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The Fantastic Faux

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All of these families seem pretty "fantastic".note 

"And don't tell me there's no way to make a good Fantastic Four movie! It's called The Incredibles, and it's perfect."
Honest Trailers on Tim Story's Fantastic Four duology

The Fantastic Four were Marvel Comics' first superhero property of The Silver Age of Comic Books, often credited with turning the company into the massive juggernaut it is today. For this reason, they are often called Marvel's "First Family", and they remain one of its core intellectual properties to this day.

Do not confuse with Fantastic Mr. Fox.

For more superhero expies, see Superman Substitute, Batman Parody, Spider-Man Send-Up, HULK MASH!-Up, Wolverine Wannabe, Wonder Woman Wannabe and Captain Patriotic.


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    Comic Books 
  • Alan Moore's Silver Age homage 1963 features "Mystery Incorporated," a super team that has other powers but otherwise matches the Fantastic Four perfectly.
  • Amalgam Universe: The Challengers of the Fantastic are an amalgamation of the Fantastic Four and the Challengers of the Unknown.
  • Astro City: The First Family are analogous to the Four ("First Family" is even a moniker occasionally used for the team within the Marvel universe), being a Super Family Team of space-age-inspired explorers and adventurers. Reportedly, Kurt Busiek didn't want to give them that name, as it made the homage a little too blatant (there's also some Challengers of the Unknown influence in their DNA), but found that he couldn't come up with a better one.
  • The Boys: The archetype shows up as Fantastico, whose known members are Reacher Dick, Invisi-lass, and the Doofer (the Human Torch's expy isn't named). First introduced during a huge supers-only orgy, Invisi-lass is permanently invisible but keeps her lingerie on (though enjoys going topless), Doofer (who is either covered in bricks or a moving sentient pile of bricks) dies of a heroin overdose, and Reacher is mentioned to have helped an old lady across the street so he could pickpocket her (his personality is closer to Plastic Man than Reed Richards).
  • Challengers of the Unknown are the Ur-Example; they actually predate the Fantastic Four by about three years, and were also created by Jack Kirby. Kirby in fact used them as the template for creating the Fantastic Four, and DC has often retooled or reinterpreted the characters to be more similar to their more-famous knockoffs.
  • The original iteration of the Doom Patrol was a rather obvious homage to the Fantastic Four, with Robot Man having super-strength and a freakish appearance, Elasti-Girl having stretching abilities, the Negative Man having energy powers, and the Chief having super-intelligence, and with the exception of the Chief, all their powers came from freak accidents (later retconned as having been caused by the Chief himself.) They also wear shared uniforms, and the Negative Man's origin (he went into space in an experimental machine and was bombarded by radiation) is highly reminiscent of the Fantastic Four.
  • The Marshal Law one-shot Crime and Punishment: Marshal Law Takes Manhattan involves an insane aslyum with inmates who are expies of Marvel superheroes. They include a pastiche of the Human Torch (who is the only superhero in the comic to survive the story, not that he's happy to stay alive) and a stand-in for Mr. Fantastic who talks to an invisible wife who isn't actually there.
  • In the wider Marvel Universe:
    • There are numerous villainous teams which have been formed either to fight or to mimic the FF, most famously the Frightful Four and the U-Foes. The latter even tried to replicate the circumstances that provided the FF their powers, down to hiring the same engineers to build an exact replica of their original spaceship, and even has a team make-up of an energy guy, an incorporeal/vapor girl, and a giant strongman made of steel. (Although the last member is a telekinetic rather than a Rubber Man.)
    • The Future Foundation was originally a re-branding (both in-and-out-of-universe) of the Fantastic Four (thus keeping the "FF" initials), with an emphasis on using their abilities, resources and discoveries to completely defy the Reed Richards Is Useless trope and make the world a better place. Since then, the original FF members have gone back to calling themselves the Fantastic Four, leaving a team of their friends, allies and students to carry on the Future Foundation name in their place.
    • The X-Men were deliberately created to be both similar and Foils to the Fantastic Four. For example, Prof. X was a parallel to Mister Fantastic, The Beast was intended to mimic The Thing, Iceman was directly meant to contrast The Human Torch, and Marvel Girl played a similar role to the Invisible Girl.
  • Superman introduced the character Hank Henshaw and his family as a brutal, vicious Deconstruction of the Fantastic Four formula: they are an astronaut and his wife, along with two others who travel into space and are bombarded by radiation. The radiation, however, immediately kills two of them and forces them to create bodies of out of rock and energy respectively (thus becoming parallels to The Thing and the Human Torch). Terri Henshaw likewise becomes more and more intangible to reality until her husband is forced to build her a robotic body to live in. These circumstances leave them all mentally unhinged, and all three are eventually Driven to Suicide. Henshaw's own body also decays and he eventually becomes a consciousness that can live in machinery and computer circuitry, later returning as a major archenemy: the Cyborg Superman.
  • Planetary has expies of the Fantastic Four as the main villains of the piece, depicted as selfish technophiles who use fantastic science for their own self-serving purposes and deliberately withold it from the general population.
  • The Terrifics, a team consisting of Metamorpho, a shapechanger in monstrous form who was basically doing Ben Grimm's whole thing a decade before Ben's debut, a shapechanging jokey prankster Plastic Man, Mister Terrific, one of smartest people in the world, and new Phantom Girl (ancestor of one from Legion of Super-Heroes), with powers of intangibility. Few stories were told about the team's conception, but it is generally believed that Jeff Lemire has realized the similarities halfway through and decided to roll with it, possibly recycling his rejected pitch for a Fantastic Four book. The series has done a lot of homages to classic Lee and Kirby era of Fantastic Four as well, from discovering a corpse of an alien very similar to Galactus to fighting a blatant Doctor Doom parody, Doctor Dread.
  • The Ultra-Conservative sends the The Fanatic Four after normalman, consisting of Mr Fanatical, Helpless Woman, The Humane Touch and The Lunk.
  • The Simpsons comics give Radioactive Man an analogue in the form of the Fossil Fuel Four. They're a team of supervillains based around fossil fuels as a commentary on energy generation believed to be inferior and polluting compared to nuclear power. The most direct counterpart is Old King Coal, who looks like The Thing made out of coals dressed in Requisite Royal Regalia.

  • The Incredibles is probably the most well-known case of a family of heroes that uses the formula of the Fantastic Four, although its creator denies using the comics franchise as a source. Still, the title characters are a family of two parents and their three children, with the powers of Super Strength, Invisibility and Force Fields, Elasticity, and even a Goo-Goo-Godlike Reality Warper. Dash is the one that stands out, not having a true FF analogue, although like Johnny Storm, he is the fastest and most hot-headed of the team.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sesame Street features Telly, Elmo, and Abby dressing as "The Furry Four" based on Telly's comic. Elmo becomes the Furry Flash (who has Super Speed), Abby becomes the Furry Tornado (capable of Spectacular Spinning), Telly becomes Mr. Furry (having the power to turn invisible), as well as Furry Muscles (Super Strength) but they have a hard time recruiting a fourth person to fill that role, before eventually settling on Chris.

  • The Thrilling Adventure Hour: A group of characters that show up in "The Cross-Time Adventures of Colonel Tick-Tock" and "Amelia Earhart, Fearless Flyer" are the Algonquin Four, four members of The Algonquin Round Table, a gathering of New York City writers, critics, actors, and wits, that gain truly fantastic powers after being struck by a comet. The Algonquin Four's members are magician Harry Houdini, with the power to stretch his limbs; American president Woodrow Wilson, possessing invisibility and a laugh like Woody Woodpecker; New Yorker essayist Robert Benchley, who has power over flame; and finally poetess Dorothy Parker, who is best described by the master wordsmith herself:
    Dorothy Parker: I'M A ROCK MAN!!

    Tabletop Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, as a direct reference to The Fantastic Four, Jimmy and his friends get superpowers while flying through a radiation belt in space, becoming the N-Men. Cindy gets super strength, Sheen gets super speed, Carl has super burps, Libby has invisibility, and Jimmy turned orange, though it turns out that he can turn into a raging monster when upset.
  • An Imagine Spot in an episode of Arthur has Buster return from outer space with one arm on fire, another stretchy, a foot invisible, and the other foot living stone, in a parody of the FF's origin. (Of course, having all of their powers together could be said to make him more of an expy of the Super-Skrull.)
  • On Atomic Betty, the main character's enemies included a trio of Evil Knockoffs of her who had powers similar to Mr. Fantastic, the Human Torch, and the Thing.
  • One episode of Batman Beyond featured a Corrupted Character Copy of the Fantastic Four known as the Terrific Trio, who are similarly given superpowers by a scientific catastrophe and represent clear analogues to Mr. Fantastic, the Thing (with some aspects of the Human Torch as well), and Susan Storm. However, in this case the "accident" was deliberately manufactured by a "friend" in a bungled attempt to Murder the Hypotenuse. They start off as heroes, but after learning about their true origin and that the aftereffects of the event are slowly killing them, they quickly descend into villainy, forcing Batman to stop them.
  • The Council Of Ricks, an Alliance Of Alternate Rick's from Rick and Morty are a parody of Interdimensional Council of Reeds from Jonathan Hickman's run on the Fantastic Four comics.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Treehouse of Horror X" short "Desperately Xeeking Xena" has Bart and Lisa getting hit by X-rays and gaining superpowers. Bart gains Rubber Man powers and becomes Stretch Dude, while Lisa gains Super Strength and Super Toughness and becomes Clobber Girl. Unlike most examples of this trope they are a duo rather than a quartet. "Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl" would later go on to have their own shorts in Simpsons comics.
    • Near the end of the "Treehouse Of Horror XIV" short "Stop the World, I Want to Goof Off", Lisa fiddles with a cosmic stopwatch and turns her family into different versions of themselves, including the Fantastic Four, with Homer as The Thing, Marge as the Human Torch, Bart as Mr. Fantastic, and Maggie as The Invisible Woman.
    • In "Husbands and Knives" Milo wonders which comic book hero is stronger, a HULK MASH!-Up called The Formidable Mulk or a Thing expy called The Thung. The Thung is shown holding the 1985 Chicago Bears team with a LOOK WHO'S DOING THE SUPER THUNG SHUFFLE!" caption.
    • Hulk and Thing expies are seen wrestling eachother amongst the Catholics and protestants at a Saint Patrick's Day parade in "Sex, Pies and Idiot Scrapes". The Hulk is later identified as The Mulk so The Thing expy was likely The Thung.
  • Cartman's retellings of claiming he created Jimmy's joke in the South Park episode, "Fishsticks" get sillier each time that one of the later ones has him going outside afterwards and flying around shooting fire at an army of Jewish robots in a style similar to The Human Torch.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: While the International Justice League of Super Acquaintances (first seen in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V" when SpongeBob's friends borrow their outfits to get superpowers, then seen in their original incarnations in "The Bad Guy Club for Villains") has an aesthetic and name more reminiscent of the Justice League, the powers fit the Fantastic Four archetypes much better. The Elastic Waistband has stretchy powers a la Mister Fantastic, Miss Appear is an Action Girl with invisibility powers a la the Invisible Woman, and Captain Magma shoots hot lava similar to the Human Torch's fire ability (and activates his powers with a Catchphrase like the Torch does). The Quickster and Mermaid Man don't fit a particular mold, however, as they're parodies of The Flash and Aquaman respectively.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The episode "Bat in the Belfry" shows the Turtles reading comics parodying various famous superheroes. Raphael's favorite superhero comic is "The Fantastic Four Food Groups".
  • The Venture Bros.: Professor Impossible is almost a note-for-note parody of Reed Richards, down to being a scientist with rubber abilities. The rest of his group include his wife Sally, who can only turn her skin invisible, Sally's cousin Ned, who became a strong, mentally-impaired monster, and Sally's brother Cody, who can set himself on fire (but without the immunity to burning). The parody plays up the darker aspects of the FF and turns them Up to Eleven, with the team eventually falling apart and Impossible becoming an antagonist in later seasons.