Alternate Company Equivalent

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Marvel Comics and DC Comics, 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 company ripping off the other; however, occasionally it happens by pure coincidence, and the characters become fondly remembered equivalents.

Sometimes, it'll result in the creation of a Captain Ersatz. See also Expy, when a character is probably based on another character but not obviously supposed to be that character.

Compare Counterpart Comparison, Serial Numbers Filed Off.

Examples of Alternate Company Equivalent include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Comics[edit | hide]

  • The grandest example of all is Watchmen. DC had just purchased Charlton Comics, a minor competitor, and got Alan Moore to write a story incorporating their characters into the DC Universe, and what he came up with was amazing—except it killed off and/or rendered unusable several of the characters they had just bought, defeating the point of buying them. So, they had him change the names and stories a bit, and Watchmen was born. Originally, Rorshach was The Question, the Comedian was the Shield, Dr. Manhattan was Captain Atom...
  • Marvel's The Sentry is essentially Marvel's Superman equivalent. (Part of his backstory is that he was supposedly created in the '60s, but was powerful enough that he actually made his writers and readers forget he existed.) At the moment, 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.
    • Then there's Gladiator who 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.
    • There is also Hyperion as an expy to Supes. To make matters worse, this character has many alternate reality versions, such as the one in Supreme Power. Marvel RRREEEAAALLLLYYY likes to have characters based on Superman.
    • The most successful Superman equivalent is actually Thor. They wanted to create a hero as powerful as Superman, in a different way. How to do that? Don't make him a man. Make him a god.
      • Yet 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.
    • 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 at each company.
  • Marvel has also 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.
    • 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!)
  • 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 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, the Green Goblin is the Marvel equivalent of DC's Lex Luthor and less so much as a Joker equivalent.
  • There has also been a Fantastic Four homage 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.
  • DC's Lobo is an obvious parody of the gritty Nineties Anti-Hero, while his powers are specific parodies of Marvel's Wolverine.
    • Lobo actually first appeared in the eighties
    • Lobo himself was parodied in Marvel when Deadpool meets up with a very similar character named "Dirty Wolff"
      • Deadpool himself is fairly similar to Lobo, both being the Heroic Sociopath played for laughs. They even both have Self-Demonstrating Articles on this website!
    • 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.
  • 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 maybe inspired by Marvel's Fantastic Four).
    • Though DC's Legion of Super-Heroes may be the origin of much copied in the X-Men.
  • 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 of America 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 of America 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), Doc Ock (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).
    • 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 recent 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 ACE's 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 Alternate Company Equivalent 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 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.)
    • Another analogue of The Authority appears in Gen13 volume 4: the Authoriteens.
      • They weren't this trope, they were a Spinoff Babies parody (The Authority and Gen 13 are published by the same company, and are part of the same Shared Universe).
    • 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 Alternate Company Equivalent of 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.
  • Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog is full of these, having met in-universe versions of characters from Dragonball Z and Science Ninja Team Gatchaman, as well as other comic companies.
  • In Mark Millar's graphic novel Wanted, almost all of the main characters are thinly-disguised versions of popular DC and Marvel Comics villains.
  • 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 Lemon Honey and is believed to be based somewhat on Cutey Honey.
  • A recent 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).
  • 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 Project Youngblood, based 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 Universe 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 3th 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 and 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"), and Spider-Man ("The Flea").
  • Nikolai Dante, from Two Thousand AD, ran into versions of the Fantastic Four and Captain America in the "Amerika" arc.
  • It didn't start off like this but since 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 be 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 recent 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 a spy 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 similiar 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 the character still appeared in the Lord Snooty strip until the late 80s. Another strip in another of DC Thomson's comics The Beezer had a strip coinidentally 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 Wolverines claws are unsheathed at a faster speed than Quicksilver can run.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • CoreFire, Elphin, and Blackwolf from Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible are all easily recognizable pastiches of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, respectively.
    • Other characters are also less-obviously drawn from other Marvel and DC characters. The central superhero group is sort of like a cross between the Avengers and the JLA, Doctor Impossible is a bit Lex Luthor plus superpowers (and sympathy), Damsel is a bit Donna Troy + Ms. Marvel with some Storm thrown in, Rainbow Triumph is obviously Robin, Mister Magic is mostly Doctor Strange, and so on.
  • Fairest Of All, a re-interpretation of the Evil Queen from Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs's origins basically serves as Disney's equivalent to Wicked.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Star Trek and Doctor Who have a similar relationship with their monsters, most notably with the Cybermen and The Borg.
  • Power Rangers had a baddie that was a complete rip-off of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, looking as though they had stolen one of the costumes and added a few spikes and spines to make it look more villainous.
  • Space: 1999's "Maya" was actively hyped as their Spock... FAIL.
  • F Troop is seen by some as a copy of the Glenn Ford comedy film, Advance To The Rear.
  • David Letterman's "Small Town News" and Jay Leno's "Headlines": both comedy routines where the respective hosts snark on oddly worded newspaper features. Letterman claims he came up with the routine during his career as a stand-up comedian, and among his many grievances with Leno is his theft of this routine.
  • Keith Olbermann and his show Countdown with Keith Olbermann are to MSNBC as Bill O'Rielly and The O'Reilly Factor are to Fox News Channel.
  • Nickelodeon's iCarly is this to Disney Channel's Lizzie McGuire, with the difference that Lizzie has a toon alter ego, while Carly has a webshow, and despite that the two shows are years apart from each other. Let's see: Three Amigos consisting of a Nerd, a Girl Next Door, and a BFF? check. Nerd best friend falling for the Girl Next Door? check. The Boy gets kissed by his Girl Next Door crush? check. Girl Next Door goes for another guy while the Nerd best friend is ignored? check. Lead actresses get starting popularity by said show? (Miranda Cosgrove and Hilary Duff, respectively) check.
    • Arguably most of what they do is like this. A.N.T. Farm (Disney Channel) is similar to Victorious (Nick) (girl(s) join some sort of performing arts thing and meet weird people), Sonny With a Chance was also similar to iCarly (girl who is not really famous becomes famous through a show). In fact Sonny With A Chance and iCarly were so similar that early on fans accused the latter of ripping off a script of the former.
  • WE tv is like this with TLC, with their Dueling Shows Little Miss Perfect and Toddlers and Tiaras (though the latter probably gets more ratings). We tv also premieres the same type of shows as TLC whenever they get one, for example their show about the parents of quintuplets came out right about the same time as Jon and Kate Plus Eight, and more recently the show Staten Island Cakes with Cake Boss.
  • Parodied on The Daily Show. When Jim Cramer went on various NBC shows to defend himself against attacks from Jon Stewart, Stewart countered by inserting himself onto various Viacom shows. This included Dora the Explorer and MTV's Real Life.


Music[edit | hide]


Myths & Religion[edit | hide]

  • 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.

Pro Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Demolition and the Powers of Pain were both Alternate Company Equivalent versions of the Road Warriors. Amusingly all three teams ended up in the WWE in 1990 resulting in Demolition matches with the Legion of Doom. The Powers of Pain were quietly split up.
  • Abyss can be considered the TNA version of Kane.
  • 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. Par K, Alternate Company Equivalent to the now Jr-lacking La Parka.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The primary setting of the superhero roleplaying game Mutants and Masterminds Freedom City, includes obvious equivalents for DC and Marvel characters, often even playing with similar names: a man with the last name Summers (like the X-Men's Cyclops) runs an academy for teenage heroes, though the character is more of a Batman analog, while the Centurion is the Freedom City's Superman.
    • Not to mention the aforementioned school for teenage heroes is named the 'Claremont' Academy.
    • Another example, albeit a more subtle multi-layered one, was Police Commissioner Barbara Kane. (A homage to police Commissioner Barbara Gordon from Batman Beyond... and a play on the name of Bob Kane, the writer who created Batman.)
  • Likewise Champions as many... too many to list: Defender = Iron Man, Doctor Destroyer = Doctor Doom (or occasionally Apocalypse), Foxbat = the silver age Joker. But it also has Ersatz cities; Hudson City = Gotham, Millenium City = Metropolis.
  • Palladium Books' Heroes Unlimited states that one of the goals behind making the game was to allow players, if they wished, to make characters based on their favorite superheros from the comics. While it doesn't flat out tell you how to, to names of various superpowers make it pretty obvious (and easy) to make, for example, a Wolverine[1] or Spider-Man[2] Expy.


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Bandai's Machine Robo line of Transforming Mecha (later licensed to Tonka as the Gobots) to Hasbro/Takara's Transformers. Or was it the other way around? 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 Fissure, sometimes) has officially crossed over and leads a squad of Decepticons, and even has a toy out.
  • Diamond Select Toys' Minimates to Medicom's Kubrick line, according to Word of God.
  • At some points, Playskool's Weebles to Fisher-Price's Little People.
  • Lanard's The Corps action figures to Hasbro's G.I. Joe toyline. In fact, when Devil's Due, the company that did the G.I. Joe comics during the early-to-mid 2000s, lost the license to IDW, they ended up picking up the license to The Corps instead.
  • One of Hasbro's offerings, Kre-O, is clearly meant to be their equivalent to LEGO; they'd previously ventured into construction blocks with the short-lived Built to Rule series, but that didn't catch on. Perhaps the second time's the charm?
  • Matchbox toy cars to Hot Wheels toy cars (now they belong to the same company)

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 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 Lampshade Hangings are done in the prefight conversations 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 Alternate Company Equivalents 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 Hot 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 Hot Mom with noticeable assets who works as an Action Girl secret agent.
    • And let's not forget 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.
    • 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.
    • More recently, 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, a Intercontinuity Crossover which features the alternate major comic book publisher and major fighting game franchise of The Nineties to the Marvel vs. Capcom series.
  • City of Heroes, as a pastiche of Superhero comic books, has several. For instance, Statesman, the biggest of the setting's heroes, is a fusion of Superman and Captain America, with some Captain Marvel thrown in for good measure by way of his origin story.
    • Positron is a radioactive Iron Man.
    • Manticore is Batman with the fighting style of Green Arrow. (So basically, Batman.) That, or Hawkeye. And the friendly sparring between Statesman and Manticore resembles that of Captain America and Hawkeye in The Avengers.
    • Sister Psyche heavily resembles Jean Grey, down to being a redhead.
    • Synapse, the token speedster, is generally considered an equivalent to The Flash.
    • Back Alley Brawler seems to have a little of Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, and/or Wildcat.
    • Lord Recluse is pretty much Doctor Doom with more lackeys.
  • Just as Nintendo has Mario Kart, Sega had Sonic Drift.
    • Later, there were Crash Team Racing, Atari Karts, Konami Krazy Racers, NASCAR Kart Racing, Sonic R...
  • Another video game example, The Great Giana Sisters were very, very similar to, well, guess who? Under pressure of Nintendo, the game was withdrawn almost immediately after it was published. Maybe the makers should not have written the brothers are history on the cover of the C64 version...
  • And just as the original SMB had Giana Sisters, Super Mario Galaxy now has its own Alternate Company Equivalent in Duludubi Star; however, the similarities quickly fly out of A.C.E. territory and crash headfirst into Captain Ersatz territory, if not worse (You decide!).
  • Mega Man had an Alternate Company Case of Plagiarism in the Vic Tokai game The Krion Conquest, though Capcom likely saw the title as not enough of a threat to their juggernaut series to be bothered with a cease-and-desist.
  • Adventure Island was literally Hudson Soft's version of Sega's Wonder Boy. Due to a licensing loophole, Hudson was allowed to port Wonder Boy to the NES provided that they changed the name and character designs, since Wonder Boy developer Westone owned the rights to the actual game design and coding, while Sega only owned the name and characters. Both series went into different directions for their sequels though: while Adventure Island stuck to the original game's platformer format, the sequels to Wonder Boy adapted an Action RPG approach (with the exception of Monster Lair, which was an auto-scrolling platformer/shoot-'em-up hybrid).
    • Hudson also made their own versions of the Monster World games for the TurboGrafx-16. Namely Bikkuriman World, Dragon's Curse, and Dynastic Hero.
    • Hudson's TurboGrafx CD Beat'Em Up Riot Zone was actually a remake of the Sega/Westone arcade game Riot City.
  • Naughty Dog and Insomniac Games, two of the most prominent western developers for the PlayStation line throughout its history, have always seemed like mirror reflections of each other.
  • Play Station All-Stars Battle Royale could be called Sony's answer to Super Smash Bros..

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • The Ciem Webcomic Series (and greater Gerosha universe of Dozerfleet Comics by extension) is filled with Ersatzes and homages.
    • Young college girl with bug-themed powers and complicated love life? Ciem or Spider Girl?
    • Flying Brick? Emeraldon or Superman?
    • Can make you see what isn't there: Delusia or Mysterio?
    • Wears a suit that's slowly corrupting the wearer's mind: Earwig or Black-suited Spider-Man?
    • Dark-suited and vindictive rival of hero: Milp or Venom?
    • Can summon plant matter from seemingly out of nowhere and hide inside a sunflower: Jeral Cormier / Botan the Plant-Man or Samuel Smithers/Plantman?
      • Although Botan was intended as a parody of Sandman.
    • The patriotic All-American: Gray Champion or Captain America?
    • He tends to Walk the Earth looking for evil souls to punish and turns into a monster sometimes to do so: Extirpon, Spawn, or Ghost Rider?
    • Pilltar is Avatar meets Iron Man.
    • Has a female ward, wears black, hides in shadows, defends the defenseless, and the government hates his guts and has him labeled a terrorist whether or not he actually is one: Navyrope or V for Vendetta?
    • It doesn't even just stick to picking on Marvel and DC. Lloyd Kolumn is a deliberate parody of Alec Baldwin as Nicholas Kudrow from the film Mercury Rising.
    • Vienna Dockler for Sydney Bistrow (Austria or Australia?)
    • Lobe the Mexican Wolfman = Lobo but with all the endurance of Taco Bell's chihuahua.
  • Spinnerette is pretty much a female Spider-Man


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Whateley Universe example: The Vindicators, a group at Whateley Academy, who have a rivalry with Team Kimba, are pretty obviously The Avengers: Kismet as the Scarlet Witch, Captain Canada! as Captain America, Donner as Thor, Dynamaxx as Iron Man, Lemure as The Vision, and Sizemax as Giant-man. Elite League is pretty much this trope with the animated Justice League. The Good Ol' Boyz are a parody too, but not of a superhero team.
  • Less Than Three Comics is practically made of this trope. From Uncle Sam (Captain America) to Thunderbolt (Thor) to The Shadow (Batman).
  • There are several of these in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, most visibly the Neuman Family, who are pretty obviously a combination of the Fantastic Four and the Power Pack.


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Alternate Country Equivalents are common in Real Life, especially in the armed forces. 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. Happens with 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.
  • Soft drink manufacturers love to do this. Just going with the Big Two...
    • Coke and Pepsi (and their countless variations like Diet, Cherry, etc.)
    • Sprite and 7 Up (or, more recently, Sierra Mist)
    • Mr. Pibb/Pibb Xtra and Dr Pepper
    • Fanta and Sunkist
    • Mello Yello and Mountain Dew
      • Third party knock-offs will usually have names that make their origin blatant; for example, Kroger's answer to Dr Pepper is Dr Thunder.
  • When you get right down to it, even the staffs at both DC and Marvel are pretty similar to each other.
  1. Healing Factor + Heightened Sense of Smell + Claws + Indestructible Bones
  2. Adhesion + Heightened Sense of Awareness + Swing Line