Trope Makers

Phrases like "shiver my timbers" and traditional pirate songs like "Fifteen Men on the Dead Man's Chest" were made up by Robert Louis Stevenson for his novel Treasure Island, published in 1883 — over 150 years after the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. We might as well tell you right now that 90 percent of all pirate tropes come from the same book: One-legged pirates, squawking parrots, drunken mutinies... all that stuff can be traced back to Treasure Island.

A Trope Maker is the first unambiguous example of a particular trope. Though there may have been similar things in the past, these are the works that defined their respective tropes.

See also Trope Codifier, which is the example of a trope that defines all other uses. If a Trope Codifier is very different in outlook than the Trope Maker, then the Trope Maker worked on an Unbuilt Trope.

And, of course, don't confuse with Ur Example — the earliest example that has the essence of the trope, but may not have the actual connotations and may be missing details. However, it's the Trope Maker which starts the consistent enough pattern to be called a trope.

To provide a concrete example of all three, the Detective Story's Trope Maker is Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin stories, and Sherlock Holmes is the Trope Codifier; but the Ur Example may well be "The Tale Of the Three Apples" in 1001 Nights (The Arabian Nights). Related: Trope Namer.

If you make an entry here, expect some heavy challenges.


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     Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Superman — There's a reason they're called Super Heroes.
  • Although you can trace the idea of a masked hero with a secret identity all the way through pulp fiction back to Victorian literature, George Brenner's The Clock, first seen in Funny Pages #6 and Funny Picture Stories #1 (both published in 1936), was the first masked crimefighter in comics and introduced tropes like the secret identity and socially respectable alter ego, the crimefighting sidekick, and the use of gadgets by the heroes to the medium. To date the character only appears in references, and has fallen into the public domain.
  • Hellblazer — Created and introduced many Urban Fantasy tropes such as Post-Modern Magik and Blue-Collar Warlock. Also started characters being Exiled from Continuity, with the protagonist John Constantine as Ur Example.


  • Various legends and folktales from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries about Countess Elizabeth Bathory provide the origins the Blood Bath myth for rejuvenating beauty and youth.


    Live Action TV 

  • Bill Monroe created bluegrass.
  • Ougenweide created Medieval Rock/Metal music by combining medieval texts and melodies with modern Rock and Hard Rock.
  • The Beatles, with almost every subgenre of rock music after them. Musicologically speaking, in this day and age, to say a certain rock band is "Beatles-like" is redundant.
    • With Richard Lester, they made the first music videos with the films A Hard Day's Night and Help! and with their promos for Rain and Paperback Writer. MTV credited Dick Lester as the father of music videos. His response was asking for a blood test.
  • The Who directly created Punk Rock, and also innovated in hard rock. Along with Led Zeppelin, made heavier rock and metal as we know it.
    • Despite there being one before it (by the same group, no less), Tommy by The Who is the first—is the rock opera. (Well, okay, The Who had done two other things before which you might call rock operas—"A Quick One, While He's Away", "Rael"—but the former was a track long and the latter two tracks so neither counts.)
    • Additionally, The Who+The Beatles=Power Pop.
  • The Yardbirds are practically a who's-who of blues-rock guitarists (at different times, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page numbered amongst their members). They popularized riff-driven songs and pioneered the use of fuzz, distortion, feedback and innovative recording techniques. And evolved into...
  • ...Led Zeppelin, who created heavy metal, along with Heavy Mithril, and Viking Metal.
  • Credit Prog Rock to King Crimson, Yes, Procol Harum and The Moody Blues.
  • Kraftwerk, the first band to really experiment with electronic music. You might even say they were the first "new-wave" music group.
    • Prior to this, electronic instruments were used in neo-classical compositions. The first all-electronic composition was recorded in the late 1930s.
  • Black Sabbath, the first band to use detuned guitar in a metal context, although they are more of the trope codifiers, because they took disparate elements (dark lyrical themes, riff and guitar-driven music, heavy distortion, drug abuse, and tough attitude) and put them together to create what's known today as "heavy metal".
  • Iron Maiden and Judas Priest first blended hard rock with heavy metal.
  • Pink Floyd established progressive rock as psychedelic.
  • X Japan is arguably the creator of Visual Kei (or at least, the first band to collect all of its elements into one band concept and name it a name similar to "Visual Kei")
  • "The Four Seasons", by Vivaldi, was the world's first symphony, defining classical music forever.
  • Beethoven was the world's first Romantic composer. And Debussy defines the Modern movement that followed the Romantic.
  • While the biggest influences on Stoner Metal had been around for a while before the genre itself formed, Kyuss and Sleep were the first bands to actually make music in that style.
  • Even though there were some innovative music videos before they came along, Russell Mulcahy and the directing team of Godley and Creme (former bandmates in 10cc) were the Trope Makers as far as creative, groundbreaking music videos go. Back when even Michael Jackson was just doing in-studio "performance" videos, Mulcahy was shooting filmic videos on location and Godley and Creme were using innovative visual effects and creating whole stories for their videos that put the focus away from straightforward performance videos.
  • The Stooges are the Trope Makers when it comes to punk rock. While there may have been other artists before who laid the groundwork for punk, they were among the first to put all the pieces together and perform what could reliably be considered punk rock.
  • REM essentially created the Alternative Rock genre with their debut single, the original "Radio Free Europe." As noted in one biography, the single "...marked the point in time where post-punk turned into alternative rock."
  • On a more limited level The Velvet Underground more or less invented the Obligatory Bondage Song with "Venus in Furs" (on their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico).
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra was the first Synth Pop band. While Kraftwerk was the first to do live performances of electronic music, YMO was the first to do it without playing up the instruments' novelty.
  • Lļkė Ümläüts? Thänk Blue Oyster Cult.
  • Queensr˙che, Fates Warning and Dream Theater are generally considered to be the first three Progressive Metal bands.
  • The entire oeuvre of Shoe Gazing was essentially a bunch of bands trying to sound like My Bloody Valentine's first album. A significant fraction of modern indie rock is bands trying to sound like their second.
  • blur are regularly cited as the creators of Britpop.
  • Skream popularized dubstep with what is believed to be the first proper dubstep song called midnight request line
  • Metallica's "Kill 'em All" (specifically "Hit the Lights" the first recorded song from the album, released for the compilation album "Metal Massacre" in 1982) is usually cited as Thrash Metal's Trope Maker, but some give that honor to Venom's "Welcome to Hell," and dub Metallica the Trope Codifier.
  • The Age of Love's self-titled (and only) single is widely considered the first true trance song.
  • Steve Roden is the almighty pioneer of the lowercase genre in which he took Ambient and Minimalism and pumped them Up to Eleven, Ironically. His album Forms of Paper was 50 sheers minutes of silence and ambient noises that he amplified using digital equipment.
  • Ministry was the trope maker of Industrial Metal.
  • Cher's "Believe" was the first mainstream song to utilize Auto-Tune for the "plastic" distortion effect.
  • Gang of Four were the first Dance-Punk band, combining Punk Rock with Funk and Dub rhythms.
  • Florida Georgia Line, particularly their debut smash "Cruise", are both makers and codifiers of "bro-country", the wave of rock-influenced, party-themed Country Music in The New Tens. In fact, the term "bro-country" was coined in an article about the duo.

    Newspaper Comics 


    Professional Wrestling 


    Tabletop Games 
  • Kriegspiel was the first war game, created by a German nobleman to train his generals in military strategy. The name means "wargame."
  • Dungeons & Dragons — The first pen-and-paper role-playing game put into publication and would countinue to define and set standards for the entire industry. As technology marched on it would influence digital firsts such as Ultima and Rogue, thus responsible for the entire computer and console RPG genre.
    • Dungeons & Dragons was also responsible for Record of Lodoss War. Everything that series has contributed (such as long anime elf ears) might not have been imagined without it. The creator of Record of Lodoss War (Ryo Mizuno), did for Japan what Gary Gygax did for the West and published Sword World: the most popular Japanese Tabletop Game ever. The implications are massive, since Sword World is said to be the inspiration for later anime, manga, light novels, video games... in addition to the continued success of the current Japanese Tabletop Game market.
  • Call of Cthulhu was the first major horror RPG, and is the acknowledged Trope Maker of the Sanity Meter, a variation of which can be found in almost all horror RPGs that followed it (e.g. Humanity in Vampire: The Masquerade, the Madness Meters of Unknown Armies, etc, etc). As with Dungeons & Dragons, this aspect is often copied in video games as well as tabletops.
  • It's a rare collectible card game that owes nothing at all to Magic: The Gathering. It could be argued that there's no such thing, since Richard Garfield essentially invented (and patented!) the idea of a game with collectible pieces.

    Video Games 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

Alternative Title(s):

Trope Maker, Trope Creator