdom Hearts series introduced Yen Sid as the Big Good and revealed he was a Keyblade Master. They then introduced another Keyblade Master- Master Eraqus as Square's counterpart to Yen Sid, his name being a corruption of Square backwards (as Yen Sid is Disney backwards) and had him resemble an eastern samurai-archetype as opposed to Yen Sid's western wizard-archetype, and had him resemble Final Fantasy series creator Hironobu Sakaguchi.
- Gameloft has every game from their parent company Ubisoft copied.
- Batman Beyond has the "Terrific Trio", three people who gained superpowers in a scientific accident. The whole thing was a parody of the Fantastic Four.
- To some extent, Terry and some of his Rogues Gallery are this to Spider-Man and his villains: Terry/Peter Parker- young hero who has to Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World and whose personal life suffers for it; Shriek/Shocker- inventor who didn't get credit for his work and so turned to crime- the difference in weaponry is soundwaves versus concussive force; Stalker/Kraven the Hunter- expert hunter who chooses the hero as a target; Spellbinder/Mysterio- villain with technology that makes him a Master of Illusion, although Spellbinder is partly supposed to be a high tech Scarecrow.
- Justice League Unlimited did a homage to Marvel's Defenders; the original team had the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Sub-Mariner, Silver Surfer, and Nighthawk, while the homage had Solomon Grundy, Doctor Fate, Aquaman, A.M.A.Z.O., and Hawkgirl. (Using Hawkgirl for Nighthawk is a bit odd, since Kyle himself is the main Marvel Universe version of the Squadron Supreme's Batman-character. But Grundy couldn't have called Batman "Bird-Nose".)
- Alternatively, Hawkgirl could be considered an equivalent of Valkyrie, another early Defender.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold The Faceless Hunter is the Herald for Starro just like Surfer is for Galactus. The catch being he didn't ask for his planet to be spared, he asked for it to be destroyed!
- In early 2012, Cartoon Network started a block called DC Nation, featuring cartoons and shorts adapted from DC Comics. Less than a month later, Disney XD premiered a block called Marvel Universe, featuring cartoons and shorts adapted from Marvel Comics.
- From Ben 10 Will Harangue an news anchor who is a clearly based of J Jonah Jameson for his Irrational Hatred for Ben, except he would try to attack Ben if he could. He also openly supports The Incurseans when they banished Ben from Earth, and still call them heroes when they are clearly there to occupy Earth with an army of giant aliens who will destroy Earth should Ben ever comes back.
- Common in Real Life armed forces. Happens with guns, tanks, jets, even nukes. If it isn't at least based on another country's stuff, it's the original to be copied for some other country's stuff.
- The success of the M16's smaller 5.56mm round was copied by the Soviets for the 5.45mm AK-74 (not to be confused with the earlier AK-47, which it is derived from), and eventually the Chinese 5.8mm round.
- The American F-86 Sabre is the counterpart of the Soviet MiG-15.
- The Imperial German A7V was made to counter the British Mark I tank in World War 1.
- Happens a lot in the soft drink industry, since everyone wants to be able to round out the standard set of varieties carried in vending machines and affiliated restaurants: cola, lemon-lime, orange, root beer, and whatever the heck Dr Pepper is. (Contrary to popular belief, there are three major companies in the US: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the guys who make 7-Up and Dr Pepper, whose name has changed at least five times since we were in seventh grade but is currently known as Dr Pepper Snapple Group.)
- Cola: Coca-Cola and Pepsi (natch), and also Royal Crown
- Lemon-lime: 7-Up, Sprite (Coca-Cola), and Sierra Mist (PepsiCo)
- Orange and usually other fruit flavors: Fanta (Coca-Cola) and Crush/Sunkist (both DPSG); PepsiCo affiliates and vending machines usually carry Sunkist
- Root beer: A&W (DPSG, though they also own Hires and IBC), Barq's (Coca-Cola), and Mug (PepsiCo)
- Citrus (actually grapefruit): Squirt (DPSG), Fresca (Coca-Cola)
- The other citrus: Mountain Dew (Pepsi) and Mellow Yellow (Coca-Cola).
- Outside the realm of sodas, PepsiCo has Gatorade and Coca-Cola has Powerade; and PepsiCo's AMP energy drink competes with Coca-Cola's Rockstar.
- Third party knock-offs will usually have names that make their origin blatant; for example, Walmart's answer to Dr Pepper is Dr Thunder. (In fact, just about any company or supermarket will have a drink of some sort called "Dr ___________" or "________ Pepper")
- When you get right down to it, even the staffs at both DC and Marvel are pretty similar to each other.
- Offbeatr is a fundraising website specialising in pornographic projects, created because pornography is not allowed on Kickstarter.
- Done by pharmacy companies all the time. Whichever company develops the new drug gets the trademark and the patent for a certain number of years; when that expires, generics are available and other companies can market their variant of the same base drug. (This is why first-run brand-name drugs are so much more expensive, especially before the patent expires; the company that develops the drug has to pay an arm, a leg, and possibly several organs to get government approval, and they have to recoup it somehow.) See, for instance, the OTC painkiller ibuprofen, trademarked under several dozen names all over the world, most notably Advil, Motrin, and Nurofen.