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Comic books, especially those published by Marvel and DC, have an extremely long history of making characters that fit the same positions as those from the other company.


Marvel was intentionally marketed by Stan Lee as DC's cooler and more hip alternative from the 1960s to the 1990s. While none of Marvel's stuff directly echoes DC, many of them riff on the roles and status many of DC's characters have in their own universe:

Superman Substitutes

  • Marvel is rather fond of Superman Substitutes.
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  • The Incredible Hulk is the World's Strongest Man, the same status Superman has in DC. Although the idea is executed differently for each hero, both have a duality between a shy, nerdy civilian identity and a super strong hero persona. The two of them were pitted against each other in the Marvel vs DC crossover, and there was even a The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman one-shot crossover in the late 90's. Some of Superman's more modern takes, namely his fears that he lives in a world made of cardboard and has to constantly hold back rather than let lose can be sourced in Bruce Banner/The Hulk's fears about his powers. Recent takes which include Lois Lane's crazy general dad Sam Lane is more less taking Bruce and Betty and Thunderbolt Ross's dynamic and giving it to Clark Kent.
  • The Fantastic Four was originally the Marvel response to the Justice League and collectively Marvel's "first family" have the same in-universe status that Superman does as being the major respected heroes. The Baxter Building is their take on the Fortress of Solitude, i.e. a home that has technology and gizmos and stuff and portals into other dimensions (Phantom Zone/Negative Zone). Likewise, Reed Richards and Doctor Doom are very much based on Superman and Luthor being a rivalry where The Cape opposes a Mad Scientist who wants to Take Over the World with the latter having an Irrational Hatred for the hero.
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  • Spider-Man or rather Peter Parker is a more up-to-date take on Clark Kent, orphaned kid raised by foster parents. A nerd who works at a daily newspaper office for a grumpy boss but secretly fights crime in a red and blue costume. Even the wisecracking nature of the character and being chased by the police have roots in Superman's early days. His love-life and woes with him/Gwen/MJ/Felicia can also be sourced to Superman and the girls who had crushes on him (Lois and Lana). Likewise Spider-Man and Superman both share the distinction of actually marrying their long-time girlfriends. Spidey was originally conceived as a teenager, so Peter Parker was essentially picking up where Billy Batson (who had been planned as a child and aged into his teens, and was out of print when Lee and Ditko created Spidey) left off. Whenever Spider-Man teams up with Daredevil, their dynamic echoes the World's Finest team-up albeit on a much smaller scale.
  • Spider-Man's sidekick Virtue/The Tiller was basically an extended Take That! towards Superman for as long as he lasted, though his story was more Goku from Dragon Ball in that he was a member of a still active, if endangered group of warmongers who did not know his true origins or purpose.
  • As of 2012, Marvel's true Superman equivalent is none other than Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel herself.
  • Captain America is often viewed as Marvel's own version of Superman. Both are heroes who wear blue and red costumes. Both are the leaders of their universe's respective number one teams. Both are often the used as the moral center of their respective universes. Captain America's recent philisophical clashes with Iron Man (viewed as Marvel's Batman by many) can also be viewed as mirroring how DC often puts Superman and Batman at odds.

Batman Substitutes

  • 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.
  • Frank Miller's take on Daredevil is widely seen as his audition for writing Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. He turned what had been a lighthearted swashbuckling hero into a Film Noir inspired superhero which anticipates the transformation undergone by Batman thanks to him. Many have pointed out that Matt Murdoch's Daredevil is more "batlike" than Batman (he's blind and navigates by echolocation-like sonar), while his horns and red eye-lenses gives him the look of The Cowl. Likewise he also studied ninjutsu from Eastern mystics. His dynamic with Elektra also has parallels to Batman/Talia/Catwoman and Hell's Kitchen under Frank Miller's take is Marvel's own Gotham City. This was lampshaded in Mark Waid's Daredevil run, where a random passerby referred to the title hero as "Red Batman". Whenever Daredevil and Spider-Man team-up, it's basically Marvel's own World's Finest duo.
  • Captain America as Earth's greatest martial artist with his Robin like sidekick Bucky Barnes and use of gadgets and his shield which often works as a boomerang is quite similar to Batman and his batarangs. In terms of personality he is more like Superman and is often considered The Cape for them. Bucky's death and the way it haunted Steve anticipated and/or inspired Batman losing one of his own Robins and likewise at nearly the same time, both Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes returned Back from the Dead Brainwashed and Crazy before becoming anti-heroes.
  • Iron Man, Anthony "Tony" Stark, a billionaire playboy genius philanthropist is Marvel's own take on Bruce Wayne and Crimefighting with Cash. His more colorful costume and the general focus on global business and Arms Dealer make Tony a more global, and at times cosmic, player than Batman does however. Iron Man's Powered Armor in turn inspired modern takes on Batman's outfit.
  • As a Small Steps Hero worried and committed to their city, Spider-Man also echoes Batman. Most notably, the fact that Spider-Man is a grappling, swinging, roofhopping and parkouring hero, long before Batman started doing that (his grappling hook comes from the Tim Burton movie). Another similarity between them is that they're both motivated by the loss of parental figures at the hands of criminals. Like Batman, Spider-Man also has an animal motif (and both spiders and bats are often seen as scary). In a case of Recursive Adaptation, the 90's cartoon Batman Beyond made Bruce's Legacy Character Terry McGinnis into a Peter Parker-style hero (guilt over parental figure's death, need to atone, having an on-off long-term relationship with an outgoing party girl) which in turn led back to more modernized versions such as Spiderman Homecoming (where Peter much like Terry is patronized by an older superhero in his case Tony Stark). Spider-Man 2099 can also be viewed as an ACE to Terry as both are legacy characters created in the 90s whose stories take place in cyberpunk futures. Though Terry debuted in a cartoon while Miguel is from the comics.
  • 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.
  • Black Panther. A wealthy, orphaned Gadgeteer Genius, who while not as strong as his teammates, makes up for it by being a world-class martial artist and a master tactician. His helmet even resembles the silhouette of Batman's cowl.

Wonder Woman Substitutes

  • The Mighty Thor is Marvel's Spear Counterpart to Wonder Woman as he too has ties to a real-life mythology (Norse/Greek), a manipulative magic user serving as a constant nemesis (Loki/Circe), and a homeland of Crystal Spires and Togas (Asgard/Themyscira). He's also seen as Superman's equivalent due to having similar powers (flight, super strength), coming from another world, and being seen as a god by the people of Earth. The red cape helps as well. Once Jack Kirby left for DC, you had the New Gods which he saw as Thor's Spiritual Successor.
    • Kirby once did a DC Comic in 1957 that featured a cowboy coming across Thor's hammer in the desert and taking his power. Kirby has claimed that this was where Marvel got the idea for using Norse myth. The Asgardians make a few cameos from time to time in DC Comics
  • In Greco-Roman mythology, the Amazons of Themyscira and the Greek hero Heracles share a rivalry, since Heracles seduced Queen Hippolyta and stole her enchanted belt. This carried over into both DC and Marvel comics:
    • In the DC Comics, Hercules Unbound (debuted in 1941) is a misogynistic and villainous character who was punished by the Amazons for defiling them; he later became an anti-hero who sought redemption for his actions. In the Marvel comics, it was the reverse: The Incredible Hercules (debuted in 1965) was a superhero (and Thor's best friend) and Hippolyta and the Amazons were villains. Hippolyta had a daughter called Artume, and she was a parallel to Wonder Woman.
      • Ironically, when DC and Marvel did a crossover Wonder Woman encountered Marvel Hercules and was disgusted at how different things had become.
    • Marvel and DC also had their own versions of the Greco-Roman war god Ares, both of whom were initially villains but later got anti-heroic portrayals.
  • She-Hulk is often hailed as Marvel's answer to Wonder Woman, as noted on her page quote, since she too is a morally just and physically strong Amazonian Beauty. Both are often pitted against each other in crossovers and "Who Would Win?" debates. This was parodied when She-Hulk began to doubt her own right to existence after Power Princess Zarda, a Wonder Woman pastiche from the Justice League pastiche Squadron Supreme, was suggested by TVA Officer who was looking for ways to erase She-Hulk without fundamentally changing the timeline.
  • In later years Marvel has been trying to play up Carol Danvers as their answer to Diana Prince. Although she started out as Marvel's Supergirl (female sidekick to a male humanoid alien), Marvel's 2012 retool made her a leading lady. Most notably, her origin movie resembles Diana's as it too is a prequel that is set in a past decade after she'd already appeared in the present day.
  • Storm is sometimes thought to be a better equivalent to Wonder Woman as she is also the most popular female hero of her universe and is worshipped in-universe as a deity. It also helps that since The Avengers were not originally much like the Justice League and The X-men were Marvel's most popular team aside from maybe the Fantastic Four the two had been receiving a similar amount of promotion for a long time. They also share a composed, regal, Lady of War / Lady of Black Magic bearing. When the Amalgam Universe merged the heroes of both universes, Ororo and Diana became Princess Ororo of Themiscyra.
  • America Chavez is a Flying Brick warrior princess from an all-woman utopia, who willingly left that utopia because she wanted to be a hero.

Legion of Super-Heroes Substitutes

  • 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.
  • Marvel and DC have two futuristic superhero teams with ties to the present continuities: the original Guardians of the Galaxy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Both teams are vastly different but share the same concept as well as "modern" versions of said teams: the modern Guardians and L.E.G.I.O.N..
  • As previously stated the X-Men's Wolverine was (partially) based on the Legionarre wildman Timber Wolf, this includes the Horned Hairdo, and while they both use claws Wolverine's are quite different and much more iconic.

DC Comics

Captain America Substitutes

  • 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 much like Cap, was a Badass Normal with an indestructible shield.
  • In a reversal it can be said that Captain America is the equivalent of Uncle Sam of the Freedom Fighters, who predates Cap by 8 months. Uncle Sam turned out to be less human and more Anthropomorphic Personification over time though.
  • Possibly DC's most amusing Capt. sub is Rex The Wonderdog, since he's a dog. He only really has the bit about being a WWII vet and sole success of a Super Soldier experiment prior to the serum, scientist in charge and notes being destroyed in a Nazi attack in common with the Captain, since the military was testing things on animals instead of injecting experimental untested drugs into humans in this verse.

Fantastic Four Substitutes

  • 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.note 
  • 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 Amalgam Comics, the two are combined to make the Challengers of the Fantastic.
  • 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.
  • The DC series The Terrifics is pretty explicitly one for the Fantastic Four, likely due to the latter team being Screwed by the Network as of 2017. The team's lineup possesses the same roles as the original team, with the somewhat distant Badass Bookworm and superscientist (Mr. Terrific to Mr. Fantastic), the jokey prankster with impressive powers and a good heart (Plastic Man to Human Torch), the rough-edged Boisterous Bruiser with a monstrous look (Metamorpho to The Thing), and the down-to-Earth younger woman with the ability to vanish (Phantom Girl to Invisible Woman). The creators have even explicitly cited the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four stories as an inspiration.

Spider-Man Substitutes

  • 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.
    • Miles Morales, Peter's successor in the Ultimate Universe is considered by some to be Marvel's answer to Static as both are black teenagers in the Peter Parker mold. Miles even has Shock and Awe powers just like Static.
  • From around Infinite Crisis on the Blue Beetle has been shaping up to be DC's Spider-Man counterpart, both of them being wisecracking bug-themed (well, spiders are arachnids, but still...) superheroes who have an Affirmative Action Legacy. This is actually older than they think - Ted Kord's Blue Beetle and Spidey share a common creator in Steve Ditko (and as a result, both had a flirtation with Objectivism early on).
  • Robin III (Tim Drake) was created with conscious nods to the web-slinger, such as his hobby of photography and interest in science and creating his own gadgets, and was the first Robin to act as more of an independent kid hero than a straight sidekick as well as the first to headline his own series. While the similarities were very noticeable at the start of Tim's run the differences between the two quickly became much more prevalent as those similarities were phased out.

Miscellaneous DC-Marvel examples

  • Believe it or not, Marvel actually has a character called Scarecrow. Though in a way Marvel's Scarecrow is more like a Composite Character of The Scarecrow from DC and Ragdoll, Marvel Scarecrow had an abusive mother like DC's version had an abusive aunt, but ran away to join the circus and then became a contortionist like Ragdoll is. His adrenal glands later got the ability to emit a pheromone that caused any living thing within twenty feet to have a panic attack, like DC Scarecrow's fear toxin. And when he came back from the dead he could directly cause fear in others. This is taken to its logical conclusion when the Amalgam comics combined both Scarecrows into one.
  • DC has had a few teams which can be considered to be their answer to Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy such as L.E.G.I.O.N. and Omega Men. Like the Guardians, both are a ragtag group of spacefaring heroes of varying morality.
  • Green Goblin, 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). Carnage shares the Serial Killer background as well as the complete insanity and distorted perception of the world, to the point where Cletus Cassidy is pretty much Joker bonded to a symbiote. Bullseye shares the unknown origin and 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.
  • 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 the Green Lanterns.
  • 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 distinct 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, in that they're the team which can claim all or most of the company's top heroes (although it definitely did not start this way. It took several Real Time decades for Spider-Man to join, for example. The Hulk quit after the first issue and wouldn't return until film adaptation for another). This is lampshaded in Iron Man 3, where Happy mockingly refers to the Avengers as "The Superfriends".
  • Mongul of DC, who was created by Jim Starlin to rip off Thanos of Marvel, who was created by Starlin to rip off Darkseid of DC.
  • Triumph of the Justice League is an A.C.E. to the Sentry, both being Backstory Invader Flying Bricks who were forced to wipe the public's (and the readers') memory of their existence for their own good. The Sentry, funnily enough, actually started off as an A.C.E. to Hourman, and in fact originally was him, but DC declined the pitch. Elements of Hourman still present in the Sentry include his powers coming from a Super Serum that he is addicted to, and ostensibly being a Golden Age superhero because Hourman was one himself.
  • Ambush Bug headlines a series of whacked-out 4th-wall-breaking, What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs? comics that satirize both his universe and other companies', much like Howard the Duck.
  • King Faraday and Nick Fury.
  • DC's Lobo is an obvious parody of the gritty '90s 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, and Lobo is actually a Decomposite Character of the former (the other half went into Ambush Bug). 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. That said, when a team of alternate Supermen is assembled in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond, one of the members is Earth-5's Captain Marvel, whose world is said to be simpler and kinder than that of his core DCU version.
    • Captain Marvel himself has what is considered a Marvel Comics Equivalent, not specifically due to similar powers or characterization but because Marvel Comics has its own hero called Captain Marvel. (Fawcett's trademark to the name lapsed before DC got the character, so Marvel took advantage.) Amalgam Comics merged them into a single character named Captain Marvel, while JLA/Avengers lampshaded the name coincidence by making both of them think, in unison, a "Captain Marvel, watch out!" warning. A more direct example would be Captain Hero, who like Captain Marvel was an orphaned little boy with the power to turn into an adult Flying Brick.
  • 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.
  • The authors of DC's Freedom Fighters and Marvel's The Invaders decided to do a pseudo-crossover; each team fought a team based on the other called (in both books) The Crusaders.
    • 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.
  • During Civil War, Ben Grimm refused to take a side in the conflict and briefly moved to Paris. Their local heroes were a light-hearted Justice League pastiche, riffing on how grimdark things were getting back in America. Their leader was a Superman expy (or, given his white costume and blonde hair, a Rule 63 version of Power Girl) named Adamantine. Also present were expies of Batman, Catwoman, Flash and Green Lantern - and a composite of Deadman and the Question.
  • The Ultimates (2015):
  • 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).
    • In the 2014 series The Multiversity, the characters of Earth-8 are all based off Marvel Comics properties. The Retaliators (The Avengers) consist of the American Crusader (Captain America), Machinehead (Iron Man), Behemoth (The Incredible Hulk), Wundajin (The Mighty Thor), Ladybug (Spider-Woman), Major Max (Captain Marvel), Kite (The Falcon), Red Dragon (Black Widow) and Deadeye (Hawkeye). There's also the Future Family (the Fantastic Four) and a pastiche of the X-Men called the G-Men (later the Zen-Men), whose ranks include Uni-Orb (Cyclops), Windrider (Storm), Night Troller (Nightcrawler) and unidentified analogues of Jean Grey, Colossus and a few other mutant heroes. And, of course, there's also an appearance by Lord Havok (Doctor Doom).
  • New Avengers Vol. 3 introduced another Justice League pastiche called the Great Society. The team consisted of Sun God (Superman), the Rider (Batman, right down to having the first name "Wayne"), the Norn (Doctor Fate mixed with a bit of Shazam and possibly Timothy Hunter), Doctor Spectrum (Green Lantern), the Boundless (the Flash), and the Jovian (Martian Manhunter). For bonus points, their name was a Shout-Out to the Justice Society of America.
  • The zombie Avengers team from Marvel Zombies Return was another deliberate Justice League homage, with the Sentry as a stand-in for Superman, Moon Knight for Batman, Thundra for Wonder Woman, Quicksilver for the Flash, Quasar for Green Lantern, Namor for Aquaman and the Super-Skrull for Martian Manhunter.
  • The Super-Axis from The Invaders were a similar parody of the Justice League. Master Man was supposed to be Superman, Warrior Woman was Wonder Woman, Baron Blood was Batman, and U-Man was Aquaman.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • DC's Rampage has a similar set of powers and origin to Marvel's Hulk. Some fans have also said that Doomsday is DC's Hulk equivalent in terms of power and appearance. Not to mention Solomon Grundy whose hulking form and stilted speech paterns significantly predates the Hulk's. And Loose Cannon (The New 52 continuity has two of them). And The New 52 Damage. DC really seems to be as fond of Hulk's analogues as Marvel is of Superman's.
  • 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.
    • Harley Quinn introduced another Deadpool parody named Red Tool, who even has bizarre speech bubbles similar to the ones used by Deadpool. The character was created by Jimmy Palmiotti, another former Deadpool writer.
    • Christopher Priest introduced Death Masque, an insane Arkham Asylum inmate who pals around with Deathstroke during his run on him. Death Masque is quite insane, but more lighthearted than ol' grim-n-gritty Deathstroke. As Slade begins to suspect that certain previous events were merely figments of their imagination, Death Masque blurts out "Of course! But I know the key to the universe, Mr. Liefold! There's a man... with a typewriter... Alright, let's admit it. It would be freaking ironic if they sued us." Christopher Priest was the one who originally gave Deadpool his fourth-wall breaking schtick. Perhaps Death Masque is his way of giving us the Slade/Wade team-up book of our dreams.
    • There's an old joke amongst comic fans: "Where do you practice your Deathstroke? In the Deadpool."
  • Harley Quinn has become this for Deadpool—both involve bisexual Anti-Heroic/Anti-Villainous characters who have Denser and Wackier adventures, and their outfits even feature similar red and black color schemes. Some of their specific storylines are pretty similar, such as the Deadpool Corps vs. the Gang of Harleys.
  • 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.
  • Angel from the X-Men or The Falcon could arguably be seen as the Marvel equivalents of Hawkman. The latter was even shown battling Hawkman on one of the JLA/Avengers covers.
    • As mentioned above, Nighthawk was pushed as Marvel's equivalent of Hawkman for a while. Justice League even had Hawkgirl (Hawkman's Distaff Counterpart) as Nighthawk's stand-in for the show's version of The Defenders.
    • In the Golden Age, Marvel's (Timely at the time) Red Raven could be seen as their answer to Hawkman.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In Laura's film debut, Logan, she is played by 11 year old Dafne Keen, making her a good bit younger than the teen she's usually portrayed as being. Cassandra's film debut in Birds of Prey (2020) has her portrayed as similarly younger than her comic counterpart by 12 year old Ella Basco. Although it remains to be seen if it's a coincidence or it was intentionally done like the Wonder Woman movie influencing Captain Marvel example above.
    • Another example would be DC's Scandal Savage. Debuting about a year after X-23. She shares her Wolverine Claws (even if Scandal's are gauntlets, rather than biological), her Dark Action Girl characterization and her Healing Factor which she also got from her father.
  • As Hispanic (or half-Hispanic) replacements for insect (or arachnid)-based characters who are successors to characters created (or co-created) by Steve Ditko, this claim has been made about Jaime Reyes and Miles Morales. Similarly, some fans see the Jaime Reyes version of Blue Beetle and the Sam Alexander version of Nova as counterparts. They're both good natured Mexican-American teens from border states who got their powers from extraterrestrial artifacts. Their books also share the same comedic, Lighter and Softer tone.
  • 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.
  • 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 by the general populace and casual reader(deeper analysis into either universe reveals this isn't close to true), 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 Quicksilver's running speed has fluctuated between the sound barrier to slightly more than the speed of light, whereas the Flash hasn't had a real limit to his speed since the speed force concept was introduced.
  • Mogo The Living Planet, DC's answer to Ego The Living Planet, though better 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). They got merged into Doctor Strangefate in Amalgam Comics. Although currently, DC's magic representative character seems to be John Constantine.
  • 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).
  • DC's Robins I and II, Dick Grayson and Jason Todd, respectively, and Marvel's Bucky Barnes have done this quite a bit over the years.
    • Bucky started off as a Timely Comics attempt to bottle the lightning success of the Boy Wonder, Dick Grayson. Bucky took over as Captain America after he died in Civil War, bringing his own methods to the role. Dick would do the same a year later when Bruce Wayne died in Final Crisis. After faking he was "killed" in Fear Itself, Bucky went on to continue his black ops spy work with Black Widow, in his own Winter Soldier ongoing series. Years later, Dick would also ditch his costumed identity, Nightwing, to become a black ops spy with a hot lady partner after he was supposedly "killed" in Forever Evil.
    • Bucky and Jason Todd fulfilled the Dead Sidekick role, though Bucky was killed much earlier than Jason. Bucky and Jason came back to life as gun-toting villains around the same time, though Bucky was accepted by his mentor as not having been himself, and was accepted by the superhero community after his return. Jason was not, due to being unrepentant in his actions, but in the New 52, sort-of is.
    • Strangely enough, DC attempted to replicate the success of Bucky's 2000s return with Roy Harper. Roy went from a happy single dad to losing an arm and getting a cyborg replacement, much like Bucky, and turning into a vengeful anti-hero. The wrinkle is Roy wasn't brainwashed, his daughter was killed and he became addicted to drugs again. Roy essentially filled Bucky's previous villainous role as the fallen sidekick, but this wasn't well-received and, unlike Bucky, it didn't give him that much more prominence than he already had. It was later undone with the New 52.
  • DC has Hiro Okamura while Marvel has Amadeus Cho, both Asian Teen Genius characters.
  • The Wasp from The Avengers and Bumblebee from the Teen Titans. In fact, depending on the adaptation or continuity, Bumblebee can shrink and fire energy blasts like the Wasp does.
  • The Superman arc New Krypton (and the Secret Origin retcon that followed) turned Lois and Lucy Lane's father, General Sam Lane, into one of Hulk antagonist General "Thunderbolt" Ross. Both are aging military men and emotionally distant fathers who have strained relationships with their female children. Both see their sons-in-law as unworthy of their daughters. Both relentlessly pursue and harass a superhero who, unbeknownst to them, is said son-in-law. Both are colossal hypocrites with a good dose of Moral Myopia, both turn their daughters into supervillains (Ross turns Betty into Red She-Hulk, while Lane turns Lucy into Superwoman) and both eventually become the thing they hate (metaphorically in Lane's case, and literally in Ross'). The same storyline saw longtime Superman foe Metallo become Lane's right-hand man, and gain a number of traits similar to those of Ross' henchman Glenn Talbot.
  • Grant Morrison’s The Multiversity for DC Comics and Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers for Marvel Comics. Both series started a few years apart (though Multiversity was in the planning stages much longer) and deal with the cross-through between alternate Earths, as well as the possible destruction of the Multiverse.
    • As well as a reference to the space between universes by Hickman as "Bleed", the same term DC uses, and an event in Multiversity similar to the 'incursions' facing the Marvel Multiverse. Each also features a team similar to but distinct from that company's main group of heroes (the heroes of the DC Multiverse assembled similarly to the Justice League, the Illuminati filling in for the Avengers) meeting a Multiversal equivalent to the competitions' team; the DC heroes meet "The Retaliators", while several Marvel characters battle against "The Great Society". Even Morrison's acknowledged the similarities.
  • Marvel's Ultron and DC's Brainiac share many similarities, with both being super-intelligent extremely evil Mad Scientist technopaths with robot armies, highly advanced super-tech, physical strength sufficient to lay a beat down on even the strongest flying bricks of their respective universes, and Nigh-Invulnerability on part of both their own toughness and ready supply of back-up bodies. They both have schemes that inevitably involve galactic destruction and are among the top Big Bads of their respective universes, constantly clashing with the biggest super-teams (such as the Avengers and Justice League). They also both have descendants and creations that inevitably turn against them. There are three main differences. One, Ultron is unstable and Ax-Crazy while Brainiac is much more often a cold and nearly emotionless threat. Two, Ultron is usually restricted to Earth, while Brainiac is more of a cosmic villain. Three, Brainiac has been (for the last few decades) a natural-born extraterrestrial who turned himself into a Cyborg, while Ultron has always been an Earth-created Robotic Psychopath with his relation towards his creator being a major part of his character (Brainiac from 1964 to 1983 was an android, and from 1983 to 1986 was a robot who even had a similar Skele Bot design to Ultron, but he was still an alien... created by other alien robots).
    • One could also make the case for Galactus being Marvel's equivalent to Brainiac. They are both entities who are frequently cosmic villains who possess power and abilities that are primarily science-based rather than magic-based (Galactus having the Power Cosmic, and Brainiac's 12th Level Intellect allowing him to create extremely advanced technology beyond what even the smartest of species could hope to replicate) on a scale far above what even the teams of heroes who oppose them are typically used to fighting, and to a point where they are The Dreaded to various heroes and even to other villains. They are both extraterrestrial threats who consider themselves to be justified in their pursuit of their goals—which are almost always based around taking something valuable from inhabited planets (knowledge for Brainiac to study and life energy for Galactus to consume) and rendering them lifeless—due to their extremely alien mindsets. They are often shown to make use of probes/heralds to search out for potential planets for them to harvest said valuables, and possess ships that aid them in the acquisition of their objective. During the Intercontinuity Crossover between DC and Marvel where multiple characters from both universes were amalgamated, Brainiac and Galactus were merged into Galactiac.
  • They didn't start out that way, but over the years DC's Lex Luthor and Marvel's Doctor Doom have become one another's equivalents. Both are supremely intelligent men who see themselves as the true saviours of humanity and are Driven by Envy of their nemesis. Both don Powered Armor in order to battle the heroes directly. Both frequently punch well out of their weight class, have served as the Big Bads of numerous crossover arcs, and have graduated from opposing just one hero to become universal menaces. Both have successfully taken over the world on occasion, both have briefly obtained godlike power, and both are occasionally forced into alliance with the heroes against worse foes. Perhaps most tellingly, both are regular Karma Houdinis whom other supervillains wish they could emulate, and both serve as absolutely dominant figures within their respective supervillain communities. In Squadron Supreme, both are combined into one character - Emil Burbank, who has Luthor's backstory and Doom's armour.
  • As red suits of Powered Armor that have been worn by numerous characters and are associated with a particular political ideology (Communism and Nazism respectively), it's not hard to see Iron Man enemy the Crimson Dynamo and Wonder Woman foe Red Panzer as being one another's equivalents.
  • Wonder Woman's love interest Steve Trevor has hung around not really doing much, but thanks to some recent Reimagining the Artifact, they've turned him into the liaison between the Justice League and A.R.G.U.S., turning him into the DC equivalent of Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D..
  • Marvel's The Vision and DC's Red Tornado is an interesting situation. Not only are they the premier android heroes of the Avengers and Justice League and often the subject of stories dealing with What Measure Is a Non-Human? themes, they are both re-imaginations of obscure golden age characters and originally created by vilans to destroy the league/avengers only to make a Heel–Face Turn. The fact they only debuted about a month from each other (too soon for their similarities to be anything but a coincidence) makes it even more astounding.
    • Tomorrow Woman, introduced in Grant Morrison run in JLA, also fits the role. It's not quite a coincidence, since Mad Scientist T. O. Morrow created both Tomorrow Woman and Red Tornado. Professor Ivo lampshades her similarites with Red Tornado (and, by extension, the Vision), saying that Morrow's creations have a tendency to change sides.
  • DC's Mr. Freeze and Marvel's Doctor Octopus have rather similar backstories (a lab accident that took their love interests out of the picture and altered them permanently), although Freeze is a Tragic Villain who was disabled by the accident and is driven by the goal to save his wife.
  • Marvel's Lizard and DC's Man-Bat are also quite similar. Both are scientists who were studying properties of animals to fix a disability, but the formula turns them into anthropomorphic versions of the animals whenever it is used.
  • Marvel's Wilson "The Kingpin" Fisk has had several counterparts at DC, including Black Lightning foe Tobias Whale and Nightwing nemesis Blockbuster II. All are huge, physically overpowering crime lords who maintain deathgrips on the cities they live in.
  • Nowadays The Mandarin is more Marvel's version of DC's Ra's Al-Ghul than the Yellow Peril caricature he started out as. Both are exotic warlords that pose global threats, have genius level intellects, mastermind huge plots, operate from the shadows, have numerous resources at their disposal, utilize some kind of mystical power, are highly skilled fighters, and are considered arch-enemies to Iron Man and Batman respectively. Also, they both tend to get race lifted in adaptations.
  • Around 2014, Marvel and DC launched a full-scale back-and-forth alternate equivalent arms race, once they realized that they could make money by publishing books for girls and young women. Marvel opened up the floodgates with Ms. Marvel (2014), a funny, light-hearted book about a nerdy teenage Muslim-American girl becoming a superhero. DC responded with the "Batgirl of Burnside" revamp of Batgirl (2011), updating classic Batgirl Barbara Gordon's costume to be more fashionable and practical and abandoning the "All Batman-related characters must be unhappy grimdark antiheroes at all times" edict in favour of bright colors and a promise of making Batgirl fun again. Marvel returned fire with the 2014 revamp of Spider-Woman, where Jessica Drew gets a similar costume aesthetic and art style to Batgirl of Burnside, and the accidental lightning-in-a-bottle smash hit Spider-Gwen, an Alternate Universe take on Spider-Man's dead girlfriend who shares a couple coincidental similarities to Barbara, both being fashionable daughters of cops. DC responded to Spider-Gwen with Black Canary, a total revamp spinning out of Batgirl of Burnside where Black Canary has (like Gwen) joined a band with a similarly electric color scheme. Marvel responded to that with a revamp of Squirrel Girl, for the first time ever giving the character a solo series, ramping up the comedic aspects of the character, and aiming it at the younger audiences. DC respond by giving an ongoing to Harley Quinn and ramping up the comedic aspects of the character while also launching Gotham Academy aimed at the younger audience. Marvel answered to Harley with The Unbelievable Gwenpool and to Gotham Academy with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur.
  • For that matter, it's not hard to draw parallels between Marvel's Spider-Gwen and DC's Stephanie Brown/Spoiler. Both are plucky, blonde-haired young women originally introduced as Love Interests for Science Hero protagonists Peter Parker and Tim Drake. Each only really started to come into their own after their boyfriends were out of the picture. The Spider-Gwen outfit even resembles Spoiler's earliest duds, thanks to the hood, Expressive Mask and use of purple.
  • One of the best known examples is Aquaman / Namor: both are royal rulers of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and both have human surface blood. Aquaman debuted in 1941, just two years after Namor arrived.
    • Ironically, following his repackaging as an Anti-Villain, the New 52 version of Ocean Master is much more of an A.C.E to Namor than his big brother, right down to invading the surface world once.
  • Black Adam is DC's answer to Marvel's Namor and Doctor Doom. Like the two Marvel villains, Adam is a brutal tyrant who nonetheless genuinely cares about his nation of Kahndaq and is worshipped by his subjects as a hero.
  • The New Warriors are this to DC's Teen Titans. Like the Titans, the Warriors are a team of teens and young adults. The New Warriors appeared as a team a decade after the Wolfman and Perez Teen Titans runnote . Both teams even have Atlanteans among their founding members. The New Mutants have also been called Marvel's answer to the Teen Titans, especially since both books saw their heyday in The '80s. In more modern times, both the Young Avengers and the Champions could be seen as Marvel's version of the Teen Titans.
  • Fearless Defenders is Marvel's answer to Birds of Prey being an all-female superhero team. Meanwhile, because alternate Universes are being involved, A-Force is their answer to DC Comics Bombshells.
  • Amanda Waller can be seen as DC's equivalent to Nick Fury and Maria Hill - a government worker who can serve as either an ally or antagonist to superheroes depending on the story's needs.
  • Checkmate can be seen as DC's answer to Marvel's SHIELD.
  • DC's Starro and Marvel's Shuma-Gorath. Both are one-eyed, many-limbed eldritch monsters that have conquered many worlds and pose cosmic-level threats. This is mostly coincidental, as Shuma-Gorath is an obscure Public Domain character who rarely appears in Marvel's comics and is usually protrayed as gigantic wielder of reality breaking magic and Energy Absorption while Starro is a much more frequently appearing, smaller than an adult human head, more directly leads armies and makes use of Puppeteer Parasite tactics. However, one time the Justice League battled not Starro and his minions but a gigantic Starro relative known as "The Star Conqueror", who was an obvious Shuma-Gorath nod.
  • Red Lion from Deathstroke was created to basically be the DC equivalent of Black Panther. Key difference is that Black Panther is a just ruler while Red Lion is a murderous tyrant. Then again, Red Lion was created by Christopher Priest who is also Black Panther's most famous writer.
  • Lately Arcade has become Marvel's equivalent to DC's Doctor Light. They both were silly joke villains who, after a disastrously over-the-top attempt to make them Darker and Edgier that saw them commit acts so abhorrent that it simply made readers want to see them die painfully and never, ever appear againnote , became villainous poster boys for the Never Live It Down trope.
  • DC's Vandal Savage has a Marvel equivalent in the form of Marvel's Ulysses Bloodstone. Both are immortals who gained their powers from meteorites and both have daughters that debuted in the 2000s (Scandal Savage for Vandal, Elsa Bloodstone for Ulysses). However, while Savage is a villain, Ulysses Bloodstone is a hero.
  • DC's Poison Ivy and Marvel's The Enchantress are both Femme Fatale supervillains with seduction-based mind controlling powers who frequently flirt with their respective heroes (Batman and Thor) with only a two year difference of character debut in comics.
  • Wild Storm, after being bought by DC, and Ultimate Marvel. Both were publishing lines set in parallel Universes to main DC and Marvel worlds, intended to be completely separate from them (which in both cases didn't stick). During Turn of the Millennium they were places of Darker and Edgier, modernized superhero stories that became influential on the superhero mainstream as a whole. However, as more comics from main DC and Marvel Universes took clues from Wildstorm and Ultimate, their novelty started to disappear. Attempts at shaking the status quo with big, apocalyptic events didn't help and finally, both lines were closed and both Universes erased, with more popular characters joining their respective "prime" Universe.
  • In an odd way, the Wrecking Crew of Marvel and the Royal Flush Gang of DC have become this. Both were initially organized by a preexisting villain who's now only thought of in relation to the group (The Wrecker and Amos Fortune). They both have distinctive themes where each member has a gimmick despite overlapping powersets (construction workers on one end, playing cards on the other). They're both fairly mercenary in motivation, and tend to either work for money or just steal it. But most importantly, they're the all-time champions of The Worf Effect in their respective universes, having jobbed out against dozens of up-and-coming superheroes despite having once acquitted themselves decently against the A-listers (Thor and the Avengers, the Justice League). If a writer needs to establish that a hero is doing hero stuff in one panel, there's about a 40% chance it'll be shown with a single panel of the hero punching one of the above teams in the face. Their appearance in JLA/Avengers was basically a nod to this - the two teams are both some of the first named villains to arrive to the final battle, and both get taken out by the other company's team, sharing their status as Jobbers within the multiverse.
  • The Grant Morrison maxi-series Seven Soldiers started as one for The Avengers, but it quickly went in its own direction. There are still vestiges of it in the cast, which includes a shield-wielding Badass Normal, a god created by Jack Kirby, a mystic heroine, an Arthurian knight, and an archer - and if not for Executive Meddling, it would also have included a man who shapeshifts into a dangerous monster and a nonhuman caped fellow with phasing powers.
  • A bit of Dark Matter (2017) titles seems to invoke a feel of certain Marvel characters, Damage presenting their take on Hulk and Sideways being clearly inspired by Spider-Man.
    • Damage could also be seen as DC's equivalent to Marvel's latest addition to the Hulk family - Weapon H. They are both gray, Hulk-like monsters whose stories are supposed to be throwbacks to old-school Hulk stories. in addition, while Damage has been said to look like an Darker and Edgier Hulk, Weapon H has been said to look like a more realistic Doomsday.
  • Blue Marvel can also be seen as an ACE to DC/Milestone's Icon as both are Superman substitutes who are black.
  • DC's Catwoman (Selina Kyle) and Marvel's Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) are both Classy Cat Burglars wearing black leather Spy Catsuits who have some sort of romantic banter and habit of flirting with their series' respective heroes, Batman and Spider-Man.
    • This was especially blatant during 2014 when both characters became mob bosses.
  • The version of Vixen who appears in DC Comics Bombshells is the queen of an advanced African kingdom that was never conquered or colonised by any European nation - in other words she's closer to a gender-flipped version of Marvel's Black Panther than to her mainstream-universe version.
  • Raven from Teen Titans and Magik from X-Men are seen as this to each other, one being a daughter of demon Trigon, who rules a hell-like dimension, while the other has been kidnapped to a hell-like dimension and raised by a demon ruling it, Belasco. Made even more apparent when Marvel decided to redesign Magik to make her look more Goth, like Raven. Alpha Flight character Witchfire is a clear Expy of Raven as well, up to being a daughter of Belasco. Rumor is her creator wanted to write a Raven-like character and couldn't use Magik. In later years Marvel made Witchfire into a villain, while also redesigning so that sometimes she looks like an outright Palette Swap of Raven.
    • Ironically, due to his relatively low threat level, Belasco isn't really seen as ACE of Trigon. That role is usually given to Doctor Strange's foe, Dormammu, due to them both being magical Multiversal Conquerors, ruling over realms made out of conquered Universes and also filling as a Satanic Archetype.
    • Raven could also be seen as an ACE to Jean Grey. Both are extremely powerful female characters known for turning evil, having bird-based code names and dying and resurrecting.
  • Marvel's Nico Minoru and DC's Traci Thirteen are both teenage Asian girls introduced in 2003 who have magic powers but avert the Ethnic Magician trope, Nico using Blood Magic and Traci Post-Modern Magik, with both being associated with magic staffs (although Traci doesn't actually need one). Some similarities, while certainly coincidental, are staggering. They were both introduced in 2003 and around 2007 were dating a Latino-American with science-based powers (Nico was dating Victor Mancha, son of Ultron, and Traci Jaime Reyes, third Blue Beetle). In the original stories featuring them, they also had quite a few hints of Ho Yay with another girl, Nico with her teammate Karolina Dean and Traci with Natasha Irons, niece of Steel, giving them an Ambiguously Bi status. And in the late The New '10s, they both officially became LGBTQ characters. After years of absence, Traci has been reintroduced to rebooted DC continuity during DC Rebirth in 2016, now as a young adult dating Natasha, with Word of God stating she is a lesbian. Meanwhile, a relaunch of Runaways for Marvel Legacy (fittingly, Marvel's answer to Rebirth) had Nico, now a young adult, pursuing a romance with Karolina (although with no official statement whenever she is gay or bisexual).
  • DC's Mister Mxyzptlk and Marvel's Impossible Man as both are the Great Gazoo. In one comic, it was joked that they were the same character, but they met in a Crossover that disproved this.
  • DC's Trigon and Marvel's Mephisto, as they are their universe's equivalent of the Big Red Devil.
    • Neron, a villain introduced during DC's Underworld Unleashed event, is another ACE to Mephisto as both are demons whose modus operandi is to make deals.
  • DC's The Flash and Marvel's Spider-Man are both Science Hero characters who get their powers from freak accidents. Barry Allen is typically characterized as an awkward, somewhat bumbling nerd who hides behind his superhero moniker, much like Peter Parker does; he's also typically had issues of The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life like Peter, and in the last decade or so has had his origin retconned to involve a lot more tragedy like Peter has. Wally West meanwhile has been a superhero since he was a teenager like Peter, he had a very rough childhood that he got through thanks to an Uncle who's name begins with 'B' (who's death motivates him to pursue his superheroing); the reader watched as he grew from a relatable teenager to a young adult and saw them get married, and a point has often been made about them coming from a working class background and approaching their superheroing as a working class job like Peter did ('friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man'), and despite his rough backstory, he's a jovial, jokey, fairly upbeat Deadpan Snarker who likes to taunt his enemies.
    • This reflects somewhat in the latter two's primary love interests, Iris West-Allen and Linda Park-West, respectfully, as they both take aspects of Peter Parker's two primary love interests, Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Like Gwen and Peter, Linda didn't initially get along with Wally at first, and was typically the serious minded of the pair in their relationship; meanwhile, Iris was the 'first girl' of Barry like Gwen was for Peter (not counting his high school love interest Betty), but was tragically killed by a supervillain (Green Goblin/Reverse-Flash). Like Peter and MJ, Iris is a case of Heroes Want Redheads and she acted as something of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who he later married and became a confidante of his superheroing, and in recent rewrites has been characterised as a childhood friend; Linda and Wally meanwhile are shown to have a very flirty and playful relationship like Peter and MJ (while maintaining the Manic Pixie Dream Girl dynamic but flipping it so Wally is the 'dream girl'), and due to his public identity she provides an emotional support and constant aid during his superheroing, and during occasions where she's threatened by supervillains is often an active participant in shutting them down instead of merely waiting to be rescued. They've repeatedly suffered setbacks that have often put a 'pause' on their relationship, and despite her not being the 'first girl' is typically seen as his primary One True Love. Also, like MJ, Linda initially wasn't going to be the main love interest for Wally until fandom popularity saw her Promoted to Love Interest.
    • Even their villains follow a similar fold. Both have a large, colourful set of villains who are typically science-related much like the titular hero, with many forming together as a group to take on the hero together (The Sinister Six/The Rogues). Though some of their villains are indeed monsters, they often fight villains who are just out-of-work but very smart engineers who've used their skills to develop tech to commit crime as a means to earn a (not very legitimate) living, with many even pulling Heel Face Turns at times. However, they maintain an arch-nemesis who has a deep, personal, and incredibly petty hatred for them that has lead to a brutal rivalry that's cost the hero many loved ones (Green Goblin/Reverse Flash). Their second-most prominent villain is a dark reflection of the hero, bestowed similar powers through a different means who uses them to engage in psychotic attacks against said hero, while maintaining a strange, distorted moral code (Venom/Zoom).
    • In recent years, this has increased significantly thanks to Spider-Man comics introducing the 'Web of Life' as the origin of his powers; a semi-mystical, interdimensional power source that the freak lab accident actually connected him to, providing an alternate explanation for the scientific impossibilities in their origin, pretty much giving Spider-Man his own Speed Force. Both are connected to the multiverse itself, and so its since opened up the character to exploring alternate universe counterparts and a larger-than-life, cosmic level scale, without the character having to leave the 'working man's hero' level. As an extra, this power source also connects them with other characters with similar powers, creating a whole family of Spiders/Speedsters that they frequently team up with. This includes a woman who's powerset is similar, but maintains significant differences including some level of temporary flight and have similar first names, and were initially completely unrelated characters until their powers were both connected to this same Meta Origin (Jesse Chambers, and Jessica Drew), and recently a biracial, half-black youth they take under their wing who's beloved uncle was a supervillain (Wallace West, and Miles Morales).
    • Both Spider-Man and the Flash also have an Australian villain who fights using tricked-out boomerangs (Boomerang and Captain Boomerang respectively, although Boomerang was originally a Hulk villain who was moved over to Spider-man for being such a non threat).
  • John Henry Irons aka Steel is often viewed as DC's equivalent to Iron Man. Both are normal human engineers who are motivated to become Powered Armor clad heroes after their weapons are used for nefarious purposes. In a roundabout way, Riri Williams, an Iron Man legacy and distaff counterpart can be seen as DC's answer to Natasha Irons, who is John's legacy and distaff counterpart.
  • G. Gordon Godfrey plays a similar role in the DC Universe as J. Jonah Jameson does in the Marvel Universe, even having a similar alliterative name. He's an obnoxious public figure with an obsessive hatred of meta-humans, who uses his platform to spread a smear campaign and turn the public against them. In Jameson's case it's one particular meta-human that ruffles his feathers, though he occasionally shows hatred towards all of them, Depending on the Writer. One main difference is that Godfrey does it to help Darkseid undermine Earth's heroes, whereas Jameson does it simply out of petty, Irrational Hatred.
  • The Marquis of Death, aka Clyde Wyncham. could be considered Marvel’s answer to Superboy-Prime. Like Prime, Clyde is a teenage comic fan from the “real world” who turns out to be his world’s first and only superhuman, gets transported into the world of comic books, spends years trapped in a false paradise, escapes and grows up to become a dimension hopping, virtually omnipotent Omnicidal Maniac.
  • Though she didn't start out this way, Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch has since become the Marvel equivalent to DC's Zatanna, as both are beautiful sorceresses who are the main mage characters of their respective teams. Originally, Scarlet Witch had the power to alter probability before Kurt Busiek re-wrote her as having the natural ability to control chaos magic, similar to how Zatanna can naturally control magic due to being a Homo Magi. Wanda's 2016 solo series reveals that she inherited her mystical abilities from her mother just as Zatanna inherited her magic from her mother.
  • Lady Shiva and Elektra. Both are martial artists and assassins who alternate between being heroic and villainous.
  • Ever since his resurrection and reinvention as the gun-wielding vigilante who clashes with other heroes, Jason Todd has pretty much been DC's equivalent to the Punisher.
  • Wonder Woman villain Circe has two among Thor's rogues, Amora and Loki. Like Amora, Circe is a Lady of Black Magic who dresses in green. Like Loki, Circe is a mischievous godly sorcerer with a craft for manipulation.
  • The Kate Spencer iteration of Manhunter can be seen as DC's answer to Marvel's Daredevil. Like Matt, Kate is a practicing lawyer who moonlights as a vigilante in red, fights with a staff weapon and has a tragic personal life.
  • Wade Eiling and Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. Both are General Ripper characters who serve an antagonistic role to superheroes whose origins involve nuclear power. Ross's transformation into the Red Hulk also mirrors Eiling's becoming the Shaggy Man.
  • Earth X was explicitly designed to be Marvel's version of Kingdom Come, a Bad Future story set in a world where most of the current generation of heroes have given up and decided to just let the world rot, written by Alex Ross.
  • Pantha of the Teen Titans is this to Wolverine: Both have gold and blue costumes, pointy masks, a wild animal motif, feral behavior, sharp claws (Femme Fatalons, in her case), mysterious pasts and a similar origin, as they were abduced and experimented upon, being labeled with a nickname having a "X" (she's X-24, he's Weapon-X). She would be closer to X-23, even down to the near-identical number designation, but it would be years until X-Men: Evolution would introduce the character, so if anything, Laura took the "X-YZ" naming scheme from Pantha.
  • Darkseid has two Marvel equivalents: Thanos (as shown on the page image) and Apocalypse, with Thanos having his Omnicidal Maniac tendencies and Apocalypse being more like his Evil Overlord side.

DC or Marvel versus other companies

  • In the 1940s, Captain America was seen as Marvel's equivalent of an Archie Comics hero named the Shield. The reason Cap switched out his triangular shield for the now iconic circular disk is because Archie Comics actually complained about it looking too similar to the Shield's chest plate.
  • As a heroic monster working for a secret government agency fighting supernatural threats, the titular character of Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. could very easily be seen as DC's equivalent of Hellboy.
  • 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, one of Batman's is suffering from a brain tumor which induces sexual deviancy (and the other is the Homelander's clone, hates him and is partly responsible for the aforementioned nastiness), 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.
    • Billy Butcher himself is one for the Punisher (lost family to criminals/supers, now out to kill them), albeit even more unbalanced.
    • Professor Godolkin is responsible for educating young supers à la X-men. He's also a pedophile, and it's strongly hinted the hedonistic and violent nature of adult supers is in part due to his abuse.
    • Ennis' well-known contempt for Wolverine is best illustrated by his ACE: a short super named Groundhawk with hammers instead of forearms and can only repeat "gonna-!".
    • Payback for the Avengers: the Nazi super known as Stormfront for Thor, Soldier Boy (yells out state names when hitting people with his shield) for Captain America, the Tek-Knight (the aforementioned Batman ACE) for Iron Man...
    • In-Universe, the Seven (JLA) had a Soviet equivalent (Glorious Five Year Plan).
  • 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.
  • 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 sound 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 lethal 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.
    • In Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy series, there's a brief bit where we see an Authority-inspired Alternate Universe, complete with a female Nick Fury who looks like Jenny Sparks.
  • 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.)
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has the villain Mammoth Mogul, who is more or less an Expy of DC's Vandal Savage.
  • Cross-Pacific example! A oneshot issue of The Punisher called Assassin's Guild 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.
  • In The '80s, the Teen Titans teamed up with a group called the ReCombatants who bore a similarity to Eclipse Comics' The DNAgents (the name is a pun on "recombinant DNA"). At the same time, the DNAgents teamed with the members of Project: Youngblood (no connection to 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)note  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.
  • LessThanThree 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.
  • The short lived Ultraverse from Malibu Comics had plenty of these. Ultraforce (Avengers), Exiles (X-Men) and Prime (The Hulk).
  • Before there was Man-Thing or Swamp Thing, there was The Heap. First appearing in Hillman Periodicals' Sky Fighter Comics in 1942, The Heap was revived by Eclipse Comics in the 1980s. Similar but unrelated characters of the same name appeared in MAD Magazine and Skywald.

Examples not involving DC or Marvel

  • 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.
  • "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 1980s. 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.
  • 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 French/Belgian comics, Spirou and Fantasio, especially during the Franquin era could be considered this to Tintin. Both comics were edited by rival publishing companies, in a newspaper that bore the name of the main character. Both heroes are journalists, incredibly young Ideal Hero with an Non-Human Sidekick and a close friend who is much more prone to emotional outburst, and are on friendly terms with an Absent-Minded Professor.


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