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?


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Batman's foe Black Spider somewhat resembles Spidey.


In the Inferior Five's intro, when they're trying to come up with a name for their group, the Blimp suggests "the Fantastic Farce"


In Justice League of America #103 some of the people who get magically transformed are costumed as Marvel heroes. Analogues for the Invaders appeared in Freedom Fighters. These examples were both parts of unofficial crossovers.


A parody of Galactus called Mr. Nebula appeared in Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League stories.


Steve Englehart put Mantis into Justice League of America #142 as Willow.


I understand Solomon Grundy was handled in a very Hulk-like way in the Justice League cartoon. Some of the creators of his stories of the 60s/70s may also have had the Hulk in mind.

That's a neat list! I'm aware of them all, but I hadn't ever thought to put them all together. I'll have to think about any others.

As to the choices, I'd go with C. DC was so stodgy and so clueless as to why Marvel was cool that any of these things just seemed to make them look more clueless. I'm thinking especially of that Chameleon Boy wink. That I still remember it to this day indicates that I was probably rolling my eyes at it back then. It makes you feel bad for them.

-- MSA 

The cover of All-Star Squadron #26 had the heroes saying "Okay, Ultra-- here we come!", which is after the Invaders' war cry ("Okay, Axis" etc.).


The Red Tornado was possibly added to the membership of the JLA in imitation of the Vision's membership in the Avengers.


In DC Comics Presents #93 Plastic Man, Elongated Man and Elastic Lad appeared with another character as the Elastic Four.

There was an issue of the Inferior 5 written by E. Nelson Bridwell that featured a parody of the X-Men of the time.

One memorable moment was when Dumb Bunny questioned how the Angel clone was able to fold up his wings to wear clothes. The character had no reply and then spent the rest of the story in just his costume.

When a very minor Batman foe called Doctor Doom popped up in All-Star Squadron a footnote said something like "That was his name, folks - honest!"


I've read that Superman's foe Hank Henshaw was intended as an analogue of Reed Richards.


You will have to backtrack to find his first Superman appearance, but the whole team of astronauts he was with were an analog of the Fantastic Four.

Thanks, Lee.

Lee Houston, Junior said:

There was an issue of the Inferior 5 written by E. Nelson Bridwell that featured a parody of the X-Men of the time.

One memorable moment was when Dumb Bunny questioned how the Angel clone was able to fold up his wings to wear clothes. The character had no reply and then spent the rest of the story in just his costume.


That was one of the rare times when DC presented a truly incisive parody of Marvel. 


The story was "Agony at the Academy", from Showcase # 65 (Nov.-Dec., 1966).  As the plot would have it, the Inferior Five hire on as instructors at Dean Egghead's academy for evolutionary throwbacks.  There are only five students, called "the Egg's Men"---Basilisk (Irish Autumns), the Ape (Harry McElhinney), Winter Wonderlad (Billy Gander), Icarus (Melvin Murgatroyd XIV), and Leviation Lass (Penelope Pink).


I really don't need to explain which characters are spoofs of which X-Men, do I?


The sequence you described between the Dumb Bunny and Icarus actually went like this:  DB asked Icarus how he was able to get his uniform shirt on with his wings in the way.  Icarus responds in utter frustration---he had never thought about how he did it before; he just did it.  "And now, I won't ever be able to do it, again!" he complains.


That wasn't the only pot shot the Inferior Five folks took at Marvel.  In Showcase # 63 (Jul.-Aug., 1966), the team tackled a take-off on the Hulk called Man-Mountain (whose human self was Brute Brainard).


Then in The Inferior Five # 2 (May-Jun., 1967), the I5 makes the acquaintence of the Kookie Quartet---Mister Manplastic (Rod Rickard), Vanishing Queen (Sophie Rickard), the Matchstick Kid (Jerry Drizzle) and Whatchamaycallit (Bjorn Andersen).  The Kookie Quartet makes its headquarters in the Batson Building.


Other Marvel characters spoofed over the course of the series were the Cobweb Kid (a parody of Spider-Man), Iron Pants (Iron Man), Prince Nabob (the Sub-Mariner), and the duo of King-Size and the Terrible Tsetse Fly (Goliath and the Wasp).


Tower Comics' T.H.U.N.D.E.R. also got its share of lampooning, in Inferior Five # 1 (Mar.-Apr., 1967), when the I5 teamed up with the international defence agency H.U.R.R.I.C.A.N.E.  Its roster of agents were Powerhouse (parody of Dynamo), the Missing Fink (NoMan), Mister Mental (Menthor), the Yellow Steak (Lightning), Blackbird (the Raven), and the H.U.R.R.I.C.A.N.E. Squad---Nitro Gleason ("Dynamite" Adkins), Tabby Katz ("Kitten" Kane) and Crabgrass Wilde ("Weed" Wylie).


In that same issue, we also learnt that Merryman, of the I5, was a third-generation super-hero.  His parents, of course, were the Patriot and Lady Liberty.  And his grandfather fought crime as Yellowjacket, with his faithful chauffeur/sidekick, Plato---effectively spoofing the Green Hornet and Kato.



Marvel's answer to DC's parodies were the Squadron Sinister, introduced in "The Avengers" in 1969. The Squadron members were JLA counterparts.  Hyperion was Superman, Dr. Spectrum was Green Lantern, the Whizzer was the Flash, Lady Lark was Black Canary, Nighthawk was Batman, Tom Thumb was the Atom, and so on.


In one of Steve Englehart's last Avengers stories, from circa 1976, a Squadron member points out: "When we win, we win! There are no loose ends or questions -- like in those Avengers cases I've read!" Which neatly points out the difference between Marvel's approach and DC's, at the time.

Yeah, and there was a Freedom Fighters parody that turned up in The Invaders, called "The Crusaders". Let me see if I can pull them up out of the depths of my brain...

The Spirit of '76 = Uncle Sam

Thunderfist = The Human Bomb

Ghost Girl = Phantom Lady

Tommy Lightning - The Ray

Captain Wings = The Black Condor

Dyna-Mite = Doll Man


Actually, as I recall, these appeared right about the same time the "Invaders" analogues Luke mentions above appeared in Freedom Fighters. Sort of a mutual gag, I guess.

Besides the two already mentioned, the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is when all the Marvel Speedsters were racing in an issue of Quasar, but the event was one by the sudden appearance of an amnesiac racer who thought his name was "Buried Alien" (Barry Allen); since the issue occurred sometime after events in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8. Any others?

Thanks for all the replies, guys! I knew about the Bronze Age ones, of course. Justice League #103 was my first comic book ever!

When I think about how successful the Squadron Sinister/Supreme have been over the years, as opposed to any DC take-off on Marvel, I feel it's because of the genuine affection that Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart and Mark Gruewald had for the DC heroes. They may have been easy to lampoon but always with respect. In Twomorrows' Justice League Companion, there is an interview with Roy where he said that Stan really saw no point in spoofing DC.

I heard about the Inferior 5 Marvel parodies but have not read them. Showcase Presents: The Inferior 5, anyone?

As for the Crusaders that appeared in Freedom Fighters, to be complete, they were the Americommando (Captain America), Rusty (Bucky), Fireball (the Human Torch), Sparky (Toro) and Baracuda (Sub-Mariner). The Americommando turned out to be the FF's greatest Earth-One nemesis: The Silver Ghost!

As for Marvel's Crusaders, The Spirit of '76 became the second Captain America and Dyna-mite was the second (or third) Mighty Destroyer.

The Hulk-like Solomon Grundy teamed with Doctor Fate and Aquaman in Justice League Unlimited as a homage to the Defenders.

Willow was actually popular enough to be considered briefly as a possible new JLAer!

The Doctor Doom from All-Star Squadron was a Seven Soldiers of Victory foe who also had a time machine!

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