Follow TV Tropes


Corrupted Character Copy

Go To

The Expy is a character modeled after another, given their own flair/original traits and altered to fit the story. Sometimes this is done out of appreciation for the character. But sometimes, the expy is meant to be a twisted, corrupted and nastier version of the original character. A Superman Substitute who's an insensitive Jerkass, for example.

The Corrupted Character Copy exists as a twisted reflection of the original, usually to serve as a Deconstruction or Take That! against the original. To wit, there are a few metrics to apply for a character to count:


  • They have to obviously be an intentional send up of a specific character from another franchise or company, not just have vague similarities, shared powers, or a few common personality traits. If you look at a given character and immediately think "they're obviously poking fun at [this other given character]," they are a likely candidate for this trope.
  • OR they have to be recognizably riffing on a fairly specific character archetype, such as the Tuxedo and Martini spy. Broader archetypes open to greater interpretation likely don't count.
  • They have to take the character or archetype in a direction opposed to how it usually goes. There should be some meaningful examination of that character or archetype, and what happens if you keep most of the traits that make them recognizable, but delete a key few, or dial one or two others Up to Eleven.

To aid you in determining if a given character fits this trope, consult the following format guideline:

  • [Work Featuring Character]: [Character], Expy of [Template Character with pothole] ([Explanation for why they're an expy of the template]). — [Explanation for why they are "corrupted"].

This template need not be followed specifically, but if it cannot be followed, the character in question probably does not count.

Related to, but distinct from, Evil Counterpart, with the difference being that the Evil Counterpart trope deals with an in-universe darker version of another character. Compare Adaptational Jerkass and Adaptational Villainy, when the original character shows up as a meaner or more villainous incarnation of how they were originally written, and Adaptational Heroism and Adaptational Nice Guy, when a character is significantly nicer or more heroic in an adaptation than they are in their main work. This trope is most prevalent in Superhero fiction, with Superman himself being the most common target, thus Beware the Superman is very closely related. Examples that don't capture the character they're supposed to be "corrupting" very well may overlap with Shallow Parody.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • DC Comics
  • Marvel Comics
    • Subverted with Hawkeye and Quicksilver. Both started out as copies of Green Arrow and The Flash who just so happened to be villains (Hawkeye made the mistake of falling for the Black Widow, who started out as The Baroness, while Quicksilver was part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants), but later joined the Avengers (although Quicksilver has since gone back to being this to an extent as of House of M and Son of M.)
    • In Runaways, the Adjudicator is for all intents and purposes an expy of The Punisher, except that he Would Harm A Child.
    • Supreme Power takes DC's Justice League and runs them in this direction, the end result being a group of Anti-Heroes at best.
      • Hyperion is Superman raised by government agents at the height of the Cold War instead of a loving couple from Kansas, and (unsuccessfully) brainwashed to be the ultimate patriot. Beware the Superman is in full effect.
      • Zarda is Wonder Woman with no morals to speak of, honestly believing humanity is an inferior species and it is her and Hyperion's right to rule them. She drains one man's life force to restore herself to a beautiful princess from a withered corpse, then the man's mother— who was on her knees worshipping Zarda as the comeuppance Man's World deserves— because Zarda still had a gray hair.
      • Doc Spectrum is Green Lantern as a government secret agent and assassin who left behind almost every shred of empathy and morality a long time ago. The gem that gives him his powers is Loyal Phlebotinum. . . to Hyperion, not Doc, meaning that the hope that Doc Spectrum could stop Hyperion if necessary was dead a-borning.
      • Amphibian (Aquaman) was abandoned in the ocean as a baby because her parents found her appearance disgusting. Living all on her own in the ocean, she's a Cute Monster Girl with No Nudity Taboo and a genuinely kind person, but she just doesn't get humanity or the world outside the ocean, leading to a few accidental deaths.
      • Nighthawk is Batman as a wealthy black man with a gigantic racist chip on his shoulder. On the trail of a super-powered serial killer who's killed several black prostitutes, Nighthawk tells Hyperion that if the killer had been going after white, middle-class female twentysomethings, Hyperion would have been all over it ages ago. Never mind that the first time they met, Hyperion specifically mentioned he saw Nighthawk ignoring violent crimes because the victims weren't black, only to jump in the second a black person was the target.
    • Ethan Edwards is another Marvel Comics sendup of Superman, a Skrull who was sent to Earth from his dying world, raised by a kindly couple in midwest America, became the star reporter of the Daily Bugle in his civilian identity (which didn't last long) while becoming a Nigh-Invulnerable Flying Brick in his costumed identity. Unfortunately, he's also a Hot-Blooded Failure Hero.
    • The Sentry is the all-powerful Silver Age Superman—only as a complete neurotic mess who needs a supercomputer to tell him what crisis to respond to and is saddled with an Ax-Crazy Super-Powered Evil Side that commits an act of evil for every act of good that the Sentry does.
  • The Boys has a fair share of this, owing to Garth Ennis disliking superheroes, and writing the comic as a Deconstructive Parody.
    • The Justice League of America stand-in is The Seven, the most powerful and photogenic group of superheroes Vought has been able to produce.
      • Homelander, Expy of Superman (his "comic origin" is landing on Earth in an alien spaceship and rapidly growing to adulthood, he was actually created in Vought's labs). He's a racist asshole and self-styled Übermensch who only cares about the profits Vought's making off the team (and his cut of them), and raped Butcher's wife (resulting in her death when the superpowered infant came to term).
      • Black Noir, sort of an expy of Batman and Superboy, in that he's a clone of Homelander made for the express purpose of killing Homelander if he ever went rogue. This goes as well as you'd expect in an Ennis comic.
      • Queen Maeve, expy of Wonder Woman. It's implied she genuinely wanted to be a good, heroic person, but the bungled attempt to stop 9/11 drove her into alcoholic apathy.
      • The Deep, expy of Aquaman. Not all that bad, but doesn't really try and curb the excesses of the supes in The 'Verse.
      • Jack From Jupiter, expy of Martian Manhunter. Like most of the Seven, he really only cares about the profits from his merchandising contracts and enjoying the perks of being able to do whatever (and whoever) he wants with no repercussions.
      • A-Train, expy of The Flash (Wally West, specifically). His, Hughie's, and the audience's introduction to the world of superheroes in The Boys is A-Train reducing Hughie's genuinely nice, lovely, wonderful girlfriend to bloody smear and a pair of severed arms. He participates in the coerced blowbang of Starlight (along with Homelander and Black Noir) and later tries to straight-up rape her.
      • Starlight, who could be seen as a pastiche of Supergirl, Stargirl (DC Comics), and Starfire. One of the only actually decent people in the entire series.
      • Former members include Lamplighter, expy of Green Lantern, who burned children alive, and Marathon Man, another Flash expy, who we learn nothing about.
    • The Avengers stand-in is Payback, consisting of:
      • Stormfront, combo expy of The Mighty Thor and Shazam. He's a Nazi. Not Neo-Nazi, he was brought over from Nazi Germany in WWII and fully buys into old-school, straight-from-der-fuhrer's mouth propaganda.
      • Soldier Boy, expy of Captain America. A Dirty Coward Phony Veteran.
      • Tek-Knight, mostly an Iron Man expy, but with a few elements of Batman (very young sidekick Laddio which is a legacy title, a Tek-Cave, and a loyal butler). He's recently started having sex with anything that catches his fancy, including other members of Payback, small animals, cups of coffee, and his butler's ear. Turns out this was the result of a fist-sized brain tumor. Aside from that, actually seems a decent guy. He tried to get help for his condition, and after it destroys his hero career, he sacrifices his life by saving a woman and her child from falling a wheelbarrow full of bricks and destroying a gigantic meteor by having sex with it (though the latter is actually a Dying Dream of his).
      • Crimson Countess, expy of Scarlet Witch (the most blatant one yet, her costume looks almost exactly like something Wanda would actually wear). She's a bit Ax-Crazy, absolutely determined to vaporize Butcher's dog after it takes a bite out of her (which he did to stop her from vaporizing one of The Boys' heads).
      • Man-Droid, expy of The Vision, except he's not actually any kind of "droid," just a dude in a costume. We don't know anything specific he might have gotten up to, but went all-in on Payback's plan to cripple The Boys, and begs for his life when Butcher corners him. And was serving in Payback under Stormfront (see above).
      • Swatto, expy of Ant-Man. As with Man-Droid, We Hardly Knew Ye is in effect but seems a fairly Ax-Crazy The Unintelligible.
    • The X-Men stand-in is the G-Men, run by John Godolkin, who abducts kids off the street, raises them in his mansion and gives them superpowers, selling the idea that he's created a safe place for superpowered orphans. He sexually abuses the children under his care, which results them all being severely damaged adults who turn around and assist Godolkin's abuse when he brings in a new batch of kids.
  • Before The Boys, there was Marshal Law.
    • Public Spirit is a spoof of Superman who is portrayed as a jingoistic jackass, an obvious riff on the idea that being raised by rural white conservative parents (like Superman's adoptive parents the Kents) would make one an Ideal Hero.
    • Private Eye, the comic's take on Batman, is portrayed as a classist jerk whose "crime-fighting" consists of kidnapping poor people and performing gruesome experiments on them.
    • The Persecutor, the Punisher stand-in, takes Public Spirit's jingoism Up to Eleven, gunning down leftists and minorities because he thinks they're a threat to America.
    • The Jesus Society of America is a parody of the Justice Society of America, right down to the initials. They're every bit as racist, sexist, and jingoistic as you'd expect people from the 40s to be.
    • The Secret Tribunal mocks the X-Men by calling out the absurdity of using what's more or less a power-fantasy to tell a story of being "outcasts feared by the world" and pointing the unpleasant undertones of the idea of mutants being "the next stage of evolution".
  • In Bratpack, the main cast are expies of famous superhero/sidekick duos:
  • Irredeemable: The Plutonian asks the question of "what if Superman turned evil?". While he first appears to be a straight example of the Superman Substitute before his Face–Heel Turn, it's shown he has a lot more demons in his past than Superman ever had. He had a troubled childhood that psychologically damaged him compared to the Man Of Steel's Upbringing Makes the Hero (though it's no excuse for his actions), his powers proved somewhat of a hindrance, and his motive for heroism was less "wanting to do good things" and more "secretly Love Hungry and Can't Take Criticism".
  • Planetary:
    • The Big Bad Ensemble the 4 are directly based on the Fantastic Four, with similar concepts and powers, and an origin story involving something happening to them during a space flight. Specifically, they're a very dark take on the idea that Reed Richards Is Useless; they actively suppress any technological advancements they discover, even if they would benefit mankind.
    • An early issue revolves around a dimensional-travel experiment that attracted a group of supervillains from another world who are twisted counterparts of the Justice League, with matching powers and similar appearances.
  • The Red Ten was created because Tyler James wanted to write a murder mystery involving the Justice League getting picked off one by one, but knew that DC would never go for it, so he created the Alliance as expies.
  • Top 10 has a team of older superheroes as Justice League stand-ins, who faked a war with an alien species and are all pedophiles who molested each other's wards. Atoman ends up manipulated into committing suicide rather than face imprisonment (since the cop manipulating him knew there'd be severe collateral damage if he went down fighting.)

    Films — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Hancock: Deconstructed. Hancock starts out as a pretty clear corruption of Superman, a lazy bum who drinks too much and causes needless collateral damage with his heroics. As he's taken in by a PR man who wants to help clean up his image, it's revealed Hancock has a pretty good Freudian Excuse for his behavior, having come to genuinely believe he's unworthy of affection. Getting over these issues and embracing his potential to be the Big Good is the point of the film and Hancock's own Character Development.
  • Murder by Death: Milo Perrier parodies Hercule Poirot, both of them being famed Belgian detectives. However, Perrier possesses far less self-control and politeness than his original and seems to be more of a Punch-Clock Hero than the highly principled Poirot.
  • My Super Ex-Girlfriend: G-Girl is an expy of Supergirl (got her powers from an alien meteor instead of being an alien, has a Kryptonite Factor of the same meteor that empowered her, but otherwise the same basic Flying Brick). The film asks "What if Supergirl was an insecure, neurotic, overly-controlling woman with a fondness for Disproportionate Retribution?"
  • In Brightburn, a childless couple (who really want a child) from the American Midwest finds a baby boy in a crashed spaceship near their farm one night. They adopt the boy, doing their best to raise him in a loving home. As he grows older, he begins to develop extraordinary powers, including invulnerability, flight, and super speed along with heat vision. He even takes to wearing a red blanket around his shoulders like a cape. Unfortunately, this kid also rapidly develops from a seemingly sweet-natured and loving kid into a psychopathic, violent predator who regards humans as prey, and the use of his powers against people is Played for Horror. A brutally straightforward example of this trope as applied to Superboy (and presumably eventually Superman). As The Stinger shows, there are also corrupt, murdering counterparts to Aquaman and Wonder Woman, and likely others.
  • Sky High (2005): Inverted with Layla. A passionate environmentalist Redhead In Green with a Green Thumb? She's a good Poison Ivy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Boys (2019): As in the comics, the characters are mostly clear expies of existing characters from other comics, mostly Marvel and DC. In some cases, they've altered the expy a bit or made it more clear.
    • Homelander, expy of Superman with the same powers and heroic image, but pretty much as a straight-up villain. In addition to his sins from the comic, the show also focuses on his corruption of the All-American Face persona of Superman and Captain America, portrayed as a militaristic fascist and fundamentalist Christian who reflects every awful stereotype of Boorish Eagleland.
    • Queen Maeve, expy of Wonder Woman. She's a Multi-Melee Master whose costume draws a lot of inspiration from Wonder Woman (2017) (albeit with a Celtic theme instead of a Greco-Roman one), though she can't fly and relies on Homelander to carry her when needed. Maeve started out idealistic and gung-ho to save the world, but eventually gave it all up one compromise at a time, and is now a rude, apathetic alcoholic who isn't going to her meetings.
    • Black Noir, expy of Batman. Dresses all in black, good at close-quarters combat with knives, never speaks, mysterious. Time will only tell how corrupted he is, or if the series will follow the comics, where he's a failsafe against Homelander and is ultimately responsible for most of the things that have gone wrong.
    • The Deep, expy of Aquaman, complete with perceived uselessness and fish jokes. He pulls a Casting Couch on Starlight, it's stated that he's sexually assaulted (or at least harassed) several other women, and he suffers a Trauma Conga Line when it comes out. His one redeeming trait is his genuine love of all marine creatures, leading to the aforementioned fish jokes, and every time he tries to push this issue forward he's rebuffed (he wants to "shine a light" on Oceanland's questionable animal handling practices, but is told to just go along with the ad campaign Oceanland signed him up for).
    • A-Train, expy of The Flash. Repeatedly called "The Fastest Man Alive". Fear of losing that title leads to him juicing on Compound V to the point that he has a heart attack. As in the comics, he's responsible for reducing Hughie's girlfriend to Ludicrous Gibs and doesn't really feel that bad about it. He repeatedly fails to recognize Hughie, even after they met face-to-face and A-Train delivered a Vought-mandated apology. He's also the key in Homelander's plan to spread Compound V through the world and create supervillains for The Seven to fight, and murders his girlfriend Popclaw when she proves to be a weak link in this plan.
    • Translucent, a gender-flipped combo of Invisible Woman and Emma Frost, is just your garden-variety Invisible Jerkass.
    • Starlight is made more a mix of Supergirl and Carol Danvers. While her comic counterpart was a basic Flying Brick with some Light 'em Up powers, here her light blasts are her go-to primary ability, though she still has Super Strength enough to beat large ordinary men senseless and can take two .50-caliber rifle rounds to the chest with only moderate discomfort. She's the kindest, most sincerely heroic character on the show, but dangerously naive, and while she doesn't go through as bad a Break the Cutie as she did in the comics, she still gets put through the wringer and has to give up on a lot of her idealism.
    • Ezekiel has powers similar to Mister Fantastic, but beyond that, they're complete opposites rather than one of them being specifically a subversion of the other. (Ezekiel is still a right bastard, though, make no mistake.) Ezekiel is a charismatic religious leader and hypocrite, while Reed Richards is an Absent-Minded Professor of pure science.
    • Season 2 introduces Stormfront, a combination of Mary Marvel and Jane Foster as Thor who's also secretly a neo-Nazi. Or rather, an original Nazi. Her backstory as the ageless product of a Nazi Super Soldier experiment makes her the evil version of Captain America in addition to the aforementioned.
  • Black Mirror:
    • The Hot Shot judges in the episode "Fifteen Million Merits" are a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of American Idol's original judging trio. Hope is analogous to Simon Cowell (a tough-love realist), Charity to Paula Abdul (a nicer heart), and Wraith to Randy Jackson (in-between). However, they are at best insincere assholes and at worst exploitative douchebags.
    • Robert Daly in "USS Callister" is a shy, introverted genius who feels intimidated, unappreciated, and mistreated by his coworkers. He deals with this by creating a world of illusion in which he plays the intimidating force to simulated versions of the people he can't face in real life. The only difference between Daly and Reginald Barclay is that Lt. Barclay's illusions are just that, and Daly's are sentient.
  • Community: Mr. Rad from Regional Holiday Music is this to Mr. Schuester from Glee. Both coach their school's Glee Club and both resort to extreme measures to get people to join. However, Mr. Rad is willing to go further than Mr. Schuester would, even committing murder. Also, Mr. Schuester does care about his students and encourages them to follow their dreams. Mr. Rad cares only about winning, chewing Britta out when she starts singing badly.
  • Psych: The episode "Shawn And Gus In Drag (Racing)" is a Whole Plot Reference to The Fast and the Furious movies, with Tommy Nix (played by Adam Rodriguez) serving as the Dominic Toretto stand-in, being a Badass Driver who is the leader of a group of close-knit car thieves. However, it is ultimately revealed that Tommy has absolutely none of Dom's positive characteristics. While Dom treated his gang like family and hated betrayal, Tommy murdered one of his gang for trying to go independent and let another one take the fall for his crime.

    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt: Copen is the Mega Man equivalent for the game given that he can copy the abilities of the bosses he fights. Unlike the many incarnations of Mega Man, however, he's a Fantastic Racist who aims to hunt down and exterminate all Adepts.
  • Inverted in Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective with Inspector Cabanela. With his white suit symbolizing a 100% perfect record, the player is led to make comparisons to Manfred von Karma, the Big Bad of Ace Attorney, who cheated to get a similarly perfect record, and that Cabanela will throw his old partner Jowd under the bus to keep his record clean. Turns out he's Good All Along and only got such a record so he could look into Jowd's supposed murder of his wife, which he's figured out is actually the work of a ghost like Sissel.
  • No More Heroes has two of the same character (namely, Dante), in the form of Travis Touchdown and Helter Skelter.
    • Helter Skelter is a jab at Dante's nature as an overly-edgy broody Bishōnen hero, being an albino with two guns that shoot bullets and missiles and have retractable bayonets. The trailer initially builds him up as the protagonist until Travis kills him, and in the game proper Travis muses that he can't decide whether Helter was "the shit or just plain shit".
    • Travis Touchdown has the red coat, the cool sword, the motorbike, and the brother for a rival, but Dante's love of conventionally "cool" things like rock music replaced by nerdier interests like anime and video games, and his roguish attitude is more aggressive and vulgar than Dante's.
    • Helter Skelter's brother Skelter Helter from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is one to Cloud Strife. His main weapon highly resembles the buster sword and he even sports spiky anime hair and they both try to avenge the loss of a loved one, Helter for Skelter and Aerith for Cloud. However, Skelter's angst is much more hammy and noticeable compared to Cloud's bitter and sorrowful view and he has none of the later's more positive traits.
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception: Kobra is a corrupted character copy of Ken Masters. They are both blonde, American martial artists with a love of fighting and whose goal is to test themselves against other warriors. But while Ken is a heroic Spirited Competitor who would never harm an innocent person, Kobra is a sadistic Blood Knight whose craving for violence drove him from fighting petty crooks to killing innocent and unarmed people.
  • Episode 2 of Scooby-Doo: First Frights has an eccentric toymaker named Tim Toiler as the villain, who can best be described as an evil version of Willy Wonka who makes toys instead of candy. He even bears a notable resemblance to Willy Wonka's portrayal in Nestle's commercials for Wonka candy.
  • Inverted with Crash Bandicoot. On close inspection, he has a lot of similarities to Taz the Tasmanian Devil. Both are Seldom-Seen Species from Australia, both mainly speak in random babbling, both have the lights on upstairs despite no one ever being home, both get into more than their fair shares of gut-busting antics, and both spin around as their main means of offense. However, while Taz is a ravenous Jerkass, Crash is a happy-go-lucky Nice Guy.
  • Professor Layton can be seen as an inverted example, since he checks off a lot off boxes when compared to Sherlock Holmes. Both of them are renown detectives that are seen as indispensable to their respective versions of Scotland Yard (complete with their own Inspector Lestrade), both of them are antagonized by their moral opposite, both have an antagonistic brother, and both of them are always within close proximity to someone they view as a close friend. However, there's one thing Sherlock has that Layton doesn't: an upturned nose to everyone around them.

    Visual Novels 
  • Nagito Komaeda from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair seems to be a straight Expy of Makoto Naegi from the previous game at first, but it's eventually revealed that he actually deconstructs several aspects of Makoto's character, as Nagito's inferiority complex, flip-flopping "luck" and dedication to the ideal of "hope" renders him far more unstable than Makoto. Word of God confirms that his status as this trope is intentional.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer is less an expy of James Bond and more a counter to the Gentleman Spy archetype in general. Archer has zero gentlemanly traits, is a Psychopathic Manchild who habitually bullies his coworkers, routinely endangers missions (and coworkers) due to his self-centeredness or lack of any useful skills (beyond ass-kicking), and has gotten the clap so many times it's more like applause.
  • Batman Beyond has the Terrific Trio, an Expy of The Fantastic Four who mix-and-match certain elements between each other; Magma has the backstory of Reed Richards and a powerset that's a mix of The Thing and the Human Torch, while Freon is Susan Storm with an inverted version of the Human Torch's powers, and 2-D Man has the powers of Mr. Fantastic with almost no personality. They start off as heroes, but after they learn their conditions are unstable and that their friend Dr. Hodges was the one who orchestrated the accident that gave them their powers to take Magma out of the picture, and after the public, the military, and law enforcement turn on them, they become emotionally destroyed and try to duplicate the accident, not caring that the radiation would destroy the city. A conversation between Batman and Magma lampshades this accordingly.
    Batman: I've gotta shut that thing off! Thousands of people will die! Mag-Dr. Morgan, you can't let that happen! You're a hero, remember?
    Magma: No, I'm an accident. Real heroes, they make a choice. I never did.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "The Criss Cross Conspiracy" features a crime-fighting "Bat Lady" named Katrina Moldoff, who closely resembles Kathy Kane, the original Bat-Woman in the comics. She goes off the rails and tries to kill the Riddler.
    • Additionally, there's the Faceless Hunter, herald to Starro the Conqueror. Much like the Silver Surfer, the Faceless Hunter made a deal with Starro after the latter found out he couldn't control beings without faces... A deal to destroy the planet, as the Faceless Hunter's pacifistic people looked down on his occupation.
  • Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman features a character named Kathy DuQuesne, who is named in reference to Kathy Kane, the Batwoman of the comics. The makers of the movie intended to straight-up name her "Kathy Kane", but were asked by DC to change it because the movie's Kathy is more of a ruthless Anti-Hero than the comic book version.
  • The crew of Drawn Together are parodies of cartoon characters, each with a darker and more adult edge that usually makes them nastier than what they're parodying. Captain Hero is a Superman Substitute who's a macho jerk and hero in name only, Ling Ling is a Heroic Comedic Sociopath parodying Pikachu, Princess Clara is a bigoted Disney Princess, Toot is a bitter and washed up parody of Betty Boop, and Wooldoor is a parody of wacky cartoon characters (mainly Spongebob Squarepants) with their Cloud Cuckoolander traits exaggerated.
  • DuckTales (2017) features two cases of this:
    • Dr. Akita is a darker take on Dr. Tenma from Astro Boy. While Dr. Tenma was a sympathetic Anti-Villain driven mad by the death of his son Tobio, who initially was antagonistic to Astro upon realizing that the un-aging robot could never truly replace his son, he eventually became supportive of him. Dr. Akita, however, tried to convert BOYD from a friendly Ridiculously Human Robot into a Killer Robot for malicious purposes, and only sees him as a weapon. Dr. Tenma's more sympathetic traits are given to Gyro Gearloose.
    • The Ghost of Christmas Past is based on the version of the Ghost played by Jiminy Cricket in Mickey's Christmas Carol, but distinct from him at the same time: as Frank Angones pointed out, the significantly darker take on the Ghost would be out of character for Jiminy and inappropriate for a Disney character of Incorruptible Pure Pureness. To sum up: the Ghost, instead of trying to teach Scrooge McDuck The True Meaning Of Christmas, is a non-romantic Crazy Jealous Guy who wants Scrooge to stay in the past with him, visiting the greatest Christmas parties in history, just because he doesn't want Scrooge to leave him like all the other people who learned lessons from him before. When Scrooge realizes the Ghost wants to separate him from his family, he furiously takes the Ghost's time-travelling umbrella and leaves him stranded in the past, where the Ghost proceeds to Go Mad from the Isolation... and turn into a Wendigo.
  • Futurama: Zapp Brannigan is a clear parody of Captain Kirk from Star Trek, poking fun at his more inept and egotistical moments (he was specifically meant to be if Kirk was more like the actor who played him). As a result, Zapp has Kirk's lustiness and ego cranked up to "parody," but lacks any of his competence or A Father to His Men traits, instead being a General Failure relying on We Have Reserves. Leela once had Pity Sex with him, and he never let her forget it.
  • Justice League:
    • "Legends" is a homage to the old comics where the Justice League would travel to a parallel world and team up with its heroes, the Justice Society. In the episode, the heroes the Justice League meet are the Justice Guild, expies of the Justice Society. The final reveal is that the real Justice Guild was killed saving the world, and the versions the Justice League meet are embodied figments of another character's imagination.
    • In "Starcrossed", Earth is visited by a group of Hawkgirl's people, the Thanagarians. The group's leader, Hro Talak, closely resembles Katar Hol, Hawkgirl's Thanagarian partner in the comics, but turns out to be Crazy Jealous Guy and a Well-Intentioned Extremist who becomes the story arc's main villain.
    • Galatea from Justice League Unlimited has Power Girl's costume with a smaller Cleavage Window and no cape. She's a clone of Supergirl who's sadistic and hates Supergirl because her very existence reminds her that she's just a clone.
    • Cadmus seems to have a penchant for creating this trope, as before there was Galatea, they created the Ultimen, a collection of copies of the Canon Foreigners from Superfriends: Long Shadow for Apache Chief, Wind Dragon for Samurai, Juice for Black Vulcan, and Shifter and Downpour for the Wonder Twins. Even Superman finds Wind Dragon too corny for his liking and their New Powers as the Plot Demands, a staple of the classic Superfriends cartoons, is a sign that their powers are unstable and that they're suffering from Clone Degeneration. After learning that they're clones, they eventually decide to rebel and destroy the cloning tanks despite Long Shadow's protests of them endangering innocent people, and the Justice League has to stop them.
  • Inverted with Ralph Wolf, enemy of Sam Sheepdog who looks an awful lot like fellow Looney Tunes canine Wile E. Coyote (in fact, a later episode made them long-lost brothers). He's a literal Punch-Clock Villain who's friends with Sam Sheepdog off the clock while Wile E. is a true-blue fanatic who will stop at nothing to catch the Roadrunner no matter how much Amusing Injuries he has to suffer through.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez is a clear parody of Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown from Back to the Future, but whereas Doc is a friendly Absent-Minded Professor, Rick is a Mad Scientist and an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist (but not entirely without compassionate moments).
  • Lamprey from Shadow Raiders follows in Rainmaker Entertainment's tradition of Dark Action Girls like Hexadecimal and Blackarachnia, but unlike them she doesn't have a High-Heel–Face Turn or any Character Development.
  • The Simpsons: Itchy, the star of Show Within a Show The Itchy & Scratchy Show is this for Jerry from Tom and Jerry. While Jerry is (usually) depicted as a heroic character who is simply trying to keep Tom from eating him, Itchy is a complete and utter psychopath who tortures and kills Scratchy purely for his own amusement.
  • Mina Loveberry from Star vs. the Forces of Evil is a Sailor Senshi Send-Up, being obviously based on Sailor Moon in terms of appearance and transformation, and a parody of Magical Girl Warriors in general. From the start, Mina fought monsters not because they were dangerous, but simply because they were monsters. Her frilly magical girl trappings jarringly contrast with her militarism and the hulking, vaguely demonic form she usually fights in, which were only made worse when centuries of fighting turned Mina into a vagabond with poor hygiene and fragile mental health. She eventually becomes much more of a threat as her Fantastic Racism against monsters drives her to wage war against all of them.
  • Inverted with Peridot from Steven Universe. as a hammy green alien invader with technological skill, she's an obvious Expy of Invader Zim, except she's much saner and eventually sees the beauty in Earth and joins the Crystal Gems after giving an epic chew-out to Yellow Diamond, whereas Zim has an extremely misplaced Undying Loyalty to the Almighty Tallest, who hate him, and eventually becomes a very serious threat by the time of Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.
  • The Warden from Superjail! is a sadistic Willy Wonka who runs a jail. He's a Manchild who hates kids, had a terrible father who made him kill a puppy amongst other things, and has only ever felt guilty once (for breaking up a gay couple)
  • Superman: The Animated Series: In "Where There's Smoke", the unnamed man who runs the Center for Paranormal Studies, a school that helps kids with superpowers learn to control their abilities, is a bald man with powerful psychic powers. Admittedly, he does not use a wheelchair and he has different powers, but it’s still pretty blatant he’s at the very least a Shout-Out to Professor X. However, while Xavier may have Well-Intentioned Extremist tendencies in his darker incarnations, he wants peace and serves as a mentor to his students. The CPS leader wants to use Volcana as either a living weapon or an experimental subject and doesn't care what happens to her in the process.
  • Kitten in Teen Titans is an Expy of Duela Dent, and she's far more malicious and sadistic than Duela (who, while zany and irreverent, was never an outright villain like Kitten).
  • The Tick: Tick and all of his superhero friends are parodies of classic superheroes. They are for the most part odd but relatively effectual, but Batman Parody Die Fledermaus is a useless, egomaniacal Dirty Coward, Bulletman spoof the Human Bullet actually needs to be fired out of a cannon to do anything and his wife doesn't approve of his and his son's superhero work (in sharp contrast of Bulletman's wife who actually helps him out as Bulletgirl), Aquaman parody Sewer Urchin may be the "apotheosis of cool" in the sewers but almost no hero other than the Tick is willing to look past his horrible aroma, and The Punisher parody Big Shot is a neurotic violence addict with Mommy Issues who wastes almost all of his bullets shooting his sigil into everything in its way and is later talked into seeking professional help by the Tick.
    • The above examples have nothing on Jim Rage, head of Project Shave, a parody of Nick Fury. The funding for Project Shave was cut after 15 years of failure and he never told his team (a parody of Charlie's Angels) that they were no longer a legitimate operation. He wears an eyepatch solely because he thinks it looks cool, he'll go to drastic measures to destroy a sentient mustache, and his team cuts all ties with him when they learn the truth. The Tick accurately sums him up as a jerk who hates his mustache.
  • Sentinel Prime from Transformers Animated is voiced by Townsend Coleman and as such is visually inspired by The Tick, even spouting such Tick-isms as "Prime-er prime" and "Energon-y goodness." However, he's a Jerkass with a hatred of organics.
  • The Venture Bros., befitting its status as a Deconstructive Parody of boy's adventure series, loves this trope.
    • Dr. Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture and Action Johnny are both this to Jonny Quest (in fact, the latter was supposed to be Jonny Quest himself but that was vetoed by Executive Meddling): both former boy adventurers who were both left traumatized by the many near-death experiences they had over the course of their adventures. They've become differently jaded as a result; Rusty has become a super-scientist who's a neglectful father himself, only less successful than his father, and Johnny has rage issues and drug addictions.
    • Rusty's father, Jonas Venture, is likewise one to Doc Savage, being an adventuring scientist and Genius Bruiser par excellence, but was a terrible father to Rusty, exposing him to numerous traumas and then making minimal effort to help him with the problems he developed from it. And that's not even getting into what a horrible friend he was...
    • And the titular brothers themselves are one to The Hardy Boys, being boy adventurers who initially start out as The Dividual. They're repeatedly shown as being Too Dumb to Live and very much in over their heads, and in fact have repeatedly died and subsequently cloned by their father. By the time Character Development kicks in, Dean does everything he can to get out of the adventuring super-scientist life while Hank outgrows his uselessness.
    • Dr. Byron Orpheus is one to Doctor Strange. He has no real PhD, only a degree in Communications and a minor in Women's Studies from a community college (Stephen Strange was an accomplished neurosurgeon before becoming Sorceror Supreme), he just calls himself a "necromancer" because all of the other magic-user titles have fallen out of favor (note that he actually can communicate with and raise the dead as a proper Necromancer does, it's just not his primary field of magic), is constantly outdone by his student the Outrider, and his Large Ham tendencies are considered annoying and embarrassing by his daughter. Nonetheless, he's by far the nicest among Dr. Venture and his allies.
    • His Order of the Triad teammate Jefferson Twilight is one to Blade, as he specifically hunts "blaculas" (black vampires) to the point of Crippling Overspecialization (he notes that he'd be lost if he had to fight a regular vampire and get killed if he had to fight a magic-user without the rest of the Triad around), and Blade's Dhampyr thirst for blood or artificial replacements spoofed by low blood sugar making him crave sugary drinks (most notably Nik-L-Nips).
    • The OSI is this to groups like G.I. Joe and S.H.I.E.L.D.. They're a patriotic group of superspies who fight evil, but they have more than a few skeletons in their closet and several members, frustrated by bureaucracy holding them back, jump ship and rebuild SPHINX to fight threats that the OSI can't.
      • General Treister is this to both Nick Fury and "Thunderbolt" Ross. He's the head of the OSI and patriotic as all get-out, but his behavior (he believes that he's become a "hulk" out of gamma radiation therapy to cure his cancer, goes to the bathroom in his own office, and wrestles people as a form of negotiation) doesn't inspire much confidence. Subverted with The Reveal that he was only acting as such to fool Cardholder and Doe and trick Hunter into returning to the OSI.
      • Agents Cardholder and Doe are this to Joe Friday and Bill Gannon, as a pair of fast-talking government agents who are actually The Mole for the Guild and are trying to take over.
      • Shore Leave is one to Shipwreck, as he comes from a clique of G.I. Joe-Village People parodies with the Hello, Sailor! gag played completely straight. He got kicked out of the OSI on a "don't ask, don't tell" beef, and later joins SPHINX and shows how badass he really is. Meanwhile, his "Holy Diver" persona is a much straighter example to Bibleman as a religious-themed superhero who's largely ineffective as his suiting-up sequence takes too long for him to join the fight.
    • S.P.H.I.N.X. is one to Cobra, as a Nebulous Evil Organization opposing the OSI that got completely eradicated in the Pyramid Wars of '87 and later rebuilt by Hunter Gathers to fight non-Guild threats.
    • The Guild of Calamitous Intent is one to particularly large Legion of Doom organizations like the post-Identity Crisis Secret Society of Super-Villains, as they're not so much an organization of supervillains as they are a Super Registration Act for the bad guys.
    • Professor Richard Impossible is the head of the Impossibles, a Fantastic Four parody. Introduced as a Captain Ersatz of Reed Richards, he soon shows a much darker side as a sexist and bigoted Jerkass who's uncaring and abusive to his family. Much like Reed's Ultimate Universe incarnation, he ends up becoming a villain in his own right.
      • Likewise, the rest of the Impossibles have terrible powers; Sally's skin becomes invisible whenever she's not actively concentrating to keep it visible, Cody flames on in contact from oxygen and can feel the burns despite being impervious to them, and Ned is more like a giant callous than a giant rock.
    • The Groovy Gang is one to Mystery Incorporated, as they're all send-ups of famous serial killers and other Real Life infamous figures and use solving mysteries at spooky old places as an excuse to loot said places and kill any witnesses.
    • Red Death is one to the Red Skull, being a terrifying villain who is genuinely imposing and has the latter's Skull for a Head, but is a Punch-Clock Villain like all Guild members and is a pretty darn nice guy when he's not engaging in acts of villainy.
    • Baron Underbheit is one to Doctor Doom, initially built up as Dr. Venture's serious archenemy in contrast to the Monarch. He rules Underland with an iron fist and was disfigured in a lab accident he blamed Rusty on, but ultimately proved too one-dimensional to properly fulfill the Knight of Cerebus role and was quickly eclipsed as Rusty's nemesis by the Monarch and as the Knight of Cerebus by Phantom Limb, who he would later end up working for.
    • The Blue Morpho is one to the Green Hornet, as having a reputation as a villain means that he can and will do some depraved things in the name of duty, such as performing every known sex act to Dr. Z while disguised as Billie Jean King. Taken Up to Eleven with the reveal that Jonas blackmailed him into doing such work.
      • As Venturion, he's one to Robocop. The rest of Team Venture was horrified by Jonas's decision to revive the Blue Morpho as a cyborg, which caused him to lose interest in doing anything with Venturion other than making him Rusty's nanny, which turned out to be a huge mistake as it awakened his memories of his own son and a plane crash, which led him to strangle Rusty and in turn having his neck snapped by his former sidekick Kano, who took a vow of silence in remorse.
      • His "Vendata" persona is one to Darth Vader, a cyborg Fallen Hero who was found and rebuilt by Dr. Z and repurposed into a supervillain. However, most of his villainous acts are because of a morality dial installed on him and the remainder are out of justifiable anger at Jonas for turning him into Venturion in the first place.
    • Minor character Steve Summers is one to The Six Million Dollar Man, as a former astronaut rebuilt by the government with $6 million worth of bionic parts. The difference is that they expected him to pay it all back, which is hard to do on a government salary. Steve, already disgruntled by the whole affair, finally had enough and went rogue after meeting a Sasquatch and falling in love with him.
  • Inverted when one compares the cast of Harvey Street Kids to the cast of Ed, Edd n Eddy:
  • Amphibia featured The Curator, who's basically Grunkle Stan in all but namenote . He runs a tourist trap, displays numerous shady behaviors, share the same voice actor. However, while Stan would simply grab some random odds and ends and call it a day when it comes to his "mysterious oddities", The Curator is not above encasing living (or even sapient) beings in wax as a means of drawing more guests to his museum.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: