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Trope Makers

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"Phrases like 'shiver me timbers' and traditional pirate songs like 'Fifteen Men on the Dead Man's Chest' were made up by Robert Louis Stevenson for his novel Treasure Island, published in 1883 — over 150 years after the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. We might as well tell you right now that 90 percent of all pirate tropes come from the same book: One-legged pirates, squawking parrots, drunken mutinies... all that stuff can be traced back to Treasure Island."

A Trope Maker is the first unambiguous example of a particular trope. Though there may have been similar things in the past, these are the works that defined their respective tropes.

See also Trope Codifier, which is the example of a trope that defines all other uses. If a Trope Codifier is very different in outlook than the Trope Maker, then the Trope Maker worked on an Unbuilt Trope.

And, of course, don't confuse with Ur-Example —the earliest example that has the essence of the trope, but may not have the actual connotations and may be missing details. However, it's the Trope Maker which starts the consistent enough pattern to be called a trope.

To provide a concrete example of all three, the Detective Story's Trope Maker is Edgar Allan Poe's C. Auguste Dupin stories, and Sherlock Holmes is the Trope Codifier; but the Ur-Example may well be "The Tale Of the Three Apples" in 1001 Nights (The Arabian Nights). Related: Trope Namer.

If you make an entry here, expect some heavy challenges.


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    Anime & Manga 

  • David: Many scholars attribute to this sculpture the popular misconception of stone statues being pristine and white all along. While Michelangelo Buonarroti's David is like this, the ones that survived the Greco-Roman period were originally painted in bright colors and their actual state is a consequence of time fading them away.

    Comic Books 
  • Although you can trace the idea of a masked hero with a secret identity all the way through pulp fiction back to Victorian literature, George Brenner's The Clock, first seen in Funny Pages #6 and Funny Picture Stories #1 (both published in 1936), was the first masked crimefighter in comics and introduced tropes like the secret identity and socially respectable alter ego, the crimefighting sidekick, and the use of gadgets by the heroes to the medium. To date the character only appears in references, and has fallen into the public domain.
  • The Justice Society of America was the very first Super Team to ever exist.
  • Hellblazer — Created and introduced many Urban Fantasy tropes such as Post-Modern Magik and Blue-Collar Warlock. Also started characters being Exiled from Continuity, with the protagonist John Constantine as Ur-Example.
  • The Crisis Crossover as we know it was invented by Marvel Comics' Secret Wars (1984) where most of Marvel's A-list heroes and villains fought each other on a cosmic Patchwork World with high-stakes for everyone involved.
  • Galactus is often credited as the first straight example of the Planet Eater trope, he's the image that many defer to when this trope comes up even today.
  • Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner qualifies as a Trope Maker of the Captain Fishman trope, having been originally written as a superhero before being made out as more of an Anti-Hero. He's the half-human, half-Atlantean and mutant son of the Queen of Atlantis, having been raised to be its ruler. This usually pits him against humanity, whom he sees as an existential threat to his underwater kingdom, though he isn't above working alongside heroes like the Fantastic Four.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Various legends and folktales from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries about Countess Elizabeth Bathory provide the origins the Blood Bath myth for rejuvenating beauty and youth.


    Live-Action TV 

  • Bill Monroe created bluegrass.
  • Ougenweide created Medieval Rock/Metal music by combining medieval texts and melodies with modern Rock and Hard Rock.
  • The Beatles, with almost every subgenre of rock music after them. Musicologically speaking, in this day and age, to say a certain rock band is "Beatles-like" is redundant.
  • The Who directly created Punk Rock, and also innovated in hard rock. Along with Led Zeppelin, made heavier rock and metal as we know it.
    • Despite there being one before it (by the same group, no less), Tommy by The Who is the first Rock Opera. (Well, okay, The Who had done two other things before which you might call rock operas - "A Quick One, While He's Away", "Rael" - but the former was a track long and the latter two tracks so neither counts.)
    • Additionally, The Who+The Beatles and/or The Byrds=Power Pop. Pete Townshend was even the person who originally coined the term "power pop", and first used it to describe what their single "Pictures of Lily" sounded like to a journalist for the NME.
  • The Yardbirds are practically a who's-who of blues-rock guitarists (at different times, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page numbered amongst their members). They popularized riff-driven songs and pioneered the use of fuzz, distortion, feedback and innovative recording techniques. And evolved into...
  • Led Zeppelin, who created heavy metal, along with Heavy Mithril, and Viking Metal.
    • Before the first major Yardbirds hit and long before Zeppelin, Jimmy Page contributed guitar to a song by Françoise Hardy called "Je N'attends Plus Personne" which featured an extremely fuzzy tone and a blistering solo.
    • Blue Cheer really need to get the credit for creating heavy metal the way the early bands played it. Their influence was heavily evident in the most popular of the early metal bands, Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, and Iron Butterfly. That influence extended through Motörhead and Venom.
  • Credit Prog Rock to King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Procol Harum and The Moody Blues.
  • Kraftwerk, the first band to really experiment with electronic music. You might even say they were the first "new-wave" music group.
    • Prior to this, electronic instruments were used in neo-classical compositions. The first all-electronic composition was recorded in the late 1930s.
  • New Order practically invented Alternative Dance with singles like "Temptation" and most famously "Blue Monday".
  • Black Sabbath, the first band to use detuned guitar in a metal context, although they are more of the trope codifiers, because they took disparate elements (dark lyrical themes, riff and guitar-driven music, heavy distortion, drug abuse, and tough attitude) and put them together to create what's known today as "heavy metal".
  • Iron Maiden and Judas Priest first blended hard rock with heavy metal.
  • Pink Floyd established progressive rock as psychedelic.
  • Ichiro Mizuki is widely credited as the maker and/or codifier of the animusic genre. There's a reason he was known as The Emperor of Anime Songs and referred to as "Aniki"/"Big Brother" by not just his fans, but just about everyone in the entire Japanese entertainment industry.
  • X Japan is arguably the creator of Visual Kei (or at least, the first band to collect all of its elements into one band concept and name it a name similar to "Visual Kei")
  • The trope makers for Death Metal are Possessed's Seven Churches and Death's Scream Bloody Gore. While other bands like Celtic Frost and Bulldozer had similar sounds, the former two were the first bands to really solidify the genre as a distict form of music sepaparte from Thrash Metal and Black Metal.
  • For First-Wave Black Metal, the trope maker is generally considered to either be Venom or, if Venom considered to be Thrash Metal rather than black metal, Hellhammer. For the Second Wave, The trope makers are generally cited as being Mayhem and Sarcofago.
  • Napalm Death is the trope maker for Grindcore, combining elements of Hardcore Punk bands like Siege and Discharge, Death Metal/Black Metal/Thrash Metal bands like Celtic Frost and Repulsion, and Noise Rock/Post-Punk bands like Swans and Killing Joke into one ugly, misshapen whole.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven was the world's first Romantic composer. And Debussy defines the Modern movement that followed the Romantic.
  • While the biggest influences on Stoner Metal had been around for a while before the genre itself formed, Kyuss and Sleep were the first bands to actually make music in that style.
  • Even though there were some innovative music videos before they came along, Russell Mulcahy and the directing team of Godley and Creme (former bandmates in 10cc) were the Trope Makers as far as creative, groundbreaking music videos go. Back when even Michael Jackson was just doing in-studio "performance" videos, Mulcahy was shooting filmic videos on location and Godley and Creme were using innovative visual effects and creating whole stories for their videos that put the focus away from straightforward performance videos.
  • The Stooges are the Trope Makers when it comes to punk rock. While there may have been other artists before who laid the groundwork for punk, they were among the first to put all the pieces together and perform what could reliably be considered punk rock.
  • R.E.M. essentially created the Alternative Rock genre with their debut single, the original "Radio Free Europe." As noted in one biography, the single "...marked the point in time where post-punk turned into alternative rock."
  • On a more limited level The Velvet Underground more or less invented the Obligatory Bondage Song with "Venus in Furs" (on their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico).
  • Yellow Magic Orchestra was the first Synth-Pop band. While Kraftwerk was the first to do live performances of electronic music, YMO was the first to do it without playing up the instruments' novelty.
  • Lïkë Ümläüts? Thänk Blue Öyster Cult.
  • Queensrÿche, Fates Warning and Dream Theater are generally considered to be the first three Progressive Metal bands.
  • The entire oeuvre of Shoe Gazing was essentially a bunch of bands trying to sound like My Bloody Valentine's first album. A significant fraction of modern indie rock is bands trying to sound like their second.
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain created and codified Noise Pop with their debut album Psychocandy.
  • Blur are regularly cited as the creators of Britpop.
  • Skream popularized dubstep with what is believed to be the first proper dubstep song called midnight request line
  • Metallica's "Kill 'em All" (specifically "Hit the Lights" the first recorded song from the album, released for the compilation album "Metal Massacre" in 1982) is usually cited as Thrash Metal's Trope Maker, but some give that honor to Venom's "Welcome to Hell," and dub Metallica the Trope Codifier.
  • The Age of Love's self-titled (and only) single is widely considered the first true trance song.
  • Steve Roden is the almighty pioneer of the lowercase genre in which he took Ambient and Minimalism and pumped them up, Ironically. His album Forms of Paper was 50 sheers minutes of silence and ambient noises that he amplified using digital equipment.
  • Ministry was the trope maker of Industrial Metal.
  • Cher's "Believe" was the first mainstream song to utilize Auto-Tune for the "plastic" distortion effect.
  • Gang of Four were the first Dance-Punk band, combining Punk Rock with Funk and Dub rhythms.
  • Florida Georgia Line, particularly their debut smash "Cruise", are both makers and codifiers of "bro-country", the wave of rock-influenced, party-themed Country Music in The New '10s. In fact, the term "bro-country" was coined in an article about the duo.
  • Post-Rock was invented more or less simultaneously in 1991 by both Talk Talk and Slint.
  • Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys is the trope maker for Baroque Pop.
  • Hardcore Punk is considered to have begun with Wire's "12 X U".
  • BABYMETAL created the "kawaii metal" subgenre in Japan by blending Heavy Metal with J-Pop.
  • The Bauhaus song "Bela Lugosi's Dead" is usually credited for launching the Goth Rock genre.
  • Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were the trope makers for PoliticalRap with tracks like "The Message" and "White Lines."
  • Back when the majority of Christian music was stodgy old hymns and religious folks saw rock music as downright evil (or at least wouldn't admit in public to liking it), along came Petra with a rock sound and Christian lyrics.
  • Kanye West is responsible for quite a few of these. He invented Chipmunk Soul in the late 90s by speeding up and digitally altering vocal samples, and his 2008 album 808s and Heartbreak invented the genre of Alternative R&B.

    Newspaper Comics 


    Professional Wrestling 
  • George Hackenschmidt is the Trope Maker for World Heavyweight Champion in pro wrestling. Josie Wahlford is the Ur-Example, as far as we know but Hackenschmidt's tour of several countries, beating the best of their champions he could find, is the model that was followed by Lou Thesz in the NWA later. The trope namer for women would be Cora Livingston, who followed the Hackenschmitd model and was a much better and more famous wrestler than Wahlford. Wahlford wasn't actually accepted around the world as a champion of wrestling and was more successful internationally in weightlifting competitions.
  • The industry itself regarding tag teams. Jack Pferer is commonly credited if individuals are needed. This is significant because Pferer is otherwise a name usually brought up by people who want to talk about how much they despised him for his outlaw mudshows, among other things.
  • EMLL founder Salvador Lutteroth is called "The Father Of Lucha Libre". While pro wrestling had existed in Mexico before, it was something done by foreigners coming in on tour akin to a circus. He and his luchadors also established several tropes that became synonymous the Mexican scene. He got the idea for masks and secret identities from the Masked Marvel but El Santo is where the masked luchador culture, and to a lesser extent, the high risk moves associated with it, come from.
  • Lou Thesz played a large part in creating pro wrestling as its known in the United States, especially when it comes to "wrestling moves", the German suplex, Power bomb, STF and Thesz press being among his innovations.
  • Rikidozan is called the father of Puroresu. Outside of a handful of dedicated clubs, "pro wrestling" was a side show act in Japan for things like concerts at best. The JWA was the nation's first true promotion.
  • Gorgeous George was not the first pro wrestler to use Ambiguously Gay for a gimmick but was so outrageous for his time that his name is lent to a recurring gimmick.
  • The Hawaiian Territory Tag Team of Professor Tanaka and Mr. Fuji inspired two different lines of "Asian" heels. Tanaka for his overwhelming power, ruthlessness and tendency to throw "salt" into the eyes of his opponents when these were not enough to win, Fuji for his sneakiness, creepiness and use of 'boring' tactics like nerve pinches. Even non Asians like The Midnight Express and Savio Vega would take up the tactics of Tanaka and Fuji, respectively.
  • EMLL is also the trope maker in regards to mini estrellas. "Midget wrestling" had been around for decades and teenagers(and preteens) getting in the ring before growths spurts was as old as pro wrestling itself but it wasn't until the 1990s when Antonio Peña came up with the idea to make divisions for people below certain heightsnote  regardless of the reason they were short. EMLL also popularized having multiple versions of the same gimmick on wrestlers of different sizes. Mostly because of Mascarita Sagrada, whose popularity at least equals movie star Mascara Sagrada's.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Kriegspiel was the first war game, created by a German nobleman to train his generals in military strategy. The name means "wargame."
  • Dungeons & Dragons — The first pen-and-paper role-playing game put into publication and would countinue to define and set standards for the entire industry. As technology marched on it would influence digital firsts such as Ultima and Rogue, thus responsible for the entire computer and console RPG genre.
    • Dungeons & Dragons was also responsible for Record of Lodoss War. Everything that series has contributed (such as long anime elf ears) might not have been imagined without it. The creator of Record of Lodoss War (Ryo Mizuno), did for Japan what Gary Gygax did for the West and published Sword World: the most popular Japanese Tabletop Game ever. The implications are massive, since Sword World is said to be the inspiration for later anime, manga, light novels, video games... in addition to the continued success of the current Japanese Tabletop Game market.
  • Call of Cthulhu was the first major horror RPG, and is the acknowledged Trope Maker of the Sanity Meter, a variation of which can be found in almost all horror RPGs that followed it (e.g. Humanity in Vampire: The Masquerade, the Madness Meters of Unknown Armies, etc, etc). As with Dungeons & Dragons, this aspect is often copied in video games as well as tabletops.
  • Although comedic elements often appeared in earlier games, Paranoia was the first RPG that was all comedy.
  • The first pen-and-paper role-playing game where players created characters by allocating a fixed budget of points, rather than rolling dice, was Superhero 2044. It provided few rules for how points were to be spent, but a fan supplement directly inspired Tabletop Game/Champions and through it a lot of other games.
  • It's a rare collectible card game that owes nothing at all to Magic: The Gathering. It could be argued that there's no such thing, since Richard Garfield essentially invented (and patented!) the idea of a game with collectible pieces.

  • The College Widow (1904): College Widow, circa the XI Xth century, doesn't necessarily refer to a widowed woman so much as an unmarried female living in or near the campus of a male-only institution who would date the students. This expression is what inspired the play's plot. The Protagonist is the daughter of one of the professors and is very sought-after by the male population, though she only romances one of them under the orders of her father.
  • Jacopo Peri's Dafne (now lost) and Euridice sought to revive Greek theater, in which music played an equally important role in the drama. Although they failed in this regard, they created the notion of a "drama set within music"; inventing opera and all other musical theater. Seven years later, the Trope Codifier appeared: Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo, based on the same myth as Peri's Euridice.
  • William Shakespeare — See The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples, Shout-Out to Shakespeare.

    Video Games 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Trope Maker, Trope Creator


Fake Shemp

The trope maker. When Shemp Howard died in 1955, the Three Stooges still owed Columbia four short films under their current contract. Along with much stock footage, the remaining four shorts were completed using Stooge regular Joe Palma as a stand-in for Shemp.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / FakeShemp

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