Thanos or Darkseid: Who Came First & Who Is the Copycat?

thanos darkseid

There are a lot of different villains in Marvel Comics and DC, but two of the villains who stand out the most are very similar in terms of their appearance and overall aura. We are talking about Marvel’s Thanos and DC’s Darkseid, and one look at these characters will allow anyone to realize that they are very similar in terms of their design. Of course, it goes without saying that they are both menacing tyrants as well. But who came first between Thanos and Darkseid, and who was the copycat?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Thanos made his first comic book appearance for Marvel Comics in 1973.
  • Meanwhile, Darkseid made his first comic book appearance for DC in 1971, making him the original tyrant between the two.
  • However, Thanos wasn’t made to copy Darkseid but was simply inspired by the character.

Thanos’ debut

When it comes to Marvel Comics, there are a lot of villains who stand out as some of the meanest bad guys to ever grace the pages of comic books. Of course, one such villain is Thanos, who has always been considered one of the greatest villains in comic book history. It also goes without saying that Thanos has been a thorn in the side of the Avengers for decades due to his tyrannical ways.

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Thanos made his official debut for Marvel Comics back in 1973. His first appearance was in ‘The Invincible Iron Man #55.’ Since then, he has become one of the most popular villains in the world of comic books and has consistently been a huge problem for the entire Avengers group instead of just Iron Man himself.

iron man 55

Thanos, of course, is portrayed as a tyrannical warlord who seeks to kill as many people as possible in the comic books because of his obsession with Death. This has made him equally obsessed with acquiring all of the Infinity Gems/Stones, as they have the power to allow him to control the very fabric of the universe.

In the MCU, Thanos was portrayed in a similar manner. However, his motives were not as evil as he only believed that the best way to preserve the finite resources of the universe was to cut the universe’s population in half using the power of the Infinity Stones, thereby turning him into a murdering madman hellbent on pursuing his goals.

Darkseid’s debut

Arguably the greatest enemy of the Justice League, Darkseid is a tyrannical New God who rules the planet Apokolips and commands legions of strong creatures that he can command on a whim to conquer entire planets. He is one of the greatest villains in the world of DC due to his overwhelming power and undeniable menacing aura.

Importance of Darkseid

Darkseid first appeared in ‘Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen’ #134 and was created by Jack Kirby in 1971. He has since been one of the constant threats to Superman, who often needs the help of the entire Justice League to defeat this powerful New God. That’s because Darkseid’s strength and power rival that of Superman’s, and it is often the case that he is actually stronger and more powerful than the Man of Steel.

darkseid comics debut

While he was originally a Superman villain, Darkseid graduated into becoming a threat to the entire Justice League. His main goal is to acquire the Anti-Life Equation, which would allow him to dominate any kind of life he desires to dominate. This is why he is such a dangerous enemy, as his tyrannical mindset makes him desire the domination of all life in the universe.


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For decades since his debut in the comic books, Darkseid has served as one of the main villains of the Justice League, often requiring all of the main members of the League to work together to defeat him. 

Neither was a copycat of the other

As you can see, Darkseid did indeed come before Thanos, as the Mad Titan came two years after the ruler of Apokolips made his official debut in DC. This would make anyone think that Jim Starlin, the creator of Thanos, copied the Mad Titan from Darkseid after seeing him for the first time in the pages of DC’s Superman comics. However, that isn’t exactly the case.

In the past, Starlin once said that he loved Jack Kirby’s New Gods series in DC and admitted that it was this series that inspired him to introduce his undeniably popular villain, Thanos, to the pages of Marvel Comics. However, while there are a lot of similarities between Darkseid and Thanos due to the fact that they are both evil tyrants hellbent on destroying anything in front of them to pursue the advancement of their goals, Thanos was inspired by another New God.

Starlin admitted that Thanos’ design was inspired by Metron, who we know is depicted as a passive observer among the New Gods. Beefing up Metron would actually allow us to see that there are similarities in the designs of these characters, as it is clear that Thanos seems to be Metron on steroids. Of course, the only reason why Starlin gave Thanos a beefier appearance was the fact that his editor back then, Roy Thomas, told him that he should rip Thanos’ design from Darkseid.

thanos metron

In that regard, it became clear that Thanos was better off having the huge and imposing physique of Darkseid but it was still undeniable that there are clear Metron inspirations in his design as a character. Moreover, while Thanos was seemingly a Darkseid copycat, he eventually became a character who was just as well-celebrated.

Arguably the greatest villain in Marvel Comics history, Thanos still has some habits and quirks that can make comic book fans realize that he is very similar to Darkseid in a lot of ways outside of their designs. 


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However, it goes without saying that both Thanos and Darkseid are incredibly different characters from one another as they both have different backstories, goals, and personalities. It’s just that they are both huge and imposing figures who act as the main villains of their respective comic book universe’s main superhero group.

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