Superhero Twins – Doppelgänger Edition

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Superhero Doppelgängers

from contributor 

Need some evidence? Let’s get started.

10. Green Arrow and Hawkeye


What makes them twins?

Two superheroes, both of whom have a bow and arrow as their primary weapon against legions of criminals, mobsters, robots, and aliens? Pretty distinctive feature. Add in the fact that both of them are cocky, self-assured, and blond, and, well, come on now. Not to mention that both of them have been known to use so-called “trick arrows,” which tend to involve such strange things as boxing gloves.

Who they are:

Green Arrow, now most famous as the star of the CW series Arrow, is Oliver Queen, a billionaire playboy who, after being stranded on an island at sea, came back as an arrow-slinging vigilante. Hawkeye, of course, is Clint Barton, the resident wisecracking sharpshooter of the Avengers.

Who came first?

When one thinks about it, it’s kind of strange that both the Avengers and the Justice League have archers, isn’t it? But both of them are terrific characters with loads of great stories, so it works out.

Green Arrow arrived first, premiering all the way back in 1941. Though he was originally little more than a Robin Hood-themed Batman knockoff, the character truly came into his own when Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams recreated him as a liberal crusader in the 1970s, and he then took a darker turn with the 1980s limited series Longbow Hunters, by Mike Grell.

Hawkeye is now most famous for his appearances in the Avengersmovies—particularly the second one, where he managed to nab most of the best scenes.

9. Flash and Quicksilver


What makes them twins?

Super speed is a power that many characters possess, but these two are particularly focused on the whole running aspect of it. Both have a lightning bolt motif, and both are the central speedsters of their respective universes.

Who they are:

Many people have assumed the identity of the Flash, but the most famous ones have been Barry Allen and Wally West, who at different times have raced around their respective cities, facing off against a truly distinctive rogues gallery. Quicksilver, brother of Scarlet Witch and son of the infamous mutant terrorist Magneto, began his career as a villain and grew to become one of the classic Avengers. Due to their ties to both the Avengers and X-Men mythologies, these two are the only characters to cross over between both movie franchises.

Who came first?

The Flash, of course, though the Flash that premiered in the 1940s was actually a character named Jay Garrick, whereas Barry Allen didn’t appear until over a decade later.

Interestingly, Quicksilver wasn’t Marvel’s first Flash twin. That honor belongs to a bizarre, yellow jump-suited character named “the Whizzer,” created in 1941, whose super-speed abilities were the result of an emergency transfusion of mongoose blood. Not an experiment to duplicate at home, kids.

8. Man-Thing and Swamp Thing


What makes them twins?

Heroic monsters who live in swamps, and whose bodies are composed of the swamp itself. Both have served as the inspiration for low budget B-movies. Both were also scientists at one point, back before the whole, uh…swamp-monster-thing.

Who they are:

Once a promising young biochemist named Ted Sallis, an experimental super soldier formula transformed him into the slow-moving plant creature known only as Man-Thing. Now he protects the Nexus of All Realities, hidden inside a swamp within the Florida Everglades. DC’s Swamp Thing was botanist Alec Holland, who became an avatar of the Green following his death in a swamp. Now, he is a humanoid construction of vegetable matter who fights for his home and the environment.

Who came first?

Actually, interestingly enough, both were created at the same time. Though Man-Thing did premiere two months before his twin, both were developed simultaneously. However, the two characters do owe a debt to an earlier character, the Heap, who predated them.

7. Black Cat and Catwoman


What makes them twins?

Antihero femme fatales with a feline theme, each one attached to their publisher’s most popular hero; Catwoman haunting Batman, and Black Cat with Spider-Man.

Who they are:

Catwoman is Selina Kyle, who has been both a whip-wielding thief and a heroic vigilante, depending on what mood suits her (and who is writing her). Though originally conceived as a Batman villain, Catwoman has grown to become a fan-favorite protagonist in her own right. Black Cat is Felicia Hardy, one of Peter Parker’s most significant romantic interests, as well as being his partner-in-crime-fighting for a period of time.

Who came first?

Catwoman has been lurking around since Batman #1 in 1940, whereas Black Cat didn’t sink her claws into the webhead until 1979.

6. Namor and Aquaman


What makes them twins?

Both of them live under the sea. Both are the kings of Atlantis. Both of them breathe underwater and telepathically communicate with sea life. Need we say more?

Who they are:

Namor, the Sub-Mariner, is the son of a human man and an Atlantean woman, though his loyalties have always sided with Atlantis. Many times, Namor has waged war against the surface world, riding on a thin line between antihero and villain. Aquaman, when he’s not getting his hand torn off and replaced by a hook, is a bit less angry—though not much.

Who came first?

Though most people would be quick to say Aquaman, it’s actually Namor who holds the official title of first underwater superhero. In addition, the Sub-Mariner is actually the first Marvel Comics character,making his first appearance back in 1939.

5. Deadpool and Deathstroke


What makes them twins?

Come on, one’s named Slade Wilson, and the other Wade Wilson? Both highly skilled assassins with awfully similar uniforms…

Who they are:

Slade Wilson, AKA Deathstroke, is a former US soldier turned mercenary, originally introduced as the archnemesis of the Teen Titans, and has since come to be a prevalent figure across the DC Universe. Deadpool—now remember, that’s WADE Wilson—began as a pretty straightforward New Mutants villain, and has since evolved into a bizarre, lunatic anti-hero with a healing factor, a wacky sense of humor and a penchant for breaking the fourth wall. Right now, you probably know Deadpool best (outside of his comics, of course) from a wide variety of memes as well as the upcoming ultra-violent, extremely vulgar Ryan Reynolds movie due out next year.

Who came first?

Deathstroke, obviously. Though Deadpool as first conceived was a pretty obvious spoof/ripoff, Marvel deserves props for reworking him into the fourth-wall breaking, laugh-out-loud antihero that he’s now become—which, ironically, has turned him into one of the most unique characters in comics.

4. Killer Croc and the Lizard


What makes them twins?

Scaly reptile men who have lived in the sewers and have, on occasion, both been depicted as eating people.

Who they are:

Killer Croc is Waylon Jones, a young boy born with an unfortunate skin condition that resembles scales, who went on to become a mob boss in Gotham City… and thus, a frequent foe of Batman. The Lizard is the painful result of experiments performed by family man Dr. Curt Connors, who while attempting to re-grow his lost limb accidentally transforms himself into a vicious reptilian beast.

Who came first?

The Lizard came first, by nearly two decades. The annoying thing about this, however, is that Croc, as originally conceived—as well as the way he was portrayed in the classic Batman: The Animated Series—was not in any way a Lizard clone, and it’s only subsequent creators who have transformed him into one.

The original Killer Croc, who still appears now and again, was simply a disturbed man with a deformity, who had regular human proportions. Unfortunately, later writers and artists have since exaggerated Waylon’s deformities to the point of him having a crocodile-like head, a long tail and so on, thereby making Croc himself more of a cartoon and less of an interesting character. The good news is that the upcoming film Suicide Squad, which will be Croc’s first big screen appearance, looks to be taking its inspiration more from the original depiction.

3. Ant-Man and the Atom


What makes them twins?

Two scientists whose primary superpower is to shrink, while retaining the same strength that they possess at their regular size.

Who they are:

Ray Palmer is a physicist who, will studying the molecular density of a white dwarf star, gains the ability to reduce his molecular density. Ant-Man is originally Hank Pym, a troubled genius whose discovery of the “Pym particles” enables him to reduce his size—or to expand it, and thus become “Giant-Man.” Later on, Scott Lang would assume the role of Ant-Man. Both characters have emerged in pop culture in the past year, with former Superman actor Brandon Routh playing Ray Palmer on the show Arrow while Paul Rudd suited up as Scott Lang in this summer’s Ant-Man feature film.

Who came first?

The Atom beat Ant-Man by a couple years. Both characters have since then gone on in entirely different directions, but one would imagine that if inter-dimensional crossovers were easier to perform, the two of them would regularly grab a tiny beer together.

2. Batman and the Shadow


What makes them twins?

Though the world knows both Bruce Wayne and Lamont Cranston as wealthy socialites, in reality they are dark, mysterious loners who prowl the streets at night, terrifying the criminal underworld. Also, both of them happen to have learned these talents from traveling across the world.

Who they are:

Everyone knows Batman. Orphaned at a young age, Bruce Wayne travelled the world and came back to Gotham to save the city from the criminal element that had overrun it in his absence. The Shadow was originally Kent Allard, a famed aviator, who faked his death and, studying overseas, gained the ability to “cloud men’s minds,” and render himself invisible to them. He then came to the shores of New York City, where he assumed a variety of aliases.

Who came first?

Believe it or not, the Shadow existed before comic books. Originally created a hero for pulp magazines, the Shadow gained much of his fame from a series of Orson Welles’ narrated radio dramas. As the Shadow existed before superheroes were really a “thing,” it’s not hard to see how this shadowy figure—along with Zorro and the Lone Ranger—may have served as one of the primary inspirations behind the Dark Knight.

1. Superman and Shazam (Captain Marvel)


What makes them twins?

Caucasian, dark-haired, super-powered “boy scouts” that fly, with more powers than you can shake a stick at—and capes, of course. There’s plenty of other characters that could fit into this category—Sentry, Hyperion, Marvel Man, the list goes on—but these two are the originals.

Who they are:

Superman is Kal-El, last son of Krypton, rocketed to Earth when his planet blew to smithereens and raised on a farm by the Kents. Shazam—formerly named Captain Marvel—is Billy Batson, a young boy who can speak the word “shazam” and transform himself into a super powered adult.

Who came first?

Superman was the first, but Shazam—originally published by Fawcett Comics—came out only a year later, and was at one point actually outselling the original superhero. Both DC and Fawcett engaged in a fierce rivalry, with both characters constantly one-upping each other; interestingly, it was actually Captain Marvel who flew first, back when Superman was still jumping tall buildings in a single bound.

Today, both characters are owned by DC, so the rivalry has died down quite a bit. But hints of it still linger every time the two characters interact, and when it comes to superhero twins, these two are the ones that set the standard for everyone else to follow.


Read with me

– Superhero Twin Edition

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