Follow TV Tropes

Following

Spiritual Antithesis

Go To

"I came home from these regular monthly drinks that we have in London and grabbed one of the nice hardback comics next to the bed—and in this case it was [Frank Miller's] 300. I picked it up, flipped through it, really not very much paying any attention to it. And one of the speeches about 'The only free men the world has ever known,' and literally had a moment of incandescent rage and shouted at the book, ‘You hunted slaves!’ And at that second the entire plot of Three downloaded, including the twist, the structure, everything."

The Spiritual Successor's Evil Twin,note  the Spiritual Antithesis is referencing an earlier work by using similar characters and themes, but going in a completely different direction. Often set at the opposite end of Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. May serve as a Deconstruction (or Reconstruction if the original work was a deconstruction itself) or Stealth Parody of the original work.

It can best be described as the concept of foils applied to works instead of characters. Often seen as a Take That! against the original work (though it may simply be meant as commentary or as a What If? scenario, and is occasionally even made by the same people), and closely related to Satire. May involve Whole Plot Reference. Sometimes is actually a sequel to the original work, in which it usually serves as an Internal Deconstruction. The Moral Substitute is a related trope, where the work is meant to be the antithesis of what its creators see as moral failings within another work or genre.

Of course, nothing prevents a work from being the Spiritual Antithesis of one work and the Spiritual Successor of another at the same time, which may often result in said work being X Meets Y or This Is Your Premise on Drugs.

Genres that play this role to each other:


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore has done this to himself.
    • Someone described the Alan Moore version of Miracleman as "Superman told as a horror story". Or, perhaps more accurately, the original Marvelman done as a horror story. Moore himself said that all he did in Miracleman and the thematically similar (albeit more realistic) Watchmen was do a serious version of Harvey Kurtzman's famous satire Superduperman for MAD. Where Kurtzman parodied the superhero tropes for laughs, Moore played it for dramatic value.
    • His run on Supreme is the opposite to his Marvelman — in both cases Moore takes the character of a Flying Brick based on Superman, who was also the epitome of the age during which he was created, with all its flaws, and molds him into the complete opposite, while making him more complex and interesting than he was before. The difference lies in tone - while Moore turns Marvelman towards Darker and Edgier waters, while breaking apart many traditional tropes of the Silver Age, Supreme under his guidance took path towards Lighter and Softer territory and paid tribute to the same tropes Marvelman tore apart.
    • His Lovecraft Trilogy, The Courtyard, Neonomicon and Providence, is a homage but also an antithesis to Lovecraft. Moore generally brings the sexual subtext of Lovecraft's original stories out into the open, places more emphasis on the dubious racism of the original stories and largely shows a more sympathetic portrayal of the occult than Lovecraft allowed.
  • Animal Man has Deadpool. Both were obscure characters that got daddies that retooled them to very powerful street heroes trying to be recognized by bigger teams and Breaking the Fourth Wall, but other than that they take completely different directions. Animal Man is a Nice Guy family man and animal rights activist with very few close friends in the superhero community, while Deadpool is a lonely Jerk with a Heart of Gold mercenary with many Vitriolic Best Buds in the superhero community. Animal Man is a vegetarian, while Deadpool is practically a carnivore. Animal Man barely uses his very minimal Healing Factor, while Deadpool gets by with his extremely rapid healing factor. Animal Man is a product of The Silver Age of Comic Books whose most famous run went on to harshly criticize The Dark Age of Comic Books, While Deadpool is a product of The Dark Age that went on to lightly criticize the worst aspects of The Modern Age of Comic Books. Animal Man played breaking the fourth wall very seriously and would always forget when he did because he can't truly see it, while Deadpool plays breaking the fourth wall for comedy and always has that ability. After Grant Morrison's run, Animal Man went on to more horror, sci-fi and mysticism based stories, while Deadpool still stayed in comedy-based mercenary stories. Animal Man isn't in many big stories while Deadpool has Wolverine Publicity.
  • Deliberately done with the two bearers of the Captain Britain title, who made completely different choices when given the choice between the Amulet of Right and the Sword of Might. Brian Braddock is a man who chose the amulet as he felt he was a scholar not a warrior, while Kelsey Leigh is a woman who chose the sword because she believed that she needed to be a warrior to defend her friends and family.
  • The 2015 Contest of Champions is this to Avengers Arena. They are both based on the "Battle Royale with superheroes" premise, Anyone Can Die rule, and both cash on what is popular at the time (Arena on the popularity of Hunger Games movies and Contest on the success of the video game of the same name). However, when Arena was Darker and Edgier, treated its characters as C-List Fodder (the writer was outright surprised anyone cared about them at all when he received complaints about this) and gleefully kills fan-favorites for shock value and to push one of his Original Generation characters, largely seen as a bunch of Creator's Pets, Contest is Crazy Awesome with only one new character, bringing up obscure characters to cherish them, had actually resurrected several dead ones, and most of those killed were Expendable Alternate Universe versions of popular characters. Both series set up as the Big Bad a quirky classic villain who manages to pull it off with the help of new dragons. Only in Arena that's Arcade, who openly abandons his quirky shticks to go on trying too hard to prove he is a real threat and his dragon is a new character, who provides him with powerful tech and disappears from the story, while in Contest it's Collector and Grandmaster, who are so powerful their quirks are the only advantage against them and need to prove nothing and their respective dragons are established characters (Maestro and Punisher 2099), whom they use to rein kidnapped heroes in and who form an alliance to turn against them. Arena follows theBattle Royale formula to the letter, whenever it makes sense or not and openly ignores continuity, past characterization and any questions why nobody is looking for kidnapped heroes (in fact they had to bring a different writer to answer that one), while Contest comes in with a strong explanation of how the whole thing can be set up without anyone finding out ( which actually fails as people do find out, something that never happened in Arena) and never goes further than basic premise in similarities with Battle Royale, instead establishing its own rules and ditching the premise entirely after the first 6 issues.
  • For Geoff Johns Doomsday Clock is this for his earlier work, Infinite Crisis. Crisis was a huge, action-packed Crisis Crossover where DC heroes must fight an immensely powerful character formerly Exiled from Continuity, who is mad how Darker and Edgier DC Universe has become and wants to force it back to how it once was. Once it ended it forced all books to do a one year Time Skip. Clock is a self-contained, focusing more on mystery than action miniseries about threat of an immensly powerful Canon Immigrant who tries to force DC Universe to become Darker and Edgier and something new. It's set a year ahead of the rest of DC books, meaning once it ends other books will catch up to it without interrupting any storylines.
  • Kieron Gillen seems to be driven to do this:
    • Three was consciously tailor-made to be this for Frank Miller's 300. 300 has heroic Spartans fighting for freedom against the irredeemable, evil Persian Empire and played with the actual history. Three has less clear conflict with Spartans as the slave-hunting antagonists from which the titular three slaves are running away, and Gillen recruited an academic Classical history consultant to keep the setting and story accurate. Of note is that Gillen initially intended to make just as much an over the top, black and white take as Miller with the Spartans as the bad guys, but then found the real facts far more interesting to portray than either.
    • Another ongoing title by him is Über, which is a very grim and violent deconstruction of comics which use the idea of World War II being fought with superheroes and mad science as an excuse for lighthearted Rule of Cool high-jinks. What happens when you give superpowers to a gang of genocidal imperialists? Bloodshed and destruction escalating to almost pantomine levels is what. It also throws the idea of something like Heroic Spirit being a real match against Power Levels out the window. It doesn't matter how brave you are, if you can't throw around tanks like your opponent, you will be splattered over a mile-wide area.
    • He also intends The Wicked + The Divine, to be this for his own series, Phonogram. As he explains, Phonogram is about how the art inspires, changes and destroys the consumers, while The Wicked And The Divine is about what choices creators of the art make and how it changes and destroys them.
    • And of course there is his run on Journey into Mystery which is a whimsical, light-hearted series about Loki, god of mischief, imagination and stories, who refuses to accept that Status Quo Is God and desperately tries to change only to ultimately fail and kill the only chance to truly change he ever had. Contrast with Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, which is a moody, semi-gothic series about Morpheus, god of dreams, imagination and stories, who refuses to accept that everything changes and desperately tries to stay the same only to ultimately fail and undergo change by being reborn in a new body.
  • Rob Liefeld's Heroes Reborn was a Darker and Edgier revamp of the Avengers that epitomized the Dark Age of Comics. It was immediately followed by Kurt Busiek's epic run on the Avengers, which was a Lighter and Softer reconstruction of superheroes that helped bring an end to the Dark Age.
  • Grant Morrison's The Multiversity and Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers. Both involve heroes from numerous alternate realities facing a major threat to all of their worlds. The latter is a Darker and Edgier deconstruction that sees the heroes of the various worlds coming into conflict over who will live and making morally dodgy choices for the greater good. The former is a Lighter and Softer reconstruction in which the heroes unite together to battle the threat and do so without sacrificing the values, morals, and hope that superheroes represent.
    • Mark Waid's All-New, All-Different Avengers in turn is this for Jonathan Hickman's Avengers and New Avengers — the latter two featured an epic, dark plot of the bigger, more powerful than ever team of Avengers and recreated Illuminati trying to stop the destruction fo The Multiverse, making hard, morally ambiguous choices along the way and finally fighting over their decisions. Waid follows that with a much Lighter and Softer series where the Avengers are broke, forced to go back to basics, taking a young generation of heroes as their students and going back to simply punching villains in the face.
    • Similarly Al Ewing's New Avengers series is this to Hickman's. Hickman had the cast of Marvel's iconic characters tangled in a dark storyline which was downplaying the fantastic aspects of the events and trying to ground them more into hard science-fiction narrative. Ewing has a cast of C-Listers in straight-up heroic adventures and his book is not afraid of embracing how silly superhero stories can be.
  • Jack Kirby's New Gods is one for his run on The Mighty Thor. While they both are a Space Opera that has powerful gods living among humans and fighting epic cosmic battles. But Thor is based on Norse Mythology and contains more tropes you might find in Fantasy genre and presents a rather clear conflict between good and evil with epic battles, New Gods take most inspirations from works of Erich von Däniken, steers more towards Science Fiction, presents a conflict of Order vs. Chaos with Lawful Evil Big Bad who, while mighty, preffers to work in more insidious ways and the story questions whether he can be beaten without his enemy becoming as bad as him.
  • Grant Morrison's New X-Men is a deconstruction of the X-Men franchise that deliberately moved it into general sci-fi, involving the X-Men dealing with small-scale, mutant based crimes and conflicts. Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men (Whedon), which came shortly after Morrison's, is a reconstruction that returns the characters to their superhero roots, involving the X-Men battling supervillains and working to prevent a cosmic threat from devastating Earth.
  • The Order was a Lighter and Softer Spiritual Antithesis to two earlier works at once. Like the Milligan/Allred version of X-Force, it featured superheroes who were also C-list celebrities, but unlike X-Force the characters were genuinely altruistic and idealistic instead of being self-serving and cynical. Also, it followed Strikeforce: Morituri in featuring "normals" who were given artificial superpowers on a strictly time-limited basis, but unlike Strikeforce: Morituri the results weren't lethal when the time ran out.
  • Brian K. Vaughan's Runaways had Allan Heinburg's Young Avengers. In the '00s (2003 and 2005 respectively) the two of them were Marvel's primary teenage super teams introduced as an effort to appeal to young adult readers and capture the market DC had with the Teen Titans. They were highly successful on that front, having been acclaimed and award winning comics that succeeded at that goal. While both teams consist of young heroes that combines Fantasy Kitchen Sink origins in one setting, they also greatly contrast each other in how they were executed. The Runaways were not a traditional superhero team, as they don't have costumes or codenames, and they openly mock superhero tropes commonly associated with the genre. They also always had more female members than male, as another inversion of the norm. In contrast, the Young Avengers were very much a traditional superhero team that was more in line with the Teen Titans, complete with costumes, codenames, and they embrace superhero traditions. Fittingly, they always had more male members than female, adhering to Two Girls to a Team. Going further, the Runaways each had evil parents that led to them becoming heroes by force, while the Young Avengers all took heroic legacies. Lastly, the Runaways (being the non-traditional team) weren't really active as part of the superhero community, and the Young Avengers (being the traditional one) were very much at the core of it all.
  • Gene Luen Yang's The Shadow Hero is a Spiritual Antithesis to his previous work, Boxers & Saints. The Shadow Hero is about a young man who gets possessed by an ancient Chinese national spirit and becomes a superhero, whereas Boxers was about a young man who gets possessed by an ancient Chinese national spirit and ends up getting utterly morally corrupted and becoming a mass murdering terrorist.
  • Star Wars Legacy is this to Knights Of The Old Republic II. Whereas KOTRII is an unrelenting and ruthless deconstruction that simply tears apart and criticizes the Star Wars universe, Legacy deconstructs the setting only to than examine the positive aspects of it (as opposed to bringing strong focus on the negative) and puts it back together.
  • Superman, of course, had his share of these over the years in various shapes and forms, some more obvious than the others.
    • One of the oldest is probably Sub-Mariner — their respective first appearances mark the beginning of what would become DC Comics and Marvel Comics and they both were a clear metaphor for young immigrants unhappy with the current state of things. But when Superman was a tale of a hero fighting for the little man but embracing and loving America, Namor was a destructive rebel crushing anyone or anything standing in his path, shunning the idea of assimilation with the surface world.
    • Superman and the Fantastic Four are polar opposites in almost every way. Superman is traditionally portrayed as a borderline-demigod with a vast array of powerful abilities, but he has to cope with the inherent heartbreak of being the last member of a dying alien race; as such, he typically fights alone when he's not with the Justice League, and he lost most of his family when he was too young to remember them. He's also famous for keeping his secret identity so well-hidden that not even his love interest and his nemesis know who he really is. In contrast, the Fantastic Four have worked as a group since the beginning, they each have one specific superpower, they're a lovably dysfunctional family in addition to a superhero team, and they don't have secret identities at all; in fact, they're all world-renowned celebrities. Interestingly, their origin stories are also mirror images of one another: Superman's story begins with him crashing to Earth in a rocket ship and getting superpowers from Earth's sun, while the Four's story begins with them flying into space in a rocket ship and getting superpowers from cosmic radiation.
    • Superman and Spider-Man are both iconic urban superheroes known for their distinctive red and blue costumes, and for wearing glasses and working at newspapers in their civilian identities; both of them also have evil corporate CEOs as their archenemies. But Superman is known for his raw strength and his brawny physique, and he's often thematically associated with the heavens due to his flight powers and alien heritage. Spider-Man, on the other hand, is known for his agility and his wiry physique, and most depictions emphasize his closeness to the Earth due to his humble background and insect motif. The Daily Planet is also traditionally portrayed sympathetically, with its reporters being crusading idealists driven to protect the truth, while the Daily Bugle is cast in a more morally ambiguous light, with J. Jonah Jameson's editorials ruining Spidey's reputation. Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor is also typically portrayed as a humanist scientific genius who can hold his own against superheroes with nothing but wits and gadgetry; by contrast, Spider-Man's nemesis Norman Osborn is usually portrayed as just a shrewd businessman who attempts to use science to transcend his human limitations, and ends up adopting a monstrous alter ego cloaked in supernatural trappings.
      • Superman Reborn to One More Day. Both mark the end of an era for their upstanding hero, but in vastly different ways. One More Day is a story about losing a marriage and a child, and is relatively simple in its execution of dealing with a supernatural being to accomplish this. Superman Reborn is about keeping a marriage and a child, and is pretty convoluted in its explanations with still a few questions left over after defeating a supernatural being to accomplish this.
  • One can also make the argument that Spider-Man is this to Batman. Both are orphaned, urban-based Animal Themed superheroes who have a Rogues Gallery of gimmick-based villains, chief among them being Ax-Crazy, Laughing Mad villains who wear green and purple (The Joker for Bats, Green Goblin for Spidey). They both also have been romantically involved with a female villain who emphasizes the cat part of cat burglar, Catwoman for Batman and Black Cat for Spider-Man. However, Batman lacks any real superpowers, instead training his body and mind to their peek and bolstering that with gadgetry, preparations, and ingenuity, while Spider-Man has superhuman abilities granted from a radioactive spider bite, primarily using one highly reliable gadget. Both heroes have the loss of a loved one at the hands of a criminal motivating their actions, but while Batman lost his parents when he was a child, which is what drove him to become a crime-fighter, Spider-Man lost his Uncle Ben when he was just using his powers to make money, and is something he inadvertently enabled, which drove him to use his powers to help people. In addition, Batman's civilian identity is Bruce Wayne, a billionaire businessman, while Spider-Man's identity as Peter Parker is commonly depicted as struggling to make ends meet. Furthermore, Batman's default disposition towards his exploits is being The Stoic Terror Hero, while Spider-Man copes with his adventures by making wry jokes at his enemies. Whereas Batman dresses primarily in grey, black, and dark blue, Spider-Man's costume is red and blue. Furthermore, Batman frequently adopts KidSidekicks such as Robin and Batgirl, while Spider-Man started out as a teenager himself, in large part to prove that teen superheroes can work. Finally, Batman operates in Gotham City, a fictional city which has sometimes been interpreted as a stand-in for New York City, while Spider-Man is explicitly centered in the Big Applesauce.
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool is a very direct antithesis to The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Both are comedic Marvel titles about a young female superhero, with a writer who rose to success with humorous webcomics and "cartoony" artwork. However, Gwenpool is a very dark comedy with an (initially) incompetent, overconfident, and self-serving protagonist who kills people at the drop of the hat, while Squirrel Girl is an optimistic neo-Silver Age work with a totally moral protagonist who always wins and never kills her enemies. They're even physical opposites, with Doreen being a chubby and proudly curvy girl whose costumes cover her from head to foot, while Gwen is (usually) drawn as a skinny, undeveloped teen who wears a costume that, with a different art style, could be very revealing and sexual.
  • Warren Ellis in the afterword of Black Summer contrasted it with Civil War, saying that Mark Millar's event shows watered down version of superheroes coming in conflict with the government, while he wanted to show in Black Summer what he thinks would really happen.
    • Ellis must love this trope — when Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross created Marvels, a deconstructing but still idealistic portrayal of Marvel Universe, Ellis wrote Ruins — a depressing Alternate Universe where everything that could go wrong did, worse than you can imagine — that is generally seen as Marvels' Evil Twin. When Busiek made a sequel to Marvels, Ellis responded with Ghost Boxes — a compilation of alternate Universes where the X-Men failed to stop the threat from his Astonishing X-Men series, each more depressing than the previous one.
    • He once pulled it on himself as well. His original proposal for Planetary contrasts it with his run on Stormwatch — the latter was a depressing story of a secret super-team doing what they can to stop superpowered threats and the former, while still having its grim moments, is about a secret super-team discovering unknown wonders of the world. It's saying something the same proposal said the big theme in Planetary is Elijah Snow, his Author Avatar, rediscovering the beauty of the world.
    • Ellis may have planned to turn it around, since the series was Left Hanging, but Doktor Sleepless took a central character who was a hybrid of Elijah Snow and Spider Jerusalem and revealed him as a Villain Protagonist who was an Omnicidal Maniac.
    • Switchblade Honey is this to Star Trek — it shows a future where the exploration of space is handled by a bunch of insane egomaniacs, which leads to a war with a much more powerful enemy, which humanity is losing. Heroic idealists, who would become great heroes of Starfleet in Star Trek, here end up in prison for opposing the corrupted system.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas can be considered one to How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Both feature the Villain Protagonist dressing up as Santa Claus before realizing how wrong their actions were. But whereas the Grinch dressed up as Santa in order to steal gifts from the Whos, Jack did it because he wanted to spice up his life and add a new spin to the holiday. The Grinch's malevolent intentions end up not really harming anyone, while Jack's benevolent intentions end up causing mass mayhem.
  • Both Pixar and the Disney Animated Canon have contrasting takes on the Superhero genre: The Incredibles and Big Hero 6: The Incredibles stars a Caucasian, Badass Nuclear Family (and a Black Best Friend) with innate superpowers facing a tech-based villain, his gun-wielding mooks and his robot. Their setting is retro fifties-flavored suburbia, and while they don't deliberately kill the villains, if they die while attacking the heroes no one's upset. Big Hero 6, on the other hand, features a Five-Token Band of friends united by an orphan as science heroes with their powers derived from technology and individual expertise -— with a robot among their ranks -— while the villain is definitely a solo act equipped with a swarm of Nanomachines. Their setting is neon, skyscrapers and advanced cybernetics, If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him is in play, and high technology is central to all elements of the plot.
  • Inside Out could be considered this to Poison Berry in My Brain. Aside from the Western/Eastern cultural differences, whereas the outside protagonist for Inside Out is a 11-year-old girl in elementary school, the outside protagonist for Poison Berry is a freelance 30-year-old woman. The way the insides of their heads work may be similar, but are still remarkably different; while the controllers in Riley's zany-landscape head are made out of surreal shapes to represent well-known emotions, the board members in Ichiko's more sophisticated castle-landscape head are humans of different ages to represent the more psychological aspects of human outlooks and actions. Both Riley and Ichiko lose their senses of positivity near the end, but regain them through different manners: Riley aborts her running away mission and returns home to her genuinely loving and caring family, whereas Ichiko breaks up with and abandons the jealous Saotome in order to maintain her self-love.
  • The Book of Life and Coco are both films set in Mexico about young men, conveniently with names that start with an "M", who aspire to become musicians and travel into the world of the dead. But that's where the similarities ends. The first is about a Love Triangle, the second is about learning the mystery behind a family secret. In the former, Manolo is an aspiring musician who is forbidden to follow his dream because his father wants him to be a bullfighter like his ancestors. In the latter, Miguel is an aspiring musician who is forbidden to follow his dream because his great-great-grandfather supposedly abandoned the family to become a musician (It turns out that while Hector did try a musical career, he decided to return but was murdered before he could do so, and his wife and daughter never found this out), so his shoe-making family banned music from their household so no other Rivera would go through that heartbreak. Manolo willfully allows himself to die by snake poison when he believed the woman he loved died; Miguel steals the guitar of the man he thinks is said ancestor and is cursed by being sent into the Land of the Dead. Manolo gains aid from his ancestors as he seeks to earn his life back from deities when he realizes he was tricked; Miguel avoids his ancestors as he wants to earn the blessing of his musician relative so that he can follow his dream. The primary villain of The Book of Life is Xibalba, a Dark Is Evil deity who interfered with Manolo's life so that the woman Manolo loved would marry another to win a bet, though he gets a Heel–Face Turn. The primary villain in Coco is Ernesto De La Cruz, a Light Is Not Good singer who Miguel believes is his ancestor but is really the man who murdered him to achieve fame and is so obsessed with his fame and ego that he doesn't reform. Manolo proves his musical worth by playing a song to earn forgiveness from the spirits of the bulls his family killed; Miguel does so by playing the real version of "Remember Me" to his great-grandmother Coco, proving her father didn't abandon their family and lifting the ban. While both movies deal with themes of Be Yourself and the importance of family, The Book of Life leans more to the former while Coco leans to the latter.

    Music 
  • Pretty common with a New Sound Album. For instance, U2 described Achtung Baby as "Chopping down The Joshua Tree" — instead of straight rock with political and social themes, rock with electronica and dance scoring introspective lyrics.
  • Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz to Come are frequently considered this. Both albums came out in 1959, when the jazz world was overrun with complex Bebop compositions, and both set out to do something different. The similarities end there, though; Kind of Blue is ambient, harmonically complex, and rhythmically laid-back. The Shape of Jazz to Come, on the other hand, is chaotic, aggressive, mostly does away with traditional harmony and rhythms, and focuses on collective improvisation rather than individual solos.
  • John Frusciante said that his album The Will To Death was essentially the opposite of his previous one, Shadows Collide With People. Whereas Shadows had much time put into it's recording (a response to critics saying his previous solo efforts sounded unprofessional), and layered, lush harmonies, The Will To Death had songs recorded in as few takes as possible, and minimal backing vocals.
  • Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" and Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie". Both are hit singles from 2012-13 about clothing and style, but while "Suit & Tie" talks about how the elegant and classy look of an expensive suit and tie is all Timberlake needs to impress, "Thrift Shop" talks about how we spent way too much on clothes and how one's self-confidence can make even ugly clothes from the thrift shop look cool.
  • In a way, Weezer's second Self-Titled Album (more commonly known as the Green Album) was this to their sophomore album, Pinkerton. Whereas Pinkerton was very dark and personal, and possibly their most complex album musically, Green was light, simple, poppy, and safe. Very few of the songs were personal, and the whole album carried an extremely happy vibe to it.
  • Grunge was this to Hair Metal, especially once it got big in the early '90s. Hair metal was big, boisterous, and fun-loving, associated with the glamorous and decadent Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, and its musicians wore flamboyant outfits, played face-melting guitar solos, and sang about how awesome it was to be a rock star. Grunge, by contrast, was angsty, moody, stripped-down, and born in the rainy Rust Belt dump that was late '80s Seattle (at the time, the city hadn't yet completed its transition from Boeing to Microsoft), with its musicians playing Three Chords and the Truth while wearing street/work clothes (flannel shirts came to be the stereotypical "grunge look") as a reaction to the self-indulgence of the late '80s metal scene. The differences were most pronounced when they sang about drugs and alcohol; hair metal was all about the good times that came from the Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll lifestyle, while in grunge, it was something that at best took the pain away and at worst destroyed the people who followed it. Hair metal fans saw grunge as music for dour killjoys and felt that its rise had destroyed rock music, while grunge fans saw hair metal as music for mindless hedonists that rock had to be saved from.
  • And in turn, Post-Grunge was this to the original grunge. While it used a superficially similar music structure, it tended to be less experimental, more polished, and overall Lighter and Softer both lyrically and musically, allowing it to pick up fans who had grown disillusioned with the Darker and Edgier subject matter of grunge after Kurt Cobain's suicide but still liked the sound of the music.
  • Predating grunge is the example of Punk Rock, which formed out of growing backlash among amateur musicians and music critics towards the increasingly dominant culture of celebrity and musical complexity in mainstream rock and especially Progressive Rock. Whereas prog revolved around lengthy, elaborate compositions that took influence from the likes of jazz and classical music to break traditional boundaries and explore what rock was capable of, punk rock could best be described as "burn it down and start over," featuring terse, simplistic melodies and instrumentals without prog's high level of regard for professionalism. The primary mindset of the two genres were vastly different as well, with every prog band not named Pink Floyd being based more around idealistic philosophy, introspection, and metaphysics and punk basing itself on abrasively cynical social commentary & counterculture and a general "fuck you" attitude. It should be noted though that the perceived rivalry between the two genres was never anywhere near as harsh back in the day as most modern examinations of punk would have you believe, with some prog artists even embracing one of punk's offshoot genres when prog fell from mainstream popularity.
  • And for a double-whammy, we have Post-Punk and New Wave Music in relation not only to each other, but also their parent genre, punk. Both genres mainly emerged out of fatigue towards the rapidly-increasing cookie-cutter nature of punk rock (an inevitability given the genre's emphasis on simplicity) in favor of attempting to warm back up to the exact kinds of rock that punk rejected (though not to the same degree that fueled its emergence in the first place). However, while post-punk was based more in musical innovation with a noticeably dark aesthetic, new wave gradually moved further into the style of popular rock with a much Lighter and Softer aesthetic than its sister genre. Moreover, post-punk more or less fizzled out in the first half of the 1980's with the emergence of gothic rock and synthpop, while synthpop itself emerged as a direct evolution from the increasingly synth-driven nature of new wave, to the point where synthpop songs frequently tend to be mislabeled under their own parent genre. Additionally, while post-punk was an almost-entirely British-dominated movement (with groups like Talking Heads and Devo being rare exceptions), new wave encompassed artists on both sides of the Atlantic.
    • Even within post-punk itself, you have two of its biggest pioneers: Talking Heads and Joy Division, who each represented different mainstay facets of the post-punk movement in a manner that would come off as flanderization had they been formed much later. Both Talking Heads and Joy Division did indeed share some similar traits (a frontman known for his Marionette Motion dance style, a clean-cut image that differentiated them from their punk peers, and an initial start as a standard Punk Rock act), but other than that, the two are virtual opposites. Talking Heads best represented the "innovation" part of post-punk, being highly acclaimed for their musical inventiveness and experimentation without excess (the end result of having Brian Eno as their producer for three of their albums) and the huge impact their work had on the music of the 1980's. Their image, however, was unusually upbeat for a post-punk band, and indeed this played a big part in their transition to new wave as their career went on. Joy Division, meanwhile, best represented the "darkness" part of post-punk, being known for their immensely gloomy, ethereal songs and proto-goth aesthetic (try finding a photograph of the band that isn't in heavy-contrast black and white), with the former being the result of lead singer Ian Curtis's massive Creator Breakdown from a combination of depression, epilepsy (at a time when the disorder wasn't widely understood), and marital problems, to the point where he hanged himself in 1980. Their musicianship, meanwhile, leaned more towards the minimalistic side, with sparse instrumentals and Curtis's yarling singing voice making their music sound noticeably simple in comparison to Talking Heads.note  Additionally, while Talking Heads eventually ditched post-punk altogether in favor of new wave by 1985, Joy Division's successor, New Order (formed from the remaining members of Joy Division after Curtis's death), held on to the stylistic hallmarks of post-punk throughout their career, combining it with the then-emerging synthpop scene to form a sound within which one could still find conspicuous traces of their predecessor.
  • Woody Guthrie wrote "This Land Is Your Land" as a response to Irving Berlin's "God Bless America", originally naming his song "God Blessed America for Me" before settling on the final title. It soon came to be popularized as an "alternative" national anthem among left-wing activists, especially from The '60s onward. While "God Bless America" was rooted in Manifest Destiny, with God personally standing beside and guiding the United States, "This Land Is Your Land" carried a socialist message of America belonging to everybody, especially in two verses protesting income inequality that weren't included in the final version of the song.
  • When she first hit it big in the early 2000s, Avril Lavigne was dubbed by the media as the "anti-Britney Spears" due to her rejection of the heavy sexualization and "manufactured" Teen Idol image Britney was known for, in favor of a Pop Punk singer-songwriter image and plainer, baggier clothes.
  • The Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith were bitter rivals in Country Music in the early '00s, largely on account of how their approaches to the genre, on top of their politics, were so diametrically opposed. The Chicks were a traditional-sounding group with a heavy bluegrass influence, playing 'classic' country instruments like the banjo, the fiddle, the mandolin, and the guitar, while also fusing their old-fashioned sound with a very modern 'girl power' attitude and liberal politics that caused many people to dub them "country's Spice Girls". Keith, meanwhile, took the Arena Rock approach to country, playing loud electric instruments with production to match, while his politics were big on down-home Patriotic Fervor and saluting the troops. Notably, after the Chicks' careers imploded when Natalie Maines made comments criticizing President George W. Bush and the Iraq War, Keith's career skyrocketed.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • As EMLL and CSP developed into two different versions of the World Wrestling Council, WWC became a spiritual antithesis of CMLL. Two out of three falls became the standard in EMLL and pretty much a must in championship matches while one fall became he default in CSP. Perhaps not by coincidence CMLL title belts became known for how difficult they were to win while WWC's belts for how difficult they were to hold on to. WWC was also a pioneer in many of the gimmick matches CMLL would become known for shunning, a contrast that became more apparent as CMLL featured less and less bloodshed over the years. In the beginning EMLL was content to be a regional promotion while CSP has always had universal ambitions but in a bit of irony, CMLL would become the more international of the two while WWC would end up fairly isolated.
  • The difference between the northeastern and southern styles of wrestling can be summed up with the title hunts. NWA and later WCW favored fan-favorites chasing heel champions, WWF/E preferred face champions taking on heel challengers. This was also behind Hulk Hogan leaving th American Wrestling Association, as he liked being a champion more than chasing one.
  • Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling's intent was to be an antithesis to the "Japanese mainstream", namely All Japan Pro Wrestling's "realistic" presentation of the sport and New Japan Pro-Wrestling's "strong style" of wrestling, adopting an "anything goes" approach where the referee existed mostly to declare winners.
  • ECW was this to WCW to the point of bitter rivalry. Though both were offshoots of the NWA, World Championship Wrestling had the support of a major media company and their tradition established as an NWA member to determine their direction of their production (at least until Hogan came along). Extreme Championship Wrestling had a far more contentious break with NWA, had a roster full of castoffs, a small budget and a do-it-yourself attitude that forsook the traditions of pro wrestling to present something far darker. Most notably, both were the antithesis of the then-cartoony World Wrestling Federation, which had to become the antithesis of its past self to compete with WCW and the nWo.
  • Ring of Honor is the spiritual antithesis of Combat Zone Wrestling, created by RF Video after it couldn't get CZW to agree do a deal. They have employed some of the same wrestlers over the course of their existences, the key differences being in how long and how they use them, ROH not being nearly relaxed as far as rules and conduct go, and a much stronger focus on the 'wrestling' aspect of the product, as opposed to the "ultra violence".
  • After witnessing the decline and failure of Universal Wrestling Federation, a company based on 'shoot wrestling' and mixed martial arts, in the face of comparatively traditional pro wrestling promotions, Nobuhiko Takada tried again with Fighting Opera HUSTLE, which aimed less for realism and plausibility and more for flash and dramatic overacting.
  • WSU for SHIMMER. Both were the first two major all-women's promotions on the American independent circuit. SHIMMER had a family-friendly product centred more around pure wrestling. WSU was a Darker and Edgier product (the U standing for 'Uncensored') with lots more cursing and brutality. SHIMMER would usually bring in a wider variety of international talent while WSU would focus mainly on American and Canadian talent.
  • Celtic Championship Wrestling and Over The Top Wrestling — the two biggest promotions in Ireland, who both run monthly shows. OTT is an exclusively over-18's show with emphasis on larger than life gimmicks, extreme rules matches and general drunken fun. CCW is family friendly with a lot more focus on wrestling. They do the occasional over-18's show themselves however.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons was this to the tabletop war-game Chainmail. In Chainmail, each player commanded an army against another player's army. But with Dungeons & Dragons, each player was controlling a single character, and was instead teaming up with other players and their own characters in a series of cooperative dungeon raids. Plus, Chainmail was more geared towards combat and competition, while Dungeons & Dragons was, instead, primarily a storytelling and adventure game.
    • Eberron was consciously created to be this to more traditional D&D worlds by creating a fantasy world without clear lines between good and evil, and with more focus on practical applications for magic...oh, and Orcs saved the world at least once. Needless tp say, there's a Fandom Rivalry.
  • Paranoia is this for the more common type of game in which the PCs are generally expected to work together toward common goals.
  • Warhammer 40,000 is this for the idealistic Space Opera genre as a whole, especially Star Trek. Your average Space Opera follows the principle that Humans Are Special and shows them living peacefully with other races and defeating various space evils. In contrast, The Imperium of Man is utterly racist, a behavior learned from their alien neighbors, and its position at the galactic power table was paid for with the blood of millions of humans. Examine the Rogue Traders specifically: Brave and intrepid captains who go out on long missions to find and contact new worlds and new civilizations, with the mandate to exploit the heck out of them, or even wipe the natives off the face of their worlds outright in order to take what's left. Slightly different than the prime directive!
  • Adventure Board Games and Euro Games; the former features, well, adventure scenarios, light role playing, and a greater consideration of production values. The latter are focused more on mechanics, and feature far more mundane tasks like running a farm or a power plant.

    Theme Parks 
  • As the world's two biggest rivals in the theme park business, Disney and Universal Studios have long framed themselves as contrasting foils of one another. Disney parks have traditionally drawn most of their inspiration from Disney's animated films, and they're famous for their commitment to building immersive experiences that encourage guests to lose themselves in elaborate fantasies; as a whole, the parks often celebrate the innocence of childhood, with "magic" being a frequent buzzword. note  By contrast, Universal Studios parks have traditionally been a gleeful smorgasbord of American pop culture from multiple companies and mediums, and they opt for the look and feel of a movie backlot, often celebrating the illusory nature of pop culture instead of trying to convince the audience to believe it; they're also much less shy about dipping into properties that don't necessarily target kids, with occasional moments of violence and horror to balance out the frivolity.

    Note that this has started to be downplayed in recent years, as the parks have gradually started learning from each other in certain areas. Case in point: Universal Studios now has The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is the sort of painstakingly detailed immersive attraction that Disney is better known for; and with the unveiling of Pandora – The World of Avatar and the upcoming Star Wars Land, Disney Parks have shown a new willingness to embrace properties outside Disney's traditional oeuvre.
    • Star Wars existed in the Disney Parks long before the latter bought the rights to the former. George Lucas nixed any bids from other theme parks for his ride, because he felt only Disney would treat it with the same love, respect, and attention to detail that he would if he had a theme park.

     Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Decades of Darkness, a story featured on AlternateHistory.com, can read as this to two separate Alternate History works.
    • The first is S.M. Stirling's The Draka series, which was intentional on the writer's part. He found the series, which revolves around an evil South African slaver empire that takes over the world, to be wildly implausible from an allohistorical standpoint, so he wrote Decades of Darkness as basically "the Draka, but done right".
    • The second is the mockumentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America, which probably wasn't intentional. Both CSA and DoD depict worlds in which the values of the Deep South's planter aristocrats took over the United States, the nation subjugating Latin America under an apartheid-like system while keeping black people enslaved well into the 20th century, all while a less-powerful nation in the northern half of North America (Canada in CSA, an alliance of Canada and New England in DoD) fiercely opposes everything it stands for. The difference is in tone. CSA plays fast and loose with plausibility and is largely Played for Laughs as a Black Comedy satire of American race relations, the film's Confederacy ultimately portrayed as Not So Different from our world's America. Decades of Darkness, meanwhile, strives for plausibility, and is very much not played for laughs — by the end, its oppressive, dystopian society is so unrecognizable from our world's United States that readers have taken to calling it "the *US", with a conspicuous asterisk.
  • Richard C. Meyers of Diversity and Comics is one to Andrew Dobson of So... You're a Cartoonist?. Both are comic artists known for their controversial opinions regarding politics and the comics industry, most of which are posted on Twitter. However, while Dobson is a liberal that openly supports what he views as more diversity with characters in comics that give minorities positive representation, Meyers is a conservative that openly mocks what he views as the forcing of diversity in comics meant to fill more of a quota than create interesting characters. Dobson is notorious for his infrequent updates on comics, while Meyers updates comic reviews and thoughts on his Youtube channel regularly, at 3 videos each day. Dobson is often accused of hating sexy women and adoring lesbianism, while Meyers is often accused of only enjoying sexy women and being anti-LGBT. Dobson's experience in the comics industry is mostly self-employed with support of patrons that he views as a career, while Meyers has worked as a professional artist before, but mostly does it more as something coming second to his job, with patrons to just fund some of his projects. While Dobson views negative criticism as repetetive and doing nothing to help him grow, Meyers openly welcomes criticism of his comics, even asking his own viewers to roast his Jawbreakers comic.

     Web Video 
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd Complains About Games He Doesn't Like, most of which probably deserve it. The Happy Video Game Nerd Gushes About Games He DOES Like, all of which definitely deserve it.
    • Another example to the AVGN is Cygnus Destroyer's The LJN Defender. Whereas the Nerd considers LJN Toys his Arch-Enemy and rarely sees much (if any) good in their games, Matt does his best to find the good in their games, and usually (though certainly not always) finds himself enjoying them, warts and all.
  • Similar to the above, while CinemaSins judges movies on how they suck based on their Sins, Cinema Wins does the opposite by praising how great movies are based on their Wins.
  • Likewise, Bob Chipman created the show Really That Good as a more upbeat alternative to Caustic Critic web shows like CinemaSins, The Nostalgia Critic, and RedLetterMedia. He felt that too many online film critics had a tendency to Accentuate the Negative for the sake of getting viewers, playing into stereotypes of the Straw Critic in the process, and that there was a dearth of web shows devoted to exploring why good films were good rather than why bad films were bad.
  • Both RebelTaxi and The Mysterious Mr. Enter are animation-focused Video Review Shows whose hosts prefer not to be seen, but that's where the similarities end. The two are very much the Technician vs. Performer of animation reviewers: Pan Pizza is easygoing, jokey, and perverted, and while he does know a well-written work from a poorly-written one, he cares more about a work's overall entertainment factor in his reviews. On the other hand, Mr. Enter is an Asexual Byronic Hero who is very brusque in his method of critique, and takes decent storytelling far more seriously, being far less forgiving to shows that fail in that regard.
    This is best shown in their additudes towards crappy works that nontheless have a lot of effort put into them. Pan Pizza believes that it's better to at least give it your all even if it turned out poorly, and even a total crap-fest can be entertaining in its own ways. Mr. Enter, however, believes that working hard on something that sucks doesn't change the fact that it sucks, and in a way, all that talent and effort only serves to accentuate how much it sucks.
  • Super Minecraft Kid is this to Sammy Classic Sonic Fan. Both are young children who are obsessed with video games and get very angry easily, but while Sammy is a fan of retro games who rants on camera, SMK's videos are all behind his computer and hates Nintendo and classic games. (Though he seems to believe Minecraft was made in the 1960's) Sammy notoriously replaces all profanity with "frick," while SMK is a bit more... open with his language. Outside of their normal content, Sammy makes lighthearted videos of himself related to Nintendo, and SMK makes "animated" videos with content much closer to what you'd expect out of this kid.

     Websites 
  • There's a very good reason why Reddit and Tumblr have such an infamously bitter Fandom Rivalry. Their respective communities and general user culture, particularly where their most Vocal Minorities are concerned, are complete opposites in every way, practically to Jekyll & Hyde levels. Reddit attracts mostly white males, and it's known for being hospitable to Libertarian politics, but it's frequently criticized for attracting a vocal subset of militant atheists, white nationalists, and anti-feminists. By contrast, Tumblr users are predominantly women, the site is much more actively welcoming to non-white and LGBT users, and it's known for being hospitable to Liberal and Progressive politics, but it's frequently criticized for attracting a vocal subset of radically anti-male and anti-white users. In general, Redditors are often stereotyped as smug pseudo-intellectuals who will gleefully search for even the tiniest factual errors in other users' arguments in order to dismiss them out of hand, while Tumblr users are often stereotyped as hysterical crusaders who make passionate speeches without bothering to do the proper research first.
  • The Onion and Clickhole are run by the same creative teams, but their respective styles of humor are so fundamentally different that they may as well call Clickhole "The Anti-Onion". The Onion is a parody of traditional newspaper and television journalism that, like the best satires, uses self-aware humor to force its audience to think about the inherently absurd aspects of society. Even at its goofiest, it's usually making some intellectual point about politics or modern culture. Clickhole, on the other hand, is a parody of new media in The New '10s, and it discards satire in favor of absurdism and Surreal Humor; most of its humor comes from how it deliberately refuses to make a coherent point about anything. The Onion has its share of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped moments related to hot-button social issues, while Clickhole is infamous for its occasional Crosses the Line Twice moments that treat those same issues in as blasé a manner as possible. Case in point: The Onion attempting to discuss racism, vs. Clickhole attempting to discuss it.
  • Citizendium was created by Larry Sanger, one of the co-founders of Wikipedia, in 2006 as an alternative wiki that corrected what he felt to be that site's problems with allowing poorly-sourced misinformation to flow unchecked. Whereas Wikipedia allows anybody to edit, Sanger's plan for Citizendium was to recruit experts in their respective fields to curate articles and hold final approval over the editing process. For various reasons, including the site's bureaucratic structure, top-down leadership, and assorted cranks gaining control of articles that pertained to their pet hobby-horses, Citizendium never took off despite media hype, and by 2011 it was mostly moribund. This article goes into more detail.

     Other 
  • Part of the reason why the Afro is considered a culturally significant hairstyle is that it was conceived as an antithesis to the conk, which had previously been the most popular hairstyle among black men in the US from the 1920s through the '50s. Where the conk involved artificially straightening naturally "kinky" hair with corrosive chemicals (implicitly in an effort to adopt a more "white" hairstyle), the Afro grew directly out of the Black Power movement in the 1960s as a backlash, and it involved emphasizing the natural curl and volume of black people's hair. Even the Afro's name alludes to this: it's an abbreviation of "Afro-American", the label that many people involved in the Black Power movement adopted for themselves, wanting to express pride in their African roots.
  • The pinball designers Steve Ritchie and Pat Lawlor take opposite approaches to the machines they've designed. Most of Ritchie's tables are designed for the ball to travel quickly with little stopping or deceleration and are focused on ramps and loops. Lawlor's tables, on the other hand, have comparatively few ramps and are downplayed in favor of scoops, targets, magnets, and other mechanisms that stop the ball. Together, this means Ritchie's tables are focused around speed and action (not that they can't be slowed down either, but that's done deliberately by the player), whereas Lawlor's tables are about trapping the ball on a flipper and then taking careful aim. To pinball fans, whether a table is "flow" or "stop-and-go" is Serious Business and has long been easy Flame Bait material. In a sense, Steve Ritchie is also the antithesis to his brother Mark Ritchie in theme: Steve prefers high-concept themes where you fight an adversary, but all of Mark's tables have mundane themes about everyday life.
  • The Prairie School of architecture, most associated with Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan, was created as a backlash against the Greco-Roman neoclassicism prevalent in American architecture in the 19th century. Originating in the Midwest, especially Chicago after the city's 1893 World's Fair (which held a preponderance of neoclassical architecture), the Prairie School focused on open plans, horizontal lines, and minimal ornamentation, meant to evoke the feel of the open plains as a uniquely American, modern, and organic alternative to European styles that tended towards the grandiose and larger-than-life.


Top