DC and Marvel are the two more famous, successful comic book companies in the world. Their paper/digital products draw millions of customers, and both companies have enjoyed commercial success, too. Marvel has achieved unimaginable prosperity with the MCU and the company’s Netflix line of shows (they also have various other television products, as well as a long line of video games). Similarly, DC has enjoyed a lot of success with its Arrowverse and, historically, its movies as well, though the last decade of DC’s silver screen adventures have been met with mixed results.
The comparisons between the two companies are endless and many of these commonalities are quite direct. Many times in the history of both companies, they have ripped off each other’s characters and story ideas. Some of these copies have been successful, as they have surpassed their inspirations. Deadpool is the most immediate example, as his movie franchise broke box office records. Similarly, Aquaman is one of DC’s biggest characters whereas his inspiration, Namor, has somewhat fallen by the wayside. Other rip-offs have paled in comparison to the original product. Steel never managed to reach Iron Man’s level, even before Tony Stark became the glue of the MCU. Some of these rip-offs are pretty new, so it’s hard to tell which company did it better. We’ve decided to list some of the most glaring rip-offs in the history between the competition between Marvel and DC. Is either side the “winner” when it comes to stealing ideas from the competition? Time will tell.
20. DC: DR. DREAD/DOCTOR DOOM
In any form of entertainment, especially comics, you’re likely to find antagonistic characters whose names feature “Doctor” and a descriptive adjective. Marvel has one of the most famous examples of such a character with Doctor Doom. Doom is the legendary rival of the Fantastic Four, and he has become one of the company’s most powerful, successful villains. DC, at least on paper, ripped off Marvel when they created Dr. Dread.
Dread was a flash in the pan, as he only appeared in one issue (Doom Patrol #10) before returning with a familiar look in The Terrifics. Dr. Dread is one of the worst attempts, by either company, to rip off the competition’s success.
19. MARVEL: VISION/RED TORNADO
Despite the proximity of their debuts (or, perhaps, because of it) Vision is clearly a rip-off of the Red Tornado. DC introduced Ulthoon, the Tornado Tyrant in 1960. Ulthoon was the predecessor to the Red Tornado, who didn’t debut until Justice League of America #64 in August 1968. Vision, on the other hand, debuted just two months later in The Avengers #57. Readers quickly realized that the two robotic characters have a lot in common.
Both characters are androids; Marvel tried to distinguish Vision as a “synthezoid” but fans weren’t fooled. Red Tornado and Vision look identical, with the only crucial difference being the color of their “skin” (red for the Tornado, green for Vision).