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Wait, did X-Men really rip off Doom Patrol?

by  in Comic News Comment
Wait, did X-Men <i>really</i> rip off Doom Patrol?

As hesitant as I am to pick the nits of a humor website, I have a few issues with Cracked.com’s list of “6 Famous of Characters You Didn’t Know Were Shameless Rip Offs” — namely, the contention that Marvel’s X-Men “borrowed” heavily from DC’s Doom Patrol.

Writer Juan Arteaga isn’t the first to assert that, of course. However, his evidence wavers between flimsy and flat-out wrong.

Arteaga points to their conceptual similarities — superhuman misfits, led by a paraplegic, dedicated to protecting a world that shuns them — the fact that The Doom Patrol debuted in My Greatest Adventures #80 in June 1963, some three months before The X-Men #1, their near-identical cover taglines, and the names of their arch-enemies.

As Don Markstein and others have stated previously, the production lag makes it highly unlikely that The Doom Patrol influenced the creation of the X-Men. Stan Lee would had to have been told about the concept well before My Greatest Adventures #80 hit the stands. (Plus, Doom Patrol/X-Men certainly isn’t the only coincidence in concept and timing: See The Red Tornado/The Vision and Man-Thing/Swamp Thing.)

That point is certainly open to speculation — Doom Patrol co-creator Arnold Drake certainly thought Marvel had ripped off the idea — but it doesn’t amount to proof.

So, how about the rest of the “evidence”?

The cover taglines: The Doom Patrol’s “The World’s Strangest Heroes!” versus The X-Men’s “The Strangest Super-Heroes of All!” The Doom Patrol was the lead feature in My Greatest Adventure from Issue 80 (June 1963) to Issue 85 (February 1964) before the series was renamed The Doom Patrol the following issue (dated March 1964). Variations of the phrase appeared less prominently on those first few issues before becoming a full-fledged banner with The Doom Patrol #86.

“The Strangest Super-Heroes of All!” appeared at the top of the very first issue of The X-Men, dated September 1963.

The arch-enemies: The Doom Patrol’s Brotherhood of Evil versus The X-Men’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Arteaga calls this “possibly, the most unnecessary thing” borrowed by The X-Men. However, Magneto’s team of mutants debuted in The X-Men #4 while the Brain’s group of misfits bowed in The Doom Patrol #86 — both dated March 1964.

I’ll leave the other entries on the Cracked list to someone else to dissect. But No. 1 is sure to trigger arguments and/or scoffing.

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