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My Real Daddy

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Without Bob Kane, Batman would not exist.
Without Bill Finger, Batman would not exist as we know him.
Image by Paul Roman Martinez. Used with permission.
"Is Rob Liefeld really the one who created Deadpool if everything about the character that people like was done by others?"

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, Remade and Improved 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 with Family of Choice, where the characters decide who they feel their real parents are.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & 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 Freeza 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 protagonist 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.
    • The Broly movie has an ironic example of this in the series creator Toriyama himself, with his version of the character for the movie being much better received than the Base-Breaking Character that was the original Broly as created by Koyama.
  • Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor became Tow Ubukata's brainchild after episode 11. Prior to this the series was a somewhat forgettable and generic, if decent, mecha-vs-aliens story. The second half (under Ubukata) did a complete 180, turning it into a well regarded Cult Classic that's often considered to be among the very best examples of Grimdark mecha by those who watched it. The Ubukata run eventually helped the series get continuations in the form of a movie and not one, but two new TV anime a full decade after the original. Not bad for what was supposed to be a one off.
  • 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.
  • 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 initial 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:
    • Takeshi Shudō defined the Pokémon: The Original Series elements and he's still highly respected by a section of the fanbase to this day. His writing style for the series is defined by a deeper level of world building and a more realistic approach to the world of Pokemon. His contributions include the following:
      • The first two episodes depicts the life of a trainer with a realism that is seldom repeated with the other writers. When Ash starts off on his journey, nothing seems to go according to plan while having to deal with a disobedient Pikachu and nearly gets himself killed. His allies, while do provide support, questions his ability as a trainer considering his track record. It is also significant for teasing the existence of Ho-oh before the release of 'Gold and Silver'.
      • 'The School of Hard Knocks' explores idea of rigid conformity of education versus the flexibility of experience.
      • 'Island of the Giant Pokémon', is the first episode where we see how the Pokemon get by without their Trainers and visa versa. 'The Ghost of Maiden's Peak', is about a talking Ghastly disguises as a the maiden and haunts a lovestruck Brock. While they are filler episodes that do not advance the series' plot, are memorable in its own right for taking risks on the lore of Pokemon and 'What-if' situations.
      • 'Go West Young Meowth' provides Meowth's tragic backstory as well as his ability to walk and talk.
      • 'Charizard's Burning Ambitions' highlights his Charizard's ego is stunting his growth and realizes that he could always become stronger.
      • Applying to the other episodes written by Takeshi Shudo, Team Rocket is portrayed with more complexity as opposed than the formulaic comic relief they have become later on.
    • 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. 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. 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.
  • 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 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.

  • 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, withThe 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 James Luceno or Kevin J. Anderson in this trope.
    • Kevin J. Anderson had Luke Skywalker formally restart the Jedi Order and introduced a number of recurring Jedi including Kyp Durron and Tionne. He also was the first to really flesh out the history of the Jedi and Sith in the Tales of the Jedi series with Tom Veitch. He alsodeserves credit for establishing Jaina and Jacen Solo as teenagers in Young Jedi Knights.
    • Michael A. Stackpole was the writer who really codified Rogue Squadron as a group after The Thrawn Trilogy with his work on the novels and comics really fleshing out Wedge Antilles and his teammates.
    • 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 retcons 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.
    • Matt Stover's Revenge of the Sith novelization is often considered superior to the divisive film. Many fans believe Stover understood the characters better than George Lucas did and fixed many of the plot holes present in the movie. The Purple Prose and effective use of Motifs don't hurt Stover's reputation either.
  • 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.
  • A more exaggerated example occurred with The Shadow. The character himself actually originated from the radio show Detective Story Hour, which was a radio adaptation of the publisher Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine. His creators in this context are attributed toward the trio of David Chrisman (the advertising agent from the Ruthrauff & Ryan ad firm who sponsored the show), William Sweets (the show's writer-director), and Harry Engman Charlot (the scriptwriter who created the name "The Shadow"). These three came up with the general idea of the Shadow as a creepily-voiced storyteller with an Evil Laugh. However, their creation of the character is almost entirely overwhelmed by writer Walter B. Gibson, who went on to write The Shadow pulp magazine and who fleshed out the character in far more detail than Detective Story Hour ever did (i.e. adding the Shadow's persona of Lamont Cranston, his use of field agents, his mastery of disguise). The sheer amount of detail Gibson added completely overwhelmed the one-note character Chrisman, Sweets and Charlot had made note , and thus Gibson is widely considered the true creator by fans and historians alike.

  • 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 member 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 
  • Call of Cthulhu:
    • While H. P. Lovecraft and his circle of writers laid the groundwork, Sandy Petersen put a great deal of effort into developing a cohesive narrative and lore for the TTRPG, such as introducing the term "Outer Gods" to describe the more cosmic entities like Nyarlathotep and Yog-Sothoth; and many casual fans assume that narrative elements created for the TTRPG were part of the Cthulhu Mythos all along.
    • Sandy Petersen has claimed sole creatorship of the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath, which other sources like Daniel Harms' The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia attribute to Robert Bloch due to them being based on the "shoggoths" from his 1951 short story "Notebook Found In a Deserted House".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Black Library author Graham McNeill 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 an OP 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.

    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: 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.

    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.
  • German statehood in the current form dates basically to 1871 (or 1866 if you take the North German Confederation) yet even the political right in Germany rarely invokes Otto von Bismarck instead elevating to nigh mythical levels the "fathers (and four mothers) of the Basic Law" - despite that including two communists. Interestingly that mythologization was already going on when some of them were still alive. note 
  • Although McDonald's was initially co-founded by Richard and Maurice McDonald, it was Ray Kroc, who had purchased the rights from the brothers in 1961, that had made the chain into the famous international fast food chain it is now, on top of founding many of the philosophies and ideals that would continue to define the chain to this day. Ray Kroc's impact and influence on the chain was so great that the current McDonalds corporation credits Ray Kroc as its creator as opposed to the McDonald brothers, who have become a footnote in the company's history. The film The Founder, which portrays Kroc in a generally very negative light, is titled in reference to this.
  • While Fusajiro Yamauchi was the founder of Nintendo back in 1889, it is universally agreed by the fandom that it was his great grandson and Nintendo's third CEO — Hiroshi Yamauchi — who truly made Nintendo what it is now, as he transformed the company from a humble Japanese playing-card company to the widely beloved and globally popular video game conglomerate they are today.
  • China was initially unified under imperial rule by the Qin Dynasty, which originated the title of "emperor" as the sovereign ruler of the nation. However, due to the First Emperor's highly militaristic, authoritarian rule, the dynasty was very short lived and its one ruler of note would be remembered as a tyrant. The second imperial dynasty, the Han, would not only last much longer, but have a long-lasting effect on Chinese culture from that point forward, to the point that China's dominant ethnic group still refers to themselves as "Han Chinese".