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Fad Super

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"I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible...
a mirror ball on roller skates!"
"Printing comics takes a three-month lead time, meaning any cultural fad with its own superhero has been dead at least that long. Now you know why Dazzler debuted in February of 1980. If she'd reached print in the '70s, Olivia Newton-John would have sued Marvel via sexy dance number, but the calendar changed, the thrill wore off, and a mortified America agreed never to talk about what we'd done to ourselves that decade."

A character is created as a direct response to an idea or fad that is currently popular. Naturally, this character might prove schlocky or out of place once that fad passes out of pop culture, unless some writer is willing to take the character out of obscurity and build him or her up into something more.

The Sliding Timescale can have a particularly odd effect on these characters, since it often restricts their debut to only a few years before "now", suggesting that such characters decided to base themselves on, say, a 1960s theme in the late 2000s. Villains who are Fad Supers have a higher chance of being kept, since they are usually intended to be eccentric, out of place, and theme-based.

This isn't the same as an existing hero's ability or story being tweaked in response to the times, such as Silver Age technobabble revisionism. Compare Captain Ethnic, Cyclic National Fascination, Totally Radical. Contrast with Old Superhero, who is outdated on purpose. Particularly prone to being the subject of Reimagining the Artifact if brought back.


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    Comic Books – DC 
  • Wonder Woman: For a time in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wonder Woman lost her powers and familiar uniform, gained a wise old Asian mentor who taught her martial arts, and had espionage adventures wearing a white jumpsuit... right around the time British Modernist fashions were making their way to the US and British spy shows like The Avengers (1960s) were popular. Most people hated this, Gloria Steinem even commenting how it was a needless depowering of the strongest female hero in comics, and it's pretty well in an Audience-Alienating Era. Ironically, the spy concept as well as the white-jumpsuit were both used in the volume of Wonder Woman following Infinite Crisis. Judging by reviews, people liked it.
  • Vibe, a member of the much-maligned Detroit-based Justice League of America, was a breakdancer with vibrational powers. To get an idea of what he used to be like have a look at this DC short. He got rebooted in the New 52 and The Flash (2014), dropping the breakdancing but keeping the vibrational powers.
  • Teen Titans:
    • The original run of the Teen Titans comics featured two villainous examples who used then-trendy fads as covers for their criminal schemes: Ding-Dong Daddy (a caricature of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, whose shtick was Hot Rods) and the Mad Mod (whose shtick was the fashions of the "Mod" look). Appropriately, such villains have returned as part of a nostalgia fad, to evoke the era in which the original fads appeared. The animated series revealed that the youth-scene-oriented Mad Mod is actually a crotchety old man using holograms and stage magic to create his younger appearance, trying to steal and/or control youth.
    • This trope is possibly a reason why Dick Grayson got new Nightwing costumes. His first one was very 80s while his second was very 90s with hair to match and that followed him into his more familiar costume for a time.
  • The Calculator. Originally a supervillain with a giant calculator on his chest, pocket calculators having just come into wide use at the time. Later, he matured into a costumeless Information Broker and plotter, and Barbara Gordon's archrival.
  • Green Lantern:
    • Guy Gardner didn't become an actual Green Lantern until the 1980s, where he was essentially made into a walking parody of Reagan-era policies. He started a war with the USSR and frequently expressed admiration for the amoral corporate raiders of the era. His characterization has progressed since then, but his 1980s look remains intact.
    • His fellow GL, John Stewart, was introduced amidst the racial turmoil of the 1970s as an "Angry Black Man" Stereotype who railed against "The Man" and frequently provided a liberal counterpoint to conservative white Hal Jordan. Like Gardner, Stewart has grown into a complex and well-rounded character.
  • The Flash character Turbine seems like he was created to cash in on the renewed interest in the Tuskegee Airmen after the release of the movie Red Tails.
  • The New 52 introduced a female villain named the Masochist, whose initial design bore more than a passing resemblance to Lisbeth Salander, the title character of the then-recently popular film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Due to some backlash, she was renamed Anguish, her design was altered and all of the tattoos, piercings, and fetish elements were removed from the final costume.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes' Karate Kid, though not in the way you might think. He was created when there was a karate fad in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s, and he was reworked to fit the kung-fu fad of the 1970s, so he actually predates the movie The Karate Kid by decades,note  and as such he's not quite as derivative as he sounds. He has since moved beyond his fad into a fairly Rounded Character.
    Beast Boy: "Karate Kid"? Ha! "Wax on. Wax off."
    Apparition: Superboy said that, too. What does it mean?
    Karate Kid: I have no idea.
  • DC's Adventures of Bob Hope: Super Hip was a parodic example of this trope.
  • Justice League International: Fire and Ice had very 1980s-looking costumes, complete with big hair and T-shirts over spandex. Ice even Lampshaded this by claiming she and Fire looked like they belonged in a Hair Metal video. Needless to say, the more recent comics and cartoon adaptations have chosen to give them different outfits.
  • Batman: Villain Magpie used to sport a mohawk and an outfit that made her look like a reject from an 80's hair metal video. They brought her back in Beware the Batman. To modernize her look, she was redesigned to resemble Lady Gaga.
  • DC's Super Young Team subverts this while trying to play it straight. They aren't tied to any specific trend, but they're obsessed with staying fresh and current. That said, Most Excellent Superbat, the most materialistic of the lot, is adamant that they're also somehow more than all that.
  • The New Gods were very much written around the debates of the early 1970s - Mr. Miracle is a conscientious objector while his wife Big Barda oozes women's lib, the Black Racer's host is a paralyzed Vietnam veteran, the Forever People are pretty much space hippies, and New Genesis and Apokolips have a very obvious environmentalist theme. This is a rare case where people generally take umbrage to attempts to Reimagining the Artifact, as they see the overall themes Kirby was working with as highly applicable, and taking them away results in a bunch of generic space deities.
  • The Earth 2 version of Jimmy Olsen from the New 52 is an Edward Snowden-style "Hacktivist" rather than a print journalist.
  • Another DC creation was the short-lived Brother Power, a hippie-themed hero whose exploits must simply be seen to be believed. In 2009, there was an issue of The Brave and the Bold that was written, which essentially put forth the idea that Brother Power was too tied to the past to exist in the present. The issue ends with him burning to death after realizing he doesn't belong in the 21st century.
  • Hawk and Dove were created in response to the Vietnam War movements.
  • Books like The Movement and We Are Robin were created in response to youth-heavy social movements of the 2010's, like Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street. The Movement also had a counterpart book, a relaunch of a failed 1970s concept of rich-kid adventurers called The Green Team. The idea was that the Movement was "the 99 percent" while the Green Team was "the 1 percent".
  • Superboy (Kon-El/Connor Kent) was very 90s, created to be a Totally Radical reimagining of the "kid Superman" concept.
    • In his debut, he had a buzzcut fade, a hoop earring, a leather jacket (which nearly every hero had at the time), sunglasses, and a costume that invoked Too Many Belts. He of course, used hip slang and made constant references to pop culture.
    • His next costume kept the jacket, earring and shades (although with a new design and color scheme), but his hairstyle was radically changed since a fade had been way past dated by that point. His slang got slightly toned down as well, but was still in use.
    • The third costume (which he kept up until the New 52 reboot) was an extensive overhaul. It ditched the jacket, skintight costume, earring, shades and Totally Radical attitude (the Civvie Spandex look took a heavy turn toward "civvie", with a t-shirt and jeans). Instead, he became more dark, brooding, and angsty, which became popular in the mid-2000s.
  • Lady Shiva was created to cash in on the 1970s Bruce Lee Kung-Fu craze. She debuted within the pages of Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter, but her popularity outlasted that series. She's still a martial arts master, but no longer looks like a 1970s Dragon Lady.
  • Both Ace the Bat-Hound and Krypto the Superdog were created in 1955, a year after the premiere of Lassie.
  • Minor Green Arrow villain the Pinball Wizard was likely inspired by the resurgence of interest in pinball following The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 (the character debuted in 1984).
  • From Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, created in 1982, Felina Furr/Alley-Kat-Abra is a martial arts teaching, vaguely feminist, New Age wizard (and light parody of Doctor Strange), tying her to several trends of the late 70s and early 80s. Most of the rest of the Crew has fairly timeless powers, but it's still very dated in that two members are this universe's versions of Burt Reynolds and Rona Barrett.

    Comic Books – Marvel 
  • Brute Force was Marvel's attempt at cashing in with the Transformers fad as well as a more broad "toy animal craze" of the 80's/90's. It didn't quite work, considering the series was cancelled very quickly and was only acknowledged mockingly in an issue of Deadpool. Even the writers seem to have foreseen that this was a crashing ship, seeing as the early issues semi-sarcastically mock the whole premise.
  • Dazzler, who later became a member of the X-Men, was introduced with disco-based powers and costume (white jumpsuit and roller skates) just as disco was dying. It didn't help that she was given a big marketing push, meeting up with the likes of Galactus in a vain attempt to make the character cool, or that the entire project had begun as a proposal for a live action film in which the character was at one stage to be black, and there are John Romita Jr. sketches that exist of this early Dazzler. At one point they actually had a singer who was to play the Dazzler persona but the deal between Marvel and Casablanca fell apart. Later on, Jim Shooter put together a treatment for the aforementioned movie (also to feature Donna Summer, Cher, Rodney Dangerfield, Lenny and Squiggy, Robin Williams, The Village People and KISS), and the now revived Dazzler concept's appearance ended up based mainly on Bo Derek, who was slated to star. (When she was still attached to the role, People Magazine even had her on the cover, the same month the character debuted, with her husband holding a whole bunch of Marvel mags for research!) But at least she wasn't called the Disco Dazzler, as originally planned.
  • Storm was another X-Woman who got in on the punk trend - she sported a mohawk for a while in the 1980s. Word of God is that the mohawk initially began as a joke, with someone suggesting that they should make Storm look like Mr. T from The A-Team, which was a wildly popular show at the time.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Screwball is a traceuse who likes recording her exploits and then uploading them to YouTube and talking about them on Twitter. Peter himself has apparently begun studying Parkour as well, as showcased by an issue where he's forced to operate in an area without high-rise buildings from which to web-swing.
    • A little earlier in Spider-Man's history, we have supervillains Rocket Racer (skateboard) and Hypno Hustler (disco). Sadly, Hypno Hustler never appeared again as a villain (aside from some cameos here and there) after his first appearance but has acquired a certain notoriety-based cachet among fans; Rocket Racer cameos every few years - his latest appearance portrays him as a genius Basement Dweller with confidence issues, based on the engineering skills he often displayed in earlier stories. He's recently popped up in Avengers Academy, seemingly back to using his old board.
  • Ghost Rider is actually a combination of two different fads at the time the character was created in the early 1970s: stunt cycling and characters with horror-themed origins, which were then popular at Marvel Comics. Fortuitously for Marvel, his occult adventures and highly distinctive design fit in during the 1980s and '90s, especially with the influx of anti-heroes in the 1990s. His popularity has faded considerably in recent years, however.
  • The 2001 Retool of X-Force (later X-Statix) cast the new team as a group of fame-hungry Prima Donnas right around the time Big Brother and other reality shows were becoming wildly popular.
  • US Archer: U.S. Archernote  was a Marvel character based on the truckin' citizens band radio craze of the 1970s... created in 1983. Way to jump on that trend. Razorback was an earlier CB-based character.
  • New Warriors:
    • Night Thrasher, leader of the New Warriors in the Marvel Universe, was created in 1990 with a skateboard grafted onto his urbanized Batman schtick to cash in on the rising popularity of the sport in the late '80s. As the '90s progressed, he used the board less and less and settled on a Cool Bike early in the series, plus as any connection between skateboards and the term "thrashing" largely passed out of public awareness, his name just sounds awfully nasty (although Spider-Man made a joke along this line in 1991.) He fought with twin escrima sticks so the thrashing part of his name could easily be applied to his weapons of choice. An odd detail that downplayed it with time was that he's a black skateboarder. For the uninitiated - his heyday was long before there were any big-name black skaters. (The aforementioned Rocket Racer, Marvel's other black skateboarding superhero, has much the same problem at first.) The concept has become less baffling now, since there is a subculture of African-American skateboarders. Lupe Fiasco's hit "Kick, Push" is credited with helping popularize the sport among black teenagers. While a superhero on a skateboard is fodder for jokes, in-universe The Punisher noted how versatile Night Thrasher's skateboard actually was: "I called it stupid? It's a shield, a weapon and transport. Maybe I should get one..."
    • The 2020 line-up of the cancelled New Warriors comic got swamped with backlash because of this trope. Screentime is rather transparently an attempt to create an internet age superhero with...mixed results. His mind was permanently connected to the internet by way of exposure to "experimental internet gas" and his bio helpfully informs readers that he can "instantly Google any fact". But he got off easy compared to his teammates Snowflake and Safespace, who were Marvel's impossibly ill-conceived attempt at incorporating just about every "woke" hot button issue of the day into two heroes that ultimately just communicated the company's ignorance in neon lights.
  • Angar the Screamer, an angry radical type whose screams cause intense hallucinations.
  • You also used to get a lot of "kneejerk reactionary" villains in the 1980s, like Captain America villain Warhead, who held the Washington Monument hostage until the United States started war with somebody, anybody. Strangely, he was an inversion of a real-life incident where a peace protester threatened to blow up the monument unless the United States disarmed.
  • Adam X the X-Treme, from the early '90s (of course), whose mutant superpower is that he can make blood combust. Vanished from comics post-Age of Apocalypse and was apparently regarded as Old Shame for some time after that, making only a handful of appearances over the next two decades mostly played for laughs. Couldn't be completely forgotten, however, due to being heavily implied to be the third Summers brother. About a decade later the third Summers brother was revealed to be somebody else, but in 2021 the original foreshadowing paid off as Adam was finally revealed to be another Summers brother.
  • The Heroes for Hire, Power Man and Iron Fist, capitalized on the popularity of blaxploitation and kung fu movies, respectively, by combining the two trends. As did their female counterparts, the Daughters of the Dragon Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. And the vaguely affiliated Sons of the Tiger.
  • Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, first appeared in 1972 as part of the '70s kung fu revival. Not only was Shang-Chi meant to invoke Bruce Lee, but his creation came about as part of an aborted attempt at doing a comic book adaptation of the Kung Fu (1972) TV series.
  • Marvel Zombies. It's probably not a coincidence that an alternate universe where all the superheroes have become zombies became a recurring theme at the same time as books and movies about zombies were trendy, though it was also to an extent intentionally retro. The Marvel Zombies universe (the first one, at least, before they go dimension-hopping) is a bit further back in the timeline than the "real", 616 Marvel Universe, but doesn't perfectly match any particular era. Captain America was a colonel, Earth has never seen Galactus before, and most of the zombified heroes wore costumes that those characters hadn't worn since the 1970s. However, Magneto had acolytes, which didn't come along until the 1990s in the 616 Marvel Universe.
  • It's hard to tell whether Marvel: The Lost Generation's Hipster, a skinny, goateed beatnik and total Jive Turkey operating in late 1950s San Francisco, is intended as a spoof or a completely straight portrayal of this trope. However, he's definitely an example. When he meets Sunshine, a woman with psychedelic powers, he changes his costume and name to become Captain Hip.
  • Marvel tried to introduce a new hacktivist version of U.S. Agent. He came into conflict with Captain America and the Secret Avengers after he leaked the names of a bunch of former criminals who had been made into S.H.I.E.L.D. informants, using the justification that the government had no right to hide secrets from the public.
  • It's easy to forget the Silver Surfer is a fad super. He was created in the 1960s when surfing first gained popularity, but since he's an alien who never knew anything about surfing (the Human Torch gave him that name) and the board is actually just an extension of himself he uses to fly through space and not technically a surfboard, the fad aspect of his character never distracted readers.
  • Doctor Strange owes a lot of his influences to the upswing in Asian spirituality among America's hippies and artists in the 60's. His design and overall persona is also very similar to Vincent Price's character in The Raven (1963).
  • Goodness Silva/Good Boy of the Great Lakes Avengers is both a major otaku, (going by the countless anime posters dotting her room) and part of the Furry Fandom (as she's seen drawing a fursona in her introduction), two concepts that started getting mainstream recognition around the time she was created.

    Comic Books – Other 
  • There were a lot of black superheroes created in the wake of the Blaxploitation trend. In addition to the aforementioned Luke Cage and Misty Knight, there was also Black Lightning, Black Goliath and Wonder Woman's black "sister" Nubia. Dwayne McDuffie ended up creating the Icon character Buck Wild as a parody of this trend.
  • There are plenty of Goth superheroes, like Marvel's Nico Minoru (formerly Sister Grimm until they decided to ditch the codenames) and DC's Black Alice.
    • In Teen Titans, Raven was reworked to fit the Emo and Goth fads as well, with... varying levels of success.
    • The Goth subculture's also not even close to dead (though the music's unrecognizably different now, of course), but its corresponding superheroes tend to be about ten years behind the current popular "look."
    • The mutant Negasonic Teenage Warhead, or Why It's A Bad Idea To Let A Goth Teen Name Herself. (She's less goth, but still a moody teen, in Deadpool (2016).)
    • Neil Gaiman's Death is also now an example. She typically dresses as a 1980's goth, even in time periods before the 1980's. From a modern perspective, she has an odd fixation on death imagery from one historical time period to the point that she even uses it in another.
  • Naturally, any Soviet-themed comic character that is now hopelessly dated. Granted, the USSR was around for more than seven decades, so it's a pretty long fad. Combining this with Comic-Book Time gives nearly every one of these characters his or her own Continuity Snarl.
    • The only aversions are Omega Red, an intentional throwback who, in his first appearance, was explicitly kept in stasis since the Cold War until woken in the post-Soviet era, and "Cold Warrior", a similarly stored surplus-parts cyborg whose whole schtick is trying to bring back the People's Glory Days. Ironically, Omega Red was created in 1992, early enough that stasis could not have been needed.
    • Averted in the case of Nazi-themed villains, since Nazism is such an enduring symbol of evil, but played straight for any villain based on Japanese Imperialism.
  • Grunge from Gen¹³. Adam Warren had one of his sparring partners mock his name by calling him "Easy Listening" and other musical genres. Gail Simone's run explains this as a reference to the fact that he has "grunge under his fingernails", although Roxy provides a Lampshade Hanging with the comment "Grunge? You mean the stuff dinosaurs have on their iPods?"
  • Skateman was made at a time when all skates had side-by-side wheels. Skateman is interesting because the other two major facets of his life, being a karate blackbelt and a Vietnam vet, are also heavily tied to the early 1970s.
  • Occasionally employed in a self-aware manner by Astro City.
    • Flashbacks to The '50s might feature an appearance by the Bouncing Beatnik, who actually changes identities to social trends of the time. There've been six known incarnations in-universe: Mister Cakewalk, Jazzbaby, Zootsuit, the Bouncing Beatnik, the Halcyon Hippie, and Glamorax. The Beatnik's story began in the mid-19th century, before the founding of Astro City, with the murder of the mystic troubadour Silverstring and the immolation of his silver-stringed guitar.
    • "The Dark Age" references the Real Life kung fu fad of The '70s with the Jade Dragons, and the space race with the Apollo Eleven.
    • Older stories have featured brief glimpses of the Frontiersman, complete with coonskin cap.
    • In a flashback, Maddie Sullivan reveals that as a teenager, she briefly considered becoming a super-heroine, "Mind Over Maddie". Her costume consisted of a tie-dyed shirt with a domino mask and a brown vest.
      "It was The '60s. I also wanted to be one of The Doors."
    • A story set in the early 20th century featured Steampunk heroine Dame Progress.
  • Just to prove that this tendency isn't going anywhere anytime soon, late in 2012 Valiant Comics relaunched its 1990s property Archer and Armstrong, retooling the concept of a superhero Odd Couple to fit current cultural labels. While Armstrong is still an ancient immortal with a “proclivity for inebriation”, the reboot reimagines Archer as a home-schooled Christian teenager, who is described by writer Fred Van Lente as “well-intentioned, brainwashed, and naïve”. Moreover, one of the villains in the new series is an inherently evil organization of devil-worshiping stock-brokers known only as “The One Percent”.
    • In the current continuity, Faith Herbert holds a secret identity as a writer for a BuzzFeed knockoff in Los Angeles. Also, while Ax was always a hacker, his rebooted version (now called "@x") was introduced as a Snowden-style hacktivist.
    • The Acclaim relaunch re-imagined Ninjak as a teenage gamer who got superpowers from a Bland-Name Product version of Ninja Gaiden. Somewhat justified, as Acclaim was actively trying to tailor the relaunch for video game adaptations, with Ninjak simply being the most explicit.
  • Spoofed in an Asterix one-shot from the 1960s in which Uderzo was (in Kayfabe) bowing to reader pressure to Retool the characters to fit the then-trendy psychedelic craze. In the story, drawn in the style of Yellow Submarine, he removed Astérix and Obelix's usual Super Serum-induced Super-Strength in favour of giving them hippie-themed Emotion Bomb flower magic that causes attacked Romans to experience a Design Student's Orgasm of enlightenment, peace and love. Obelix is not amused by this and opines that he prefers punching people.
  • The selection of villainous foreign governments in comics is governed by fads. Although fictional countries became the rule in the Silver Age, the flavor tends to be drawn from whatever nation(s) the US is currently taking a hard line against. One solid example is Marvel's wholesale switch from using Soviet-style Commie lands to nations with a more Asian bent in the mid-sixties.
  • Image Comic's Youngblood (Image Comics) was, of course a team of Nineties Anti Heroes. But, a gimmick in the original run is that they were also celebrities, living in Herowood and having to deal with paparazzi and tabloid journalism, which was then transitioning from pseudoscience and conspiracy theories to lurid celebritymania. The 2017 series continues the trend with superheroes using an Über-like cellphone app called "Help", with which they get paid for their "services" and even subjected to the star-grading model.
  • Since Supreme was ripe with Postmodernism, it gave us the Televillain, who was "created" during the The '50s, as television became popular. He's still around in The '90s, but he's more or less a Harmless Villain.
  • Coincidentally, Monica's Gang also featured a monster called Televillain, though he existed more as an Aesoptinium-fueled monster. The internet-themed Doctor Spam, on the other hand, fits the trope perfectly.
  • Disney Adventures published The Adventures of D & A, a comic about two kids who join a secret organization and fight aliens and monsters, at a time when similar stories of the paranormal (such as on The X-Files), or of kids and/or secret organizations involved in secret conflicts with aliens (such as in Animorphs or Men in Black) were popular.

    Anime & Manga 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Not superheroes, but many of the New Gods in American Gods embody technologies that were hailed as revolutionary and miraculous when they first appeared (railroads, telephones, television) but are looking more and more hackneyed as humanity comes to take them for granted and even regard them as antiquated.
  • Late 2010s Rainbow Magic fairies were inspired by trends going on around the time, such as making slime (Sasha), K-pop boy bands (Jae), and squishy toys (Zainab).
  • Whateley Universe: A few of them show up in the series backstory. Most prominent of these is the Whateley Academy Mystic Arts teacher now known as Earth Mother, whose original code name was Flower Child.
    • Unreliable Narrator Mephisto the Mentalist notes the large number of atomic-power themed superheroes and super-villains during the 1950s - most of whom had died of cancer or acute radiation sickness by 1960.
  • Wild Cards, being full of nods to the history of comics, created these characters on purpose. Mark Meadows, a hopeless nerd who wants to be a hippie, gets various abilities from different strains of LSD he created, and has various secret identities named after songs from the 60s and 70s. It's inherent in his backstory; by the time he managed to fit into the hippie crowd, the fad was already pretty much dead. Fortunato's motif incorporates the mysticism and occultism fad of the 60s. He actually doesn't give a crap about any of that stuff; a prostitute who worked for him (he was a very high-class pimp) introduced him to the subject and convinced him to study it when he got his powers.
  • Worm has an early pair of supervillains, Uber and Leet, who seem patterned off of streaming sites like Twitch: they livestream their crimes and dress up in different video game-inspired costumes each outing. In a Lampshading of the trope, they are considered very silly and ineffective capes in-universe, and Taylor suggests most of the people who watch their streams do it just to laugh at them.

    Live Action TV 

  • Hello Kitty's birthplace is listed in her bio as "London". This was inspired by a fad for British culture and music in 1970s Japan when she was created, and Sanrio has been mildly embarrassed about it ever since.
  • Gudetama, 'an egg with crippling depression', appeals to the strain of depressive, self-deprecating humour made possible by the internet culture of the 2010s.
  • Aggretsuko: Retsuko is a disillusioned millennial who's worn down by her Soul-Crushing Desk Job and vents her frustrations about her job by singing death metal; she was specifically made to appeal to Japanese working women.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering, having existed for over three decades now, is natural to this:
    • Many early characters fully bought into '90s Anti-Hero aesthetics, though this died relatively quickly as the early comics were replaced by novel lines.
    • Though the Weatherlight might draw comparisons to Star Trek and probably capitalized on contemporary Star Trek revivals (as well as Firefly), being a crew aboard a ship traveling to different worlds, most of the characters and their dynamics are actually based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer ones. These Buffy inspirations continued for a while after the Weatherlight storyline concluded, being present in several cards in the Otaria block (albet as card homages rather than actual characters).
    • 2015 saw the founding of the Gatewatch, with several established planeswalker's forming their take on the Avengers; this roughly coincided with the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. War of the Spark: Ravnica is unapologetically Magic's take on Avengers: Endgame, with the Gatewatch and various other planeswalkers facing against Nicol Bolas in an allegedly epic confrontation. The Gatewatch as a concept suffered severe backlash because of all of this (not helped by even being disliked by fans for various reasons), and so Magic's storyline has toned them down from 2019 onwards, though they still exist and are slated to have a similar event against the Phyrexians.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: The most prominent example within the fictional canon of the Sentinel Comics universe is Black Fist, a Blaxploitation kung fu hero who was subject to Reimagining the Artifact in-universe; after the Blaxploitation fad burned out and people stopped caring about his stories, the character was reworked into a grizzled Old Master coming out of retirement to face down the organised crime poisoning his city, and it's this version of the character, known as Mr Fixer, who is actually in the card game.
  • Warhammer 40,000: One Grey Knights codex was bashed by the fans for being far too powerful (some armies were rendered unable to shoot at them) and iffy lore. Chapter Master Kaldor Draigo was also looked down on for the aforementioned reasons (being a One-Man Army going around carving his name on daemon princes' hearts) and also for being transparently named after Game of Thrones fan-favorite Khal Drogo.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Nyan Cat was most popular between 2011 and 2012. Neon Katt from RWBY was introduced in 2015. She's a cat faunus Genki Girl inspired by the meme.

    Western Animation 
  • Videoman, of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, was based on arcade-style video games. Other characters of similar vintage are Marvel's Megatak and DC's Colonel Computron, and Bug and Byte. The latter three could potentially be made into credible threats again considering the incredible advances in computer technology since their creation, but Megatak's entire thing is being a character from an eight-bit arcade game.
  • Several Transformers are clearly dated to their time, most famously Soundwave (a cassette recorder whose primary ability is carrying smaller characters who turn into tapes). This has resulted in some awkward retooling as writers try to figure out how to handle such a concept in the modern era, but it's so iconic to the character that to do otherwise would likely result in serious fan backlash.