Despite all their differences, the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics aren’t too dissimilar at the end of the day. In both universes, iconic superheroes have triumphed over evil in an endless array of adventures, told by some of biggest creative minds in comics. However, even the most creative minds can think alike sometimes. As a result, that can leave Marvel and DC’s biggest heroes in eerily similar situations. While it’s one thing for Marvel and DC to share minor coincidences, like Batman and Spider-Man both battling a villain named the Scarecrow in the same month, it’s another thing entirely when major, company-wide stories have identical set-ups or revelations.
Even though this can happen naturally, some of these stories are openly meant to imitate or replicate the other company’s successes with their own characters. Now, CBR is counting down 15 times Marvel and DC basically ripped each other off. For this list, we’ll be looking at times when stories, set-ups or publishing ventures shared major plot points or ideas. While some of the entries were clearly inspired by each other, others were released too close together to be anything more than deeply odd coincidences inspired by larger ideas in the cultural spectrum.
15. AGE OF APOCALYPSE/FLASHPOINT
In 1995, the X-Men-centric Marvel crossover “Age of Apocalypse” set the template for the massive modern superhero crossover. With work form Scott Lobdell, Joe Madureira, Roger Cruz and Fabian Nicieza, this epic explored the dark alternate world created when Professor X’s time-traveling son Legion accidentally killed his father in the past.
In 2011, Geoff Johns and Any Kubert’s Flashpoint, DC’s Flash created a similarly dark alternate reality by traveling back in time to keep the Reverse Flash from killing his mother. In both crossovers, chart-topping comic series were suspended for several months while new series took place in these drastically different worlds that seemed to be on the edge of total annihilation. While the X-Men’s world was eventually restored without too many differences, Flashpoint ended with DC’s high-selling New 52 reboot in 2011. Both crossovers have been loosely adapted in other media, and generally well-remembered.