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Overused Copycat Character
Drizzt: Just admit that's who you're actually playing.

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. It's merely mocking when other people are really unoriginal with their characters.

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.


In-Universe Examples Only

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Wolverine
    • 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.

    Fan Works 

    Literature 
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
    • 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 Drizz't."
    • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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.
  • Suda51 of No More Heroes has a particular hatred of them.
  • 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 as a thief.
  • In Street Fighter IV, Zangief complains about the overabundance of Fireballs.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • 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.


Open Roleplaying DecayTabletop RPGPath of Inspiration
The Moral SubstituteFollow the LeaderSeinfeld Is Unfunny
'Not Making This Up" DisclaimerAdministrivia/In-Universe Examples OnlyOverused Running Gag
Fountain of ExpiesThis Index Is CopypastedSimilar Squad
Outscare the EnemyImageSource/Web ComicsThe Pardon
The OpheliaFountain of ExpiesRei Ayanami Expy

alternative title(s): Drizzt Syndrome; Overused Character Clone
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