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The Man

I think you'll find that I'm in charge everywhere.
The Man, Kingdom of Loathing

You've heard of him. He controls everything. Emperors, ancient conspiracies, gods, student councils.... All answer to him.

Sometimes he means to keep people down For the Evulz, and put squirrels in every birdfeeder. In short, he is the definitive Magnificent Bastard.

The Man is much less specific than The Syndicate or the Ancient Conspiracy. It's a personification of establishment itself, even if no one person or organization makes up that establishment.

Expect Chaotic Good characters to stand and stick it to him. Expect The Man to have The Men in Black on staff, and for The Man, every day is Tuesday.

Nowadays, it's largely a Discredited Trope, with very few straight uses.

But of course, that's just what The Man wants us to think.

It can overlap with The Man Is Keeping Us Down and The Man Is Sticking It To The Man.

Despite the names, The Man Behind the Man rarely involves this trope.

Examples

Anime

Comics
  • In No Hero, Carrick Masterson had been able to control the world since the sixties. He was responsible for having Nixon only stay one term in office, the Great Iran Oil Fire, and the destruction of South Africa.
  • Max in The Losers.
  • The kids in Bryan Lee O'Malley's Lost at Sea decided to head for another diner when they couldn't find a Wendy's, because "sometimes it's good to give your money to somone other than The Man". Cue laughter.

Film

Literature
  • Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' nemesis. Holmes describes him as "the Napoleon of Crime... the organiser of half that is evil and nearly all that is undetected in this great city..."
  • One of Cao Cao's official titles was "The Man".
  • In A Calculated Magic by Robert Weinberg, protagonist Jack Collins poses as an agent of The Man, who is a very real figure of modern origin among the living legendary and mythological beings that populate the Logical Magician series of novels.
  • The infamous "Big Brother" in the novel and movie 1984.
  • Walker from Simon R. Green's Nightside books. Of course, at the end of The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny, John Taylor is manoeuvred into taking his place.
  • Randall Flag is the source of all evil in the books by Stephen King. Any truly evil enterprise is linked to him in some way.

Music

Tabletop Games
  • In the Shadowfist CCG, The Man was the leader of The Ascended (and thus, pretty much ruled the world) in the 1970s.

Television
  • Homey the Clown pretended to sell out just to get close to the Man and whack him on the head.
  • MADtv once featured a PSA from The Man.
  • Dave Gorman's documentary America Unchained was all about trying to tour America whilst avoiding what was called (at least in the book of the series) "The Man(TM)"- that being the big chains of shops, gas stations, motels and such, in favour of smaller, independent "mom and pop" businesses which were becoming harder to find.

Video Games
  • "The Man" turns up in Kingdom of Loathing.
  • The Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2, played by Martin Sheen. He communicates with Shepard to provide them with info via hologram and is always shown in dim light while smoking a cigarette and/or drinking. His name and backstory are only explained in a tie-in comic; none of the characters, including his right-hand-woman Miranda, have any idea where he came from or how he got where he is. All they know is that he has staggering resources and big, big plans for his species.
  • The Half-Life "G-Man" is always lurking around in the backscenes, armed with a briefcase that could contain anything, dressed in a perfectly anonymous suit. He may take a train to the opposite of your direction, he will still be at your destination before you.
  • In Alpha Protocol, Henry Leland thinks he's The Man. Potentially, however, Mike Thorton can become The Man through careful manipulation and control of his contacts.
  • Mr. House of Fallout: New Vegas, the mysterious ruler of New Vegas.
  • In Deus Ex, Bob Page serves as The Man in charge of the MJ12 conspiracy.
  • "The Manh" is a possible name for a general of Zhuang culture in Victoria 2.

Web Original

Webcomics


Iron LadyAuthority TropesMister Big
The Little Shop That Wasn't There YesterdayThe Index Is Watching YouMasquerade
Make Way For The New VillainsVillainsThe Man Behind the Man

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