To say that Marvel Comics and DC Comics have a habit of copying each other is a bit of an understatement. There are countless examples from over the years where one company either paid homage, took inspiration from, or downright ripped off an idea from the other, like how Marvel’s Thanos and Deadpool were copies of DC’s Darkseid and Deathstroke, respectively. However, this copycat thing was taken to a whole new level when, last week, both publishers essentially introduced the same villains for their flagship teams in the exact same way.

Warning: spoilers ahead for The Avengers #1 and DC Nation #0!

Last week was the biggest of the year for comics because Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. Comic publishers know that shops will be flooded with readers both new and old, so they put out their best stuff to catch their attention. Last Wednesday saw the release of The Avengers #1 that featured a new team of Avengers assembling to fight 2000-foot tall “Dark Celestials” aka evil space gods. And on FCBD, DC released a sampler platter-style comic called DC Nation #0 that included three short stories about the Joker, Superman, and the Justice League, the latter of which saw the heroes (and some villains) rally together to fight gargantuan “Omega Titans” aka evil space gods.

Watch us debate which of these two comics we liked most:

Both comics even concluded with the exact same reveal of the behemoth baddies as teeny, tiny heroes looked on in awe. The foremost evil space god in each image are both wielding a staff-like weapon, too. Take a look:

Art by Ed McGuinness. (Marvel Comics)

Art by Ed McGuinness. (Marvel Comics)

Art by Jorge Jimenez. (DC Comics)

Art by Jorge Jimenez. (DC Comics)

While the Dark Celestials and the Omega Titans may seem different on the surface, at the end of the day they are pretty much the same overwhelmingly massive cosmic threat with an agenda far beyond the understanding of mere mortals that the heroes need to topple. Marvel’s Celestials debuted in 1976, and the Dark Celestials are just a new twist on that old idea. DC doesn’t have a direct equivalent to the Celestials, so perhaps they thought they were overdue for some space giants in their comics universe. Aping the competition is nothing new in the world of comics (and pretty much every industry in existence), so there’s little use in crying foul on DC, but it does beg the question of how this happened in the first place. After all, these two comics are far too similar to be a mere coincidence.

Marvel and DC’s biggest comics are conceived months or even years in advance, the result of numerous creative meetings and marketing plans. Avengers writer Jason Aaron in particular is known for orchestrating his stories with a long-term plan in place, and it’s easy to see the setup for what happened in Avengers #1 if you look at his story in September 2017’s Marvel Legacy #1 where a deranged Celestial was causing trouble for Earth. On the DC side of things, the Omega Titans were awoken by the events of Dark Nights: Metal, an event story that kicked off in August 2017 and had been in the works from writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo for quite some time before that. But even knowing that, unless you were a fly on the wall in both Marvel and DC’s headquarters, there’s no real way to suss out exactly how and why both publishers settled on using huge space gods as the premiere villains for their flagship superhero teams on FCBD week.

Of course, the simplest explanation is often the right one. It’s common for comic creators to privately share their works-in-progress with fellow creators, even if they work for a rival publisher, so it seems likely that that exchange of information led to the decision-makers at Marvel and DC getting wind of what the other was up to. After all, comic companies are ultimately a business, and in that regard, it makes sense to produce a rival product so they can cash in on a potentially popular new trend.

That said, we’re going to leave you with a recent tweet from Synder reminding everyone that while people like to pit Marvel and DC against each other (for fun or otherwise), comic creators are part of a tight-knit community that wants everyone to succeed regardless of which company they work for.

What do you think? Are evil space gods so hot right now? Let us know what you think of the latest Marvel/DC imitation game in the comments.

Joshua is IGN’s Comics Editor. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.

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