When Marvel hit it big in the early 60s, DC had to have noticed. It also had to address their existence. In Adventure Comics #350, Chameleon Boy morphs into a spider then winks at the reader and comments on Spider-Man (not named). Brave & Bold #74 (N'67) had Batman riff on Petey as well and the infamous B&B #68 (N'66) had the Bat-Hulk!
Justice League of America #75 (N'69) had supposedly Avengers-like foes though I never got that until fairly recently. #87 had the Heroes of Angor (Wandjina, Jack B. Quick, Silver Sorceress and Bluejay) who were counterparts of Thor, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Yellowjacket. There were also the Marvel parodies with the Inferior 5.
Were they effective? Necessary? Cringe-worthy? And did I miss any?
Although I love a good threadjack, I remembered an example that fits the actual theme of the thread ...
... the time Superman faced a quartet of super-powered beings, which includes someone who can turn invisible, someone who can generate the heat of a white-hot sun, a super-strong man with a rocky hide, led by a man with a brilliant intellect.
The Fantastic Four? No, the Legion of Super-Heroes! Specifically, Invisible Kid, Sun Boy, Blok, and Brainiac 5, four members of the team whose powers are similar to Marvel's crew. And just to make sure we readers get the in-joke, check out these covers, Fantastic Four #249 (December 1982) and Superman (Vol. 2) #8 (August 1987):
And by the way, the Fantastic Four cover and story features Gladiator, a Superboy analogue from the Shi'ar Imperial Guard, modeled heavily after the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Talk about self-referential on Byrne's part though!
Commander Benson said:Dave Blanchard said:
[Daredevil] also had the rare superpower, shared only by Superman, of convincing people that he was a different person merely by wearing glasses (cf., Mike Murdock).
And by Diana Prince, who throughout the Golden and Silver Ages, got away with concealing her Wonder Woman identity behind a pair of glasses. Hmmph . . . some military intelligence agent Steve Trevor was.
Hey! I'll have you know that eyeglasses make for an excellent disguise! Even for a dog!
The Dial B for Blog site entry on the Secret Origin of the Fantastic Four relates the similarities of the FF to Doc Savage and his Fabulous Five. But as the Commander points out the basics go back centuries and what really matters is how well the set up is used, both to tell compelling stories and to make readers care about the characters, something Lee & Kirby did pretty well during their run, as have many of their successors.
Commander Benson said:
Philip Portelli said:
How about the Challengers of the Unknown as pre-Fantastic Four. Ace's leadership skills and Prof's genuis combined as Reed, June for Sue, and really how much does it take to see Red and Rocky as the Thing and the Torch.
I know it goes against the popular thinking, but I never saw the Challengers of the Unknown as a prototype Fantastic Four. Folks make that association because of the convenient circumstance that Jack Kirby had a hand in creating both. But the fact of the matter is that in creating the Challengers of the Unknown, Kirby and writer Dave Wood made use of common stereotypes for adventure teams.