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My Real Daddy
"Vaughan was last seen working on a revival of Swamp Thing over at Vertigo, which is tantamount to wearing a sign around your neck saying 'I am not Alan Moore, please kick me'."
Paul O'Brien, The X-Axis

One fun aspect of being a fan is that you can ascribe the Word of God selectively. Sure, Alice may own the franchise, but it's Bob—the writer, the producer, whatever—who left such an indelible impression on the property that, in your opinion, Bob is who made it good.

This trope is, naturally, more common with long-running properties with multiple creators, which is why there are so many examples from American Comic Books. When a character like Superman or Batman has literally thousands of stories told by hundreds of writers over a period of many decades, it's not surprising that this trope comes into play.

Compare Adaptation Displacement, Can't Unhear It, and Covered Up. When done with a singular character, it may be a result of being the Creator's Favorite. Contrast Running the Asylum, where such people are often regarded as evil step-parents, and Only The Creator Does It Right, where fans think a work is better when its creator is actively involved in it.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Uchuu Senkan Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers) suffers from an effective custody battle between its original creator Yoshinobu Nishizaki and the legendary Leiji Matsumoto (who rewrote much of the premise as soon as he joined the project, and has the critics and most of the fanbase on his side). Both creators have attempted their own Revivals of Yamato, with various degrees of success.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: The many Alternate Universes of the franchise tend to be associated with their creators. Masaki Kajishima is currently responsible for the OVA continuity, the most beloved by the fanbase; however, the mixed response to the newest set of releases has left some fans longing for Hiroki Hayashi, co-creator of the original six episodes and creator of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World.
    • Hayashi's an interesting case. He along with Naoko Hasegawa were largely responsible for setting the tone for the first OVA releases. After they left, fans have noted a downward slide in quality in the series. It could be said that Hayashi played Irvin Kershner to Kajishima's George Lucas. Whatever talent Kajishima has at creating ideas, he needs someone to keep him focused off of all powerful author avatars and an excessive focus on fanservice fantasy.
      • On the other hand, Hayashi is said to have had some spectacularly bad ideas for the continuation of the OVA storyline. It seems that Kajishima and Hayashi really need to work together so that each can veto the other's stupider concepts.
  • Getter Robo is a bit of a convoluted example. The basic premise was thought up by Go Nagai, but pretty much everything else was done by Ken Ishikawa. Most people usually think of it as a Go Nagai series, though, since a) he's more famous, b) it's produced by his company, Dynamic Productions and c) the art style Ishikawa used for the first few installments of the series is identical to Nagai's, though his artwork became slightly more Kirby-esque than Nagai's as time went on.
  • Pokémon: Jessie, James, and Meowth are a good, but little-known example of this. Takeshi Shudo, the show's original head writer, created the trio. Even though the characters have appeared in all but a few episodes of the show to date, when you watch the episodes and movies he wrote, it's clear who created the trio and truly knows what they're all about. In fact, he's written many, many blog articles in Japanese concerning Team Rocket, their origins, personalities, and even philosophy (!), and stated he does not like the Running Gag character route they took after his departure from the anime.


    Comic Books 
  • Carl Barks is largely seen as the father of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, to the point that Disney broke its tradition of not heavily featuring artists' names on its comic covers. This is buoyed by the fact that DuckTales, much beloved by nostalgic 1980s babies, is mostly taken from Barks' work. To better understand this, consider that before him, all Donald Duck stories run without Negative Continuity. Now, Barks stories are considered continuity that almost all writers follow.
    • The largest of Barksists is obviously Don Rosa, who, while not exactly crying Canon Discontinuity at other duck artists, mostly only follows Barks' comics as Canon.
  • Suicide Squad has John Ostrander, who took the idea of a team of Boxed Crooks and made it work.
  • The team of Marv Wolfman and George Perez didn't create Teen Titans, but their much-celebrated run is responsible for the title as we know it today, and is the basis of the animated version.
    • Similarly, Roy Thomas is the adopted father of Golden Age DC heroes, with James Robinson, David S. Goyer and especially Geoff Johns taking over this role since the new millennium.
  • Many of the characters featured in the Giffen/DeMatteis era of the Justice League International were never as beloved before or since that run—so much so that the most recent Booster Gold series (which some consider better than most of the stories told in JLI, although Your Mileage May Vary) constantly refers back to that time, as does Justice League: Generation Lost.
  • Similarly, Steve Ditko created The Question as a mouthpiece for Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy, but Dennis O'Neil's run on him in the 1980s is considered the definitive version of the character, a martial artist with insatiable curiosity.
    • Others simply consider this groundwork for the DCAU version. This leads to the conundrum that since the DCAU's Question is clearly inspired by Rorschach (who, of course, was written partly as an Expy for The Question), one wonders whether Alan Moore is in the running for the My Real Daddy status of a character he never actually wrote for.
  • Chris Claremont is the same for X-Men, pushing it from a failed Silver Age idea into the Marvel Universe's biggest cash cow. Magneto can especially be considered his "baby". While the character existed long before he came along (having been introduced in the very first issue), he was, in his original form, your typical over-the-top villain and then some. It was Claremont who fleshed him out into the Well-Intentioned Extremist we know him as today, before bringing him through an affecting Heel-Face Turn (This turned out to be the first of many, though). To the fans, he's known as the "Father of X(-men)".
    • Subverted with Fabian Nicieza; while he is largely seen as the definitive writer for Gambit (writing his original series), Claremont's take on Gambit is still considered by many to be the superior version as far as the fact that Claremont's Gambit was a happy-go lucky thief as opposed to Nicieza's brooding angst-filled version. It also helps that Claremont loved pairing Storm and Gambit up together as a platonic duo whereas Nicieza preferred pairing Gambit up with Rogue for wangst-fueled storylines.
      • Note that it was platonic because Storm had been artificially aged down to a prepubescent girl at the time. Also it was Jim Lee who first paired Gambit up with Rogue when he was artist and co-plotter of the early issues of the second X-Men series. In the first issue there's a panel showing Rogue and Gambit flirting in the Danger Room. Writer Claremont completely ignores this and has Rogue instead give some exposition on how the Danger Room works. Once Claremont left after issue 3, Lee was free to push the Gambit/Rogue romance and it continued after he left.
    • For the X-Men film series, Bryan Singer. The X-Men movies he directed (or produced, in the case of First Class) are well-received. The others, not so much.
  • Christopher Priest is this for Black Panther, to the point that it's made it nearly impossible for any other writer to have success with the character. Reginald Hudlin's series did OK... right up until he stopped copying Priest and started trying to do his own thing, at which point sales immediately tanked. This is an odd case, because Priest's run didn't sell particularly well, but has nonetheless become the go-to interpretation of the character.
  • Most people who know Spirou and Fantasio consider Andre Franquin as the series' father, regardless of whether or not they know it existed before: Franquin made it the Spirou we remember, and artists Tome and Janry were faithful to that (except maybe towards the end).
  • Starting right at the beginning, Bill Finger actually did far more to create Batman himself than his more famous boss, Bob Kane. It was Finger, the writer, who came up with the idea of Batman being a detective, of him wearing a black cape and cowl instead of a red cape and Domino Mask, the Bruce Wayne secret identity, Robin, Catwoman, the Joker and the name "Gotham City". Without such contributions, "the Bat-Man" most likely would be long forgotten by now, yet Kane is still usually given sole credit for the character, because he undermined Finger's contribution for his entire life, as well as contractually ensuring only he could be credited for creating Batman.
    • Batman fans tend to be divided over which 'reboot' of the character best redefined him for the new generation; Frank Miller's bleak near-Deconstruction The Dark Knight Returns, or Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett's more family-friendly but still Film Noir-flavored Batman: The Animated Series, which kicked off the DC Animated Universe.
    • It can honestly be said that Timm, Burnett, and Paul Dini were Mr. Freeze's daddies for giving him a tragic backstory, and in this vein, also Mike Mignola. He designed Mr. Freeze for the animated series.
    • The Joker's origin story in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke. Although Joker was already re-defined as we know him in the 70's, for example by Steve Englehart.
    • And before all of this, Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams brought Batman back from the silly camp of the 60s (both in print and on screen) to being the darker character people know him as today.
    • Bill Finger and Dick Sprang may have created The Riddler, but Frank Gorshin's portrayal of him on the 1960s Batman TV show is what made him a major member of Batman's Rogues Gallery for years to come. Some portrayals of him have dialed back the camp, but without Gorshin's manic popularity, there would be no Riddler today. He was also the one who designed the character's now-iconic "green suit and bowler hat" look, because he hated wearing the original spandex outfit.
    • Though Poison Ivy has been around since the 60s, before Neil Gaiman's Secret Origins issue about her she had little personality beyond being a Femme Fatale. Gaiman established her plant obsession and detachment from humanity, which have endured as her defining character traits.
  • Alan Moore was not the first or the last comics writer to work on Swamp Thing, but virtually everyone regards his run as the definitive one.
    • When people talk about both Marvelman and Supreme, it's almost always his take on the characters they're talking about.
    • He would be one for Glory, but his plans for her never went beyond issue #0 and finally the title has been snatched from him by Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell, who rewrote her entire history and redesigned as something much cooler than Ms. Fanservice she always was.
    • He also happened to be on the other end of this trope at least once. Back when he was writing Wild CATS he created an antagonist known as T.A.O., but these days when somebody talks about this character it's probably in context of Ed Brubaker's Sleeper.
  • Similarly, the character of John Constantine, who Moore created during his tenure with Swampy before being spun off into his own series, has this relationship with Garth Ennis.
    • Jamie Delano and/or Mike Carey are also in the running for this.
    • Ennis also has Real Daddy status for The Punisher, being one of the first to nail down a consistent characterization of the vigilante in his 2000 reboot.
      • Before Garth Ennis came along, Chuck Dixon's lengthy run on Punisher's solo title cemented the character who started out as a guest appearance in Spider-Man.
  • And just like Moore is remembered for Swamp Thing, Steve Gerber's reimagining of similarly-swampy hero Man-Thing is considered definitive.
  • Similarly, Animal Man isn't much talked about where Grant Morrison isn't involved.
  • For Iron Man, the original creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Don Heck created much of the elements of the character, it was the team of David Michelinie and Bob Layton in the late 1970s and early 1980s who established the definitive modern take of the character. This includes inserting Jim Rhodes, the specialized armors, and Stark's emotional frailty problem, especially concerning alcohol.
    • Rhodey is especially notable for taking over as Iron Man for a while after their run. Michelinie clearly didn't like this idea (the first thing he did when he returned to the title was get Rhodey out of the Iron Man suit), but it stuck; Tony soon gave Rhodey a unique suit with the codename War Machine, which he still uses today.
    • Michelinie and Layton had two runs, the first of which contained "Demon In A Bottle", the second of which contained "Armor Wars". They got to define Iron Man, and then go back and redefine him a few years later.
    • Also while Iron Man's archenemy, the Mandarin, was created by Lee and Heck, the character suffered severely due to Values Dissonance and was in danger of being phased out entirely. Matt Fraction used his epic-length Invincible Iron Man run to completely overhaul the character, ditching the Yellow Peril elements and making him a brilliant Magnificent Bastard villain who was basically Iron Man's Moriarty. He redefined the character and brought him back from the brink of obscurity.
  • Likewise, Stan Lee and Bill Everett (with some elements from Wally Wood) may have created Daredevil, but today, several creators have a very strong claim to being the definitive writer of the character.
    • Frank Miller's run in the eighties is still to this day a reference.
    • The Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker runs are considered high points of American comics in the early 21st century (Bendis was even nominated in the prestigious Angoulême festival for best album).
    • Mark Waid managed to bring back the character's light side, while being widely acclaimed by fans of earlier, darker takes on the character.
  • Greg Farshtey started out as the writer for the LEGO BIONICLE comics (in addition to writing for Lego's magazine and catalogs) before expanding to almost all of the line's written story material, from the novels to online serials. Not only that, but Farshtey lets fans contact him personally with questions, leading to a few bits of Ascended Fanon. He will also reveal tidbits of info before they "officially break" if someone asks the right question.
  • Deadpool was originally created by Rob Liefeld as an Expy of DC's Deathstroke. But then two people happened:
    • Fabian Nicieza injected Wade with a sense of humour that quickly made him popular enough to support a regular series written by Joe Kelly. (This was practically a habit for Nicieza, who fleshed out other Liefeld character designs into lasting characters, including Cable, Shatterstar and Domino.)
    • Joe Kelly wrote Deadpool's first ongoing series, giving him a larger supporting cast (now also including T-Ray and Blind Al in addition to Nicieza creation Weasel), a more detailed origin story, and his penchant for breaking the fourth wall.
  • Nick Fury = Jim Steranko.
  • Flash writers tend to have, appropriately enough, long runs. Cary Bates was the Barry Allen writer, with around 150 issues to his credit during his 13 years on the title. And although Wally West owes a lot to Bill Messner-Loebs and Geoff Johns, his Real Daddy is without a doubt Mark Waid. Waid added Jay Garrick and other speedsters to the supporting cast, brought an epic feel with the introduction of the Speed Force, and made Wally one of the most relatable heroes around; he brought The Flash back from B-list to A-list status, and the title has stayed there ever since.
    • At the least, Johns gets parental rights to the Flash Rogues. Under his pen, they went from a group of gimmicky, two-dimensional characters into one of the more twisted, yet complex rogues galleries in the DC Universe.
  • The Fantastic Four will always be defined by the immortal hundred-issue starting run of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Second place goes to John Byrne, who wrote and drew the definitive modern FF.
    • Out of all people who worked on the Marvel's First Family after Byrne, two most fondly remembered runs, who had the lasting impact and helped redefine the characters for new audience are respectively Mark Waid's and Jonathan Hickman's.
  • The Avengers arguably have Roy Thomas; Stan Lee and Jack Kirby may have created the title, but Thomas created the definitive original Avengers character, The Vision, and two of its major recurring villains — the Grim Reaper and Ultron — and introduced a number of ideas, characters, and tropes to the franchise that are used to this very day. Even the 2003 redefinition by Brian Michael Bendis calls back to the Thomas era fairly often.
  • Wonder Woman was created by William Marston, but for the modern take on the character, George Perez and his Post-Crisis recreation of the character is definitive. A number of fans also put Greg Rucka or Gail Simone's run on a similar level.
  • Walt Simonson. Thor.
  • Fans are divided on just who Spider-Man's Real Daddy is, both in terms of the artist and the writer. Depending on who you ask, Spidey's definitive artist is either co-creator Steve Ditko or John Romita, Sr., and Spidey's definitive writer is either co-creator Stan Lee or J.M. DeMatteis. And then there's the endless debates over whether Stan Lee or his artists (primarily Ditko and Romita) deserve more credit for the original Silver Age stories. All three debates have a tendency to turn quite vicious.
    • If alternate continuities are allowed, the Brian Michael Bendis is in the running for writing Ultimate Spider-Man. His quality on other titles is debated, but nearly everyone agrees that USM is consistently pitch-perfect.
    • There's also the battle over Venom, split between Jim Shooter (who introduced the black costume in Secret Wars), Randy Schueller (a fan who drew up the black costume), Mike Zeck (who finalized and introduced the costume), David Michelinie (who created Eddie Brock and merged him with the symbiote) and Todd McFarlane (who designed Venom). This was bitter enough to prompt McFarlane to leave Marvel and start Image Comics. Michelinie is usually given the My Real Daddy status.
  • Speaking of Brian Michael Bendis, while the character can be polarizing, Luke Cage has become more of a mainstream character under his pen.
  • Steve Ditko may have created Squirrel Girl, but it was Dan Slott that made her into the character that she is today.
  • Paul Levitz is frequently considered this for Legion of Super-Heroes. Occasionally Jim Shooter is cited.
  • Peter David often gets this with The Hulk, adding a lot of depth and characterization to Bruce Banner and other supporting characters.
  • Between adding her to replace Ben Grimm in the Fantastic Four and her solo title, which was one of the longest running featuring a female character as the star, John Byrne better defines She-Hulk than her creator, Stan Lee.
  • Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker's run on Immortal Iron Fist, which laid down a lot of new ground for the character and was almost universally praised.
  • Although Marv Wolfman created Blade in 1973, David S Goyer's film version of the character significantly altered his origin and mythos and helped popularize him. The comic was altered to better reflect film continuity.
  • The Image/WildStorm team Stormwatch was originally created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi, but Warren Ellis' Darker and Edgier run on the title is considered the point where it Grew The Beard. The Authority spun off from characters, plotlines, and themes introduced in Ellis' run — which basically speaks for itself.
    • DV8 were created by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi and Scott J. Campbell as bunch of Psycho Rangers for Gen13. Once Ellis got his hands on them, in only eight issues he made them much more complicated and interesting, and every writer that took their series later followed his footsteps. Fourteen years later however, he would pass the title of their real daddy to Brian Wood, who earned it thanks to extremely popular Gods And Monsters miniseries.
  • Marvel's Transformers Generation 1 comic was originally written by Bob Budiansky, but it was the work of Simon Furman, who started out writing filler strips for the UK reprint, that is the most celebrated and respected today. In fact, Furman has probably had more influence on the entire Transformers mythos than any other writer.
    • Meanwhile IDW's Transformers continuity began under Furman's pen and was built on by Shane Mccarthy and Mike Costa when his run was Cut Short. However it was the combined work of James Roberts and John Barber who pulled the verse out of a lengthy Dork Age and redefined the series with their critically acclaimed books. They singlehandedly transformed the IDW comics from a franchise footnote to one of the most acclaimed comics in years.
  • Superboy-Prime has Geoff Johns. During the Sinestro Corps War, Superboy-Prime was one of the scariest, most sympathetic and yet unforgivable villains. He actually came across as a person who was so lost he might never be found. He was also the villain who you WANTED to see killed by the real Superman. Notably, he's actually considered damn near unreadable whenever anyone else is writing him.
  • Also, Hank Henshaw, under Geoff Johns' capable stewardship (Also part of the Sinestro Corps War), is one of the best villainous tearjerkers EVER.
  • While Siegel and Shuster created Superman, Mort Weisinger had the biggest influence over what Superman would become during the Silver Age and Bronze Age. John Byrne then ReTooled Superman for the modern era (setting his selection of powers pretty much in stone, though the power seep didn't stick.
    • Max Fleischer has as much claim to the character as the aforementioned three - from his works in the Superman Theatrical Cartoons we get "Faster than a Speeding Bullet, More Powerful than a Locomotive, Able to Leap Tall Buildings in a Single Bound," and even the fact that Superman can fly (animating the super-jumping he'd originally been intended to do was a pain in the arse, so Fleischer just said "forget it - he's Superman, so he can fly!")
    • Elliot S! Maggin for the Bronze Age Superman. He was the only comic writer who also wrote novels about the character and tried to greatly expand the mythos of Superman.
  • Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created Marvel's Hercules, no question, but Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak have really made the character their own in the pages of The Incredible Hercules.
    • Before Van Lente and Pak, Real Daddy status probably would've gone to Bob Layton whose Hercules: Prince of Power miniseries in the early 1980s established Herc as the loutish, womanizing Boisterous Bruiser we all know and love.
  • While Marjorie Henderson Buell created Little Lulu for the Saturday Evening Post, it was John Stanley's nearly 15-year run on the Little Lulu comic books which in-arguably defined the character.
  • Birds of Prey has Gail Simone. She pulled the series out of the nosedive caused by Chuck Dixon's departure and used it to make Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle three of the most well-developed heroines ever.
    • Simone also has this distinction for most of her Secret Six team, but especially Cat-Man.
  • Jim Starlin didn't create Captain Marvel or Adam Warlock, but his interpretations of the characters eclipse what came before.
  • Geoff Johns is undoubtedly this for the entire Green Lantern mythos. This is especially true for Hal Jordan and Sinestro, who Johns had turned into one of the most complex and prominent villains in the DCU.
  • A minor example: when Mike McMahon started drawing Judge Dredd, he gave the Judges a chunkier, more menacing look than Carlos Ezquerra's original vision. This look proved so popular that even subsequent Ezquerra-drawn strips used it.
  • Green Arrow has had three major parental adoptions in his career: Dennis O'Neill and Neal Adams, whose teaming him with Green Lantern transformed him from a rip-off of Batman to the social conscience of the DC Universe. Mike Grell whose Longbow Hunters series made him an urban Robin Hood fighting the villains of the 1980s. And Kevin Smith, whose mini-series of him effectively removed all the detritus that had become attached to the character during the Dark Age.
    • His New 52 real daddy is by far Jeff Lemire, who managed to save his failing book and turn it into a major seller.
  • Larry Hama's run on Wolverine's solo title pretty much created the character as he is today. He delved into the psychology without over-elaborating backstory. Since his run ended the backstory has been elaborated into oblivion.
    • Conversely, Hama is sometimes seen as introducing the Franchise Original Sin for Wolvie. Throughout the 1980s, Wolverine would regularly mention people and events from his past. An 1986 Alpha Flight storyline by Bill Mantlo established that he had a memory gap concerning who or what bonded adamantium to his skeleton, but other than that he did not have a particularly complex past. In 1991, it was Larry Hama who established the backstory about "memory implants" and started having multiple contradictory flashbacks playing out in Wolvie's mind. Wolverines backstory grew increasingly convoluted.
    • An example of Hama's penmanship would be the character Silver Fox. She was created in 1989 by Chris Claremont as Wolverine's common-law wife in the late 19th or early 20th century. She was killed by Sabretooth in what was supposed to be the first encounter of these two mutants, and her death was what caused their rivalry. Larry Hama added contradictory flashbacks which had Silver Fox alive later in the 20th century, sometimes as an ally and sometimes as as enemy of Wolverine. Then introduced Silver Fox alive and well in the present day, as a high-ranking member of HYDRA. She was eventually killed for the second time, but the contradictory details concerning her identity and history were never really resolved.
  • Wolverine actually has several candidate Daddies.
    • Back in 1974, original creator Len Wein established that Wolverine's powers were his "natural-born speed, strength, and savagery."
    • In 1976, Chris Claremont revealed that his claws were part of his body, rather than his uniform as previously thought, and introduced his Super Senses. In 1977, Claremont created the first civilian identity for Wolvie when a random character calls him "Logan". Claremont and John Byrne first hinted that Wolvie has "unbreakable bones in 1978, and revealed in 1979 that his entire skeleton is laced with adamantium. The original idea for the name "Logan" was that only a select few people knew about in and the X-Men were not among them. In 1980, Claremont and Byrne had Nightcrawler become the first X-Man to find out and soon enough the rest of the team started using it for their teammate. Also in 1980, the two of them introduced the backstory that James and Heather Hudson found Wolverine in a feral state and managed to help him recover his humanity. In 1981, Claremont and Byrne introduced Wolvie's Healing Factor.
    • In 1983, Dennis O'Neil created the notion that the adamantium-lacing process was created by Japanese mastermind Lord Dawkwind, and also introduced Darkwind's daughter Yuriko. As Lady Deathstryke, Yuriko would become an essential addition to Wolverine's Rogues Gallery.
    • In 1986, Bill Mantlo established the mystery about who or what gave Wolvie his adamantium, and also introduced the notion that Wolvie is Older than he Looks. Specifically, Mantlo established Wolverine as a World War II veteran. In 1990, both Claremont and Larry Hama picked up on the reference and fleshed out his World War II background in two separate stories. Also in 1990, Jo Duffy created an origin story for Wolvie which has him cast out by humans and managing to survive on his own in the wilderness of Canada. While later contradicted by other origins, this basic element has stayed with the character through Broad Strokes adaptations.
    • In 1991, Larry Hama introduced the concept of Wolverine's memory implants and essentially gave him a Multiple-Choice Past. Also in 1991, Barry Windsor-Smith published a 12-part origin story about the mysterious project which gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton and turned him into a Living Weapon. The story was called "Weapon X" because that was the codename for the test subject, Wolverine. The name "Weapon X Program" was established by Larry Hama in 1992.
    • The origin by Barry Windsor-Smith hinted that Wolverine had bone claws prior to his encounter with the Program. Once Wolverine lost the adamantium in 1993, it was Larry Hama who fleshed out the concept and established that the claws were part of the original mutation. He also worked out what these less-durable claws could and could not do.
    • Finally the definite origin story for Wolverine, the real name "James Howlett", and his family background were all established by Paul Jenkins in 2001.
  • Nova was a forgotten B-list hero before Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) took over the character for the original Annihilation crossover. They effectively transformed what was a Green Lantern expy into a deep and interesting character, taking him from guilt-ridden survivor all the way to becoming a grizzled war veteran and even later on the social conscience and oftentimes Only Sane Man of the cosmic side of the Marvel universe.
    • DnA are pretty much trying to do this with the entire cosmic side of Marvel, starting with their revival of the Guardians of the Galaxy using both B-list cosmic characters and the original members and their later adoption of The Inhumans and later former X-Men staples, the Shiar.
  • Renee Montoya was originally just a minor character from Batman: The Animated Series who got lucky enough to get introduced into the main canon. However, it was only when Greg Rucka started writing for her that she slowly turned into an awesome, multi-layered detective. For details, see Gotham Central, 52, and The Question.
  • Dick Grayson was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger shortly after his mentor in 1940, and he was well-defined in his "Robin" persona until he was turned into Nightwing during Marv Wolfman and George Perez's successful run on Teen Titans in 1984. He struggled to find a niche after that, but it is Chuck Dixon's run on the 1996 Nightwing series, that is considered to be the defining run that codified the character ever since.
    • Likewise Chuck Dixon is undoubtedly considered this for the third Robin, Tim Drake thanks to three miniseries and a 100 issue run on Tim's ongoing title.
    • Chuck Dixon himself considers himself this for his creation Stephanie Brown aka "the Spoiler", stating on his forum that he doesn't read anyone else's stories with the character because she's so alive in his head that any other interpretation wouldn't feel right.
      • Despite that, a good majority of her fans tend to see Bryan Q Miller, who wrote her ongoing series, as this; while Dixon is often respected for creating her and would be this without question otherwise, BQM managed to become synonymous with the character, and make her a competent hero on her own when many saw her as a sidekick's sidekick.
  • James Robinson's Starman and Neil Gaiman's The Sandman put those two names on the map.
  • Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the Captain America character, but it wasn't until Stan Lee (also working with Kirby) brought him back from obscurity and created his signature "Man Out of Time" story that Cap really became a character people could relate to. Modern Cap writer Ed Brubaker is credited with reinventing Captain America again for the modern comics world the same way Lee reinvented him for the Silver Age. Typically, this isn't universal, and others might give that status to Mark Gruenwald or Mark Waid for their own lengthy runs on the character.
  • Possibly similar to Brubaker, Judd Winick didn't create Jason Todd, but he did bring him back from the dead as the Red Hood while writing for Batman, and made him badass and a little sympathetic.
  • Blackhawk was created by Will Eisner, Chuck Cuidera, and Bob Powell, but the Golden Age Blackhawk is most often associated with artist Reed Crandall.
  • Peter Milligan for Shade, the Changing Man. He completely reinvented Steve Ditko's character, and now hardly anyone remembers what the original was like.
  • Inverted for Len Wein, who co-created Wolverine, the "All-New" X-Men, and Swamp Thing, only to see them achieve greatness under other writers. He also wrote some of the earliest Man-Thing and Dr. Barbara 'Bobbi' Morse stories. While Wein's stories were significant in establishing their backstories and some key elements of the characters, again the characters gained greater fame under either writers.
  • Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost created X-23, but didn't introduce her to the Marvel Universe (she's a Canon Immigrant), putting her in the hands of Joe Quesada and later Chris Claremont, probably with the intention of invoking this trope; when it didn't work, they started writing her themselves. While their take was seen as superior to Quesada's and Claremont's and laid groundwork on the character, it still had its share of problems. It was Marjorie Liu's run on Laura's solo title that definitely did a lot to make fans like a character that had previously (often derisively) been called Girlverine and Mary Sue.
    • Liu is also this for Logan's other offspring, Daken - it was once she joined his creator, Daniel Way, at writing the character, that he became the Depraved Bisexual Magnificent Bastard Troll people love. To be fair, Brian Michael Bendis putting him on Dark Avengers and other writers using him for cameos with the rest of the team probably helped a bit.
    • Kyle and Yost however are this for Pixie, who was created as a background character in New Mutants and New X-Men: Academy X by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir; even through her few short appearances already gained her fans, it were Kyle and Yost who pushed her into first place and made her so popular amoung fandom and other writers she was the only member of the cast that mostly avoided being Demoted to Extra when the series ended.
    • Weir and DeFilippis on the other hand were this for two characters they took under their wings when their book changed from New Mutants to Academy X - Icarus and Dust. Icarus debuted in a 1984 ROM Space Knight as an extra, created by Bill Mantlo, and remained an obscure background character until 2004. Then writer Chuck Austen cast him as a main character in the storyline She Lies With Angels, which unfortunately was one of the most hated stories in his, already controversial, X-Men run. When Icarus turned up as a cast member in New Mutants, he was not exactly a popular addition. As for Dust, her original portrayal by her creator, Grant Morrison, was full of Unfortunate Implications. Neither was well-liked until Weir and DeFilippis gave them rounded personalities and started building a close friendship and possible romance between them.
  • Floyd Gottfredson is often considered the Mouse Counterpart to Carl Barks. Though the Disney shorts eventually toned down Mickey's character, Gottfredson maintained Mickey Mouse 's adventurous spirit for several decades, which are considered an influence on modern interpretations of Mickey.
  • Kieron Gillen has quickly become this for a few characters.
  • Artemis Crock was a fairly forgettable enemy of Infinity, Inc. and the JSA. Then Young Justice used her as a main character, bringing her to a whole new audience and hinging a lot of the show's mystery and plot development on her. Co-Producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman deserve equal credit here— Vietti was the one who suggested they use a female archer, instead of Speedy I, Roy Harper, and Greg Weisman suggested Artemis rather than any of Green Arrow's associated female archers. They reasoned that her parents being two supervillains, Sportsmaster and Huntress, would be a good touchstone— then decided that super assassin Cheshire/Jade Nguyen would be an interesting addition to the family unit, and thus gave Artemis and her mother a Race Lift, making them Vietnamese.
    • Whether or not they'll become this for Miss Martian, M'gann M'orzz, is still up in the air. Their decision to turn her into a Stepford Smiler instead of someone who is just that perky and her relationship with Superboy was picked up by Bryan Q. Miller's Smallville Season 11 comics, although her reasoning for being such and her human disguise's origins differ significantly, both use the idea of her as a flawed but eager heroine. It's still up in the air because M'gann has appeared exactly once in comics since the show gained traction, and while it was in her Young Justice-exclusive "stealth" costume, not her original skirt and heels, she was later edited out in reprintings.
  • In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Scourge the Hedgehog started out as a one-note Mirror Universe Evil Twin of Sonic who wore shades, a leather jacket and boots (for extra blandness, he was also called either "Evil Sonic" or "Anti-Sonic"). Under the guidance of Ian Flynn, he was given a massive makeover, a total 180 in evil personality-ness, and, for extra pain, did this to his entire team. However, Ken Penders, the writer who "created" the original one-note characters claimed the characters as part of his lawsuit, and they may be removed from the comic's new continuity (since many of his characters & stories had to be gutted out).
  • When Vibe was introduced, he was a breakdancing stereotype. However, thanks to the New 52 reboot and the writing of Sterling Gates, he has become a much more likable and relatable character with a small, yet dedicated, fanbase.
  • Legion was created by Chris Claremont as New Mutants opponent and was, since then, written by many people. But Simon Spurrier was the one who gave him a complete revamp and reintroduced him as a Magnificent Bastard on the pages of X-Men: Legacy vol.2, which quickly gave the character a dedicated fanbase.
  • Nick Spencer is on his way to become this for the entire cast of his Superior Foes of Spider-Man series - he already gave Boomerang and Beetle (who was a one-shot Joke Character created by Ed Brubaker) more Character Development and backstory than anyone before him.

    Fan Fiction 

  • While Tomoyuki Tanaka is credited as being the creator of Godzilla, it is often director Ishiro Honda who gets the most praise amongst the fandom regarding the film series.
    • And also often special effects supervisor Eiji Tsuburaya.
  • While Ian Fleming created James Bond, his version was very much an Anti-Hero (Daniel Craig is very close). Terence Young was really the creator of the suave Sean Connery Bond we all love. His instruction to Sean was to imitate him.
    • Also the James Bond Theme. The authorship has been disputed for years with composer John Barry arguing in court Monty Norman's claim of authorship and ultimately losing before he died. Monty Norman definitely did come up with the melody, borrowing it from "Good Sign, Bad Sign" a song he wrote for the musical "A House for Mr Biswas" but Barry's orchestration, with it's electric guitar intro and big brassy sound was what made it popular.
  • Nicholas Meyer's work on the second, fourth and sixth Star Trek movies; he's credited with pretty much defining the original series movie era, with his overall tone and atmosphere showing anytime that time period is shown in the subsequent TV shows.
  • Serious Internet Backdraft can result over discussions on whether the greater part of the credit for the creation of the Star Wars universe should go to George Lucas or his producer Gary Kurtz. While Lucas wrote and directed A New Hope by himself, supporters of Kurtz argue that without the latter doing quality control, the final product would've turned out decidedly So Bad, It's Good. Since that final product was never made, it's unlikely this debate will be going away anytime soon. This is about the one topic the Expanded Universe is less confusing on; see below.
    • In addition, George Lucas's wife at the time, Marcia Lucas is another figure argued to have been just as important (if not moreso) than her husband. After the initial cut assembled by British editor John Jympson turned out to be absolute crap, George asked Marcia (an experienced editor in her own right, who worked on Taxi Driver, among other films) to recut the film from scratch. Knowing that her husband's insistence on keeping useless bits of exposition and technical dialogue had been as much of a problem as Jympson's flaccid editing style, Marcia only agreed to do it on the condition that she had complete control over the edit, and that George couldn't make any suggestions until she and co-editors Paul Hirsch and Richard Chew had assembled a complete edit. George agreed, resulting in the cut that eventually made cinemas and was a big hit.
    • Don't forget about the author Alan Dean Foster, who co-wrote From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker and came up with all of the settings of the Original Trilogy
    • For an example of how bad the first Star Wars could have been, one needs only look at the original theatrical trailer, which somehow managed to make the film look like a schlocky low-budget cross between Star Trek and a bad rubber-suit monster movie.
  • The Bourne Series: Zig-Zagged with Only The Creator Does It Right, one may argue that the Bourne series has two daddies with directors Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass. With The Bourne Identity, Liman gave the film a unique style, but it was Greengrass who would flesh it out in its sequels The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, with Liman still involved as executive producer, garnering even greater acclaim. But when Greengrass turned down the offer to direct The Bourne Legacy, Matt Damon left with him, saying he wouldn't do any more movies without him, and Liman left too. This is part of why Legacy hasn't been as well-received as its predecessors.
  • Although every one of the Carry On films was produced by Peter Rogers and directed by Gerald Thomas, and the core cast remained largely unchanged throughout the series' run, it was scriptwriter Talbot Rothwell whom most fans regard as having really made the films what they were. The early, Norman Hudis-scripted films (up to and including Carry On Cruising) are regarded as middling, while the films made after Rothwell retired due to ill health (from Carry On Behind onward) are viewed as downright terrible.note 
  • The Friday the 13th franchise was technically created by Sean S. Cunningham and Victor Miller, the producer-director and writer (respectively) of the first movie, and they are named as such in the credits of all the sequels. However, Miller did not have any involvement with the sequels and has said that he dislikes them, and Cunningham didn't return to the series until the ninth installment, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Thus, neither of them created the series' most famous attributes, namely Jason Voorhees as the invincible killer wearing a hockey mask and wielding a machete. If anyone could be claimed as the true creative leader of the series, it'd be either Steve Miner - both a co-producer of the first film and producer-director of the first two sequels, and thus the guy who gave us killer-Jason and his iconic costume - or Frank Mancuso Jr., who produced all of the sequels at Paramount.

  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Timothy Zahn. He invented it, after all, with The Thrawn Trilogy - there had been things like Splinter Of The Minds Eye and Marvel Star Wars and the Han Solo Adventures, but they were largely on a smaller scale than what he wrote, and set much closer to the movies. Unfortunately, most of what authors following him wrote was not on the same level, leading to a genre of fanfic called the "Zahn fix". There are EU fans who despise Zahn's work and put Luceno or Hambly or Traviss in this trope.
    • Karen Traviss practically invented the clone troopers and Mandalorians from the ground up. Before her, there were a few odds and ends about them, but nothing definite. She even invented the Mandalorian language. There's a reason there was such an uproar when Star Wars: The Clone Wars tried to take the Mandalorians and retcon them into something else.
      • The creators of the Star Wars: The Essential Atlas very quickly exercised damage control and introduced a retcon that explained the massive discrepancies between Traviss' Mandalorians and the Mandalorians of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with even more detailed rectons provided later in Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare. The fact that for the most part those in charge of the continuity of the Star Wars franchise are waiting for the animated series to end before introducing retcons to fix canon and revising the Clone Wars timeline, but very quickly provided explanations for the Mandalorian contradiction, speaks volumes of how much Traviss' take on the Mandalorians, controversial though it is, has become popular.
  • It's hard to describe this regarding Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, since "Carolyn Keene" and "Franklin W. Dixon" were pen names and never actually existed. However, while Edward Stratemeyer was responsible for creating the characters and outlining the stories for the ghostwriters to follow, it was the original ghostwriters Mildred Wirt Benson (for Nancy) and Leslie McFarlane (for the Hardys) who decided to go a little above the call of duty and develop the characters (however slightly) a little more beyond other Stratemeyer Syndicate works and create the only two series out of the dozens Stratemeyer developed that have any kind of lasting impression today.

    Live Action TV 
  • While Shouzou Uehara was the original head writer of Super Sentai and the franchise was conceived by Shotaro Ishinomori, Hirohisa Soda was responsible for it Growing the Beard in 1985 and then keeping its beard for years. Soda was head writer of every Super Sentai series from 1982 to 1990, and the shows of 1985-1990 are widely considered to be the definitive Super Sentai, far more than Uehara's shows.
  • Although the original version of the film script was written by Joss Whedon himself, director Fran Rubel Kuzui made Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Movie what it is: a So Bad, It's Good "comedy/horror" that is actually neither. The TV series actually created by Joss Whedon is what the fans know and love, and people pretty much prefer to ignore the movie. This makes Joss Buffy's Dad at TWO points.
  • Doctor Who, technically created by committee, has had many producers and head writers, but these are a few of the most commonly-cited examples.
    • Verity Lambert, the show's very first producer. For starters, she is the one who ensured that some aliens called the Daleks made it to air. In fact, the story Human Nature, which sees The Doctor become a human with no memories of his Time Lord self, claims that his parents were named "Sydney and Verity".
    • Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts acted as the script editor and producer for the Jon Pertwee era of the show. Dicks is one of the franchise's most prolific writers, penning oodles of novelizations in addition to his TV work, which notably includes 20th anniversary special The Five Doctors and Patrick Troughton's swansong, The War Games. Their era featured UNIT at its most prominent, and introduced such iconic elements of the show as The Master, the Sontarans, the Autons, and fan-favourite companion Sarah Jane Smith. Barry Letts is the only producer to return to the show in a similar capacity, when he acted as the executive producer for newcomer John Nathan-Turner's first year, and had also worked as a writer and director for a number of stories. Letts' influence bled past his run on the show and had a strong impact on the first year of...
    • Robert Holmes and Philip Hinchcliffe, who were respectively the script editor and producer between 1974 and 1977. The era when they were in charge is considered by many to be a Golden Age for the series due to a genuinely frightening "gothic horror" atmosphere, a fan-favourite Doctor (Tom Baker) and popular companions (Sarah, Harry, and Leela), as well as a seemingly endless streak of classic and beloved stories (including, but by no means limited to, Genesis of the Daleks, Pyramids of Mars, The Talons of Weng-Chiang, and The Ark in Space). Holmes has written more individual TV episodes than any other writer, and in 2009 his story The Caves of Androzani was voted by the readers of Doctor Who Magazine as the all-time greatest Doctor Who story.
    • Russell T. Davies and/or Steven Moffat for those who started with the 2005 revival. RTD brought back the show for a whole new generation and is known for his sense of fun, adventure, and emotion, while those who prefer Moffat appreciate his more complex storylines that place greater emphasis on time travel and The Doctor himself. Moffat is also the only person who has written an episode for every series since the revival.
  • Power Rangers fans informally divide seasons by showrunner or writers at the time. While the contributions of Haim and Cheryl Saban, Shuki Levy, Tony Oliver and others have been noted for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, any PR fan will tell that the shows that Judd "Chip" Lynn and Jonathan Tzachor produced, alongside head writer/story editor Jackie Marchand, are among PR's Golden Era (1995-2001) and may also include Eddie Guzelian's RPM in the mix (with Lynn returning to wrap up RPM in 2009).
  • Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek and wrote numerous episodes (as well as rewriting scripts by others) but it was later revealed that a co-producer on original series, Gene L. Coon, was nearly as important to the series' narrative excellence such as creating the Prime Directive, the Klingons and Khan Noonien Singh in his own stories as well as (also) doing rewrites for others. (In fact, many of the best known elements of Star Trek were devised by writers other than Roddenberry, such as the mind meld and the nerve pinch.) Later, it's generally agreed by the fans that Next Generation and the movies got better once Roddenberry was promoted to executive consultant. While the Trek shows have all had numerous writers, Michael Piller and Ronald D. Moore are typically credited with setting the bar for Next Generation and Deep Space Nine respectively. Later, Manny Coto would do a similar thing for Star Trek: Enterprise (with some help from Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens), but in that case it sadly proved too late to save the series from a curtailed run.
  • In the Saturday Night Live 25th anniversary special, the trope was played for laughs during the Weekend Update segment with three popular, former anchors. It begins with Chevy Chase talking about how he originated the sketch and how he did it "the best ever." Then Dennis Miller enters and takes issue with that, comparing Chase's one season to his six. ("You might've knocked her up, but I married her.") And then Norm MacDonald shows up. (Though in a nod to his infamous firing, Norm says he didn't know about the special and just saw them on TV.)
  • Contrary to popular belief, Jim Henson was not actually the creator of Sesame Street (that honor goes to Lloyd Morisset and Joan Ganz Cooney). However, the use of his Muppet characters became arguably one of the defining elements of the show.
  • LOST was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof - Lieber wrote the original pilot script before Abrams and Lindelof drastically reworked it. While Lindelof is (along with Carlton Cuse) the man who rightly takes the credit or blame for the series among the fans, to the general public Abrams is the name most associated with the series even though he had little to do with it after the first season and in fact only co-wrote one episode other than the pilot (see also most series Abrams produces - how often is Revolution called a J. J. Abrams show in spite of Eric Kripke being the real main man?).
  • The Daily Show was originally started by Craig Kilborn as a "Weekend Update"-style comedy show. But in 1999, Jon Stewart became its new host, and under his guidance, the show changed from a light parody of local news to a deep and incisive political satire, held in higher esteem than many mainstream news outlets.
  • Anthony Yerkovich is given the sole credit as creator of Miami Vice but it was executive producer Michael Mann who was behind the groundbreaking look and the show, incorporating feature film-style cinematography and editing and using then-current hit songs on the soundtrack.
  • Regardless of the whole debate about whether he or creator Joel Hodgson was the better host of the show, many agree that Michael J. Nelson's arrival as the head writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was one of the biggest factors in helping the first full season of the show take on a much more structured and sophisticated style than the rather loose approach the team used in the "Season 0" broadcast on local channel KTMA.
  • Similarly to the DCAU Voice Actors examples below, even the most fervent detractors of the show would agree that Constantine Matt Ryan is delivering as good a performance as there's ever going to be of Hellblazer's John Constantine.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Warhammer 40K fandom Inverts this trope against one Matthew Ward due to his habit of Character Shilling and creating Game Breaker units.
    • Black Library author Graham McNeill, meanwhile, is considered to be pretty much the definitive source on both the Ultramarines and the Iron Warriors.
    • Dan Abnett is this to any facet of the lore he touches, but perhaps his most important contribution is his fleshing out of the Imperial Guard, most notably in his Gaunt's Ghosts books, turning them from a Redshirt Army who lived and died (in unnecessarily large quantities) by the mantra "We Have Reserves" to something resembling a competent military force.
    • While Sandy Mitchell's takes on any one character or faction are too openly parodic to be considered definitive, his tendency to poke holes in the setting's oppressively Gothic Punk atmosphere by adding familiar domestic touches like tea and rugby telecasts and generally portraying the Imperium of Man less as a decaying, absurdly Grim Dark hellhole and more as a corruption and incompetence-riddled but basically functional modern military-industrial state like the UK or America writ large does seem to be starting to take hold.
    • By contrast, the grimmer, propagandistic communist-inspired take on the naively idealistic Tau Empire popularized by Relic's Dawn of War: Dark Crusade RTS has become their definitive characterization. Though here it's more a case of giving the fans what they want, as this had already been part of Fanon for years.
    • Play straight for Ward with his Necrons. And a number of Eldar players started to see this with Ward as he's currently the only writer who writes Eldar win battles.

    Video Games 
  • Kirby creator Masahiro Sakurai didn't work on all of the Kirby titles, and since Air Ride no longer works on the series. Pretty much his whole (original, platformer) work in the series is the first Dream Land, the NES Adventure, and the fan-favorite Super Star. The other platformers developed during his stay at HAL (Dream Land 2, Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64) all feature a different antagonist and a few characters exclusive to the series. Sakurai is still treated as Kirby's owner despite his separation from the company, as evidenced by his signature (which features Kirby) and his input to new titles.
  • Obsidian Entertainment are seen as this by quite a few Fallout fans, considering the company was primarily made up of former Black Isle employees.
    • Chris Avellone, in particular - even though he wasn't involved until Fallout 2, as the editor and compiler of The Fallout Bible, he's accepted by many to be the true father.
      • A large part of the reason for this is because Fallout 1 is very short and only has a couple of factions. Most of the Fallout universe concepts actually originated in Fallout 2. Fallout 1 set up the general idea for the series, but Fallout 2 took that idea and fleshed it out. Also keep in mind that there is a character in Fallout 1 named after him, so it isn't like he was a new hire for Fallout 2. He just wasn't directly working on Fallout 1 when it was in development.
  • Michael Kirkbride, a former writer on The Elder Scrolls team, is often considered this.
  • While Shigeru Miyamoto created The Legend of Zelda, it was a series of loosely connected games with no real storyline until Eiji Aonuma took over during The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. From then on, the plots became more cohesive and continuity nods became more frequent. The games also started to come out more frequently, with a game a year being released from 2000-2008. Of course given Miyamoto's status amongst gamers, Aonuma has to share the spotlight a bit, but most fans only take his Word of God as canon.
  • The Castlevania series were only a string of loosely-connected titles made by various teams within Konami until Koji Igarashi took over as producer for the series after Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and became the godfather, of sorts, of the series canon. The canon may now be split, however, as Castlevania: Lords of Shadow was developed without involvement from Igarashi and is basically a Continuity Reboot. note 
  • The same case happens with the Super Robot Wars series, since until Takanobu Terada took over as the producer of the series in Super Robot Wars 2 G for Game Boy, the whole series was designed by many programming teams.
  • The Darkness. The Image Comics version of Jackie is nothing more than a Nineties Anti-Hero Canon Stu, but the video game incarnation is actually a complex and interesting character.
  • Keiji Inafune is often identified as the "father of Mega Man" due to his involvement with the franchise since the original NES game. However, Inafune was only a character designer in the original game. Akira Kitamura was the lead designer on Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 2, with Inafune not taking on a loose "creative lead" role until Mega Man 3.
  • While most of the original credit to the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog goes to Yuji Naka, this is actually divided between him as the programmer of the original game, Naoto Oshima, the true creator and designer of the hedgehog, and Hirokazu Yasuhara, the designer of the first game's stages. Sadly, they have all since left Sonic Team during certain points of their careers, there.
  • While the very first Street Fighter was planned by "Finish" Hiroshi Matsumoto and "Piston" Takashi Nishiyama, who both left Capcom and to work for SNK in many of their early fighting games (including all of The King of Fighters games until '99), the Street Fighter series didn't really take off until Street Fighter II, which was planned by Akira "Akiman" Yasuda and Akira "Nin Nin" Nishitani (who both previously worked on the original Final Fight). Even then, most of the games during the series' "golden age" were planned by Noritaka "Poo" Funamizu, who worked on Super, Super Turbo, and all of the Alpha series.
  • With the release of Metroid: Other M marking the first new game in the series since Metroid: Fusion, creator (or technically, living co-creator) Yoshio Sakamoto has stated the Retro Studios-developed Metroid Prime series to be more or less a Spin-Off series than part of the main story. After seeing his work on Metroid: Other M, many fans decided that they preferred it when Retro was in charge. The fandom is now split over whether Sakamoto or Retro are better caretakers of the series.
    • Gunpei Yokoi also gets this as well. Though he was the creator of the series, it was ultimately Sakamoto who introduced the concept of a maze(and subsequently exploration to the series).
  • Though Roberta Williams created the King's Quest series, fans generally consider the Jane Jensen-penned King's Quest VI to be by far the best one out of all of them. Most KQ fangames either are inspired by it or seek to remake earlier games to more closely match it in tone/artistic quality.
  • Bungie Studios created the foundation for the Halo series but it was Eric Nylund's Halo: The Fall of Reach that expanded its universe. The Retcons that began to come about from Halo Wars and Halo: Reach caused a good segment of fans to cry foul over negating FoR's continuity. There's still favoritism towards Bungie's end, though, now that 343 Industries owns the series.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has master artist Kazuma Kaneko, whose demon designs have been used in pretty much every game of the franchise. Famous for treating every god, spirit or demon he draws with respect and care, with plenty of Shout Outs to their original mythologies.
  • In a case of Adopted Daddies, fans of Mega Man wish Nintendo would just buy out the franchise from Capcom due to the company's alleged better treatment of the Blue Bomber as shown in Super Smash Bros. for 3DS/Wii U, including his Nintendo-faithful animations and his Final Smash attack that also acknowledges his legacy.
  • The rivalry between developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch on the Call of Duty series. Infinity Ward were the original creators of the franchise, and were behind Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, and the genre-defining Modern Warfare. Treyarch, meanwhile, got off to a terrible start with the much reviled Call of Duty 3; much of that ill-will would follow them in their next game in the series, Call Of Duty World At War. However, in more recent years, Treyarch has received credit for being responsive to fan input and their willingness to experiment, innovate, and take the series in new directions with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops and especially Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, while Infinity Ward has been criticized for a perceived unwillingness to deviate from their long-time formula, as embodied by the mediocre reception of their latest entry in the series, Call of Duty: Ghosts. It doesn't help that many of the leading minds behind the better-regarded Infinity War CoD titles have moved on to other things.
  • Richard Garriott rightly gets a lot of credit and respect for creating the Ultima series, but many fans consider the games to have been at their peak when Warren Spector was working alongside Garriott, starting with Ultima VI and encompassing Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part II, the two Worlds of Ultima games, and both Ultima Underworld entries. Plus, Spector has the advantage of not being involved in Ultima VIII or IX, which are widely considered the series' Dork Age.

    Western Animation 
  • Butch Hartman may have created Danny Phantom, but most fans give major props to the stories and Character Development to Steve Marmel who wrote the basic outlines of the first two seasons and contributed scripts to many of its episodes.
  • Greg Weisman, creator of the Disney Gargoyles series, is an example of the loyalty fans can have to the "real" teller of an ongoing story, when it separates from official sources. When the third season of the show was written largely without his input, altering the tone of the series, fans pretty much discarded it entirely, in favor of a short-lived comics-based revival that was written by Weisman and launched from the end of the second season (starting with a comic-transcription of the one third-season episode he DID write).
  • Craig McCracken or Genndy Tartakovsky in regards to The Powerpuff Girls, depending on who you ask.
    • Can't we just say the show has two daddies? It honestly wouldn't be the same without either.
    • Likewise, both McCracken and Tartakovsky, along with the less celebrated Paul Rudish, were all equally responsible for the creation and success of Dexter's Laboratory.
  • Then there's Bugs Bunny. While an early version first appeared in "Porky's Hare Hunt" by Ben Hardaway and Carl Dalton, and his first "official" appearance was in "A Wild Hare" by Tex Avery who went on to direct a number of vintage Bugs Bunny cartoons before moving to MGM, the directors who fleshed him out most were Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson and perhaps most notably Chuck Jones. To say nothing of the contributions of others at Termite Terrace, like writer Michael Maltese and voice actor Mel Blanc. In "The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie", Bugs commented that, "instead of having millions of children, like your ordinary run-of-the-mill rabbit, I have several fathers."
  • Ruby Gloom, including most of her supporting characters, were created by illustrator Martin Hsu. And while his designs were excellent (except for his version of Misery), it was the writers working for Nelvana who turned Gloomsville's residents into well-defined, fleshed-out characters.
  • Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and made the original comic a Cult Classic. However, when the first animated series was being developed, it was writer David Wisenote  who turned the Turtles from grim and gritty crimefighters into the comical, pizza-loving heroes who made the franchise a smash hit. And Mirage staffers like Dan Berger and Steve Murphy (who both wrote many of the most beloved TMNT comics, both in the original gritty Mirage series and the kid-friendly cartoon-based Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures) and Jim Lawson and Ryan Brown (who respectively created the fan-favorite supporting characters the Rat King and Leatherhead) also put their own stamp on the franchise.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic will always belong to Lauren Faust, who has been ascribed near-godly status by the fandom. After she voluntarily stepped down to creative consultant, most fans have done their best to still turn a warm eye to the new showrunners (namely Meghan McCarthy and Jayson Thiessen), but she's still considered number one and the ultimate Word of God. Faust has even tried to invoke God Does Not Own This World. Repeatedly. The fans still regard her as the final word.
    • Bonnie Zacherle, the creator of the My Little Pony franchise, gets phased out in comparison to Lauren.
  • As something of a stock fact, some consider Ub Iwerks the true creator of Mickey Mouse due to the fact that he originally drew and animated him. Yet others still attribute the character to Walt Disney, since he did give Mickey his personality.
  • For many fans, the original Ben 10 series is the only canon one, as it was the only one actually produced by the creators,Man of Action Studios. The various sequels (Ben 10: Alien Force, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Ben 10: Omniverse ), headed by the likes of Glen Murakami, the late Dwayne Mc Duffie, Matt Youngberg, and Derrick Wyatt, are shunned.
  • Batman: The Animated Series. Kevin Conroy is Batman. And Mark Hamill is the voice of The Joker.
  • And on the Marvel side of things: Steve Blum is Wolverine, Fred Tatasciore is the Hulk, Nolan North is Deadpool, and Josh Keaton is Spider-Man. Unfortunately, Keaton got unceremoniously booted from his role earlier than those other actors did, with multiple VAs replacing him.
  • Kim Possible: Though creators Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle get a fair amount of Creator Worship, the show is generally considered to have Grown the Beard when Steve Loter began directing the series, elaborating on Ron's character and making Kim a bit more flawed.
  • Popeye: Despite originally starting out as a comic strip character, Max and Dave Fleischer made Popeye into one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, at one point eclipsing even Mickey Mouse.
    • Heck, in the original comic strips, Popeye wasn't even introduced until about ten years in; the focus of the first decade was Olive Oyl and her boyfriend at the time, Harold Hamgravy, with Olive's brother Castor and her parents Cole and Nana making frequent appearances. If you've ever heard of any of them (except Olive, of course), it wasn't from the cartoons.
  • Asajj Ventress may have been created for Star Wars: Clone Wars and made numerous appearance in Star Wars comics, it wasn't until Season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars where she became a compelling and interesting character.
  • Woody Woodpecker was conceived of by Walter Lantz and Ben Hardaway, and designed by animation director Alex Lovy, yet many regard the cartoons that the trio worked on in the early-mid 1940s to be mediocre at best, and that it was under subsequent directors Shamus Culhane and especially Dick Lundy under whom the series really got good.
    • Likewise, the original version of fellow Lantz character Chilly Willy created by director Paul J. Smith was basically a Palette Swap of Woody. It was Tex Avery who helped flesh out his character and concept along with creating a much more distinctive design.
  • While Matt Groening and James L. Brooks get the bulk of credit for creating The Simpsons, John Ortved in his book The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History argues that producer and writer Sam Simon deserves at least an equal share of the credit for making the series as good as it was. Simon worked on the series for only the first four seasons but for contractual reasons he still receives credit and royalties from the show.
  • For Transformers, Peter Cullen is Optimus Prime (if he isn't available than it should fall to Garry Chalk), Corey Burton is Shockwave, and Chris Latta is definitely Starscream (his death prevented him from ever reprising the role, but his iconic voice for the character is mimicked by virtually every voice actor that succeeded him aside from a few minor exceptions).

     Web Original 
  • The Slender Man was created on the Something Awful boards for a Photoshop contest, but he didn't really start catching on until the Marble Hornets web series started. Interestingly, the Marble Hornets Slender Man is a fairly distinct character from the original, who was more tied to Fair Folk mythology than film, water and fire.
  • Both "Luminous Big Kito Extrusion Nausea Maggots" and "Skilevaks" started off as cheap dollar store Halloween decorations made by no-name toy companies, but are now well-loved additions to's loosely connected "Noisy Tenant" mythos.

     Real Life 
  • Bill Walsh was this to the San Francisco 49ers, winning 3 Super Bowls under his command. Then George Seifert was chosen to replace him and he never got out of Walsh's shadow.
  • While George Washington and the other Founding Fathers played an important role in forging the United States, some tend to point to the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt as being responsible for helping make America what it is today.
    • There's also a strong argument that the real creation of the United States wasn't its independence in 1776 but the adoption of the Constitution in 1789. Of course, some figures like Washington and Franklin were present for both events.
  • The United States Marine Corps was established in July of 1798. However, most Marines trace the origins of their service to the Continental Marines, established in November of 1775.
    • The United States Air Force effectively does the opposite, placing its birth on September 18, 1947, when the Air Force was formally seperated from the US Army, while also laying claim to the accomplishments made by its various predecessor services, including the US Army Air Forces, and ranging all the way back to the Aeronautical Division, US Army Signal Corps, on August 1, 1907.
    • Meanwhile, nobody is really sure just when the United States Navy was founded, due to fleets being put together at various places and times during the American Revolution before being taken apart by the Royal Navy.

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