Basically, when you throw many characters belonging to a specific genre (or sometimes a distinct division of this genre — e.g., the works of a certain author) into a Massive Multiplayer Crossover
, for the purpose of exploring and deconstructing
— and sometimes reconstructing
— said genre from a modern viewpoint (which may or may not be Darker and Edgier
). It could use the actual characters and settings from said works, or it could limit itself to using Expies
if said work isn't quite in the public domain (less common online, because copyrights matter somewhat less when no money changes hands
Note that the Massive Multiplayer Crossover
itself here is just the means
, while the goal
is the aforementioned genre exploration/deconstruction. Also note that it's only one
of the possible uses for a Massive Multiplayer Crossover
, which may be implemented for numerous other purposes (e.g., fun
, sex appeal
A subtrope of Massive Multiplayer Crossover
and sometimes Reconstruction
. Fan Fic
versions should also be placed under the Deconstruction Fic
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Anime and Manga
- Violence Jack has dark, twisted versions of many a Go Nagai character. Considering what most of Go Nagai's characters are like to begin with...
- Alan Moore loves this trope.
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vols. 1 & 2 did this with Victorian literature. It's very likely that it was this graphic novel that influenced this trope's popularity in the last decade (especially in comics), so it's probably the Trope Codifier. Note that in the movie version a similar Massive Multiplayer Crossover is made mostly for Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool, rather than Deconstruction. Thus, it's not an example of Deconstruction Crossover.
- Black Dossier, the sequel to LoEG, did this with mostly 1950s mostly British mostly literature.
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3 is going to do this with, consequently, early 20th century, 1960s and 1990s-2000s fiction.
- Albion (created with Alan Moore's assistance) did this with 1950s-'70s British comics published by IPC.
- In Twilight of the Superheroes, a script submitted by Alan Moore to DC, he wanted to do the same with the DC Universe.
- The original script for Watchmen was this: a crossover of several Charlton Comics characters intended for deconstructing the superhero genre from a modern viewpoint. The final work uses Captain Ersatzes of the Charlton characters instead.
- Lost Girls, with art by Melinda Gebbie, crosses the stories of Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The deconstructive part comes where instead of fantasy tales, they're all converted into similar stories of sexual awakening, often taking place when the girls are quite young and sometimes with family members.
- The ''Judgement Day'' crossover Moore wrote for Awesome was this in spades, creating an enormous history for the Awesome universe apparently populated entirely by the Captain Ersatz novelty assortment.
- The Sandman does this with every comics, mythological or historical figure Neil Gaiman could work into the story.
- Kingdom Come: To some extent, it actually fulfilled the idea of Twilight of the Superheroes.
- Basically, it starts with the idea "everything ever produced for DC Comics was canon". All of it, Watchmen, Vertigo Comics, the experimental comics of The Seventies, One shot characters from anthology comics, the Super Friends Cartoon, all of it. Then, it took all the contemporary trends in comics, morally questionable storylines, Bad Ass Nineties Anti Heroes, heroes and villains being replaced with Darker and Edgier Legacy Characters, and extrapolate them to their logical extremes. Then it took the Golden Age Generation of superheroes, and brought their powers to logical extremes, added biblical themes, and gave it to us in a photo-realistic "painted" style to make it more realistic, and disturbing. It certainly counts.
- Planetary did this with various fiction characters and genres. Most of the characters there are pastiches or Captain Ersatzs, and most genres are deconstructed in self-containing stories, regardless of the series' Massive Multiplayer Crossover premise.
- J.Michael Straszynski's unfinished series The Twelve did this with twelve various WWII-era Timely Comics superheroes, exploring the differences between modern and 1940s culture.
- Fables does this with fairy-tales and nursery rhymes.
- Twilight, by Howard Chaykin, did this with DC Comics' Silver Age science fiction characters. No relation to Twilight of the Superheroes. Or that book with sparkling vampires.
- The JLA-Avengers miniseries. The plot of the series was all about the differences between the Marvel Universe and The DCU. Compared to the DCU, Marvel is a Crapsack World, and compared to Marvel, DC heroes are just one bad day away from Beware the Superman.
- Hybrid Theory by Blade and Epsilon does this for the classic anime Mega Crossover and Self-Insert Fic.
- A Dark Knight Over Sin City explores the similarities and differences between the two comic franchises.
- Mighty Morphin Mecha Rangers is a Deconstructive Parody crossover between lots of mecha anime (pretty much in the style of Super Robot Wars), where the own tag says "This was either an awesome or a really bad idea!" the city that they supposedly have to protect clearly gets the second option.
- Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness can be considered a deconstruction of the Fandom Specific Plot of Yukari sending an outsider to Gensokyo. When the said outsider is Coop, the girls are begging for him to leave.
- Sleeping with the Girls brutally deconstructs the Self-Insert Fic by demonstrating just what would happen if a person from the real world got sent to various anime worlds, but the rules of the real world applied to that person. It also demonstrates why having a Genre Savvy person from the real world in an anime world may not be the best thing for said anime world.
- Between My Brother And Me: The characters aren't getting along, and are not opening up to each other (Yugi and the others don't tell about Battle City, May and Max can't tell about Atem and his past), Pokemon are being subjected to monsters and power far worse than Team Rocket can do to them, and the characters are dealing with a world that will literally kill them without guilt.
- Children Of Time. The first season deals alternately subtly and heavily with the blood on the Doctor's hands, and the Big Bad deconstructs him thoroughly every chance he gets. Sherlock Holmes as a Companion starts out well... and then his own caring, protective nature is turned against him, his need for control is played like his violin, and what he turns into shows just how far wrong a Companion can go. The Power of Love and The Power of Friendship are played against the heroes in some truly terrifying ways... And then it all gets healed if not quite Reconstructed in the end.
- No Chance For Fate is a serious deconstruction of not only the Fuku Fic but also of the source material Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon. The standard plots for this kind of crossover are either either outright averted or subverted, often mixed with lampshade hanging or snarky mocking. The absurd plot points of the source material are dissolved in Reality Ensues and of course add more snarking. Yet, all this manages to show the true strength of the heroes, who still fight for the right cause.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- The novel Silverlock contains characters and settings from Beowulf, Don Quixote, and countless others.
- Jonathan Swift wrote the satirical tract A Tale of a Tub in 1694. It does this with Anthropomorphic Personifications of different sects of Christianity, deconstructing what Swift saw as the "flaws" in each.
- The Neil Gaiman novel American Gods does this, along with a healthy dose of All Myths Are True.
- This trope, combined with the Literary Agent Hypothesis, is the main premise of many works taking place in Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe.
- The Anno Dracula series by Kim Newman is a massive hodgepodge of characters vampire and non-vampire, fictional and non-fictional, Victorian and modern, running around in a world where Dracula killed Van Helsing and took over Britain.
- As previously stated, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary Wolf.
- Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde does this with nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters, to the point of postulating an entire murder mystery story around the age-old question of, "Why are the Three Bears' bowls of porridge different temperatures if clearly they were poured at the same time?"
- Once Upon a Time, for fairy tales in general and the Disneyfied versions in particular. Many of the episodes are from the POV of the Evil Queen from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
- Into the Woods, containing characters from multiple fairy tales and weaving their stories together. The whole thing is deconstructed in the second act.
- There are some surprisingly convincing Epileptic Trees that interpret Super Smash Bros. Brawl as this. One theory states that Master Hand represents the forces of video game order (the rules by which video games function), Crazy Hand represents the forces of video game chaos (the unpredictability that makes video games fun), and Tabuu represents the forces of Serious Business and “Stop Having Fun” Guys, what with his efforts to imprison Master Hand and destroy the world of video games.
- Super Robot Wars games can turn into this to some degree, by showing how characters from one anime would react when facing plot and characters from others - friendships (Kamina and Ryoma in Z2) and rivalries (Domon and Kazuya in MX) are formed, some characters turns different that in their source material (Shinji and Shinn, very often), some events are averted, villains fight one another (Zonderians vs Radam vs Evolouders vs Eleven Lords Of Sol in W) or form alliances (Doctor Hell, Gauron and Hakkeshu in J), not to mention characters making comments about events from other series.
- Super Robot Wars Z goes one step further by actually having some characters show in multiple versions of their animated continuities, in order to contrast the differences between them. For example, Classic Ryoma witnesses Armageddon Ryoma and is horrified by his much more violent nature.
- Breakfast of the Gods does this with breakfast cereal mascots.
- Most of Bleedman's Webcomics (e.g., Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, Grim Tales From Down Below) do this with various Western Animation cartoons (at the same time changing their drawing styles to an Animesque one).
- And then FusionFall used that concept as well, retaining the Massive Multiplayer Crossover and the change to an Animesque style, but dropping any hints to Deconstruction.
- Kid Radd seems to do this, but featuring Captain Ersatzes and pastiches rather than actual trandemarked Video Game characters.
- It has it's own in universe versions of games like Super Mario Bros., EarthBound, Final Fantasy, and even Deadly Towers and cheesy flash games. It really does well at showing what a character from one genre of games would look like if he was forced into a completely different genre but his character still followed the rules of his original game. For example, how would a platformer character for whom everything does equal damage, and only has four slots in his health bar deal with being put in an RPG where every character has thousands of HP? How would a fighting game character, who needs to take advantage of a character being temporarily stunned after being hit in order to perform combos deal with a platformer character who becomes temporarily invincible after being hit?
- Captain SNES: The Game Masta fits into this category fairly well. Not only are many of the villains aware that they are merely video game characters (which is, in at least one case, why they became villains to begin with), but characters who travel from one video game world to another are not always prepared for the different rules. (The comic where Magus writes of his experiences learning from Mario seems a good illustration of this.)
- Sire is a comic about the ancestors of literary characters reliving their "Sire"s story and having to take cues and morals from the original work as not to earn a tragic ending. Rare as the characters are aware of the trope and use the deconstruction as a means to survive.
- There Will Be Brawl straddles the line of this and a a Darker and Edgier Parody of Nintendo games. It uses a pre-existing Massive Multiplayer Crossover established by the Super Smash Bros. franchise, and then constructs a world based around the end result of innocent and not-so-innocent characters fighting a purposeless war against each other for years.
- The Final Fighting Fantasy Flash series on New Grounds does a good job at this. For the various Final Fantasy Characters, it starts off as what looks like a simple poorly written fan fic, but quickly grows the beard and becomes quite epic.
It turns out that the legendary weapons of the games where created by the ancients as a way of manipulating the game's protagonists into defeating the forces of evil, and thus restoring balance, however, after evil was defeated, the good guys can't stay around any longer, because they would tip the balance to far towards the light, so, the weapons transport them to another world, where they all meet each other, and (because of the influence the weapons have on their mind) convince them that the characters from the other games are evil, and thus they're forced into a fight to the death. The different characters named "Cid" that appear in every game is actually the same guy, manipulating things from behind the scenes. Unfortunately, Final Fighting Fantasy has been left unfinished
- Cheshire Crossing. Three girls believed to be insane are all sent to a new place. A 'boarding school'. But the three girls are Alice Liddell, Wendy Darling, and Dorothy Gale. And the 'teacher' is Mary Poppins. Has to be read, because it's definitely better than it sounds.
- Marvel DC After Hours does this. Season 1 questions the validity of Superman, Season 2 deals with what the heroes would be like if they all went through what Batman did, and Season 3 revolves around the concept of the Continuity Reboot, and what it would be like to go through one. By the end, it is always Re Constructed.
- Most of the humor in Robot Chicken comes from this. For example, there's Beavis And Butthead join the Teen Titans, and MTV Exposed on Barbie and Bratz. Of course this is used mostly for comedic purposes.
- The point of Drawn Together was to be like this, they took Captain Ersatzes of Superman (Captain Hero), Pikachu (Ling Ling), Link (Xandir), Betty Boop (Toot), Josie and the Pussycats (Foxxy), the Disney Princesses (Clara), SpongeBob SquarePants (Wooldoor) and vulgar flash cartoons (Spanky) and put them in one house as a Parody of every Reality Show ever made. Unfortunately it quickly devolved into dead baby humor.
- The Venture Bros.. The Monarch is a deconstruction all the Campy Supervillians of The Sixties. Brock Sampson was something of a deconstruction of every Action Hero ever made, The Titular brothers themselves are a deconstruction of The Hardy Boys and Jonny Quest. They also turned the gang from Scooby-Doo into a Manson Family-type collection of 60s and 70s era Serial Killers. They also have a rather interesting take on Fantastic Four
- Turtles Forever has the ninja turtles from the 1987 cartoon, the turtles from the 2000s cartoon, and the turtles from the comic meet. To clarify how well this actually works as a deconstructive crossover, the antics and personalities of the '80s Turtles—somewhat exaggerated but still grounded in the source material—annoy, confound, and irritate the 2003 turtles to no end. Even Michelangelo, eventually. Then they meet the original turtles (as written in issue 1), and even the 2003 guys seem like plushies by comparison. Yet, in the end, all versions of the Turtles are deemed just as valid as the others.
- It's been complained that the 1987 Turtles seem more cowardly. Of course they are; they're in a different world where they are not the main characters, the fourth wall is more rigidly in place, and the Big Bad is both ruthless and competent. Goodbye, Plot Armor.