When it comes to Marvel and DC, there's an endless number of things we can - and, happily, will - argue about. We're talking things like: Who's faster, The Flash or Quicksilver? Who'd win in a fight between Iron Man and Green Lantern? Who's cooler - Lockjaw, or Krypto, the Superdog?
Most of those don't have comprehensive answers - though I've seen friendships end over the Krypto/Lockjaw debate - but fortunately some classic comic-book arguments do...
Like, for instance - who came first.
After all, there are a whole lot of classic Marvel and DC characters who're a little...shall we say...similar?
So - I thought I'd take a look at six of the most suspiciously similar superheroes of all time, and see who came first.
1. Deadpool and Deathstroke
Who's Deadpool? A borderline psychotic mercenary in the Marvel universe, with close ties to the young, popular team The X-Men. Named Wade Wilson.
Who's Deathstroke? A borderline psychotic mercenary in the DC universe, with close ties to the young, popular team The Teen Titans. Named Slade Wilson.
Who Came First? Deathstroke, by over a decade. The DC villain first appeared back in 1980, in Teen Titans #2. Deadpool didn't make his way to the Marvel universe till 1991, and New Mutants #98.
The funny part? After artist Rob Liefeld showed his new character design for Deadpool to his co-creator, writer Fabien Nicieza, immediately pointed out that "this is Deathstroke from Teen Titans." Which, it seems, Liefeld was totally cool with.
So Nicieza just said 'screw it', and named him Wade Wilson.
The Winner: DC, by 11 years. But Deadpool's still waaaay more likely to get a solo movie.
2. The Vision and Red Tornado
Who's The Vision? A super-powered android with red 'skin,' who married a non-android woman, and originally appeared with Marvel's leading superhero team, The Avengers. And later became responsible for teaching the young version of that same team.
Who's Red Tornado? A super-powered android with red 'skin,' who married a non-android woman, and originally appeared with DC's leading superhero team, The Justice League. And later became responsible for teaching the young version of that same team.
Who Came First? Red Tornado, by a few months. Tornado first appeared in Justice League of America #64 in August 1968, whereas The Vision didn't arrive until The Avengers #57, in October of that same year.
Now, normally, if characters arrive that close to one another in comics, they were probably created independently. In this case, though, Red Tornado was technically created in 1960, as Ulthoon, the Tornado Tyrant of Rann, who it later transpired the Tornado was.
The Winner: DC, by two months (and the awesomely named Tornado Tyrant of Rann). But at least The Vision gets to be in Avengers: Age of Ultron next year.
3. Aquaman and Namor
Who's Aquaman? One of DC's oldest and most legendary characters, Aquaman is the half human, half Atlantean king of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, who comes to the surface to protect his nation's interests, and fight crime.
Who's Namor? One of Marvel's oldest and most legendary characters, Namor, The Sub Mariner is the half human, half Atlantean king of the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, who comes to the surface to protect his nation's interests, and fight crime.
Who Came First? Namor, way back in April 1939's Motion Picture Funnies Weekly - before later going on to fight alongside Captain America during World War II. Aquaman, on the other hand, didn't appear until the positively recent November 1941.
The Winner: Marvel, by two and a half years, and the start of World War II. But, on the plus side for Aquaman, he's about to appear in his own movie, played by Khal freaking Drogo.
4. Green Arrow and Hawkeye
Who's Green Arrow? The most gifted archer in the DC universe, Green Arrow has been a stalwart member of The Justice League over the years, despite often railing against their methods. He also married the bad-ass blonde superheroine Black Canary.
Who's Hawkeye? The most gifted archer in the Marvel universe, Hawkeye has been a stalwart member of The Avengers over the years, despite often railing against their methods. He also married the bad-ass blonde superheroine Mockingbird.
Who Came First? Green Arrow, by a long, long way. He first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 back in November 1941 - whereas Hawkeye didn't arrive until Tales of Suspense #57 in September 1964. Though better late than never, Hawk...
The Winner: DC, by 23 years. Though Hawkeye at least gets to be in the Avengers movies, while Green Arrow seems unlikely to make it to the big screen.
5. Swamp Thing and Man-Thing
Who's Swamp Thing? DC's mysterious supernatural swamp man, who was originally a scientist, before an industrial accident turned him into a monster.
Who's Man-Thing? Marvel's mysterious supernatural swamp man, who was originally a scientist, before an industrial accident turned him into a monster.
Who Came First? Technically, Man-Thing, back in May 1971's Savage Tales #1, beating Swamp Thing's first appearance in House of Secrets #92 by a solid two months. The thing is, though - as mentioned above - two months wouldn't have been enough time for DC to copy Marvel's swamp man, with three to four months the usual turnaround time for a new comic.
The Winner: I'm calling this one a tie - but don't even get me started on their movie adaptations...
6. Thanos and Darkseid
Who's Thanos? Marvel's leading cosmic villain, Thanos tends to hang around with other 'gods,' is determined to rule the universe, and is obsessed with death.
Who's Darkseid? DC's leading cosmic villain, Darkseid tends to hang around with other 'gods,' is determined to rule the universe, and is obsessed with...anti-life.
Who Came First? Darkseid, by a couple of years. He made his first full appearance in Forever People #1, back in February 1971 - with Thanos following in February 1973's Iron Man #55. With Darkseid having been created by the legendary Jack Kirby, along with several other 'New Gods,' he was a definite influence on the creation of Thanos by Jim Starlin.
The funny part? Thanos was originally a lot thinner, and more like another New God named Metron, until Marvel editor Roy Thomas told Starlin:
"Beef him up! If you're going to steal one of the New Gods, at least rip off Darkseid, the really good one!"
The Winner: DC, by two years. Though Thanos has beaten Darkseid to the big screen by a whole lot more than that...
So...the Overall Winner?
DC, by an overwhelming 4 to 1, with one tie.
There are a whole lot more 'closely related' characters out there, though - so how about we try to rebalance this contest down in the comments!
In the meantime, though...