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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."

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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    Anime And Manga 
  • Junji Ito of all people has a subtle take on this in The Strange Tale Of The Tunnel. The protagonist meets a trio of scientists(an older professor, a young man, and a young woman) who are studying cosmic radiation filtering through the titular mysterious tunnel. When they start becoming fatigued, they theorize they're being affected by the cosmic rays. It turns out these "rays" are actually the invisible ghosts of those absorbed by the evil tunnel. Instead of getting superpowers, the scientists are absorbed as well, becoming elongated invisible flying wraiths bound to rock, a truly warped combination of all four FF powers.

    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. Three of them are Elemental Shapeshifters; team-leader Crystal Man can turn into crystal and reshape his body into any shape he images, the one girl Neon Queen can turn into Super Smoke, and Kid Dynamo can become a being of living lightning. The last member, The Planet, can transform into a super-strong but hideously ugly form with a massive, spherical head that looks like a cartoon moon.
  • 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.
  • Big Bang Comics, as part of its Cast of Expies, eventually introduced Faust’s Four, a villainous team of would-be astronauts who sold their souls to a demon to beat the US and Soviet Union to the moon. They were nearly killed when their rocket crashed and their master Baal-Zabul twisted them into his hellish servants (turns out you can’t trust the devil). This is a little recursive as between their origin and powers they’re also inspired by other villainous FF expies like the Terrific Trio, U-Foes, and Hank Henshaw.
  • 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 Robotman having super-strength and a freakish orange-skinned 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. This was taken further in an issue of Grant Morrison's run, which depicted an out-of-continuity story drawn in a style reminiscent of Jack Kirby where the team was renamed the Legion of the Strange (the name itself referencing the Four's inspirations from the Distinguished Competition called the Challengers of the Unknown), Robotman (under his original codename Automaton) was depicted with a clunkier appearance reminiscent of The Thing and the team wore matching uniforms similar to the ones worn by the Fantastic Four except for being colored green rather than blue and the insignia being a question mark instead of the number four.
  • The Marshal Law one-shot Crime and Punishment: Marshal Law Takes Manhattan involves an insane asylum 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.) There were also the Red Ghost and his Super-Apes: an intangible Russian scientist, a super-strong gorilla, a magnetic orangutan, and a shapeshifting baboon.
    • 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.
  • The Multiversity establishes that Earth-8, a world in the DC Comics multiverse that is the home of Alternate Company Equivalents to the superheroes and supervillains of Marvel Comics, has a team based on the Fantastic Four called the Future Family, with the Reed Richards stand-in named Frank Future, Ben Grimm's ersatz being known as Golem, the Human Torch equivalent being known as Fireball and Ghost Girl serving as the Invisible Woman expy.
  • The Ultra-Conservative sends the The Fanatic Four after normalman, consisting of Mr Fanatical, Helpless Woman, The Humane Touch and The Lunk.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Supreme Power: Howard Chaykin's Squadron Supreme series picking up after the Ultimate Marvel crossover in Ultimate Power has the crew of Icarus One, who gain powers after a journey through space and whose individual members are Jon Mora (who is able to become intangible by turning into a sentient mass of vapor), Kathy Mora (Jon's wife who can duplicate herself and teleport), Peter Boyer (who can fly and produce electrical energy) and Ted Munn (who is permanently transformed into a humanoid plant creature of considerable strength and resilience).
  • 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.


    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 
  • Claim the Sky: The Majestic Family. They consist of Gravity Master Jack Majestic, Big Guy Natalie (Jack's wife), Science Hero Olive (Jack's sister), and Jack and Natalie's son Ace, a teenage boy with a Healing Factor and a guardian robot created by his Aunt Olive.
  • Mutants & Masterminds:
    • The Bestiary (from 2nd edition's "Crooks!") are a band of American Super Soldiers gone rogue after their government betrayed them, made up of Behemoth (a disgruntled and embittered giant, disfigured, bruiser with Super-Strength — picture a purple Hulk), Chimera (who can vomit up an endless supply of any chemical he imagines), Manticore (who needs his lion-themed Powered Armor to control his stone-shredding screams), and Undine (a water-manipulating blue fish-woman).
    • The Clique (from 2nd edition's "Crooks!") are an all-girls super-team made up mostly of teenagers, with the exceptions being team leader Wendy Wallace, aka "The Other Woman", who can create duplicates of herself), and their flunky; a shapeshifting battle-robot turned butler they call "Boy Toy". The Clique's individual members are Deidre Pawlowski, a Spoiled Brat with orgone-manipulation-based Mind Control powers known as "The Crush"; Betsy Barcal, a teen bully whose body is made of super-dense candy, giving her Super-Strength and Super-Toughness as well as the nickname "Jawbreaker"; Leiko "Pixie" Minkei, a mutant able to shrink to the size of a doll and a former teenage Yakuza assassin rescued by Deidre, and Shayla Bingham, a teenage super-genius.
    • Factor Four (from 3rd edition's "Rogues Gallery") are a quartet of super-crooks who have all been permanently transformed into element-based forms, which they exploit whilst simultaneously wishing to undo. Their leader, Professor Fathom (Richard Calumus), is a super-genius turned being of living water. Granite (William Cole) is a dim-witted and brooding bruiser made of living stone. Pyre (Jack Connors) is a hotshot who became a being of living fire. Finally, the team's only female is Sylph (Sylvia McAllister), a being of living inert vapors. Their lore mentions that they have a rivalry with the Atom Family from Freedom City.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Southwest Sentinels are clearly based on the Fantastic Four, with the personalities and roles shuffled around.
  • The Atom Family in Freedom City are loosely based on the Fantastic Four, although the "original" Atoms were a group of non-powered explorer heroes led by Dr. Alexander Atom (the Reed Richards counterpart), and the current members are his four superpowered grandchildren: Sizeshifter Maximus, radiation blaster Tess (who also followed in her grandfather's footsteps as a scientist), Rubber Woman Vicky, and Telepath Chase.
    • 2nd edition sourcebook Freedom's Most Wanted introduces the Nightwatch; a bunch of vampires who pretend to be a Fantastic Four-esque team of night-operating vigilantes to cover up their predations. Each member is expected to focus on a single one of their Combo Platter Powers, to further obfuscate their true nature and better fit the image they present of being a team of differently powered individuals. Their leader is Viktor von Nacht, aka "Doctor Twilight", presents himself as a Badass Normal, downplaying his superhuman physical abilities and acting as the team's leader. Daniel "Nocturne" Travers focuses exclusively on the umbrakinetic abilities granted by his magical Amulet of Shadows. The monstrous bestial-looking Kurt Jaeger uses his Beast Master abilities as "Talon". Damiana Ruskeya presents herself as the female power-house "Virago", focusing on her Super-Strength, Super-Toughness and Super-Speed. Lastly, Genevieve Dumont uses her Super Smoke powers as the intangible beauty "Mistral".
    • 2nd edition sourcebook Foes of Freedom introduces two villainous Fantastic Faux teams in Larceny Inc and the Psions:
      • Larceny Inc is a four-man band of super-powered thieves that specialize in targeting big corporations. Their leader, James "Trap Door" Shore, is a gentleman thief who can create teleportation portals out of any bonded space. Ernest "Ernie" Connors, better known as Smash, is an 8ft tall giant of hulking muscles, solid black eyes and slate-gray skin who, due to extensive brain damage, has the mental capacity of a five year old child — a dangerous mix with his Super-Strength, Super-Toughness, and Healing Factor! LuAnn Grimes is a con-artist and pickpocket who gained Rubber Woman powers and now operates under the moniker "Grab". Lastly, there's Maria Traykos, the hedonistic Super Speedster "Get-Away".
      • The Psions are a supervillain family business, consisting of the psychic supremacist Professor Parker Psion and his five grandchildren (he originally operated with his three children, but they "conveniently" died after he decided to focus on raising a new and stronger generation of mentalists): granddaughters Juliana ("Empath"), Frankie ("Ember"), and the twins Gwendolyn ("Aura") and [[Carolyn]] ("Argent"), and grandson Joshua ("Jump". To further the trope, they're old enemies of the Atom Family, although Professor Psion is also very interested in converting the Atoms to his way of thinking, and Juliana has a mutual crush on Maximus Atom. It's called out that only Professor Psion is truly villainous; his grandkids have simply been raised in isolation with his toxic viewpoint their whole lives, and legitimately don't know any better, so the Atom Family would love to try and free them from his control.

  • An implied prequel to American Barbarian continues the tradition of pastiching Jack Kirby creations with the Final Frontier, a group of futuristic superhero musicians, called "the superhero version of the Beatles". The main four are anaolgues to the FF, and the story includes nods to several supervillains and early Marvel Silver Age characters. Their final performance is interrupted by a Galactus-like creature.

    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.)
  • In 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.
  • The Batman Beyond episode "Heroes" features 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.
  • In the Rugrats episode "Mega Diaper Babies", the babies watch a cartoon called Mega Hyper Heroes about a team of four heroes who include Ms Invisible and Flamo (the other two are less direct, being an Animorph called Changeling and a HULK MASH!-Up with the strength of two men called the Bolt). This inspires them to become the Mega Daiper Babies: Tommy as Changing Baby, Phil as Spitball Boy (firing spitballs instead of Flamo's fireballs), Lil as Dotted Line Girl (having misunderstood Ms Invisible's Visible Invisibility), and Chuckie as Stinky (who smells as strong as two babies).
  • 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 (2012): 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, with the team eventually falling apart and Impossible becoming an antagonist in later seasons.