Phhht!... tik tik tik
When the Marathon demo was released back in late November 1994 a number of people noticed a similarity between the Pfhor fighter and a character called Bug in the Marvel comic "The Micronauts". Here are some comp.sys.mac.games posts concerning it.
Who or what were the Micronauts?
The Micronauts was a comic series produced by Marvel Comics which featured the Micronauts - toy figures created by Mego. The first edition of the comic came out in January 1979 and ran for 59 issues.
All but one of the main characters in the original series were Mego toy figures. The odd one out was Bug. Bug was actually called Galactic Warrior in the opening roll call of issues #1-3 but looked nothing like the Galactic Warrior action figure as created by Mego. By issue #4 Galactic Warrior became known simply as Bug.
Bug was thus a Marvel character, created by Michael Golden (artist), Bill Mantlo (script), and Joe Rubinstein (inks).
The similarities between the Marvel character Bug and the Pfhor fighter as created by Reginald Dujour (Bungie) are quite striking, notably the staff weapon.
Indeed Bug's staff was fired in a similar manner to the Pfhor's staff.
So are the similarities just mere coincidence? That question was put to Alex Seropian, Doug Zartman, Rob McLees, Mark Bernal in an interview last year with Agent of Cool's Wes Kilgore. Indeed it was the very first question asked:
1. Were you influenced by the Micronauts?
ROB: Yeah, but not in any way that relates to my work on Durandal.
MARK: Yes, In fact I collected the Marvel comic books for a while when I was younger.
DOUG: Micronauts? (There goes our Agents of Cool credibility right there.) Weren't they the scientists that got shrunk and injected into the politician with a blood clot in his brain? Yeah, Fantastic Voyage, that's it. They fight a giant white blood cell... cool. Nope, no influence.
Well there you have it. Of course the person who should have been asked was the original creator of the Pfhor character - Reginald Dujour.
Original Pfhor concept sketch, Reginald Dujour 1994
Bug, Marvel Comics March 1997
Marathon influenced by the Micronauts? Make your own mind up.
Note: all Micronauts pics were scrounged off the net over the last 2 years. Apologies for not attributing original source.