"I am the result of Hideaki Anno failing to make my character unsettling, and instead my very archetype was copied repeatedly."Basically, when a character has been copied enough times, that works start making jokes about how often the character is copied. Let's say Bob the Slayer is the Breakout Character in a hit film. Then just about every similar movie uses characters like Bob The Slayer, and then all the comics, and all video games, and even original characters made by gamers playing games with Character Customization. This trope comes into play when a work mocks about how Bob the Slayer always shows up. It could be that a work has a joke about how every hero in the realm is now a copy of Bob the Slayer. Or it could be that everyone is going as Bob the Slayer for Halloween. Or there could be a Counterpart Comparison between Bob and his copies. Or Alice is writing a show, and when strapped for characters, she gets lazy and writes a copy of Bob The Slayer. Now of course this isn't saying the original character is bad. In fact, often the reason for this happening in the first place is that the original character is just that popular. A Sub-Trope of Fountain of Expies. Compare Captain Ersatz, Expy, Copy Cat Sue, Follow the Leader, Serial Numbers Filed Off. Contrast Public-Domain Character, Historical-Domain Character.
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- He got enough imitators in Image Comics, when it first started, for magazines such as Wizard Magazine to joke about it.
- Wolverine has been copied so many times in Marvel Comics themselves (though since they own the character, they can make them different versions of Wolverine instead of expies) that they've parodied it at least twice:
- In an issue of Excalibur, the team travels to a dimension that's basically the Marvel Universe with the craziness turned up to 11, and at one point see a line of different versions of Wolverine practicing his catch phrase while waiting to audition to be the "real" Wolverine.
- Later, in an issue of Exiles, a book about a rotating cast of characters from different dimensions being assembled to Set Right What Once Went Wrong throughout The Multiverse, the only information available about a particular "what went wrong" is that only Wolverine could solve it, so an entire team is assembled consisting of different versions of Wolverine. During the mission, they discover that they are not even the first such team, and encounter the remains of dozens of other versions of Wolverine from teams that failed.
- Phil Foglio mocks the Trenchcoat Brigade in Stanley and His Monster, by having the latest John Constantine expy claim it's like an assembly line.
- In the blog post Adventuring Party Politics: The Campaign is Getting Ugly, apparently McCain rips off Aragorn:
Obama: Well, maybe some people got tired of the grim and squinty "Matterhorn, son of Marathon" shtick you keep doing. Dude, could you be any less original?
- In one of the Thursday Next books it's revealed that a large group of "generics" (fictional characters that haven't developed any character yet) were being stored in The Once and Future King, and they all imprinted on T.H. White's version of Merlin. Eventually, they were relocated to every fantasy novel ever.
- Drizzt Do'Urden, the Chaotic Good dual-scimitar-wielding Drow elf ranger of the Forgotten Realms setting of Dungeons & Dragons. This trope used to be called Drizzt Syndrome because it's a long joke for fans that some players like to play thinly veiled copies of him.
- This is explicitly lampshaded on page 12 of the 3.5 Edition supplemental rulebook Dungeon Master's Guide II:
Often a player’s favorite role is a version of a classic character from fiction, comics, TV, or the movies. If you’ve been playing for long, you have doubtless already run into your share of suspiciously familiar white wizards, sinewy barbarians, or pale-complexioned fighter-sorcerers[....] Drizzt Do’Urden [...] has spawned a legion of PC drow characters over the years.
- Icing on the cake? Even Salvatore himself reacted on this trend by saying he "fears for the integrity of the evil drow race as antagonist". Talk about Fan Dumb... Wizards does a brilliant lampshading of this in an advertisement of his book series — the ad is set out like a 4th Edition power card, and the "additional effects" bar says, "You'll probably want to make a character named Drizzt."
- Paizo, creators of Pathfinder, actually has stated that one of the goals of the Second Darkness adventure path and their portrayal of the drow in general was to redeem the drow in the eyes of players. And by redeem, they meant recast them as a menacing, terrifying, demon-worshiping race willing to exterminate the surface dwellers for their own benefit.
- An additional source of Fan Dumb comes from players who react to Driz'zt's overwhelming popularity by hating the character and by extension the drow or Salvatore.
- A Running Gag among players of D&D is that the Drow are an Always Chaotic Evil race populated by nothing but Chaotic Good individuals, due to the absurd number of players who make Drizzt Clones.
- Devil May Cry's Dante and his "stylish" swordsmen ilk: cool, confident badass swordsmen who cuts down shit while keeping the laundry bill small doing it.
- Rather humorously lampshaded in Baldur's Gate II, where your party will eventually run into Drizzt himself. Generally, you can use the opportunity to either ask for his aid on your assault on a vampire compound or just murder him and his party for their awesome gear. If you're playing an elf named Drizzt and have a low enough reputation, however, you never get the chance — he'll simply challenge you to a duel for the honor of his name. If you use a Cheat Code to give yourself Drizzt's equipment at the start of the game (or if you obtained it in the prequel and imported the character), when you finally meet he eventually says, "Wait... I recognize that sword..." and attacks you.
- In Street Fighter IV, Zangief complains about the overabundance of Fireballs.
- Intentionally averted in Halo games; player tags of "I17", "117", "S117", and the like are not allowed to be used.
- Referenced in Fate/Grand Order with the large number of clones of Saber/Artoria Pendragon, who besides having variants of the original (and one literal clone in Mordred) also has several unrelated characters who have the same face. Said characters have a hidden attribute called "Saberface" that causes some enemies to react differently to them. Then there's Mysterious Heroine X, who is definitely not Artoria hunting down her clones.
- The Order of the Stick:
- A Drizzt Expy, aptly named Zz'dtri, shows up as a member of the Linear Guild. Vaarsuvius points this out during a battle, and lawyers drag the copycat off screen. Nale earlier claims that now all Drow became Chaotic Good rebels, "yearning to throw off the reputation of their evil kin". ("Wait, evil kin? Didn't you just say they were all Chaotic Good?" "Details.") Zz'dtri also claims that dual-wielded scimitars are "standard issue", presumably meaning for all drow. It's also subverted, since he actually does turn out to be a normal drow. Of course, Zz'dtri later got off scot-free by declaring himself a parody of Drizzt and went back to secretly work for Nale.
- In Invaders From the Fourth Dimension, a bonus story appearing in Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales, Belkar makes the rather bold claim that the 4th Edition ranger is based on Overused Copycat Characters of himself.
- Goblins also skewers the idea of every drow character being a Drizzt clone, gleefully, with three joining the PC party at the very beginning, including Drasst Don'tsue, Drizzt's half-brother.
- 8-Bit Theater also has an evil dual-wielding drow ranger called Drizz'l, though he moved away from this after his first appearance.
- In Knights of Buena Vista, Dick is told to tweak his Player Character when Walter catches on that he's trying to play Han Solo.
- An accidental case of this occurs in Looking for Group. Cale, full name Cale'anon Vatay, is an Elf, has a black panther named Sooba who seems to magically appear out of nowhere when called, is obviously a dual-wielding Ranger, and is Good (albeit Stupid Good) while the rest of his races is (ostensibly) Always Chaotic Evil. Sohmer, the comic's writer, had NEVER read even one Forgotten Realms book in his life (instead basing Cale on the Hunter class and Blood Elf race from World of Warcraft), and wondered who the hell this "Drizz't Do'urden" guy was that everyone kept saying Cale was a brilliant parody of. Since learning about Drizz't, he's happily accepted the similarities and doesn't mind at all if people see Cale as a deconstruction or parody of Drizz't in the slightest, even actually playing it up from time to time.
- This phenomenon became so prevalent in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe that the various game masters would issue a moratorium on certain character concepts. Almost always, the sudden rush of copycat characters would be in result to outside stimuli. For example, when X-Men 2 came out, there was a sudden rush of teleporting martial artist characters. When The Incredibles was released, there was a sudden flood of stretchable characters, and so on.
- Yahtzee ridicules the overuse of the humorless, hard-ass Space Marine archetype for First-Person Shooter protagonists. While Master Chief of Halo isn't the direct source from which the character type is derived, he is held out as the most obvious and recognizable example of the archetype. Seems like Doom is the earliest example of the Space Marine variety, while Wolfenstein3D is the earliest example of the hurmorless hardass marine archetype.
- "Clichequest", the MMORPG in The Noob, has several dozen players named various variations of the different members of the fellowship. At one point, we see Elfboro, where almost everyone is named Legolas one way or the other ("Oh, you're looking for Leg0las"). Even the Idiot Hero tried to name his character "Aragorn" in the first strip.