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Are The Boys' Seven Modeled After This Forgotten Marvel Superhero Team?

Anyone with a lick of nerd credential can tell you that The Seven, the superteam at the center of The Boys, are based on the characters from DC Comics' Justice League. There's Homelander, the Superman analogue. The Deep stands in for Aquaman. The parallels aren't exactly subtle, and they're not supposed to be. Across the 72-issue run of the original comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, the corruptive nature of a celebrity lifestyle was a constant theme — one that worked thanks to the obvious connections between its winkingly familiar antagonists and their ubiquitous superhero inspirations.

Between the introduction of DC's staple heroes in the 1930s and '40s and the first issue of The Boys in 2006, there was another group of suspiciously Justice League-adjacent jerks, this time in the pages of Marvel Comics. And while Marvel and DC have been aping each other's intellectual properties for generations, this particular case was more on the nose than an unsuspecting astronaut that landed on Ego the Living Planet.

It all started with the events of 1969's The Avengers #69. After a disagreement between the Grandmaster and Kang the Conqueror, Earth's Mightiest Heroes found themselves transported to another world, where they came into contact with a quartet of colorfully clad antagonists: the Squadron Sinister.

Marvel's Squadron Supreme were the proto-Seven

Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Sal Buscema, the Squadron Sinister was Marvel's shot across the bow of DC Comics. The original four members were just shy of actionable — there was Hyperion, the flying, super strong leader of the group, decked out in primary colors and prominent underpants. Nighthawk served as the group's nocturnal animal enthusiast, while Doctor Spectrum created color-based energy attacks without ever landing on a singular hue the way Green Lantern did. Then there was the Whizzer, who ran very fast. With a name like that, it's hard to blame him.

After a few appearances as villains, the Squadron Sinister got a reimagining in 1971, returning as the alternate reality superhero group the Squadron Supreme. For the next decade or so, they popped their heads up from time to time, adding new yet familiar members like Power Princess and Golden Archer, all generally in the name of offering fans a series of royalty-free crossover events.

In the mid-'80s, the Squadron Supreme got their own solo series, and stuff got pretty dark — not The Boys dark, but certainly Orwellian. In their self-titled miniseries, members of the Squadron decided to skip all of the bureaucracy of answering to their Earth's governments by simply taking over the world. Totalitarianism ensues in a story that seems to just scream, "You think Superman is so great? Because we here at Marvel Comics tend to disagree."

All told, the Squadron Supreme reads as a midway point between the Justice League and the Seven — not too good, but not too horrifying, either. Whether Billy Butcher could slaughter all of them with a crowbar remains a point of conjecture among fans.