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My Real Daddy

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Top: the Stan Lee era of X-Men, which almost no one remembers. Bottom: the Chris Claremont era, which everyone remembers.

"Vaughan was last seen working on a revival of Swamp Thing over at Vertigo, which is tantamount to wearing a sign around your neck saying 'I am not Alan Moore, please kick me'."
Paul O'Brien, The X-Axis

One fun aspect of being a fan is that you can ascribe Word of God selectively. Sure, Alice may own the franchise, but it's Bob — the writer, the producer, whatever — who left such an indelible impression on the property that, in your opinion, Bob is the one who made it good.

This trope is naturally more common with long-running properties with multiple creators, which is why there are so many examples from American Comic Books. When a character like Batman, Superman or Spider-Man has literally thousands of stories told by hundreds of writers over a period of many decades, it's not surprising that this trope comes into play.

Compare Adaptation Displacement, Can't Un-Hear It, Better Than Canon, and Covered Up. When done with a singular character, it may be a result of being the Creator's Favorite. Contrast Running the Asylum, where such people are often regarded as evil step-parents, and Only the Creator Does It Right, where fans think a work is better when its creator is actively involved in it. Not to be confused Family of Choice, where the characters decide who they feel their real parents are.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball. While the manga is purely the work of Akira Toriyama and the anime adaptation is pretty faithful to it despite the filler, there are some interpretations on the characters that are considered vastly superior to Toriyama's own intent.
    • Bardock, the father of Goku, is an odd case, as he wasn't written originally by Toriyama. Instead, Bardock was the focus of a special called "The Father of Goku", which dealt with the destruction of Planet Vegeta. The tragic nature of the character who didn't have anything heroic to his name other than friendship with his fallen comrades, and died by the hand of Frieza without doing much, was so memorable it made Bardock the Breakout Character he is known today. When Toriyama decided to write him in Dragon Ball Minus, most of the critical reception proved negative since it wasn't like what was depicted in the animated special. As such, Bardock's real daddy is mostly considered to be Takao Koyama, the writer of the special, rather than Toriyama himself. Quite tellingly, when Minus was adapted into Dragon Ball Super: Broly, Bardock's Last Stand was mostly kept intact.
    • On the same token, Koyama's interpretation of Future Trunks and Future Gohan in the second animated special are considered to be vastly superior to Toriyama's own version, "Trunks: the story." The main difference with both versions is that Trunks was already a Super Saiyan and couldn't save Gohan. In the animated special, however, Gohan's tragic death is what makes Trunks transform for the first time. There is a reason why Trunks transformation is considered such a powerful Signature Scene.
    • Like with Bardock and Future Trunks in their animated specials written by Takao Koyama, some people prefer the way Zamasu and Goku Black (especially the last one) are written by anime writer Atsuhiro Tomioka in Dragon Ball Super compared with the manga version (done by Toyotarō instead of Toriyama, in this case). Future Trunks and Future Mai also get this to a certain extent by having a bigger protagonistic role in their own saga, with much needed Character Development and an effective Gut Punch. Of course, like everything in Dragon Ball, this is up to debate.
  • Getter Robo is a convoluted example. The basic premise was thought up by Go Nagai, but everything else was done by Ken Ishikawa. Most people usually think of it as a Go Nagai series, though, since a) he's more famous, b) it's produced by his company, Dynamic Productions and c) the art style Ishikawa used for the first few installments of the series is identical to Nagai's, though his artwork became slightly more Kirby-esque than Nagai's as time went on.
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is primarily the brainchild of Sumito Owara, who created the property and acts as the sole person behind the base manga. Despite this, a considerable number of fans regard Masaaki Yuasa, who directed the anime adaptation, as being a much more critical force in refining the series and making it appealing across a far wider range of audiences. This mentality became so prominent that when Owara became embroiled in controversy as a result of him following a number of unsavory artists on Pixiv, fans who didn't choose to abandon the series began touting it — especially the anime — as more Yuasa's work than Owara's.
  • Kemono Friends was Mine Yoshizaki's idea, with both the concept and the character designs provided by him. Despite being used as the basis for its inital game and manga projects, fans place TATSUKI and the animation team at Yaoyorozu as the ones who brought the franchise into the forefront by defining the most well-known version of the characters and setting, as well as introducing fan-favorite Kaban. The other projects are still acknowledged, and Yoshizaki is given his due, but it's the way the anime's first season was handled that made it famous.
  • While Monkey Punch still has plenty of credit for creating Lupin III, his cast, and concepts, Hayao Miyazaki's work on the character throughout the first TV series, second theatrical film, and second TV series is also cited on what helped make the character what he is today, taking Lupin in a Lighter and Softer direction by giving him more noble qualities like his namesake and having him go from a sleazeball and borderline rapist to a Chivalrous Pervert.
  • Compared to the Nasuverse's first two animated outings, ufotable's tenure on The Garden of Sinners and several key Fate Series anime (Fate/Zero, [Unlimited Blade Works], and the Heaven's Feel movies) landed them as the face of the animated Nasuverse. In the case of Fate, Studio DEEN still gets a little credit for giving the cast their iconic voices and attack visuals.
  • Pokémon: The Series: Atsuhiro Tomioka, the head writer of the series from DP to XY, is considered by many to be one of the best writers in the series. He's responsible for writing a massive number of the show's most beloved arcs and plotlines, including (but not limited to):
    • A large number of May's major Contest episodes, including the one where she chooses to be a Coordinator and the entirety of both Grand Festivals, among many others. He proceeded to write her entire return arc in Diamond & Pearl, thus playing a key role in defining her as her own character, rather than the expected Replacement Goldfish for Misty.
    • A huge portion of plot-focused episodes from Diamond & Pearl. Much like May before her, he wrote a large number of Dawn's major Contests, including the vast majority of her overconfidence/depression arc (which culminates in her Wallace Cup battle against May herself), and almost every episode of the Grand Festival. He also wrote nearly every single episode that focused on either Paul or Team Galactic, which collectively make up almost all of the series' major plot threads.
    • The first and last episodes of Dawn's return in Best Wishes, as well as the Operation Tempest two-parter.
    • Every one of the four Mega Evolution specials, and almost every episode building up Team Flare in XY&Z, up to and including the entire Team Flare arc.
    • Even in Sun and Moon, where Tomioka is no longer the head writer, he wrote the majority of Litten's arc throughout the series, which is widely praised as one of the big highlights of the season.
    • In the same vein, while Takeshi Shudō defined a lot of OS elements and he's still highly respected by a section of the fanbase, Tomioka's contributions are valued as having some of the most mature writing of the show while tackling darker subject matters, while still retaining the more optimistic look that the anime adopted after Kanto.
  • Space Battleship Yamato (a.k.a. Star Blazers) suffered from an effective custody battle between its original creator Yoshinobu Nishizaki and the legendary Leiji Matsumoto (who rewrote much of the premise as soon as he joined the project, and has the critics and most of the fanbase on his side). Both creators have attempted their own Revivals of Yamato, with various degrees of success, and the dispute escalated into a legal battle. After Nishizaki's death in 2009, the 2012 Continuity Reboot Space Battleship Yamato 2199 has won most of the fanbase over; however there was enough disagreement with the changes that the new writer for the sequel, 2202, deliberately walked back some of the differences from the original, including putting most of the Canon Foreigners on a Bus.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: The many Alternate Universes of the franchise tend to be associated with their creators. Masaki Kajishima is currently responsible for the OVA continuity, the most beloved by the fanbase; however, the mixed response to the newest set of releases in that continuity has left some fans longing for Hiroki Hayashi, co-creator of the original six episodes and creator of El-Hazard: The Magnificent World. He, along with Naoko Hasegawa, were largely responsible for setting the tone for the first OVA releases. After they left, fans have noted a downward slide in quality in the series. It could be said that Hayashi played Irvin Kershner to Kajishima's George Lucas. Whatever talent Kajishima has at creating ideas, he needs someone to keep him focused off of all powerful author avatars and an excessive focus on fanservice fantasy.


    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore;
    • He was not the first or the last comics writer to work on Swamp Thing, but virtually everyone regards his run as the definitive one.
    • When people talk about both Marvelman and Supreme, it's almost always his take on the characters they're talking about.
    • He would be one for Glory, but his plans for her never went beyond issue #0 and finally the title was snatched from him by Joe Keatinge and Sophie Campbell (then using the name Ross Campbell), who rewrote her entire history and redesigned her as something much cooler than the Ms. Fanservice she previously was.
    • He also happened to be on the other end of this trope at least once. Back when he was writing Wild CATS he created an antagonist known as T.A.O., but these days when somebody talks about this character it's probably in context of Ed Brubaker's Sleeper.
  • Bill Mantlo is this for Alpha Flight as he took the flat characters that John Byrne created and gave them depth.
  • Artemis Crock was a fairly forgettable enemy of Infinity, Inc. and the JSA. Then Young Justice used her as a main character, bringing her to a whole new audience and hinging a lot of the show's mystery and plot development on her. Co-Producers Brandon Vietti and Greg Weisman deserve equal credit here — Vietti was the one who suggested they use a female archer, instead of Speedy I, Roy Harper, and Greg Weisman suggested Artemis rather than any of Green Arrow's associated female archers. They reasoned that her parents being two supervillains, Sportsmaster and Huntress, would be a good touchstone — then decided that super assassin Cheshire/Jade Nguyen would be an interesting addition to the family unit, and thus gave Artemis and her mother a Race Lift, making them Vietnamese.
  • Mark Millar is this to The Authority as the team's glory days were during his run, but it's a less benign example as the team collectively Took a Level in Jerkass, growing more arrogant; no longer being reluctant but willing to resort to lethal force, but willingly defaulted to using it; and they began acting unilaterally in world affairs without a care for the valid concerns of others or a plan for the aftermath — and even after Millar left, these personality changes were kept in place, as the team overthrew the U.S. government for a few years and even after they gave up control and tried to take a level in kindness, they reverted to the behavior of the Millar days. The Superman story "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?" and its Animated Adaptation, Superman vs. the Elite, owe their existence as a response to Millar's run.
  • The Avengers have Roy Thomas; Stan Lee and Jack Kirby may have created the title, but Thomas created the definitive original Avengers character, The Vision, and two of its major recurring villains —- the Grim Reaper and Ultron —- and introduced a number of ideas, characters, and tropes to the franchise that are used to this very day. Even the 2003 redefinition by Brian Michael Bendis calls back to the Thomas era fairly often.
  • Batman's status as Long-Runner owes itself greatly to the ability of several artists to adapt him and take him to different directions:
    • Starting right at the beginning, Bill Finger actually did far more to create Batman himself than his more famous boss, Bob Kane (who did come up with the name). It was Finger who invented the idea of Batman as a detective, the design of the costume, the Bruce Wayne identity and origin, Robin and the Rogues Gallery: Catwoman, the Joker and the name "Gotham City". The number of Unbuilt Tropes in the original comics, Joker's original unfunny characterization, greater violence, Batman's overall harshness, means that it remains a touchstone for later writers, with Finger's stories being Armed with Canon by Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Finger finally started to get credited by DC in late 2015.
    • The Dick Sprang era introduced the aesthetic of Batman that eventually transferred into the Batman (1966) TV Show. Bright splashy colours, multiple sidekicks, goofy and gimmicky villains, multiple puns, the "Holy...Batman" speech patterns, and a greater than usual quotient of homoeroticism and Camp. Whether you enjoyed it or not, Sprang defined the imagination of Batman and Gotham for three decades.
    • Dennis O'Neil has possibly the farthest-reaching influence on the character in his long history. It was him (with artists like Neal Adams and Jim Aparo) who took Batman from the sci-fi and camp of the 50s and 60s (both in print and on screen) to the Dark Knight people recognize today. He also introduced Arkham Asylum, basically invented the idea of Batman's Rogues Gallery being both mentally ill and reflections of Batman's own psyche, and introduced a host of new and revived villains (including Ra's Al-Ghul and Two-Face). Later, he would become the editor of the Batman line and be the central creative influence on post-Crisis Batman, including editing Frank Miller's era-defining work and 90s mega-events like Knightfall and No Man's Land.
    • Batman fans tend to be divided over which 'reboot' of the character best redefined him for the new generation; Frank Miller's bleak near-Deconstruction The Dark Knight Returns, Tim Burton's gothic films — Batman (1989) and Batman Returns — which introduced the idea of Gotham City being a blend of Bizarrchitecture, and gave Batman a Grappling Hook and Line Launcher leading to Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett's more family-friendly but still Film Noir-flavored Batman: The Animated Series, which kicked off the DC Animated Universe. It can honestly be said that Timm, Burnett, and Paul Dini were Mr. Freeze's daddies for giving him a tragic backstory, and in this vein, also Mike Mignola. He designed Mr. Freeze for the animated series.
    • The Joker's origin story in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke. Although Joker was already re-defined as we know him in the 70s, for example by Steve Englehart, the idea of Joker and Batman being mutual Shadow Archetypes of Order Versus Chaos (a dynamic transferred to the DCAU, The Dark Knight and the Batman: Arkham Series) comes from him. Likewise, one can say that Heath Ledger was responsible for Joker's revival as an anarchist nihilist, with only minimal grounding in the clown and show-business motif that had typified him for decades.
    • Bill Finger and Dick Sprang may have created The Riddler, but Frank Gorshin's portrayal of him on the 1960s Batman TV show is what made him a major member of Batman's Rogues Gallery for years to come. Some portrayals of him have dialed back the camp, but without Gorshin's manic popularity, there would be no Riddler today. He was also the one who designed the character's now-iconic "green suit and bowler hat" look, because he hated wearing the original spandex outfit. (And surprisingly, he also had a great influence on the portrayal of the Joker - Gorshin's split-second flips from manic laughing to hissing, homicidal determination was a major influence on the Joker's 70s character revival.)
    • Though Poison Ivy has been around since the '60s, before Neil Gaiman's Secret Origins issue about her she had little personality beyond being a Femme Fatale. Gaiman established her plant obsession and detachment from humanity, which have endured as her defining character traits, and been reworked into the film and animated versions.
    • Kite Man is a joke villain that no one cared much about before Tom King and his Batman run. After that he became a joke villain that people liked for giving him more of a backstory and characteristics (and a catch phrase: Kite Man. Hell Yeah).
  • LEGO:
    • Greg Farshtey started out as the writer for the BIONICLE comics (as a side-gig to his main job, which is writing and editing LEGO's magazines) before expanding to almost all of the line's written story material, from the novels to guide books, short stories and online serials. Not only that, but Farshtey let fans contact him personally with questions, leading to a few bits of Ascended Fanon. He also revealed tidbits of storyline info that helped mend the universe together. Over a decade after the franchise's discontinuation, Greg continuies to act as Bionicle's sole official, still active connection to fans, and he still accepts and canonizes Official Fan-Submitted Content.
    • Christian Faber has eventually all but replaced Farshtey in a lot of fans' eyes when it was revealed how much he had contributed to the development of the franchise's universe, its subthemes, overarching stories and visual media. Likewise Alastair Swinnerton, whose passion for serious mythology-building lead to much of the brand's initial appeal.
    • Ryder Windham was this for the ill-fated reboot's media, which were otherwise infamous for their shallow and constantly self-contradictory writing, something that even Windham himself has complained about and tried to rectify. His comics and books expanded the story and world and assigned basic things like names, genders and personalities to the side characters and embellished the villains' side of the story. He is practically the only person involved with the reboot whose name fans remember.
  • Black Adam has Geoff Johns, who reworked the character into a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and gave him a dead family and his Affably Evil aspect.
  • Black Panther:
    • Christopher Priest is this for the character, to the point that it's made it nearly impossible for any other writer to have success with the character. Reginald Hudlin's series did OK... right up until he stopped copying Priest and started trying to do his own thing, at which point sales immediately tanked. This is an odd case, because Priest's run didn't sell particularly well, but has nonetheless become the go-to interpretation of the character.
    • Don McGregor as well. He was the first writer to really do serious world-building for Wakanda, and introduced Erik Killmonger, who went on to become one of Black Panther's most popular villains. Most subsequent runs (including Priest's) have drawn on McGregor's work to some degree. (Notably, the movie blends major story elements from both McGregor's and Priest's runs.)
  • Blackhawk was created by Will Eisner, Chuck Cuidera, and Bob Powell, but the Golden Age Blackhawk is most often associated with artist Reed Crandall.
  • Although Marv Wolfman created Blade in 1973, David Goyer's film version of the character significantly altered his origin and mythos and helped popularize him. The comic was altered to better reflect film continuity.
  • The Books of Magic were started by Neil Gaiman, but it was John Ney Rieber who wrote the series in which Tim Hunter really came into his own, and gave the series a world and mythology of its own.
  • Cable has two:
    • He was created by Louise Simonson and Rob Liefeld as a paramilitary counterpart to Charles Xavier, but it was Fabian Nicieza who softened his character by giving him a strong paternal instinct and later introduced his friendship with Deadpool.
    • Scott Lobdell wrote much of Cable's early years. While it was Bob Harras, Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio who decided to merge the Cable and Nathan Summers characters into a single entity, it was Lobdell who actually did something with it. Lobdell established the world that Cable grew up in, his childhood being raised by Scott Summers and Jean Grey and his time forged in war growing up.
  • Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the Captain America character, but it wasn't until Stan Lee (also working with Kirby) brought him back from obscurity and created his signature "Man Out of Time" story that Cap really became a character people could relate to.
    • When sales were low again, Steve Englehart was allowed to write the mag, and decided to stress Cap's idealism. This became his defining character trait.
    • Ed Brubaker is credited with reinventing Captain America again for the modern comics world the same way Lee reinvented him for the Silver Age. Typically, this isn't universal, and others might give that status to Mark Gruenwald or Mark Waid for their own lengthy runs on the character - Brubaker himself credited Waid with bringing back Sharon Carter, saying that if Waid hadn't done it, he'd have had to.
    • Brubaker is also credited for turning Bucky Barnes from a Joke Character and footnote in comics history who was a blatant attempt at copying the success of Robin into a darker, more serious and much more complex character who went on to become a Breakout Character under Brubaker's pen, first as the Winter Soldier, then taking over the Captain America mantle after Steve's death, then as the Winter Soldier again in his own spy-thriller solo series, as well as writing a believable fan favorite romance with Natasha, to the point where he's now her definitive Love Interest.
    • The writers of Captain America: The First Avenger mentioned Brubaker's run as the primary inspiration for their take on Bucky. Brubaker was also consulted by the directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It's to the point that Brubaker actually had a cameo in the movie itself.
  • Carol Danvers was previously a second-string Avenger who, though her role had been steadily built up following House of M, was still most famous as 'that woman Rogue stole her powers from.' In 2012, Carol was given the Captain Marvel name and a new costume by Kelly Sue DeConnick, whose three years on the title, focusing on Carol's character and wrestling with both her past and the baggage that comes with being Captain Marvel, catapulted the character into the A-List, popping up everywhere, creating a strong fan following in the form of the primarily (but not exclusively) female Carol Corps and earning Carol a solo film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Previously, Carol had been C-List Fodder and her graduation to B-List was largely thanks to Chris Claremont, who first rebuilt the character after the disastrous 'Rape of Ms Marvel'/'Marcus' storyline in The Avengers #200 resulted in her being Put on a Bus, retooling her first as a Badass Normal support woman for the X-Men after Xavier helped her with memories, and then turned her into Binary, one of the most powerful non-cosmic characters in the Marvel Universe (and even then, she was on-par with the Silver Surfer). Eventually she lost most of those powers and returned to being a second-string Avenger (and there was the alcoholism thing), but Claremont provided a base to build on.
  • Liu is this for Logan's offspring, Daken — it was once she joined his creator, Daniel Way, at writing the character, that he became the Depraved Bisexual Magnificent Bastard Troll people love. To be fair, Brian Michael Bendis putting him on Dark Avengers and other writers using him for cameos with the rest of the team probably helped a bit.
  • Nova was a forgotten B-list (at best) hero before Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) took over the character for the original Annihilation crossover. They effectively transformed what was a Green Lantern expy into a deep and interesting character, taking him from guilt-ridden survivor all the way to becoming a grizzled war veteran and even later on the social conscience and oftentimes Only Sane Man of the cosmic side of the Marvel universe.
    • DnA tried to do this with the entire cosmic side of Marvel, starting with their revival of the Guardians of the Galaxy using both B-list cosmic characters and the original members and their later adoption of The Inhumans and later former X-Men staples, the Shiar. While the Guardians revival (as well as the other books) were Cut Short due to poor sales, their take on the team was a major influence on the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
  • Stan Lee and Bill Everett (with some elements from Wally Wood) may have created Daredevil, but today, several creators have a very strong claim to being the definitive writer of the character.
    • Frank Miller's run in the eighties is still to this day a reference. It transformed Daredevil into the Noir-inspired Marvel version of Batman, gave him a religious identity as a conflicted Roman Catholic, made the Kingpin, previously a minor Silver Age Spider-Man villain into Daredevil's Big Bad as well as one of the most influential villains in comics in The '80s (inspiring the post-Crisis version of Lex Luthor and post-resurrection Norman Osborn). Introduced characters like Elektra, Bullseye and others, and generally, elevated Daredevil from C-List to one of Marvel's most important characters.
    • The Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker runs are considered high points of American comics in the early 21st century (Bendis was even nominated in the prestigious Angoulême festival for best album). Mark Waid managed to bring back the character's light side, while being widely acclaimed by fans of earlier, darker takes on the character.
  • Deadpool was originally created by Rob Liefeld as an Expy of DC's Deathstroke. But then three people happened:
    • Fabian Nicieza distinguished Wade from Deathstroke by giving him a cruelly ironic origin story, a sidekick (Weasel), and a sense of humour that quickly made him popular enough to support a regular series written by Joe Kelly. He also greatly expanded on the one non-Expy trait Liefeld had given Deadpool, his Motor Mouth tendencies, into the constantly-wisecracking occassionally-Heroic Comedic Sociopath we all know and love. (This was practically a habit for Nicieza, who fleshed out other Liefeld character designs into lasting characters, including Cable, Shatterstar and Domino.)
    • Joe Kelly wrote Deadpool's first ongoing series, giving him a larger supporting cast (now also including T-Ray and Blind Al in addition to Weasel), a more detailed origin story, and his penchant for breaking the fourth wall.
    • Gerry Duggan took over starting with the Marvel Now series, toning back his randomness a bit after previous writer Daniel Way overdid it in many fans' eyes, while establishing Wade's most widely accepted backstory, eventually establishing details about his family, as well as exploring his humanity and morality.
  • Dick Grayson was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger shortly after his mentor in 1940, and he was well-defined in his "Robin" persona until he was turned into Nightwing during Marv Wolfman and George Pérez's successful run on Teen Titans in 1984. He struggled to find a niche after that, but it is Chuck Dixon's run on the 1996 Nightwing series that is considered to be the defining run that codified the character ever since.
  • For the Doctor Who Magazine comic, Steve Parkhouse's run on the Fifth and Sixth Doctors, particularly psychedelic epics "The Tides of Time" and "Voyager", is seen by many as the defining one; among other things, it introduced characters such as Shayde, Max, Dogbolter and Frobisher, and was the first to demonstrate that the Sixth Doctor could be Rescued from the Scrappy Heap of his TV run. Scott Gray gives him a close run for his money, particularly for his epic run on the Eighth Doctor.
  • Carl Barks is largely seen as the father of the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, to the point that Disney broke its tradition of not heavily featuring artists' names on its comic covers.
    • Barks was the creator of Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander, the Beagle Boys, Gyro Gearloose, Magica DeSpell and the entire supporting cast and Rogues Gallery of that world. Only Donald, his nephews, and Daisy Duck were created before by Disney and his animators. And in the case of Donald, one can argue that Barks more or less made him into a three-dimensional character and comics icon since as noted by Art Spiegelman, unlike "that short-tempered little thing in the animated cartoons", Barks' Donald had grit, persistence, and a tenacity that were legitimately compelling virtues to mix with his bad luck and other self-destructive qualities, making him a highly relatable, flawed and tragic character, beloved across the world.
    • This is buoyed by the fact that DuckTales (1987), much beloved by nostalgic 1980s babies, is mostly taken from Barks' work and DuckTales (2017) is even more faithful to Barks' comics, treating it as canon. To better understand this, consider that before him, all Donald Duck stories had Negative Continuity. Now, Barks stories are considered continuity that almost all writers follow.
  • DV8 were created by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi and Scott J. Campbell as a bunch of Psycho Rangers for Gen13. Once Ellis got his hands on them, in only eight issues he made them much more complicated and interesting, and every writer that took their series later followed in his footsteps. Fourteen years later however, he would pass the title of their real daddy to Brian Wood, who earned it thanks to the extremely popular Gods And Monsters miniseries.
  • The Fantastic Four will always be defined by the immortal hundred-issue starting run of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Second place goes to John Byrne, who wrote and drew the definitive modern FF.
    • Out of all the people who worked on Marvel's First Family after Byrne, the two most fondly remembered runs, which had the most lasting impact and helped redefine the characters for new audiences, are respectively Mark Waid's and Jonathan Hickman's.
  • Flash writers tend to have, appropriately enough, long runs. Cary Bates was the Barry Allen writer, with around 150 issues to his credit during his 13 years on the title. And although Wally West owes a lot to Bill Messner-Loebs, his Real Daddy is without a doubt Mark Waid. Waid added Jay Garrick and other speedsters to the supporting cast and established the Flash Family concept, brought an epic feel with the introduction of the Speed Force, and made Wally one of the most relatable heroes around; he brought The Flash back from B-list to A-list status, and the title has stayed there ever since. Noticeably, the Speed Force has made it to every adaptation of the Flash since its first appearance, and if the Flash inhabits a world where the Legacy Character concept exists, there will be a Flash family.
    • At the least, Johns gets parental rights to the Flash Rogues. Under his pen, they went from a group of gimmicky, two-dimensional characters into one of the more twisted, yet complex rogues galleries in the DC Universe.
  • Birds of Prey was created by Jordan B. Gorfinkel, but is primarily associated with Gail Simone. She pulled the series out of the nosedive caused by Chuck Dixon's departure and used it to make Black Canary, Huntress and Oracle three of the most well-developed heroines ever. In particular, Simone is the reason fans tend to like Barbara Gordon better as Oracle than as Batgirl. Simone also has this distinction for most of her Secret Six team, but especially Cat-Man. As well as the Six itself; few fans realize that several distinct teams predate hers, including one Real Life.
  • Superboy-Prime has Geoff Johns. During the Sinestro Corps War, Superboy-Prime was one of the scariest, most sympathetic and yet unforgivable villains. He actually came across as a person who was so lost he might never be found. He was also the villain who you WANTED to see killed by the real Superman. Notably, he's actually considered damn near unreadable whenever anyone else is writing him.
  • Also, Hank Henshaw, under Geoff Johns' capable stewardship (Also part of the Sinestro Corps War), is one of the best villainous tearjerkers EVER.
  • Animal Man isn't much talked about where Grant Morrison isn't involved.
  • Green Arrow has had three major parental adoptions in his career: Dennis O'Neill and Neal Adams, whose teaming him with Green Lantern transformed him from a rip-off of Batman to the social conscience of the DC Universe. Mike Grell whose Longbow Hunters series made him an urban Robin Hood fighting the villains of the 1980s. And Kevin Smith, whose mini-series of him effectively removed all the detritus that had become attached to the character during the Dark Age. His New 52 real daddy is by far Jeff Lemire, who managed to save his failing book and turn it into a major seller.
  • Geoff Johns is undoubtedly this for the entire Green Lantern mythos. This is especially true for Hal Jordan and Sinestro, who Johns had turned into one of the most complex and prominent villains in the DCU.
    • Bruce Timm and co. can be considered this for John Stewart. Prior to their handling of him, John probably wasn't even in the top 10 of characters a fan would think of when "Green Lantern" was mentioned.
    • Guy Gardner was originally created by John Broome and Gil Kane, but it was Joe Staton who gave him his famous costume, and Steve Englehart his well-known Jerk with a Heart of Gold characterization, which was developed further by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis during their run on Justice League International.
  • Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created Marvel's Hercules, no question, but Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak really made the character their own in the pages of The Incredible Hercules. Before Van Lente and Pak, Real Daddy status probably would've gone to Bob Layton whose Hercules: Prince of Power miniseries in the early 1980s established Herc as the loutish, womanizing Boisterous Bruiser we all know and love.
  • Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker's run on Immortal Iron Fist, which laid down a lot of new ground for the character and was almost universally praised. It introduced the grittier martial arts tone, the idea of a true Iron Fist legacy as well as the tournament between the cities. In addition, the two elevated Davos from a one-note bad guy into a character with a strong history with Danny's father and someone looking for a purpose in life.
  • For Iron Man, while the original creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Don Heck created much of the elements of the character, it was the team of David Michelinie and Bob Layton in the late 1970s and early 1980s who established the definitive modern take of the character. This includes inserting Jim Rhodes, the specialized armors, and Stark's emotional frailty problem, especially concerning alcohol.
    • Rhodey is especially notable for taking over as Iron Man for a while after their run. Michelinie clearly didn't like this idea (the first thing he did when he returned to the title was get Rhodey out of the Iron Man suit), but it stuck; Tony soon gave Rhodey a unique suit with the codename War Machine, which he still uses today.
    • Michelinie and Layton had two runs, the first of which contained "Demon In A Bottle," the second of which contained "Armor Wars." They got to define Iron Man, and then go back and redefine him a few years later.
    • Also while Iron Man's archenemy, the Mandarin, was created by Lee and Heck, the character suffered severely due to Values Dissonance and was in danger of being phased out entirely. Matt Fraction used his epic-length Invincible Iron Man run to completely overhaul the character, ditching the Yellow Peril elements and making him a brilliant Magnificent Bastard villain who was Iron Man's Moriarty. He redefined the character and brought him back from the brink of obscurity.
    • In addition, while Michelinie and Layton established the definitive modern take of the character, it is the Marvel Cinematic Universe's take of Iron Man that turned him into one of the biggest Marvel superheroes of the modern era. Before MCU, Iron Man was considered at best a B-list superhero; but Jon Favreau's take and Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of the character brought a great deal of characterization to Tony and elevated Iron Man's status into a central part of the Marvel Universe and in the wider culture. MCU's effect to the character is so big that Iron Man's comics post-Iron Man used elements of Downey's appearance and characterization as the basis of the main-verse Tony Stark.
    • The Brian Micheal Bendis-created character of Riri Williams, aka Ironheart, wasn't exactly warmly received under Bendis' pen, when readers saw her as being overly callous. However, opinions regarding her changed when Jim Zub inducted her into his run of Champions (2016) where he reframed her odd behavior as her having No Social Skills and being innocently insensitive, which the other Champions took note of.
  • Judd Winick didn't create Jason Todd, but he did bring him back from the dead as the Red Hood while writing for Batman, and made him badass and sympathetic. It's generally agreed upon that every interpretation of Jason afterwards, including Grant Morrison's, is inferior to Winnick's — to the extent that most fans ignore everything done with Jason after that iconic storyline.
  • Jim Starlin didn't create Captain Marvel or Adam Warlock, but his interpretations of the characters eclipse what came before.
  • A minor example: when Mike McMahon started drawing Judge Dredd, he gave the Judges a chunkier, more menacing look than Carlos Ezquerra's original vision. This look proved so popular that even subsequent Ezquerra-drawn strips used it.
  • Many of the characters featured in the Giffen/DeMatteis era of the Justice League International were never as beloved before or since that run — so much so that the post-52 Booster Gold series (which some consider better than most of the stories told in JLI) constantly refers back to that time, as does Justice League: Generation Lost.
  • Roy Thomas is the adopted father of Golden Age DC heroes after writing Justice Society of America and creating Infinity, Inc., with James Robinson, David S. Goyer and especially Geoff Johns taking over this role since the new millennium.
  • The most fondly remembered version of the Justice Society of America in the modern era is definitely Geoff Johns, who took over after James Robinson left the book, and built upon the team's family dynamic using a large cast composed mainly of the earliest Golden Age superheroes and legacy characters, which would remain the defining characteristic of the team for the rest of the post-Crisis era.
  • The character of John Constantine, who Moore created during his tenure with Swampy before being spun off into his own series, has this relationship with Garth Ennis. Jamie Delano and/or Mike Carey are also in the running for this.
  • Yost was this for Kaine, previously a classic '90s Anti-Hero in the worst way and one of the worse products of the Clone Saga, before returning for a fairly well-received Heroic Sacrifice in Grim Hunt, then a return in Spider-Island a year later. However, it was Yost who, in his 2012 solo series, made him a grumpy Knight in Sour Armor Reluctant Hero with a much darker version of Peter's snark, gave him a Morality Pet and a fun supporting cast, explored his past, his differences to Peter, his guilt over his past deeds, particularly his torment of Ben Reilly and his response to, effectively, having been given a second chance, as well as the mystical side-effects of his resurrection. While it was cancelled at issue #25, Yost carried him over to the reboot of New Warriors and he remains popular enough to get a key role in Spider-Verse and a Scarlet Spider who is almost certainly him (or someone with Kaine's costume, powers and personality - the latter suitably toned down) has a starring role in Season 4 of ''Ultimate Spider-Man.'
  • Kieron Gillen has quickly become this for a few characters;
  • Legion was created by Chris Claremont as a New Mutants opponent and was, since then, written by many people. But Simon Spurrier was the one who gave him a complete revamp and reintroduced him as a Magnificent Bastard on the pages of X-Men: Legacy vol.2, which quickly gave the character a dedicated fanbase.
  • Paul Levitz is frequently considered this for Legion of Super-Heroes, as he wrote the series during its height and wrote the defining story arcs for many of the franchises's heroes and villains. Jim Shooter also has quite a claim, having created most of the Legion's most recognizable rogues (the Fatal Five, Dr. Regulus, Universo, Mordru) and penning the iconic Ferro Lad Heroic Sacrifice that established the Legion's attention to continuity and Anyone Can Die aspect.
  • While Marjorie Henderson Buell created Little Lulu for the Saturday Evening Post, it was John Stanley's nearly 15-year run on the Little Lulu comic books which defined the character.
  • While the character of Brian Michael Bendis can be polarizing, Luke Cage has become more of a mainstream character under his pen.
  • Even though Neil Gaiman created the version of Lucifer from The Sandman, it's Mike Carey's run on the spin-off Lucifer that really defined the character.
  • Just like Moore is remembered for Swamp Thing, Steve Gerber's reimagining of similarly-swampy hero Man-Thing is considered definitive.
  • The creation of the "Marvel Method" in the Silver Age actually left a lot of open paternity questions for many of Marvel's iconic characters.
    • Stan Lee — among others — got a flat "Writer" credit for contributing anything from a full panel-by-panel script to a little dialog polishing, it can be hard to say definitively who created what. This debate certainly gets bitter when it turns to compensation, as virtually every artist who worked with Marvel in this period feels they got hosed on royalties and copyright ownership later on.
    • The little research we know about the authorship clarifies that the costumes, visual design and general plots of the early Fantastic Four, Thor and Spider-Man comics were entirely done by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, while Lee worked on the dialogues and occasionally suggested the plots (i.e. a particular kind of fad and concept which Kirby would flesh out into Galactus, Dr. Doom and other Fantastic Four bad guys) and was heavily involved in the marketing (which is no small thing since without Lee's genius marketing, the comics would not have found the audience demographic, and cultural impact it did at the time). The distinctive rhythm of 60s Marvel, the alliterations and the Purple Prose captions are all Lee. Lee himself in early interviews when promoting the Marvel Method (at a time when such practises of stiffing the artist was the unquestioned status-quo and Lee certainly did offer and shared more publicity and co-credits than others of his time).
  • Floyd Gottfredson is often considered the Mouse Counterpart to Carl Barks. Though the Disney shorts eventually toned down Mickey's character, Gottfredson maintained Mickey Mouse 's adventurous spirit for several decades, which are considered an influence on modern interpretations of Mickey.
  • Peter David gets this with The Hulk, adding a lot of depth and characterization to Bruce Banner and other supporting characters. He also gets this with several characters in X-Factor, with David taking the credit for taking a team of C-List Fodder & making them interesting characters (something he actually expressed an actual preference for). Some examples:
    • Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) was originally a purely gimmicky background character, his power being that he could make multiple clones of himself. David actually bothered to take full advantage of this concept, as well as getting inside the head of a man who could never really be "alone", and turned Madrox into an interesting character. Specifically, he introduced Jamie's philosophical bent, his indecisiveness and his fascination with pop culture.
    • Layla Miller was originally the Living MacGuffin in the House of M Crisis Crossover. Under David, she moved from knowing stuff, to travelling to the future as a tweenager and returning an attractive young woman who is dealing with the fact that her power isn't knowing the future, but the ability to bring beings back from recent death, but without a conscience. He also presented her as a creepy child and chessmaster.
    • Quicksilver was often considered to be, for a long time, the son of Magneto who often switches between wanting approval from his father and completely trying to distance himself from the super villain. David actually incorporated a reason for him to be so much of a dick, by revealing that he does everything at super sonic speed, including thinking, and it makes him frustrated that the world seems to be in slow motion for him, as well as secretly enjoying being a hero despite his disdain of everything.
    • Shatterstar might be his most triumphant example. Added to the X-Factor roster because nobody else would want him, he went from being a throwaway Rob Liefeld creation, to an adorably Large Ham Ensemble Dark Horse bisexual interested in Anything That Moves, but determinedly forging a relationship with his teammate Rictor.
  • While Damian Wayne and Jon Kent were respectively created by Grant Morrison and Dan Jurgens, Peter J. Tomasi is the one who helped really define both as characters — giving Damian his relationship with his father which has become his most important point as a character and giving Jon his super Nice Guy aspects, brought Damian back after his creator killed him off, and established their partnership in Super Sons.
  • Mary Joe Duffy is considered to be the reason Power Man and Iron Fist is such a fondly-remembered series. And Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker are this for Iron Fist.
  • Garth Ennis has this status for The Punisher, being one of the first to nail down a consistent characterization of the vigilante in his 2000 reboot. And before Garth Ennis came along, Chuck Dixon's lengthy run on Punisher's solo title cemented the character who started out as a Villain of the Week in Spider-Man.
  • Steve Ditko created The Question as a mouthpiece for Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy, but Dennis O'Neil's run on him in the 1980s is considered the definitive version of the character: a martial artist with insatiable curiosity. Others simply consider this groundwork for the DCAU version, leading to an odd conundrum in that the DCAU's version of the character is clearly inspired by Rorschach...who was written partly as an Expy for The Question. Meaning that Alan Moore is in the running for this status for a character he never actually wrote for.
  • Renee Montoya was originally just a minor character from Batman: The Animated Series who got lucky enough to get introduced into the main canon. However, it was only when Greg Rucka started writing for her that she slowly turned into an awesome, multi-layered detective. For details, see Gotham Central, 52, and The Question.
  • Neil Gaiman's Sandman series stars almost entirely original characters, with only cameos by the Golden Age hero who inspired it. Nontheless, it brought an otherwise completley forgotten character back into public perception, setting the path for Matt Wagner's Sandman Mystery Theatre to define Wesley Dodds for modern readers.
  • James Robinson has taken the position of the Scarlet Witch's Real Daddy, after writing a well-received solo series and pointing out that if you ask people to define Wanda's personality, it's either "aloof and quiet" or "completely batshit insane."
  • Though he didn't come onboard until around halfway through Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics)'s lifespan, writer Ian Flynn is considered to have been the best writer for the series, taking characters and concepts from the previous Dork Age and reworking them to much greater acclaim (before legal issues ended up gutting them from continuity). Ian is even considered to be the best writer for the Sonic franchise as a whole, in part due to his handling of characters largely ignored by Sonic Team since around 2010, and though the sentiment is far from universal, his return for IDW's comic was largely well-received.
  • Peter Milligan for Shade, the Changing Man. He completely reinvented Steve Ditko's character, and now hardly anyone remembers what the original was like.
  • Between adding her to replace Ben Grimm in the Fantastic Four and her solo title, which was one of the longest running featuring a female character as the star, John Byrne better defines She-Hulk than her creator, Stan Lee.
  • The Spider-Man character Silk was created by Dan Slott and was very much hated by fans for numerous reasons: from the Unfortunate Implications that arise from her pheromone situation with Peter, to her effectively being the cause of several deaths in Spider-Verse, to her existence being a retcon of Peter's origin story. It was Robbie Thompson's solo run of the character that rescued her from the scrappy heap by reinventing her as being a bit of a Womanchild who works as The Mole for S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Fans are divided on just who Spider-Man's Real Daddy is, both in terms of the artist and the writer.
    • Depending on who you ask, Spidey's definitive artist is either co-creator Steve Ditko or John Romita, Sr., and Spidey's definitive writer is either co-creator Stan Lee or J.M. DeMatteis. And then there's the endless debates over whether Stan Lee or his artists (primarily Ditko and Romita) deserve more credit for the original Silver Age stories. All three debates have a tendency to turn quite vicious. In any case, Ditko, as per Lee himself, came up with the costumes, design and looks of not only Spider-Man but his supporting cast and Rogues Gallery, and did most of the plots near the end. John Romita, Sr. on the other hand redesigned the look of not only Peter Parker (giving him an Art Evolution that has mostly been Peter's default look across cartoons and other media) but also created Peter's gang (making Harry Osborn his best friend, starting the Love Triangle between Gwen Stacy and Mary Jane, and designing the classic looks of both characters). Romita's features more or less shows up across many adaptations, with Harry Osborn being retroactively made into Peter's best friend (as can be seen in the Spider-Man Trilogy), relegating many of Ditko's run to Early Installment Weirdness.
    • Gerry Conway, the first writer who took over from Lee introduced characters like Hammerhead, the Jackal, and likewise is the author of the first and the least confusing clone saga. He's also seen by many as Mary Jane Watson's true creator. He first hinted at her character depth and moved her away from Lee-Romita Sr. hedonistic party girl (which Conway felt was an affect), and of course Conway wrote The Night Gwen Stacy Died specifically to move MJ into the center of Peter's life and get rid of Gwen. That iconic story also led eventually to Harry Osborn becoming the Goblin and to Norman's first iconic death scene (being impaled on his own glider). Conway later wrote the graphic novel Parallel Lives about their relationship.
    • Roger Stern's run is also considered to be a big highlight of the character's history, namely for raising up Peter's Super Strength and battle skills. He also created the Hobgoblin — the most prominent villain and storyline developed during his run — is considered to not only be a fan favorite character, but one of the last great Spider-Man villains. Stern also made Felicia Hardy Peter's sidekick and anti-hero girlfriend and built up the third romance after Gwen and MJ. Stern also conceptualized part of Mary Jane's past with Tom DeFalco who later wrote the issues explaining that she had known Peter was Spider-Man and then describing her past.
    • Brian Michael Bendis has had the biggest influence on the Spider-Man franchise since Ditko and Romita. His run on Ultimate Spider-Man was so successful and influential that many parts of it were adapted into games, cartoons and every Spider-Man movie since its first publication in 2000. As part of that run on Ultimate Spider-Man, he also made his mark as co-creator and writer of Miles Morales, the most popular character to take on the Spider name outside Peter Parker, and who went on to headline his own theatrical film less than a decade after his creation.
    • There's also the battle over Venom, split between Jim Shooter (who introduced the black costume in Secret Wars (1984)), Randy Schueller (a fan who drew up the black costume), Mike Zeck (who finalized and introduced the costume), David Michelinie (who created Eddie Brock and merged him with the symbiote) and Todd McFarlane (who designed Venom). This was bitter enough to prompt McFarlane to leave Marvel and start Image Comics. Michelinie is usually given the My Real Daddy status.
  • Most people who know Spirou and Fantasio consider André Franquin as the series' father, regardless of whether or not they know it existed before: Franquin made it the Spirou we remember, and artists Tome and Janry were faithful to that (except maybe towards the end).
  • Will Murray and Steve Ditko may have created Squirrel Girl, but it was Dan Slott that made her into the character that she is today. Ryan North and Erica Henderson are latter-day paternity candidates for their work on Squirrel Girl's 2015 series. While both Slott and North portray her as a relentless optimist, Slott's Squirrel Girl is generally a comedic foil in rather dark plots while North's is more earnest, empowering, and child-reader-friendly.
  • Chuck Dixon considers himself this for his creation Stephanie Brown aka "the Spoiler," stating on his forum that he doesn't read anyone else's stories with the character because she's so alive in his head that any other interpretation wouldn't feel right. Despite that, a good majority of her fans tend to see Bryan Q. Miller, who wrote her ongoing series, as this; while Dixon is often respected for creating her and would be this without question otherwise, BQM managed to become synonymous with the character, and make her a competent hero on her own when many saw her as a sidekick's sidekick.
  • James Robinson's Starman put that name on the map. And note that that's multiple Starmen — Robinson has stated that he believes he did more to develop Ted Knight's character in four issues of The Golden Age than anyone had in fifty years of history before that, and he's really not bragging; it's just the truth. Ho also gets credit for making Starman (and occasionally Flash) rouge the Shade into the morally ambiguous immortal he is today.
  • Suicide Squad has John Ostrander, who took the idea of a team of Boxed Crooks and made it work. And even among the ranks of the Squad, Deadshot stands out as the character whom Ostrander most redefined, to the extent that all subsequent versions of Deadshot are basically riffs on his.
    • Barbara Gordon was created for the 1960s show and was paralyzed in the pages of The Killing Joke but didn't really become a hero in her own right until the late 80s. John Ostrander and his late wife Kim Yale got their hands on her on the aforementioned run of Suicide Squad and gave her the name Oracle. This take on the character was the definitive one until the Flashpoint reboot where she was made Batgirl again.
  • Superman
    • Mort Weisinger had a massive influence over what Superman would become during the Silver Age and the Bronze Age. As Batman was his favorite character at the time because of how his enemies actually challenged him, Weisinger sought to give Superman the same sort of challenge by giving him opponents that could actually physically stand up to him. Weisinger also ramped up the Science Fiction element of Superman by introducing foes such as Brainiac and revamping Lex Luthor into a Mad Scientist, and by introducing more technological elements such as Superman's high-tech Fortress of Solitude and the Bottle City of Kandor. As such, much of DC's later staff point to Weisinger as the one who would truly shape the concept of Superman after he was created by Siegel and Shuster.
    • From Max Fleischer's work on the Superman Theatrical Cartoons we get "Faster than a Speeding Bullet, More Powerful than a Locomotive, Able to Leap Tall Buildings in a Single Bound," as well as Superman's ability to fly (animating the super-jumping he'd originally been intended to do was a pain in the arse, so Fleischer just said "forget it - he's Superman, so he can fly!")
    • Elliot S! Maggin for the Bronze Age Superman. He was the only comic writer who also wrote novels about the character and tried to greatly expand the mythos of Superman.
    • Longtime Silver/Bronze Age artist Superman Curt Swan is probably the most prominent Superman artist of all time after Joe Shuster. Wayne Boring might be Superman's most popular non-Shuster Golden Age/early Silver Age artist.
  • Supergirl was created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino in 1959, but they had little to do with the character afterwards.
    • Jerry Siegel made sure to set her apart from Superman and created her first enemies, love interests and most of her initial supporting cast. Jim Mooney was her main artist during that period.
    • Paul Kupperberg wrote Pre-Crisis Supergirl's best stories, making her step out of her cousin's shadow for good.
    • Mark Waid and later Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle rehabilitated Post-Crisis Supergirl after a dreadful Dork Age and created one of the definite runs of the character. Sterling Gates also came up with her "Hope, Compassion and Help for all" motto.
  • Stormwatch:
    • The Image/WildStorm team was originally created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi, but Warren Ellis' Darker and Edgier run on the title is considered the point where it Grew The Beard. The Authority spun off from characters, plotlines, and themes introduced in Ellis' run — which speaks for itself.
  • The team of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez didn't create Teen Titans, but their much-celebrated run is responsible for the title as we know it today, and is the basis of the just as beloved animated version.
  • Walt Simonson's Thor. It's telling that any list of the greatest Thor stories of all time will be largely populated by stories by Simonson, who injected a sense of myth and epic (particularly the battle between Thor and Jormungandr, when the entire issue was written in epic verse) to a previously forgettable series, making Loki far more complex and interesting than his previous incarnations. Basically, he did for Thor what Claremont did for the X-Men.
    • The question of who Thor's modern dad is remains open, though some posit Straczynski, who brought Thor back after Ragnarok, while others posit Jason Aaron's Thor run — even fans who dislike the new Thors (first Jane Foster, then the new "War Thor" in Volstagg) admit that his initial Thor run, which explored the Nine Realms more, created new antagonists in the spectacularly creepy Gorr the God Butcher and the deceptively dangerous Roxxon CEO Dario Agger (who can transform into the Minotaur, though he's actually less dangerous like this, since Thor can beat the crap out of him with impunity), and explored Thor's insecurities and personal doubts over his worthiness and the worthiness of gods in general, as well as bringing Malekith the Accursed back after over a decade of being Put on a Bus (aside from a brief, comical appearance in the Incredible Hercules) as an Ax-Crazy Magnificent Bastard and making him the central villain of the series going forward. On the flip side Aaron absolutely cannot measure up to Kieron Gillen's (or Al Ewing's, and many others') interpretation of Loki in the eyes of most fans.
  • Chuck Dixon is undoubtedly considered this for the third Robin, Tim Drake, thanks to three miniseries and a 100 issue run on Tim's ongoing title.
  • Marvel's The Transformers comic was originally written by Bob Budiansky, but it was the work of Simon Furman, who started out writing filler strips for the UK reprint, that is the most celebrated and respected today. In fact, Furman has probably had more influence on the entire Transformers mythos than any other writer.
  • Wolverine actually has several candidate daddies;
    • Back in 1974, original creator Len Wein established that Wolverine's powers were his "natural-born speed, strength, and savagery."
    • In 1976, Chris Claremont revealed that his claws were part of his body, rather than his uniform as previously thought, and introduced his Super Senses. In 1977, Claremont created the first civilian identity for Wolvie when a random character calls him "Logan". Claremont and John Byrne first hinted that Wolvie has "unbreakable bones in 1978, and revealed in 1979 that his entire skeleton is laced with adamantium. The original idea for the name "Logan" was that only a select few people knew about it and the X-Men were not among them. In 1980, Claremont and Byrne had Nightcrawler become the first X-Man to find out and soon enough the rest of the team started using it for their teammate. Also in 1980, the two of them introduced the backstory that James and Heather Hudson found Wolverine in a feral state and managed to help him recover his humanity. In 1981, Claremont and Byrne introduced Wolvie's Healing Factor.
    • In 1983, Dennis O'Neil created the notion that the adamantium-lacing process was created by Japanese mastermind Lord Dawkwind, and also introduced Darkwind's daughter Yuriko. As Lady Deathstrike, Yuriko would become an essential addition to Wolverine's Rogues Gallery.
    • In 1986, Bill Mantlo established the mystery about who or what gave Wolvie his adamantium, and also introduced the notion that Wolvie is older than he looks. Specifically, Mantlo established Wolverine as a World War II veteran. In 1990, both Claremont and Larry Hama picked up on the reference and fleshed out his World War II background in two separate stories. Also in 1990, Jo Duffy created an origin story for Wolvie which has him cast out by humans and managing to survive on his own in the wilderness of Canada. While later contradicted by other origins, this basic element has stayed with the character through Broad Strokes adaptations.
    • In 1991, Larry Hama introduced the concept of Wolverine's memory implants and essentially gave him a Multiple-Choice Past. Also in 1991, Barry Windsor-Smith published a 12-part origin story about the mysterious project which gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton and turned him into a Living Weapon. The story was called "Weapon X" because that was the codename for the test subject, Wolverine. The name "Weapon X Program" was established by Larry Hama in 1992.
    • The origin by Barry Windsor-Smith hinted that Wolverine had bone claws prior to his encounter with the Program. Once Wolverine lost the adamantium in 1993, it was Larry Hama who fleshed out the concept and established that the claws were part of the original mutation. He also worked out what these less-durable claws could and could not do.
    • Finally the definite origin story for Wolverine, the real name "James Howlett," and his family background were all established by Paul Jenkins in 2001.
  • Wonder Woman was created by William Marston, but for the modern take on the character, George Pérez and his Post-Crisis recreation of the character is definitive to the point that director Patty Jenkins, creator of the Wonder Woman feature film, considers his work on par with Marston himself.. A number of fans also put Greg Rucka on a similar level, due to his modernizing of the Greek Gods and the increased presence of Diana on the political stage.
    • DC clearly intended for Brian Azzarello's take to be definitive (particularly given that a version of his origin was used for the DECU movie), but Greg Rucka's subsequent DC Rebirth run moved away from it. However, Rucka's run itself was moved away from once it ended, and in popular consciousness (and due to the movie's popularity), aspects of Azzarello's run have stayed with the character, most notably her being the daughter of Zeus in one way or another.
  • Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost created X-23, but didn't introduce her to the Marvel Universe (she's a Canon Immigrant), putting her in the hands of Joe Quesada and later Chris Claremont, probably with the intention of invoking this trope; when it didn't work, they started writing her themselves. While their take was seen as superior to Quesada's and Claremont's and laid groundwork on the character, it still had its share of problems. It was Marjorie Liu's run on Laura's solo title that definitely did a lot to make fans like a character that had previously (often derisively) been called Girlverine and Mary Sue.
  • Warren Ellis is seen as this for Nate Grey a.k.a. X-Man (counterpart of Cable), along with Dan Abnett. While the character was created by Jeph Loeb, as part of Age of Apocalypse, and written by Terry Kavanagh for the majority of his solo run, Ellis storyboarded the 'Shaman' storyline as part of the Revolution revamp of the X-books, which removed the previous plot tumour of Nate's genetic degeneration and drastically changed the series, making it more philosophical and cosmic-themed, changing Nate from a conventional Hot-Blooded Knight in Sour Armor and Jerk with a Heart of Gold to a purposefully weird Crazy Sane Anti-Hero with a Messiah Complex who took up a Doctor Strange-like role protecting reality. While the series only lasted another 12 issues, the depiction stuck (Uncanny X-Men (2018) and Age of X-Man leaned hard into the Ellis depiction), being tweaked by Dan Abnett to restore Nate's sarcastic sense of humour and dorkier traits, gently poking fun at his occasionally pretentious philosophy, while maintaining his role as an authority on reality-jumping/warping. Most readers admit, whether they like the character or not, that he is at least now somewhat distinctive.
  • X-Men:
    • Chris Claremont, pushing it from a failed Silver Age idea into the Marvel Universe's biggest cash cow. Magneto can especially be considered his "baby". While the character existed long before he came along (having been introduced in the very first issue), he was, in his original form, your typical over-the-top villain and then some. It was Claremont who fleshed him out into the Well-Intentioned Extremist we know him as today, before bringing him through an affecting Heel–Face Turn. (This turned out to be the first of many, though.) To the fans, he's known as the "Father of X(-men)". It was also during the Claremont era that the X-Men came to be seen as an allegory for the Civil Rights Movement and as a metaphor for minority rights.
    • Even though Fabian Nicieza is largely seen as the definitive writer for Gambit (writing his original series), Claremont's take on Gambit is still considered by many to be the superior version as far as the fact that Claremont's Gambit was a happy-go-lucky thief as opposed to Nicieza's brooding, angsty version. It also helps that Claremont loved pairing Storm and Gambit up together as a platonic duo whereas Nicieza preferred pairing Gambit up with Rogue for wangst-fueled storylines.
      • Weir and DeFilippis are this for two minor X-characters they took under their wings — Icarus and Dust. Icarus debuted in a 1984 ROM: Space Knight story as an extra, created by Bill Mantlo, and remained an obscure background character until 2004. Then writer Chuck Austen cast him as a main character in the storyline She Lies With Angels, which unfortunately was one of the most hated stories in his, already controversial, X-Men run. When Icarus turned up as a cast member in New Mutants, he was not exactly a popular addition. As for Dust, her original portrayal by her creator, Grant Morrison, was full of Unfortunate Implications. Neither was well-liked until Weir and DeFilippis gave them rounded personalities and started building a close friendship and possible romance between them.
  • When Vibe was introduced, he was a breakdancing stereotype. However, thanks to the New 52 reboot and the writing of Sterling Gates, he has become a much more likable and relatable character with a small, yet dedicated, fanbase.

    Comic Strips 
  • The original writer of The Perishers was sacked after a few weeks for not being funny. He was replaced by Maurice Dodds, who wrote the strip from 1959 to his death in 2005. The strip was then retired, even though the Daily Mirror would have been quite within their rights to hire another writer, because no-one else could possibly write it.

    Fan Works 
  • The Conversion Bureau (the original story, that is) was written by Blaze, but after he left the story unfinished and later disowned it completely while stating that he felt its fan-made spinoffs were better written, several different writers have been considered TCB's "real parent." Depending entirely on preference, it could either be writers known for their Deconstructions or the authors that play the premise straight.
  • The Infinite Loops may have been started by Innortal on FanFiction.Net, but Saphroneth on codified the rules and published the massive My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic collaborative loops, making him the go to authority for the mechanics of the setting.
  • Discussed by the main writer of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, noting there are several characters he created to fill plot purposes and nothing much more, like 20 Gyarados Bill, have been fleshed out by the side writers extensively and made much more interesting and popular by them.
  • Drew Luczynski, the original main writer who later switched to being the co-writer for Prehistoric Earth, is the one who originally created the Prehistoric Park style zoo that contained animals from both the aforementioned series and the Walking With series that the story centers around, and is also the one who was convinced into eventually allowing it to be given 'life' via a story. However, despite Luczynski's seeming to believe the opposite of this due to how much the story ended up derailing from his original vision for it, the majority of the readers appear to largely consider former co-writer turned main writer Nathanoraptor to be the member of the duo who allowed the story and its characters to be made truly enjoyable and worth reading from start to finish.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Bourne Series: Zig-zagged with Only the Creator Does It Right, one may argue that the Bourne series has two daddies with directors Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass. With The Bourne Identity, Liman gave the film a unique style, but it was Greengrass who would flesh it out in its sequels The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, with Liman still involved as executive producer, garnering even greater acclaim. But when Greengrass turned down the offer to direct The Bourne Legacy, Matt Damon left with him, saying he wouldn't do any more movies without him, and Liman left too. This is part of why Legacy hasn't been as well-received as its predecessors. Though it should be noted that Tony Gilroy wrote all four films (and directed Legacy). It seems to go both ways, too: though Greengrass returned to direct the fifth film, Jason Bourne with Matt Damon coming back, this time around Gilroy was not involved at all, and it likewise was also not as well-received as the first three films.
  • Although every one of the Carry On films was produced by Peter Rogers and directed by Gerald Thomas, and the core cast remained largely unchanged throughout the series' run, it was scriptwriter Talbot Rothwell whom most fans regard as having really made the films what they were. The early, Norman Hudis-scripted films (up to and including Carry On Cruising) are regarded as middling, while the films made after Rothwell retired due to ill health (from Carry On Behind onward) are viewed as downright terrible.note 
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced us to Wonder Woman, who is shown to be a jaded immortal worn down by years of humanity's ugliness. Her solo film showed her as a Broken Bird who, in spite of all she saw, still had enough idealism to use the Power of Love against her brother Ares. The direction Patty Jenkins took Wonder Woman would lead to her film being the first critically acclaimed entry of the DC Extended Universe and turn the character into more of a household name who is now as popular, if not more so, than Batman and Superman. That being said, she later took flak for where she was going with Wonder Woman 1984.
    • Aquaman. When Justice League first introduced Aquaman, he was depicted as a gruff, cynical loner and Sour Supporter who only joined the team after being pressured by Mera. In James Wan's Aquaman, he was changed into a down-to-earth Reluctant Hero with a compelling personal journey of finding acceptance by the Atlanteans while also having Hidden Depths to complement his macho personality. These changes made Aquaman more relatable and less of a one-note "surfer dude" as seen in Justice League. Public perception-wise, Wan also successfully reconstructed the character and his mythos enough to win over many who still thought he was a useless superhero.
    • In spite of all the above criticism aimed at Snyder, Zack Snyder's Justice League ended up much better received than the 2017 theatrical cut (in which he had no input), with a vastly improved team dynamic compared to Joss Whedon's version (and much better received characterization for the heroes in it as well).
  • While neither Justin Lin nor Chris Morgan were involved with The Fast and the Furious franchise until the later installments, both are credited as the real masterminds for the series. Their work on the movies gradually turned the series from a fairly mundane racing and crime drama series of films to an over-the-top series of action movies relying on the rules of both Fun and Cool, focusing on the entire character ensemble with "family" being one of the core themes and having a greater sense of continuity. This retooled approach wound up being a hit with both critics and audiences and transformed the movies into a billion-dollar franchise.
  • Officially speaking, the Friday the 13th franchise was created by Victor Miller, the writer of the first movie, who is given a "Based on Characters Created By..." credit in all of its sequels. However, Miller did not have any involvement with those sequels, and thus, he didn't create the series' most famous attribute - Jason Voorhees as the invincible killer wearing a hockey mask - as Jason wasn't the villain until the second film. Furthermore, Miller wrote the original's script under hire for Sean S. Cunningham, its producer-director who conceived of the title and concept, and thus he couldn't even really be said to be the true creator of that movie. If anyone could be claimed as the real creative leader of the series, it'd be either Steve Miner — both a co-producer of the first film and producer-director of the first two sequels, and thus the guy who gave us killer-Jason and his iconic costume — or Frank Mancuso Jr., who produced all of the sequels at Paramount. And when discussing who the best writer and/or director on the series was, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives writer-director Tom McLoughlin is the generally the person who most fans point to, as Jason Lives is not only often considered the best film in the series, along with rescuing the franchise after the terrible reception of the previous sequel, but the "Zombie Jason" idea it introduced would set the direction for the remainder of the original series, before its eventual Continuity Reboot.
  • In The Golden Age of Hollywood, a number of iconic screen actors and their personas largely depended on Star-Making Role from particular film-makers:
    • Cary Grant made many films in The '30s, often in a variety of roles, such as a cockney con-man in Sylvia Scarlett by George Cukor (where he uses his real accent) but film historians note that the iconic image of Grant, as an elegant, classy, charismatic gentleman who can be a comic and dramatic lead, really began with director Leo McCarey and his film The Awful Truth. McCarey who had a startling resemblance to Grant, actually had Grant imitate his fashion and dressing style to better convey his performance which at the time was Playing Against Type but in time became Typecasting.
    • The actor Marion Morrison was renamed John Wayne by Raoul Walsh whose film The Big Trail was intended to launch him but failed instead. Wayne then spent the rest of The '30s in minor parts before John Ford gave him his break in Stagecoach. But film historians largely credit Howard Hawks and his film Red River for codifying Wayne's familiar screen image as a Rated M for Manly Deadpan Snarker action hero who was also a Bruiser with a Soft Center. Indeed John Ford was famously noted to have remarked after seeing Red River, "I didn't know that son of a bitch can act", and Ford after that indeed cast Wayne in a more nuanced and mythical manner in films like The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
    • While Ian Fleming created James Bond, his version was far closer to being a Villain Protagonist than even the darkest movie versions. Terence Young was really the creator of the suave Sean Connery Bond we all love. His instruction to Sean was to imitate him. Also the James Bond Theme. The authorship has been disputed for years with composer John Barry arguing in court Monty Norman's claim of authorship and ultimately losing before he died. Monty Norman definitely did come up with the melody, borrowing it from "Good Sign, Bad Sign" a song he wrote for the musical "A House for Mr Biswas" but Barry's orchestration, with its electric guitar intro and big brassy sound, was what made it popular.
  • As far as the Harry Potter films series goes, directors Alfonso Cuarón is generally considered to be this by fans. While Cuaron only directed one film — Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban — it's generally considered to be where the franchise came into its own, becoming much darker and more dramatic than the first two films, which are generally considered slightly too juvenile in retrospect. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell also has a decent reputation among fans, it's just that his work wasn't as series-defining as Cuaron's.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • While there wasn't exactly a dark, empty void where a Thor fanbase should be, the character's popularity in the MCU skyrocketed with Thor: Ragnarok at the hands of Taika Waititi. Waititi encouraged Chris Hemsworth to improvise more, which led to a revamp of the character from a Fish out of Water Boisterous Bruiser to a lovable goofball of an Iron Woobie Guile Hero who can now match wits with Loki himself. Not only is Ragnarok the highest scored film of the Thor trilogy and more quotable than its predecessors, but Thor's characterization in it continued into Avengers: Infinity War.
    • Whilst Captain America: The First Avenger, directed by Joe Johnston, was relatively well-received, it was Joe and Anthony Russo that helped increase the character's fanbase significantly with The Winter Soldier and Civil War, both of which are considered top contenders for the best film in the MCU. Additionally, once Joss Whedon declined to direct Avengers: Infinity War after the behind-the-scenes drama on Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Russos were the frontrunners to direct Infinity War and Endgamest, resulting in two Avengers movies that had more drama and depth than either the first film or the aforementioned Age of Ultron.
    • Much of how the cosmic side of the MCU worked, looked and felt can be attributed to James Gunn and his work on the Guardians of the Galaxy films after previous sneak peeks in the first two Thor films. In some cases, it's suggested that his films' Bathos-mixed irreverent humor (often scored by period-specific pop music) changed the entirety of the franchise thanks to following directors wanting to emulate him, making Gunn the Real Daddy of the MCU itself. This is evidenced by the aforementioned Taika Waititi admitting that Guardians was a major influence on Ragnarok. Furthermore, nobody in Hollywood wanted to take over the director's chair for Guardians 3 after Gunn's initial firing as it was sacrilegious for anyone to take over the series that Gunn helped define, which subsequently lead to his rehiring.
    • Black Widow was introduced in Iron Man 2 by Jon Favreau, but her role was mostly in a supporting capacity and whatever personality we could glean marked her as The Stoic and overly professional, not to mention quite the Ms. Fanservice. Joss Whedon expanded her character in The Avengers (2012), giving her a Platonic Life-Partners friendship with Hawkeye, one of the wittiest senses of humor in the franchise, and a skill in quick-thinking that granted her almost complete control of any situation she found herself in, resulting in acts like her outsmarting Loki much to his confusion. Later installments in the MCU expanded on Whedon's portrayal of her as the character who "pretends [she] knows everything" and while Whedon's reputation and his credit as her Real Daddy has soured over the years thanks to a Broken Base surrounding a subplot in Avengers: Age of Ultron, her current characterization can easily be traced back to the first Avengers film.
  • For Mission: Impossible Film Series:
    • J. J. Abrams is considered this by far. The first film, while for the most part well-liked is divisive for fans of the original show and the second falls under a case of Sequelitis for many. Abrams took over, first as director and co-writer for the third film and as producer for the subsequent sequels, and the following entries introduced major set pieces while also mixing in some character development, focused on the team's entire ensemble while Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt remained the central character, signified why later installments dropped their numbering, introduced signature characters to the series such as Benji Dunn, William Brandt, and Ilsa Faust, while before Hunt and Luther Stickell were the only recurring characters in the series, and featured several affectionate nods to the show, most notably reintroducing recurring organization the Syndicate as the main antagonists of the films, all of which successfully transformed the franchise into the mega-hit it is with critics and audiences.
    • Christopher McQuarrie, who directed and wrote the fifth and sixth films in the series, has begun sharing this status. While the previous two films in the series were considered good, Rogue Nation and Fallout were seen as even better. It was under his work where the introduction of the aforementioned fan favorite Ilsa Faust occurred and the Syndicate, only mentioned in previous movies, took center stage as the Big Bad, allowing for a greater sense of continuity between his two films.
  • Star Trek:
    • Nicholas Meyer's work on the second, fourth and sixth movies; he's credited with defining the original series movie era, with his overall tone and atmosphere on display anytime that time period is shown in the subsequent TV shows.
    • To a lesser extent this applies to Harve Bennett, who produced the second through fifth films. After the Troubled Production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture resulted in that film being produced way over-budget and led to Gene Roddenberry getting kicked upstairs, Bennett took over the film series, hired Meyer to direct the second film and proved that a Star Trek film could be made much more economically. He's not held in quite the same esteem as Meyer, however, due to the third and fifth films — made without Meyer's involvement — being So Okay, It's Average and a critical and commercial disaster respectively.
  • Star Wars:
    • Even if his name is ubiquitously associated with the franchise, Lucas' position as the primary creator of Star Wars has been questioned by some fans of the franchise. A lot of fans argue that the Original Trilogy movies ought to be credited less to Lucas than his collaborators. While Lucas wrote and directed A New Hope by himself, many argue that producer Gary Kurtz ensured "quality control" over the final productnote . Others also credit George Lucas's wife at the time, Marcia Lucasnote . Meanwhile, Mark Hamill and Steven Spielberg contend that Lucas was solely responsible for the overall vision and aesthetic of the films (a Space opera B-Movie done on the scale of an Epic Movie with mixes of Japanese Jidaigeki and The Western) and that he had to constantly fight naysayers, producers, and cast and crew who didn't take the film seriously because the subject matter seemed childish to them, as it did to most audiences of Science Fiction B-Movie before Star Wars. In the case of The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas served as producer and writer; while the film was directed by Irvin Kershner, Lucas was entirely and solely responsible for the film's central Plot Twist (Luke, I Am Your Father), as well as deciding on the Han/Leia romance, creating the characters of Yoda and Lando Calrissian, without which it's unlikely that The Empire Strikes Back would be as respected as it is. Lucas was also more hands-on in Return of the Jedi owing to the contentious direction of Richard Marquand.
    • Dave Filoni is highly regarded by the fanbase for fixing and improving on the highly contentious prequels. His series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is beloved even amongst prequel haters for restoring the mysticism of the Force and humanizing the prequel characters, especially Anakin who actually became a likable and sympathetic figure. His work on The Mandalorian was similarly well-regarded for the world-building and characterization of the Mandalorians.
    • Jon Favreau for showrunning The Mandalorian, the Disney-era Star Wars live-action entry that has by far the least amount of Broken Base compared to the films made since the buyout.
    • The commercial success of Timothy Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy in addition to being important for the Expanded Universe also played a big part in convincing Lucas that interest in Star Wars hadn't died. While little of Zahn's works would ever be directly adapted into the live-action films, the city-planet of Coruscant first debuted in his pages, as well as a few other details which ultimately appeared in Lucas' Special Edition and later the prequels themselves. Thrawn himself would migrate to the Rebels animated series.
  • For the X-Men Film Series:
    • Bryan Singer wrote, directed, and produced the first two films and he had this reputation and status for the first three films, returning after a hiatus to direct the well-received X-Men: Days of Future Past. The highly divisive reception of X-Men: The Last Stand, directed by Brett Ratner, was compounded by the fact of not having Singer at the helm.
    • A lot of fans consider Matthew Vaughn to be this for the later X-Men films. He was the director of X-Men: First Class, which was considered the return to form of the franchise and became the first successful film in the series not centered on Wolverine. He also changed the aesthetic of a trilogy that was formerly the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier for Movie Superheroes Wear Black, introduced a much more humorous and sexy style (even those who liked the first X-Men films pointed out that they were rather overly serious with material that really did not work for that), made the costumes and visual design much more brighter and colourful (giving the First Class team a black and lemon yellow ensemble and setting the finale in broad daylight on the beaches of Cuba). When Singer returned to the franchise, with Days of Future Past, he followed Vaughn's aesthetic, and the success of First Class also led studios to green-light more personal and director-driven takes on the series, and even push to the R-rating (Vaughn's film was the first superhero film with a Precision F-Strike), leading to Deadpool (2016) and Logan.
    • Many fans consider James Mangold to be the Honorary Uncle of the X-Men movies and the real daddy of Wolverine. By the 2010s, Wolverine turned into a bit of a joke largely thanks to his static personality and general overexposure in The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Mangold managed to reinvigorate the character with the solo movies The Wolverine and Logan by giving him a character arc of finding reconciliation with his violent past, thereby making Wolverine more interesting and less one-note killing machine. Furthermore, Mangold's movies are also gritty neo-noir thrillers that helped stand out from the other X-Men movies. Subsequently, both movies are widely respected for making the Wolverine relevant again in a way that honor's the character's gritty roots.

  • For the Doctor Who novels, this goes either to Ben Aaronovitch, who showed Who's potential in written form with his novelisation of his TV story "Remembrance of the Daleks", or Paul Cornell, whose Doctor Who New Adventures novel Timewyrm: Revelation was the first to show the books really could go deeper than their parent TV series, and who created popular novel companion Bernice Summerfield.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Timothy Zahn. He invented it, after all, with The Thrawn Trilogy. There had been things like Splinter of the Mind's Eye, Star Wars (Marvel 1977), and The Han Solo Adventures, but they were largely on a smaller scale than what he wrote, and set much closer to the movies. Unfortunately, most of what authors following him wrote was not on the same level, leading to a genre of fanfic called the "Zahn fix." There are EU fans who despise Zahn's work and put Luceno or Hambly or Traviss in this trope.
    • Karen Traviss practically invented the clone troopers and Mandalorians from the ground up. Before her, there were a few odds and ends about them, but nothing definite. She even invented the Mandalorian language. There's a reason there was such an uproar when Star Wars: The Clone Wars tried to take the Mandalorians and retcon them into something else.
    • The creators of the Star Wars: The Essential Atlas very quickly exercised damage control and introduced a retcon that explained the massive discrepancies between Traviss' Mandalorians and the Mandalorians of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with even more detailed rectons provided later in Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare. The fact that for the most part those in charge of the continuity of the Star Wars franchise are waiting for the animated series to end before introducing retcons to fix canon and revising the Clone Wars timeline, but very quickly provided explanations for the Mandalorian contradiction, speaks volumes of how much Traviss' take on the Mandalorians, controversial though it is, has become popular. And eventually, The Clone Wars had Death Watch, a militant Mandalorian faction that Traviss had invented, seize power on Mandalore anyway.
  • It's hard to describe this regarding Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, since "Carolyn Keene" and "Franklin W. Dixon" were pen names and never actually existed. However, while Edward Stratemeyer was responsible for creating the characters and outlining the stories for the ghostwriters to follow, it was the original ghostwriters Mildred Wirt Benson (for Nancy) and Leslie McFarlane (for the Hardys) who decided to go a little above the call of duty and develop the characters (however slightly) a little more beyond other Stratemeyer Syndicate works and create the only two series out of the dozens Stratemeyer developed that have any kind of lasting impression today.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Avengers (1960s) production team changed during the series' long run, particularly between the third and fourth series, but the influence of Brian Clemens was felt throughout. He wrote the second episode, became the series' most prolific scriptwriter and cast Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg.
  • While Terry Nation created Blake's 7, it was script editor Chris Boucher who fleshed out his scripts and gave the characters personality. In fact, many of the series' best-loved episodes were written by Boucher.
  • Although the original version of the film script was written by Joss Whedon himself, director Fran Rubel Kuzui made Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Movie what it is: a So Bad, It's Good "comedy/horror" that is actually neither. The TV series actually created by Joss Whedon is what the fans know and love, and people prefer to ignore the movie. This makes Joss Buffy's Dad at TWO points.
  • Similarly to the DCAU Voice Actors examples below, even the most fervent detractors of Constantine would agree that Matt Ryan delivered as good a performance as there's ever going to be of Hellblazer's John Constantine. This positive word of mouth led to Ryan eventually getting the chance to reprise the role of Constantine in both Season 4 of Arrow (with Constantine becoming a recurring character on Legends of Tomorrow thereafter) and DC Animated Movie Universe entries starting with Justice League Dark.
  • The Daily Show was originally started by Craig Kilborn as a "Weekend Update"-style comedy show. But in 1999, Jon Stewart became its new host, and under his guidance, the show changed from a light parody of local news to a deep and incisive political satire, held in higher esteem than many mainstream news outlets. In 2015, Jon stepped down as host and was succeeded by Trevor Noah, who acknowledged in his pilot episode how important Jon was by using a "step-dad" metaphor similar to the one made in Jon's first show.
  • While Dexter was created by James Manos Jr., he had very little involvement in the series after the pilot, with the real figures behind the show's success being seen as initial showrunner Clyde Phillips and writer Melissa Rosenberg.
  • Doctor Who, technically created by committee, has had many producers and head writers, but these are a few of the most commonly-cited examples.
    • Verity Lambert, the show's very first producer. For starters, she is the one who ensured that some aliens called the Daleks made it to air. In fact, the story "Human Nature", which sees the Doctor become a human with no memories of his Time Lord self, claims that his parents were named "Sydney and Verity".
    • TV theme composer Ron Grainer wrote the score for the Doctor Who theme, but it was Electronic Music pioneer Delia Derbyshire's production that made it stand out, so the piece is usually credited in modern times to her. Even Grainer regarded the theme as Derbyshire's, famously asking her 'did I write that?' after hearing her rendition (she responded, 'most of it'). Due to Derbyshire's contractual status within the BBC at the time, she was denied a credit and made no money other than her usual employee wage from the piece.
    • David Whitaker, the show's first script editor, managed to establish multiple things that became part of the series' DNA forever after - the first TARDIS team (the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan), the first companion-switchover ("The Rescue"), the first post-regeneration story ("The Power of the Daleks"), and the first novelisation (Dr. Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks). He also established several important canon points like the TARDIS being a Magic from Technology Eldritch Abomination Sapient Ship, the Doctor being 'cut off from [his] own planet' with his exact backstory a Riddle for the Ages, and incorporated mystical and psychedelic themes into the early show that would go on to influence later writers.
    • The Daleks are Doctor Who's most popular and enduring monster, and their invention is credited to Terry Nation - but many fans doubt it was his writing that was actually responsible for making the Daleks a hit. Fans inclined to credit the design for their success are likely to credit them to prop designer Raymond Cusick (who, like Derbyshire, was only paid his usual wage for the work). Other fans celebrate David Whitaker, script editor of the first couple of seasons of Doctor Who and Nation's uncredited cowriter, who also wrote the highly regarded Adaptation Expansion novelisation of the serial "The Daleks", ghostwrote much of the "Dalekmania" spinoff material and wrote several fan-favourite Darker and Edgier Dalek serials ("Power of the Daleks", "The Evil of the Daleks" and the second half of "The Daleks' Master Plan"). In Whitaker scripts Daleks tend to be a Magnificent Bastard race, while in Nation scripts they're The Grotesque and rather pathetic. Nation, for his part, disliked Whitaker's take on the Daleks and worked hard to end Whitaker's influence on the aliens in the 70s by such measures as having Whitaker creations Exiled from Continuity. However, that didn't stop Russell T Davies' take from being clearly influenced by the Whitaker Dalek material more than the Nation stuff.
    • Even though William Hartnell was the first actor to interpret the character of the Doctor, many people feel the definitive 'first' Doctor performance was Patrick Troughton, who introduced many of the performance and character elements that would influence later Doctor performances - being funnier and warmer, being younger and more active, having a Catchphrase, getting Character Focus rather than being part of an ensemble cast, Comical Overreacting, being more of an Ideal Hero rather than The Trickster, and so on. He was also the first actor who was playing the Doctor as an unambiguous alien rather than as an Ambiguously Human 'future' person, and the first to play an incarnation of the Doctor rather than just 'the Doctor', an element of the character crucial to how he is perceived.
    • Even though he was the fourth television Doctor, Tom Baker's performance was massively defining and influential, and it's easy to argue that every Doctor since has been in some way a reaction to him. He lasted almost seven years in the role, the longest tenure of any Doctor, and was the first Doctor consistently portrayed as being mad rather than just eccentric, and the first to bring in elements of being a destructive force of cosmic justice, with a specific blend of darkness, whimsy and odd character quirks that became the 'default' take on character ever after. Due to his tendency to tinker with his scripts, add lines and occasionally entire unscripted scenes, and take charge of direction, he ended up being a heavy creative influence on the way the show was written and shot, with the result that much of the show's sense of humour is what he imprinted onto it. He was not the first Doctor whose performance was heavily based on his own personality, but he was the one whose performance was most based on his own personality, and due to the influence of his era many of Baker's real-life personality quirks run through the psychology of the character to this day.
    • Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts acted as the script editor and producer for the Jon Pertwee era of the show. Dicks is one of the franchise's most prolific writers, penning oodles of novelizations in addition to his TV work, which notably includes 20th anniversary special "The Five Doctors" and Patrick Troughton's swansong, "The War Games". Their era featured UNIT at its most prominent, and introduced such iconic elements of the show as the Master, the Sontarans, the Autons, and fan-favourite companion Sarah Jane Smith. Barry Letts is the only producer to return to the show in a similar capacity, when he acted as the executive producer for newcomer John Nathan-Turner's first year, and had also worked as a writer and director for a number of stories. Letts' influence bled past his run on the show and had a strong impact on the first year of...
    • Robert Holmes and Philip Hinchcliffe, who were respectively the script editor and producer between 1974 and 1977. The era when they were in charge is considered by many to be a Golden Age for the series due to a genuinely frightening "gothic horror" atmosphere, a fan-favourite Doctor (Tom Baker) and popular companions (Sarah, Harry, and Leela), as well as a seemingly endless streak of classic and beloved stories (including, but by no means limited to, "The Ark in Space", "Genesis of the Daleks", "Pyramids of Mars" and "The Talons of Weng-Chiang"). Holmes has written more individual TV episodes than any other writer, and in 2009 his story "The Caves of Androzani" was voted by the readers of Doctor Who Magazine as the all-time greatest Doctor Who story. Holmes is also almost solely responsible for the creation of much of what we know of the Time Lords - the 13 regeneration limit, the artefacts of Rassilon, much of their characterization...
    • Russell T Davies and/or Steven Moffat for those who started with the 2005 revival. RTD brought back the show for a whole new generation and is known for his sense of fun, adventure, and emotion, while those who prefer Moffat appreciate his more complex storylines that place greater emphasis on time travel and the Doctor himself. Moffat is also the only person to write at least one episode for every series of the revival up through Series 10, calling it a day with "Twice Upon a Time". Like his stories or hate them, no one can deny that he's brought a lot of great characters to the show, such as Captain Jack, River, the Weeping Angels, Rory, and Missy, amongst others.
  • Hannibal does not have Thomas Harris attached, but is much better received than Harris' Hannibal Lecter continuation (Hannibal) and the prequel he was basically forced to do, (Hannibal Rising).
  • Heroes fans hold the opinion that Season 1's success was due largely to the involvement of Bryan Fuller, a belief that really gained steam after Fuller left to do Pushing Daisies and the show hit Seasonal Rot in his absence.
  • Lost was created by Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof - Lieber wrote the original pilot script before Abrams and Lindelof drastically reworked it. While Lindelof is (along with Carlton Cuse) the man who rightly takes the credit or blame for the series among the fans, to the general public Abrams is the name most associated with the series even though he had little to do with it after the first season and in fact only co-wrote one episode other than the pilot (see also most series Abrams produces - how often is Revolution called a J. J. Abrams show in spite of Eric Kripke being the real main man?).
  • Anthony Yerkovich is given the sole credit as creator of Miami Vice but it was executive producer Michael Mann who was behind the groundbreaking look and the show, incorporating feature film-style cinematography and editing and using then-current hit songs on the soundtrack.
  • Regardless of the whole debate about whether he or creator Joel Hodgson was the better host of the show, many agree that Michael J. Nelson's arrival as the head writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was one of the biggest factors in helping the first full season of the show take on a much more structured and sophisticated style than the rather loose approach the team used in the "Season 0" broadcast on local channel KTMA.
  • Power Rangers fans informally divide seasons by showrunner or writers at the time. While the contributions of Haim and Cheryl Saban, Shuki Levy, Tony Oliver and others have been noted for Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, any PR fan will say that the shows that Judd "Chip" Lynn and Jonathan Tzachor produced, alongside head writer/story editor Jackie Marchand, are among PR's Golden Era (1995-2001) and may also include Eddie Guzelian's RPM in the mix (with Lynn returning to wrap up RPM in 2009). Later, what they started considering PR's real daddy is Judd Lynn, as at the beginning of Neo Saban era since Samurai, Jonathan Tzachor, who was called back to direct that and Megaforce, didn't fare very well to the fans and fans were getting sick of his Sentai fanboyism. So... when Judd Lynn was called back for Dino Charge to replace Tzachor, cue fans giving a mass Squee!
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • In the 25th anniversary special, the trope was played for laughs during the Weekend Update segment with three popular, former anchors. It begins with Chevy Chase talking about how he originated the sketch and how he did it "the best ever." Then Dennis Miller enters and takes issue with that, comparing Chase's one season to his six. ("You might've knocked her up, but I married her.") And then Norm MacDonald shows up. (Though in a nod to his infamous firing, Norm says he didn't know about the special and just saw them on TV.)
    • The fortieth anniversary Weekend Update seems to settle on Jane Curtin (Chevy Chase's immediate successor and host for Seasons 2 through 5, largely considered some of the show's best), as well as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (whose mid-oughts run regularly caused the segment Internet popularity.)
  • Sesame Street:
    • Contrary to popular belief, Jim Henson was not actually the creator (that honor goes to Lloyd Morisset and Joan Ganz Cooney). However, the use of his Muppet characters became one of the defining elements of the show.
    • A lot of people just credit Cooney with the creation of Sesame Street, especially the media.
    • Jon Stone, Sesame Street's Showrunner from 1969-94, isn't as well-known as Cooney or Henson but everyone who worked on the show says Stone was the one responsible for the show's signature style, especially the balance of comedy and heart.
    • Ryan Dillon may be playing Elmo now, but Elmo's characterization is largely owed to Kevin Clash, whose colleagues reportedly had no idea what to do with the Muppet before Clash got his hands on it.
  • Star Trek:
    • Gene Roddenberry created the series and wrote numerous episodes (as well as rewriting scripts by others) but it was later revealed that a co-producer on original series, Gene L. Coon, was nearly as important to the series' narrative excellence, with his contributions including creating the Prime Directive, the Klingons and Khan Noonien Singh in his own stories, as well as (also) doing rewrites for others. (In fact, many of the best known elements of Star Trek were devised by writers other than Roddenberry, such as the mind meld and the nerve pinch.) Later, it's generally agreed by the fans that Next Generation and the movies got better once Roddenberry was promoted to executive consultant. While the Trek shows have all had numerous writers, Michael Piller and Ron Moore are typically credited with setting the bar for Next Generation and Deep Space Nine respectively. Later, Manny Coto would do a similar thing for Star Trek: Enterprise (with some help from Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens), but in that case it sadly proved too late to save the series from a curtailed run.
    • John M. Ford is (or was) regarded by many as the real daddy of the Klingons, via his novel The Final Reflection and his work on the Klingon supplement for FASA's Star Trek roleplaying game. While many of the specifics of Klingon culture he invented have since been rendered non-canon, many still credit him with deepening the Klingons, shifting them from duplicitous Cold War-era Russian Expies into Proud Warrior Race Guys and setting the stage for further development in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • While Shouzou Uehara was the original head writer of Super Sentai and the franchise was conceived by Shotaro Ishinomori, Hirohisa Soda was responsible for it Growing the Beard in 1985 and then keeping its beard for years. Soda was head writer of every Super Sentai series from 1982 to 1990, and the shows of 1985-1990 are widely considered to be the definitive Super Sentai, far more than Uehara's shows.
  • The Ultra Series is generally credited as the brainchild of Eiji Tsuburaya, who most certainly created the idea for Ultraman. However, some fans would argue that equal credit should be given for several others. Tetsuo Kinjo (the head writer of Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultraseven), Tohl Narita (who designed Ultraman and almost all of the monsters in the early shows), and Eiji's son Hajime Tsuburaya (who would further develop the franchise after his father's death with Return of Ultraman and Ultraman Ace) — all of whom also worked very closely with Eiji on the nascent development of the Ultra Series.
  • In Russia, the children's game show Zvyozdniy chas (roughly "Time to Shine") was created by Vlad Listyev in 1992 and initially fluctuated between hosts — before 1993, there was Alexey Yakubov, soon replaced by Vladimir Bolshov, and in the beginning of 1993, there was a duo of Igor Bushmelev and Yelena Shmeleva (Igor and Lena). It was not until April 1993 that Sergei Suponev (of Dendy: The New Reality fame) took over the hosting duties, and only then did the show really find its legs and skyrocket in popularity. Suponev ended up taking over the showrunner position, and Zvyosdniy chas was his show until his unfortunate death in 2001. Nowadays, when they talk about the show, they mean the Suponev-hosted programs; no one talks about the first two hosts, and Igor and Lena are only brought up to talk about their inferiority to Suponev.

  • The musical backbone of post-hardcore band From First To Last seems to have been Matt Good, him being the only consistent band member since its inception in 1999. However, it was the 2004-2006 and 2017-present lead singer Sonny "Skrillex" Moore who ended up as the most famous Face of the Band.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • When Giant Baba died, Mokoto Baba became the defacto boss of All Japan Pro Wrestling, leading Mitsuharu Misawa to leave, with most of the roster and audience following him to Pro Wrestling NOAH where Misawa free to do as he pleased. NOAH began to be seen as the real successor to Giant Baba's All Japan. So rather than try to emulate the popular shows of 1990s NOAH would undoubtedly do a better job at anyway, The Great Muta was brought in to try something different. While his "Puroresu Love" period of All Japan wasn't particularly liked by foreigners, especially not those in USA, All Japan's business did manage to turn around and reestablish AJPW as one of the Japanese majors. Then circumstances lead to Mutah resigning and being barred from return, leading to much of the roster and audience following him to the first Wrestle-1 show independent of All Japan, which immediately sold out, with fans claiming Wrestle-1 was the true future of All Japan until All Japan started to rebuild by emulating the shows of the 1990s under Jun Akiyama's direction after he deposed of the man who blocked Mutah's reentry.
  • Pro Wrestling ZERO1 went from national powerhouse with international potential to somewhat largish independent circuit promotion after the passing of founder Shinya Hashimoto. Naoya Ogawa has publicly admitted that reason he decided not to return to Zero 1 was that it would not feel right to be there without Hashimoto. Rival promotion NOAH faced a similar decline without Mitsuharu Misawa but barely managed to keep its national scope.
  • A chunk of Ring of Honor fans have the opinion that Gabe Sapolsky is the real daddy following his firing in 2008, albeit a rapidly shrinking chunk as Dragon Gate's abandonment of the USA venture Sapolsky was booking destroyed a good deal of the Creator Worship he received.
  • WWE likes to promote the fact that Daniel Bryan, one of the best and most beloved wrestlers in the world, was trained by Shawn Michaels. Smart Marks and D-Bry himself, however, will always know that Bryan Danielson's true mentor is William Regal. Bryan's style, finishing moves, and attire are all homages to Regal, and not a one to Michaels.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The fandom inverts this trope against Matthew Ward due to his habit of Character Shilling and creating Game-Breaker units.
    • Black Library author Graham McNeill, meanwhile, is considered to be the definitive source on both the Ultramarines and the Iron Warriors.
    • A third faction of Ultramarines fans reject both Ward (for portraying the Ultramarines as a MarySue army) and McNeill (for portraying them as Lawful Stupid) and instead hold Relic Entertainment and THQ, of all people, as the "true" authors of the Ultramarines, thanks to their work on the Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine video game. This is because Space Marine shows the Ultramarines as heroic, determined, and diligent without making them unstoppable and flawless (Ward) or hidebound to the point of incompetence regarding the Codex Astartes (McNeill).
    • Dan Abnett is this to any facet of the lore he touches, but perhaps his most important contribution is his fleshing out of the Imperial Guard, most notably in his Gaunt's Ghosts books, turning them from a Redshirt Army who lived and died (in unnecessarily large quantities) by the mantra "We Have Reserves" to something resembling a competent military force.
    • While Sandy Mitchell's takes on any one character or faction are too openly parodic to be considered definitive, his tendency to poke holes in the setting's oppressively Gothic Punk atmosphere by adding familiar domestic touches like tea and rugby telecasts and generally portraying the Imperium of Man less as a decaying, absurdly Grimdark hellhole and more as a corrupt and incompetent but functional modern military-industrial state like the UK or America writ large does seem to be starting to take hold.
    • By contrast, the grimmer, propagandistic communist-inspired take on the naively idealistic Tau Empire popularized by Relic's Dawn of War: Dark Crusade RTS has become their definitive characterization. Though here it's more a case of giving the fans what they want, as this had already been part of Fanon for years.
    • Ward managed this with the Necrons, giving them depth and personality. A number of Eldar players started to see this with Ward as he's currently the only writer who writes Eldar winning battles.

    Video Games 
  • No matter how long Microsoft's owned Banjo-Kazooie, you'll be hard-pressed to find a fan who doesn't think of them as a Nintendo property at heart thanks to the first two games, which were among the most popular games on the Nintendo 64. Doesn't really help that the guys in charge dropped the series like a hot rock after Nuts & Bolts, consigning the two to cameos and minor guest appearances for over a decade. A common refrain heard after Banjo and Kazooie were announced as DLC fighters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was that the two were back right where they belonged.
  • Nintendo has become a publisher variant for Bayonetta, literally saving Bayonetta 2 after Sega dropped the title, and releasing the title alongside the first game on the Wii U. Even after the game became a Acclaimed Flop, Bayonetta got into Super Smash Bros. and Nintendo ported over both the first and second games to the Switch, alongside getting an exclusive release of Bayonetta 3. Some wonder why Sega even bothers to even keep the franchise at this point.
    • Naoki Maeda, despite having left his position of Dance Dance Revolution sound producer to work on DanceEvolution before leaving Konami entirely to produce CROSS×BEATS and later SEVEN's CODE, is still seen by many fans as the face of DDR despite the series' team having changed significantly since then, especially since he produced a large number of original DDR songs that gave the series its identity during its nth MIX days. Fans feel that the quality of DDR games has declined ever since he left.
    • Takayuki "dj TAKA" Ishikawa is often seen as "the beatmania IIDX guy", having served as sound director for nearly every IIDX game until beatmania IIDX 16 EMPRESS. He's still involved in BEMANI in other positions and with other games, but he's the musician most commonly associated with IIDX.
  • The Castlevania series were only a string of loosely connected titles made by various teams within Konami with only the NES trilogy having a common team (led by Hitoshi Akamatsu) working on all three of them. After the success of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (as well as the lukewarm reception for Castlevania 64), assistant director Koji Igarashi was promoted as producer of the series starting with Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance and from then on the series started having a unified canon, with an art style overseen by illustrator Ayami Kojima (who became acclaimed for her contributions to the aforementioned Symphony, which in turn solidified Alucard's appearance and Breakout Character status compared to his CVIII debut) and music composed by Michiru Yamane (who had already scored the previous installment, Castlevania: Bloodlines, but likewise caught the attention of many with her work on Symphony). The series later received a Continuity Reboot with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, but this new incarnation only lasted three games before Konami went back with Igarashi's canon with the smartphone game Grimoire of Souls.
  • The rivalry between developers Infinity Ward and Treyarch on the Call of Duty series. Infinity Ward were the original creators of the franchise, and were behind Call of Duty, Call of Duty 2, and the genre-defining Modern Warfare. Treyarch, meanwhile, were widely seen as the "B"-team due to starting with the well-received but comparatively-obscure console spin-off Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, a game they would follow with the much reviled Call of Duty 3; much of that ill-will would follow them in their next game in the series, Call of Duty: World at War (an installment that would see a reevaluation in the next decade). However, over time, Treyarch has received credit for being responsive to fan input and their willingness to experiment, innovate, and take the series in new directions with the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops and especially Call of Duty: Black Ops II, while Infinity Ward has been criticized for a perceived unwillingness to deviate from their long-time formula, as embodied by the mediocre reception of Call of Duty: Ghosts. It doesn't help that many of the leading minds behind the better-regarded Infinity War CoD titles have moved on to other things.
  • While the creator of the Devil May Cry series is Hideki Kamiya, he only really had full involvement with the very first game in the series. From the third game onward, the series has been headed by Hideaki Itsuno, which is around the time the series and its protagonist truly hit their stride. One could even argue Itsuno took up this role as early as the tail end of Devil May Cry 2: Though credited as the sole director for DMC2, he was not brought on board until incredibly late in the game's development cycle, taking the reins during what was very much a Troubled Production and managing to piece together the final product in the span of six months. While it's unclear how many of the gameplay elements that carried over from DMC2 to DMC3 were Itsuno's doing, it has been noted that the endgame segments of 2's story, particularly the last two missions of Dante's scenario, are more tonally and thematically consistent with Itsuno's contributions to the subsequent installments than the rest of the game, serving as a prelude to the heavier focus on character and narrative from 3 onward.
  • Donkey Kong:
    • Although Shigeru Miyamoto was the creator of Donkey Kong, the iconic arcade game is largely seen as part of the Mario series instead, and that franchise didn't hit its own stride until the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES. Most people consider the true shaper of the DK franchise to be Rare, creator of the Donkey Kong Country games. These games shaped DK's own corner of the Mario universe by introducing his supporting cast of Kongs such as Diddy Kong, Cranky Kong, and Dixie Kong, the setting of the tropical DK Isle and its surrounding islands, his obsession with bananas, and the villains King K. Rool and the Kremling Krew, all of which would be elements that would help DK gain a fandom of his own beyond being a footnote in the Mario series.
    • After Rare's departure from Nintendo and buyout by Microsoft's gaming division, the fans have not forgotten Rare, but have also embraced Retro Studios (themselves already considered the Real Daddy of Metroid) as a second "adoptive" daddy for the Donkey Kong franchise thanks to their work on Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze. Not only did they save the Donkey Kong franchise from the Dork Age that started since Rare left in 2002 (or in 1999, when Donkey Kong 64 was released), they also tried to create their own stuff to develop the series' lore, like not using King K. Rool and the Kremlings and instead creating new villains like the Tiki Tak Tribe and the Snowmads, and introducing new gameplay mechanics to the games, most notably the rocket barrel levels.
  • For many fans of The Elder Scrolls series, former writer Michael Kirkbride is considered this. Kirkbride wrote for both Morrowind and Oblivion, as well as for the Action-Adventure spin-off Redguard. In addition, Kirkbride wrote dozens of the series' in-universe books. Kirkbride is credited in particular for establishing the series' famous "lore", essentially taking the loose assembly of fantasy elements that existed as of Daggerfall and forming them into a unique Constructed World with a deep backstory, mythology, and cosmology. He still contributes "Obscure Texts" to the series, essentially supplementary items treated as canonical by most of the fanbase (or at least the equivalent of the series' famous in-universe Unreliable Canon). Kirkbride still does some freelance work on the series, and as of Skyrim, some of the concepts in his works have been officially referenced in-game (the idea of "kalpas," Ysgramor and his 500 companions, and some of the motivations of the Thalmor), moving them to Canon Immigrant status.
  • Though 2K owns the license of Evolve, Turtle Rock Studios is the one beloved by the fandom due to their connection to the community and actually being the ones to make the game. This attitude only intensified after 2K revoked TRS's use of the franchise and called the game complete, to which TRS responded by using their last few hours of authority to answer fan questions, wrap up the mysteries in the story, and talk about what they'd had planned.
  • Obsidian Entertainment are seen as this by quite a few Fallout fans, considering the company was primarily made up of former Black Isle employees. Chris Avellone, in particular — even though he wasn't involved until Fallout 2, as the editor and compiler of The Fallout Bible, he's accepted by many to be the true father. A large part of the reason for this is because Fallout is very short and only has a couple of factions. Most of the Fallout universe concepts actually originated in Fallout 2. Fallout 1 set up the general idea for the series, but Fallout 2 took that idea and fleshed it out. Also keep in mind that there is a character in Fallout 1 named after him, so it isn't like he was a new hire for Fallout 2. He just wasn't directly working on Fallout 1 when it was in development.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Hironobu Sakaguchi created the franchise and was director up through Final Fantasy V, as well as a (somewhat distant) producer of the series until he left shortly following the bomb of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within and the Square Enix merger. Following this was the franchise's first direct sequel, Final Fantasy X-2 shortly followed his departure, as well as the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII. Sakaguchi himself disliked creating sequels, insisting that each new Final Fantasy title have its own world and story. Some of the work he did following his departure like Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon are considered Cult Classics that received a fair amount of hype when they became available on the Xbox One.
    • Yoshinori Kitase was more influential in shaping the franchise into what it is known for. He started as the writer of Final Fantasy V (which got rid of many of the Dungeons & Dragons elements and introduced a new form of plot structure that is associated with the series), went on to help write fan favourites Final Fantasy VI and Final Fantasy VII, was the person who decided on the "cinematic" aesthetic that went on to define the PS1 FF entries, and then oversaw the next several games as a director while allowing his former co-writer Kazushige Nojima to handle the writing, before getting Kicked Upstairs to producer around the time of Sakaguchi's departure. Within VII at least, the Compilation entry considered by far the best (Crisis Core) was the one he was directly involved with writing, and this was something he'd done even though it was unusual for him to be writing at all at that point in his career.
  • Bungie Studios created the Halo series, but it was Eric Nylund's Halo: The Fall of Reach that expanded its universe. The retcons that began to come about later, particularly in Halo: Reach, caused a good segment of fans to cry foul over negating parts of the Nylund books' continuity. There's still favoritism towards Bungie's end, though, now that 343 Industries owns the series.
  • There are fans who believe that Shinji Hashimoto, the Squaresoft executive who conceived of the idea of making a game alongside Disney, deserves credit as the Real Daddy of Kingdom Hearts rather than series director Tetsuya Nomura. It also helps that Hashimoto was the series' producer up until Kingdom Hearts II, after which he was promoted to the more distant role of Executive Producer, and all the producers who have come after him have done nothing to curb Nomura's more controversial qualities, to many fans' dismay.
  • Though Roberta Williams created the King's Quest series, fans generally consider the Jane Jensen-penned King's Quest VI to be by far the best one out of all of them. Most KQ fan games either are inspired by it or seek to remake earlier games to more closely match it in tone/artistic quality.
  • While Masahiro Sakurai is the one who created Kirby and directed some of the main games through its run in the 90s (Dream Land, Adventure + its remake, and Super Star), most fans nowadays tend to consider Shinichi Shimomura (the "Dark Matter Trilogy") and Shinya Kumazaki (main director since Super Star Ultra) as having given the series a much more planned direction than Sakurai did.
  • The Legend of Zelda: While Shigeru Miyamoto created the franchise, it was a series of loosely connected games with no real storyline until Eiji Aonuma took over during The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. From then on, the plots became more cohesive and continuity nods became more frequent. The games also started to come out more frequently, with a game a year being released from 2000 to 2007. Of course, given Miyamoto's status amongst gamers, Aonuma has to share the spotlight a bit, but most fans only take his Word of God as canon.
  • Keiji Inafune was often identified as the "father of Mega Man" due to his involvement with the franchise since the original NES game. However, the actual lead designer of the original Mega Man and Mega Man 2 was Akira Kitamura, who left Capcom during the development of Mega Man 3 to form his own company before eventually retiring from the industry in the early 1990's. Since then, Inafune took a loose creative role in almost every Mega Man title until his highly publicized departure from Capcom in 2010.
  • Following the derisive fan reaction to Metroid: Other M, the Metroid fandom became split over whether Yoshio Sakamoto or Retro Studios best deserve the title of series caretaker. Separate from that, there's the issue of who deserves the most credit for the franchise's creation: Sakamoto or Gunpei Yokoi. Whereas the latter conceived the franchise from its origins, the former developed the maze-like gameplay and elements that became a genre onto itself.
  • While Namco is the creator of Pac-Man, some die-hard fans of the series as a whole argue that it was Midway, Namco's American publisher at the time, who truly expanded the universe of the franchise. The initial sequels to Pac-Man developed by Namco themselves were never particularly popular due to suffering They Changed It, Now It Sucks!, but the (mostly) unauthorized sequels developed under Midway's watch were received much better, with Ms. Pac-Man surpassing the original in financial success while the not-as-successful Spin-Offspring games Jr. Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man still left their mark on the franchise. Even though Namco terminated their relationship with Midway due to the unauthorized use of the IP, they eventually incorporated Midway's characters into later Namco games, starting with Pac-Land and most notably with the Pac-Man World series. However, due to a combination of legal issues with the Midway sequels and a desire to move away from them, Bandai Namco eventually phased out the Midway characters first in the Ghostly Adventures reboot, and later in the maze games in favor of a back-to-basics "only Pac-Man" approach, much to the frustration of fans who like the Midway characters.
  • The Pokémon franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri, but there are many fans who consider Junichi Masuda, who served as series director from Gen III to Gen VII, as the Real Daddy of Pokémon, as he further fleshed out the world of the franchise and established many enduring elements of it, with increasingly greater emphasis on story and character. This wasn't helped by the shy and reclusive Tajiri completely disappearing from the public eye after Masuda took over.
  • Puyo Puyo: Either Masamitsu Niitani of Compile or Mizuki Hosoyamada of Sega, depending on which side of the Compile-Sega fracture you sit on. Niitani's role in the creation of the series was relatively minimal, while Hosoyamada didn't play a major role until Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary. Both are more recognized than Kazunari Yonemitsu, the man who actually developed the game.
  • Red Dead Revolver was initially created by Capcom but Rockstar Games bought the franchise fairly far along in the development process. While Revolver did well critically commercially, the franchise didn't really take off until its sequel, Red Dead Redemption, which was developed entirely by Rockstar without any involvement from Capcom. The second game was released to critical acclaim and amazing sales, and is widely considered some of Rockstar's best offerings (if not the best), which is why the third game completely ignored Red Dead Revolver and went by the title Red Dead Redemption 2, which was met with similar (if not greater) critical acclaim.
  • While the first game in the Sega Superstars series was made by Sonic Team, it's only after Sumo Digital started working on the series (particularly with the racing installments) that it gained popularity among fans.
  • The creator of Silent Hill is Keiichiro Toyama, but he left Konami immediately after finishing the first game, and has not worked on the series since. For most fans, the real papa of the franchise is Akira Yamaoka, who composed the music for every game in the series — in addition to producing a number of them — and was the only member of the games' staff to be involved with the movie, as executive producer and co-composer.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Most of the credit for the creation of Sonic the Hedgehog goes to Yuji Naka, who stayed on with the franchise the longest (finally leaving during the development of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)), However, it is actually best divided between him as the programmer of the original game, Naoto Oshima, the true creator and designer of the hedgehog, and Hirokazu Yasuhara, the designer of the first game's stages.
    • While no one will doubt Sonic Team as the creator and shaper of the Sonic series, the success and critical acclaim of Sonic Mania in comparison to the mixed and lukewarm reception of Sonic Forces that same year (and many other Sonic Team-developed installments in prior years), have led many to view Mania developers Christian Whitehead, Headcannon, and Pagoda West Games to be superior caretakers of the franchise compared to the Sonic Team of that time. This actually caused problems when Sonic 1 and 2 were ported to Nintendo Switch by M2 as part of their SEGA AGES series of ports; while M2 has repeatedly been shown to be masters of Polished Ports in their own right, fans complained because these ports didn't have the W-H-P partnership involved and because these ports, while still solid by all accounts, aren't as feature-rich as the trio's smartphone and PC ports of the same.
  • Shin Megami Tensei has master artist Kazuma Kaneko, whose demon designs have been used in every game of the franchise. Famous for treating every god, spirit or demon he draws with respect and care, with plenty of Shout-Outs to their original mythologies.
  • While the very first Street Fighter was planned by "Finish" Hiroshi Matsumoto and "Piston" Takashi Nishiyama, who both left Capcom and to work for SNK in many of their early fighting games (including all of The King of Fighters games until '99), the Street Fighter series didn't really take off until Street Fighter II, which was planned by Akira "Akiman" Yasuda and Akira "Nin Nin" Nishitani (who both previously worked on the original Final Fight). Afterward, Noritaka "Poo" Funamizu served as the planner for the Super and Alpha series, as well as general producer for III. Currently, Yoshinori Ono has been serving as the producer for Street Fighter (and Capcom's fighting games in general) since IV.
  • The Super Robot Wars series was designed by many programming teams until Takanobu Terada took over as the producer of the series in Super Robot Wars 2 G for Game Boy. His name has been associated with it ever since.
  • Richard Garriott rightly gets a lot of credit and respect for creating the Ultima series, but many fans consider the games to have been at their peak when Warren Spector was working alongside Garriott, starting with Ultima VI and encompassing Ultima VII and Ultima VII Part II, the two Worlds of Ultima games, and both Ultima Underworld entries. Plus, Spector has the advantage of not being involved in Ultima VIII or IX, which are widely considered the series' Dork Age.
  • Nintendo employee Koichi Kawamoto created the "Sound Bomber" mode in Mario Artist Polygon Studio that served as the basis for the WarioWare series, and consequently he's sometimes referred to as "the creator of WarioWare" in official interviews, although he's not actually been involved in the series proper beside "Concept" and "Prototype" credits for his work on Polygon Studio. While Hirofumi Matsuoka directed the original game, fans usually see Goro Abe as the true creative lead of the series as he was heavily involved in the development of the original game and directed most of the sequels.

    Web Original 
  • The Slender Man was created on the Something Awful boards for a Photoshop contest, but he didn't really start catching on until the Marble Hornets web series started. Interestingly, the Marble Hornets Slender Man is a fairly distinct character from the original, who was more tied to Fair Folk mythology than film, water and fire.
  • Both "Luminous Big Kito Extrusion Nausea Maggots" and "Skilevaks" started off as cheap dollar store Halloween decorations made by no-name toy companies, but are now well-loved additions to's loosely connected "Noisy Tenant" mythos.
  • SCP Foundation example: Dr. Clef created the Scarlet King, but the entity was nothing more than background for SCP 231. It was Djoric instead who greatly expanded on the lore of the Scarlet King, giving readers most of what they know of the Scarlet King.
  • Some long-time watchers of Extra Credits have been complaining about a dip in quality and relevance of the series' core game design videos since May 2018, which they attribute to Dan Floyd's departure from the show. While James Portnow, who has been writing the episodes for many years, remained at the helm,note  the previous success of the series has been attributed to his and Floyd's creative team-up. It was also Floyd who started the channel back in 2008, with Portnow contributing only occasionally before the channel's 2010 move to The Escapist. Lastly, many old-timers miss Floyd's signature chipmunk voice-over, but that has little to do with actual quality complaints.

    Western Animation 
  • Michael Dante Dimartino and Bryan Konietzko are the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but a sizable Vocal Minority of fans (partly composed of those who disliked the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra) have come to see head writer Aaron Ehasz as the real driving force behind the first show, while Bryke are considered to be amazing at art direction and crafting concepts, but to have little skill as actual writers. This was fueled even more by a series of rumors claiming that Ehasz was constantly arguing with Bryke in the writers room during the original series, with there being several ideas that they rejected (most prominently making Fan-Preferred Couple Zuko and Katara canon). However, these claims were debunked by Ehasz himself, and exactly what in Avatar can be seen as solely his contributions (outside a greater number of female characters) is now much less clear.
  • Cartoon Network:
  • The original version of Walter Lantz character Chilly Willy, created by director Paul J. Smith, was a Palette Swap of Woody. It was Tex Avery who helped flesh out his character and concept along with creating a much more distinctive design.
  • Daria the TV show was headed by Glenn Eichler, though the character was originally created by Mike Judge for Beavis and Butt-Head, The Spin-Off tweaked her character a bit and, over the course of its five seasons, naturally explored her much more than her rare appearances on B&B could. The media even mistakes Eichler for Daria's creator fairly often.
  • Butch Hartman may have created Danny Phantom, but most fans credit the best stories and moments of Character Development to head writer Steve Marmel, who wrote the basic outlines of the first two seasons and contributed scripts to many of its episodes.
  • The DC Animated Universe;
  • Although Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone are the creators of the 2003 Duck Dodgers cartoon, many people think Paul Dini and Tom Minton are the true creative force, and their absence in Season 3 made the decline in quality noticeable.
  • While the bulk of the Felix the Cat franchise up to the TV shorts attributes Felix as a creation of cartoonist Pat Sullivan, almost everybody today recognizes Otto Messmer as the real person behind Felix's creation and success... especially once information came to light that Sullivan had virtually nothing to do with making the Felix cartoons and was barely ever present at his own studio. The credits for The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat go as far as to credit both Otto Messmer and Joe Oriolo as the creators of Felix, but completely leaves out mentioning Pat Sullivan.
  • Hey Arnold!: Most of the kids in the series had multiple actors, but there would be one who fans would consider the actor;
    • Ben Diskin is usually remembered as the Eugene, despite having been the third actor to voice him. He lasted three seasons in the part, and was the only one of the four boys who played him to have continued with voice acting after hitting puberty (and one of the few child actors on the show in general to have done so), thus establishing Eugene as one of the "breakthrough" roles of Diskin's career.
    • Adam Wylie was so memorable as Curly that he was brought back to the role after having been replaced - twice. In fact, of the four actors to voice Curly, two of the others only lasted for one episode each, and the third (Michael Welch) appeared in only two.
    • Arnold himself is a bit unclear; There have been a total of seven Arnolds (counting the pilot, The Jungle Movie and his Time-Shifted Actor in flashbacks) note  but two of them have a pretty good claim to being the Arnold.
      • Lane Toran (then known and credited as Toran Caudell) was the first Arnold on the show proper note  and only lasted one season in the part (though he subbed in for Phillip Van Dyke in the Season 2 Musical Episode "What's Opera, Arnold?" because Van Dyke wasn't a confident singer). Even after his voice broke, he remained with the show for its entirety as the bully Wolfgang, a role created specifically for him. Due to First Installment Wins, he's often remembered as "the" Arnold by the media — in 2015, a widely reported story (with pictures!) noted how "the voice of Arnold" was all grown up. Toran is also frequently invited to fan conventions and panels reminiscing about his time on the show, alongside Francesca Marie Smith; he even appeared on the official Hey Arnold! panel at the 2017 SDCC alongside the current Arnold (Mason Vale Cotton), the only past Arnold to do so. He also returned to provide voice work for The Jungle Movie note  and is, once again, the only past Arnold who made an appearance even though both Phillip Van Dyke and Spencer Klein played the role for longer.
      • Spencer Klein, unlike both Toran and Van Dyke (who later voiced One Shot Characters Sandy and Ludwig), appeared only as Arnold (he was replaced very late into the show's run, so Craig Bartlett didn't have time to recast him as somebody else, as he had done for the other two), and made the most appearances as the Football Head. note  Each of the four voice actors portrayed Arnold slightly differently, but Klein's overtly romantic, serious, sensitive, and somewhat exaggerated goody-goody take on the character is how he is usually depicted in fanfiction.
  • Kim Possible: Though creators Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle get a fair amount of Creator Worship, the show is generally considered to have Growing the Beard when Steve Loter began directing the series, expanding upon Ron's character and making Kim a bit more flawed.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The series as a whole was created by Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising as a competitor to Silly Symphonies, yet it was through the efforts of Friz Freleng and Tex Avery and the amazing voice of Mel Blanc that fleshed it out into a Zany Cartoon series well-known today.
    • Bugs Bunny. While an early version first appeared in "Porky's Hare Hunt" by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton, and his first "official" appearance was in "A Wild Hare" by Tex Avery (who went on to direct a number of vintage Bugs Bunny cartoons before moving to MGM), the directors who fleshed him out most were Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson and perhaps most notably Chuck Jones. To say nothing of the contributions of others at Termite Terrace, like writer Michael Maltese and voice actor Mel Blanc. In "The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Movie", Bugs commented that, "instead of having millions of children, like your ordinary run-of-the-mill rabbit, I have several fathers."
    • Daffy Duck has an even more complicated history and inheritance. He was originally made by Avery, though he himself only directed three appearances of the character. Clampett took to making Daffy a recurring star and foil for Porky Pig, while Freleng and Jones are often credited for creating the contemporary rendition of the character; the jealous egomaniacal Butt-Monkey rival to Bugs Bunny, with many other directors (especially Mckimson) credited for establishing loads of other nuances in-between that still made him feel like one same character.
    • Tweety was created by Bob Clampett. During his first few cartoons, he was pink (presumably featherless), a bit homely looking, and had a bit of a mean-streak about him. He quickly became a hit, but then Clampett left Warner Bros and Friz Freleng had his go with the character in the cartoon "Tweetie Pie" (which was one of Clampett's unfinished shorts), giving him a bright, yellow coat of feathers at a request of the Hayes Office, made him cuter, a little more innocent, as well as his first pairing with Sylvester, who would become his arch nemesis. The end result was another character to Freleng's roster, as well as the first Academy Award for the Warner Bros. animation studio.
    • Speedy Gonzales first appeared in a Robert Mckimson cartoon, though his design and some nuances of his character weren't fully realised yet. Friz Freleng once again cutened the character and paired him against Sylvester, making his contemporary rendition. Downplayed since Mckimson did continue making a large bulk of Speedy cartoons (and was responsible for the majority of his cartoons when Freleng took over as producer in the 60s), though these utilised Freleng's retool of the character.
    • Freleng himself created Porky Pig, however he only directed a sporadic amount of his appearances, later admitting he wasn't that fond of using him. As such it was Clampett and Mckimson's turn to refine one of Freleng's characters, and were largely responsible for defining his neurotic Straight Man role against Daffy Duck. Of course Clampett was still responsible for Porky solely through this trope alone, Freleng objected when he later tried to take credit for making Porky's original model sheet.
    • Henery Hawk was created in 1942 by Chuck Jones, who used him sparingly. It was Robert McKimson, however, who made him into a major character in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons and shaped him into the version known today.
  • For the Marvel cartoons, Steve Blum is Wolverine, Fred Tatasciore is the Hulk, Nolan North is Deadpool, and Josh Keaton is Spider-Man. Unfortunately, Keaton got unceremoniously booted from his role earlier than those other actors did, with multiple VAs replacing him.
  • As something of a stock Disney fact, some consider Ub Iwerks the true creator of Mickey Mouse as he originally drew and animated him. Yet others still attribute the character to Walt Disney, since he did give Mickey his personality. In the words of one Disney employee, "Ub designed Mickey's physical appearance, but Walt gave him his soul."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is an interesting example. This installment of the franchise will always belong to Lauren Faust, who has been ascribed near-godly status by the fandom. While most fans still acknowledge showrunners Meghan McCarthy and Jayson Thiessen, she's still considered number one and the ultimate Word of God despite having no influence following the second season. Faust has frequently tried to invoke God Does Not Own This World, but the fans still regard her as the final word. Even Bonnie Zacherle, the creator of the My Little Pony franchise, gets phased out in comparison to Faust.
  • Popeye: Despite originally starting out as a comic strip character, Max and Dave Fleischer made Popeye into one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, at one point eclipsing even Mickey Mouse. In the original comic strips, Popeye wasn't even introduced until about ten years in; the focus of the first decade was Olive Oyl and her boyfriend at the time, Harold Hamgravy, with Olive's brother Castor and her parents Cole and Nana making frequent appearances. If you've ever heard of any of them (except Olive, of course), it wasn't from the cartoons.
  • Ruby Gloom, including most of her supporting characters, were created by illustrator Martin Hsu. And while his designs were excellent (except for his version of Misery), it was the writers working for Nelvana who turned Gloomsville's residents into well-defined, fleshed-out characters.
  • While Matt Groening and James L. Brooks get the bulk of credit for creating The Simpsons, John Ortved in his book The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History argues that co-developer, producer and writer Sam Simon deserves at least an equal share of the credit for making the series as good as it was. Simon worked on the series for only the first four seasons but for contractual reasons he kept receiving credit and royalties from the show until his death from cancer in March 2015. Fans also credit director and animator David Silverman, who has been involved with The Simpsons since the early Tracey Ullman shorts, for establishing and refining the show's visual identity. Silverman has been responsible for handling some of the show's most unique and challenging scenes, such as Homer's chili-induced hallucinations.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars:
    • Creator and showrunner Dave Filoni is held in high regards for his treatment of Star Wars prequel era characters. While Asajj Ventress may have been created for Star Wars: Clone Wars and made numerous appearance in Star Wars comics, it wasn't until Season 3 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars where she became a compelling and interesting character. The Clone Wars depiction of Anakin Skywalker is seen by most as the best interpretation, given that he is at his most noble, sympathetic, and stable even as the series shows his fall to darkness.
    • For some fans, The Clone Wars was this for everyone and everything that was in the Prequels. Especially Darth Maul, but also including various Jedi, senators, species, and, yes, even Jar Jar Binks.
  • Though Star vs. the Forces of Evil was created by Daron Nefcy and has the same producers for the last three of its four seasons, there are those who credit the best era of the series as being the work of director Giancarlo Volpe (Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Green Lantern: The Animated Series). This is because the series is seen as having greatly improved in both comedy and drama when he joined at the start of Season 2, and his departure following Season 3's "Battle for Mewni" arc to work on The Dragon Prince coincided with the show's growing Broken Base surrounding a continuously divisive latter half.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created the franchise and made the original comic a Cult Classic. However, when the first animated series was being developed, it was writer David Wisenote  who turned the Turtles from grim and gritty crimefighters into the comical, pizza-loving heroes who made the franchise a smash hit. And Mirage staffers like Dan Berger and Steve Murphy (who both wrote many of the most beloved TMNT comics, both in the original gritty Mirage series and the kid-friendly cartoon-based Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures) and Jim Lawson and Ryan Brown (who respectively created the fan-favorite supporting characters the Rat King and Leatherhead) also put their own stamp on the franchise.
    • The 2003 animated series is undeniably this for Karai. Before this, the character was relegated almost exclusively to the Mirage comics, with said comics consistently portraying her as an ally to the Turtles. Post-2003, not only is it standard operating procedure for a new iteration of the franchise to have Karai in it (even the 2014 live-action film and its sequel included the character) but just about every single new iteration is directly based on the 2003 show's depiction of her as working directly under The Shredder (usually as his daughter or granddaughter), with most of them (the aforementioned live-action movies being the exception) being depicted as a conflicted character who varies between an enemy to the Turtles and an ally to them.
  • For Transformers, Peter Cullen is Optimus Prime (if he isn't available than it should fall to Garry Chalk), Corey Burton is Shockwave, and Chris Latta is definitely Starscream (his death prevented him from ever reprising the role, but his iconic voice for the character is mimicked by virtually every voice actor that succeeded him aside from a few minor exceptions). Frank Welker is seen as the Megatron.
  • Woody Woodpecker was conceived by Walter Lantz and Ben Hardaway, and designed by animation director Alex Lovy, yet many regard the cartoons that the trio worked on in the early-mid 1940s to be mediocre at best, and that it was under subsequent directors Shamus Culhane and especially Dick Lundy under whom the series really got good.

    Real Life 
  • While George Washington and the other Founding Fathers played an important role in forging the United States, some tend to point to the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt as being responsible for helping make America what it is today. There's also a strong argument that the real creation of the United States wasn't its independence in 1776 but the adoption of the Constitution in 1789. Of course, some figures like Washington and Franklin were present for both events.
  • Benjamin Franklin was the most famous founding father to never become President, and he's probably more recognizable than the actual early President John Adams. George Washington was easily the choice for first President, and by the time his administration was over, Franklin was dead.
  • The United States Marine Corps was established in July 1798. However, most Marines trace the origins of their service to the Continental Marines, established in November 1775.
    • The United States Air Force effectively does the opposite, placing its birth on September 18, 1947, when the Air Force was formally separated from the US Army, while also laying claim to the accomplishments made by its various predecessor services, including the US Army Air Forces, and ranging all the way back to the Aeronautical Division, US Army Signal Corps, on August 1, 1907.
    • Meanwhile, nobody is really sure just when the United States Navy was founded, due to fleets being put together at various places and times during the American Revolution before being taken apart by the Royal Navy. The Navy officially celebrates its founding date as October 13, 1775 (the date of the establishment of the Continental Navy), but the organization as we know it today was effectively established by the Naval Act of 1794, which essentially recreated an American navy from scratch nearly a decade after the last Continental Navy ship left service.


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