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Spiritual Antithesis / Comic Books

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  • 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.
  • Not uncommon for Batman:
  • 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.
  • Infinite Crisis villain Superboy Prime has one in the titular protagonist of The Unbelievable Gwenpool. Both share origin stories of being teenage fans of superhero comics from our world who enters their favorite Universe and gets superpowers, only to be disappointed that things do not work out as they imagined. The difference lies on how they react and what kinds of fans they represent. Prime represents lifelong fans who become bitter with how much The DCU has changed. He wants to brutally force it back to the way it once was and as he goes along, he stops caring how many he kills since he doesn't consider them real anyway. On the other hand, Gwen represents news fans who are aware of the Marvel Universe's many problems and love the franchise despite them. While she starts thinking she can do whatever she wants since none of it is real, she is quickly humbled and comes to care for others like real people. Prime embraces villainy as a alternative of being forgotten, while a Face–Heel Turn is the only things that terrifies Gwen more than Comic-Book Limbo. Finally, Prime was a huge fan of Superman before coming to hate him, while Gwen named herself after Deadpool Just for Pun and doesn't event read his comics.
  • While they share the same modus operandi of supergenius using Powered Armor, Ironheart is this to Iron Man. Tony was raised in privilege as a son of a billionaire, but stranded relationship with his father lead him to become a cold businessman and a playboy, wasting his genius until events that lead to him becoming Iron Man opened his eyes on the harm he has caused and turned him into The Atoner. Since then he's been laser-focused on his goal of making Earth a better place but is also dealing with the guilt that makes it that, while he makes friends easily, he rarely lets anyone really close and tend to push those who did away. Riri tends to be better with technology than people so she is hard to approach initially, but fiercely loyal to people who manage to do so anyway. Her isolation makes her blame herself for not developing better relationships with people she already lost, especially her caring stepfather, motivating her to become a hero and make a world a better place - an act that opens her so many opportunities she gets overwhelmed as any teenager would and often finds herself unable to commit to just one goal.
  • 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.
      • Aquaman in turn is this to Namor - he takes the basic idea and cuts out lingering similarities to Superman like flying, but portrays the main character as purely heroic. In fact, when Namor was known for his Heel–Face Revolving Door attitude even back then, as often fighting the Axis forces as the Allies, the first thing we see Aquaman do is to attack a Nazi ship to leave no doubt whose side he is on.
    • Another Golden Age antithesis to Superman is Captain America. Both are red and blue-wearing superheroes with idealistic attitudes of America who grew up in poverty and grew up to serve as the traditional Big Goods of their respective universes. In addition, both heroes' ArchEnemies are bald villains who seek to Take Over the World (Lex Luthor for Supes, Red Skull for Cap). However, one interesting contrast is how they embody opposite sides of the Nature vs. Nurture debate: whereas Superman is an extraterrestrial whose abilities were innate and manifested themselves when he arrived on Earth (i.e., Nature), Captain America was born an ordinary human who, as an adult, was given a Super Serum by the U.S. military that enhanced his peak abilities (i.e., Nurture). In addition, Superman has traditionally no need for physical weapons, instead using his aforementioned Kryptonian powers, while Captain America's Weapon of Choice is his trademark shield. While Superman is an alien who often feels alone on Earth as the Last of His Kind, Captain America sometimes feels out of his time, being a World War II veteran in modern society. Superman's Archenemy Lex Luthor is often portrayed as an American capitalist who uses his wealth and influence, while Captain America's Archenemy the Red Skull is a literal Nazi reviled by all but like-minded individuals.
    • 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.
    • The X-Men can also serve as an antithesis to Superman. To wit, both properties are about specimens of superpowered races whose abilities manifested themselves during puberty and how the use of their powers affect their relationships with ordinary humans. However, the executions of this core premise heavily diverge from there. Superman is traditionally depicted as being well-respected by humanity (with some notable exceptions), while the X-Men are hated and feared by humanity because of their abilities. Superman is often depicted as the Last of His Kind of an alien species on Earth, while the X-Men are Mutants, an Earth-born species who protect their kind from extinction.
    • 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. Both of them are also raised by elderly guardians (Pa and Ma Kent & Uncle Ben and Aunt May) due to their biological parents being deceased. Both have their father figure often die to teach them a lesson about their powers, for Superman Pa's death teaches that even he can't save everyone, and for Spider-Man, Uncle Ben teaches that with great power Comes Great Responsibility. 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. Finally both often play the role of The Heart of their respective universes, but Superman usually benefits from being seen as the Big Good and having a 100% Adoration Rating from the general public while Spider-Man typically is the Hero with Bad Publicity.

  • 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 the 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.
    • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Tom Strong are both Genre Throwbacks to old Pulp Magazine stories, but League is a Deconstruction Crossover that makes heavy use of Public Domain Characters and features lots of sex and violence while Strong is more of a loving Homage and Reconstruction that mainly stars original characters and is on the whole much more Lighter and Softer than the former.
    • After some Creator Backlash following Watchmen, Moore wrote 1963 as a Reconstruction of the superhero archetypes from Watchmen, especially contrasting them with the Tomorrow Syndicate: Rorschach is a paranoid, rude nutjob, while the N-Man is, if still thick-skinned and conservative, friendly enough to work on a team. The Hypernaut is, much like Ozymandias, an erudite transhumanist with a genetically modified pet (he even uses the same array of screens to maximize content absorbion as Ozzy), but lacks Adrian Veidt's Anti-Villain tendencies. Infra-Man and his wife Infra-Girl mirror Night Owl and Silk Specter, a geeky scientist and a flirty, beautiful woman, who are, unlike their Watchmen counterparts, completely satisfied with their lives. Horus is a Doctor Manhattan analog: Immensely powerful and focused on inevitable death...except he's willing to avoid destruction at all costs. And the USA is, even in appearance, similar to the Comedian: An aging patriotic secret agent and war veteran who works closely with the president. But USA isn't an Anti-Hero at all - as you can tell from how the JFK assassination plays out in both books - The Comedian is implied to have pulled the trigger, while the USA saves JFK by using his bulletproof body as a decoy.
  • All-New Wolverine is this to previous X-23 and Wolverine stories with Laura doing everything she can to both overcome her own past and issues stemming from it and avoid pitfalls Logan often stumbles on, like his tendency to be a deadbeat parent. Enemy of the State II and Old Woman Laura in particular are the exact opposite of Mark Millar stories Enemy of the State and Old Man Logan.
    • In turn, the book has an antithesis in a series that was running at the same time, Totally Awesome Hulk, which is about another character from the Turn of the Millennium becoming Affirmative Action Legacy to a classic Marvel Anti-Hero, determined to not repeat his predecessor's mistakes. Except here Amadeus insistence to be better Hulk than Bruce Banner is portrayed as naivety and hubris and, especially as book changes titles to back to Incredible Hulk he fails, spectacularly.
  • The creators of Cerebus and Bone got into an infamous feud during the books' runs. It makes sense, then, that their books can be considered antithesis to each other - both are black and white fantasy stories, incredibly long-running, and feature a title character that'd belong in a much more lighthearted book. However, Bone is a wholesome comic, with the hero being a goofy, kind-hearted guy and his world a classic High Fantasy culture, while Cerebus features a Sociopathic Hero in a violent dystopia full of corruption, and is known for its descent into seriousness.
  • 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.
  • Deathstroke (Rebirth) is this to Christopher Priest's earlier work on Black Panther. They both focus on a Magnificent Bastard type of character. Except when Panther was more about the "Magnificent" part, Deathstroke is more about the "Bastard". T'Challa is always the smartest person in the room and also the noblest. Slade is always the smartest person in the room...and also the vilest.
  • DCeased is this to both Marvel Zombies and to Injustice: Gods Among Us
    • Just as Marvel Zombies it is an Expendable Alternate Universe story of superheroes dealing with a Zombie Apocalypse. But instead of being a Black Comedy where zombifications make people amoral cannibals but let them retain their intelligence like Marvel Zombies, it plays off more like a traditional zombie story, with mindless hordes of undead and things being played for drama, not laughs.
    • When compared to Injustice it has a tendency to give heroic roles to characters who are evil or dead in that story, like Superman or Damian Wayne, while quickly killing of those who were crucial for Injustice storyline including Joker, Catwoman and even Batman himself.
  • Garth Ennis wrote Preacher as an episodic story with a theme that despite all the ridiculousness and horribleness the book showcases America and its people have good in them and villains who in the end all bring their own downfall by either incompetence or by creating monsters they cannot truly control. The Boys on the other hand has a larger ongoing intrigue and shows America as deeply rotten, with very few actually good people in it on top of all the ridiculousness and horribleness, while the villains are still incompetent and creating monsters they cannot truly control, but are also too big to fall. To put it simply, Preacher is written by Ennis who, for all his trademark cynicism, still believes in American Dream, while The Boys is written by Ennis who no longer does.
  • 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 The DCU 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 the threat of an immensely powerful Canon Immigrant who tries to force the 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.
  • Robert Kirkman's two most well-known and acclaimed creator-owned works are Invincible and The Walking Dead, both stand in stark contrast to each other outside the use of Gorn. Invincible is a colorful, Lighter and Softer story about larger-than-life superheroes, and served to be a Reconstruction of the superhero genre for Image Comics (in the past known for Dark Age excess). The Walking Dead is a grim, Darker and Edgier tale set After the End, and tells its story of a Zombie Apocalypse with unnerving realism, which served to break Image away from being exclusively about superheroes. Notably, this contrast is highlighted by color scheme. While the former is very bright and vibrant, as befitting of American superheroes, the latter is entirely in black and white, reflecting the nature of the story.
  • The entire body of work of Jack Kirby could be seen as one to works of H. P. Lovecraft. As Ben Rowe put it, they both tackled the concept of humanity being small in a vast Universe beyond our ability to understand it. The difference is that when for Lovecraft it was a Nightmare Fuel, Kirby saw it a delight.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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 has Allan Heinberg's Young Avengers. In the '00s (2003 and 2005 respectively) the two of them were introduced as Marvel's primary teenage super teams, in 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, being acclaimed and award-winning comics with large followings to this day. While both teams consist of young heroes that combines Fantasy Kitchen Sink origins in one setting, they also greatly diverge in terms of execution. The Runaways are from Los Angeles, away from much of the superhero action, and are not a traditional superhero team, as they don't have costumes or codenames, and they openly mock superhero tropes commonly associated with the genre, nor do they think of themselves as superheroes. They also always have more female members than male, another inversion of the norm. In contrast, the Young Avengers are from New York City, the core of the superhero culture, and are very much a traditional superhero team that are more in line with the Teen Titans, complete with costumes, codenames, and they embrace superhero traditions up to the point of considering themselves as superheroes. Fittingly, they always have more male members than female, adhering to Two Girls to a Team. Going further, the Runaways each have evil parents that led to them becoming heroes by force, while the Young Avengers all take on heroic legacies. Lastly, the Runaways (being the non-traditional team) aren't really active as part of the superhero community outside of company-wide crossovers that happen to get to them, and the Young Avengers (being the traditional one) are much more involved in the universe as a whole. Ironically, the two titles are known for their Friendly Fandoms.
  • Saladin Ahmed admitted that his runs on Miles Morales: Spider-Man and The Magnificent Ms. Marvel are this both to his predecessors' runs on the characters and each other. Miles under Brian Bendis constantly had to deal with high stakes but at the consequence of his supporting cast and corner of the world remaining underdeveloped. Under G. Willow Wilson Kamala was allowed room for character development of her and her supporting cast as well as a lot of worldbuilding but stakes most of the time were pretty low. So with Miles Ahmed wants to focus on the supporting cast and worldbuilding while for Kamala he is raising the stakes.
  • 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 then examine the positive aspects of it (as opposed to bringing strong focus on the negative) and puts it back together.
  • DC's Suicide Squad has Marvel's Thunderbolts. The former is about incarcerated criminals being forced into black ops missions for reduced sentences, the latter is about ex-supervillains willingly trying to go legit and do good as a means to redeem themselves as heroes. Both take darker views, a given when the stories star villains, but the former is decidedly more jaded than the latter.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Marvel Noir and Marvel 1602 can be considered this to Marvel 2099, Marvel 1602 especially. Marvel 2099 thrust the heroes of the Marvel universe into the far future, treated the present-day stories as canonical and important to the overarching metanarrative, and had a cyberpunk motif and themes. The Noir and 1602 Verses are both set in a distant past (around Prohibition era and the age of exploration, respectively). They have more of a Steampunk (or perhaps noir) feel to them, and don't treat the current-day stories as canon (except in the case of 1602... it's complicated.) Marvel Noir shares 2099's pessimistic atmosphere, but unlike it, doesn't have the heroes sharing a single, cohesive world, whereas Marvel 1602 is set in a single 'verse and is much more optimistic.
  • 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 the 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.
      • Nextwave in turns is this to both Stormwatch and Planetary. It's a comedy where a secret super-team of losers with few screws loose finds out the secret organization they work for is run by people even crazier and dumber and also corrupt and needs to stop their ridiculous creations from making the world even dumber than it already is. If Stormwatch said the world is cruel and Planetary that it's beautiful, Nextwave said the world is insane.
    • 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.
  • The concept of Brian K. Vaughan's Saga is Star Wars told from the point of view of civilians trying to avoid the war rather than heroes or villains fighting in it.
  • All-Star Superman is one to All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder in a sense. One is hopeful and idealistic, the other is dark and cynical. One has a hero who treats everyone with respect or, at worst, disappointment; the other's treats everyone as inferior and always tries to intimidate. One regrets treating his sidekick cruelly (while he was being affected by something inverting his personality), the other has no qualms about abusing a child (while he's completely himself). One sticks to a character's singular mythos; the other brings in the rest of the DC Universe. One is at the end of the character's life; the other is shortly after the start of its protagonist's career. Both also act as prequels to their respective writers' self-created continuities. And on a meta level: One series is iconic and beloved; the other is iconic for all the wrong reasons. It becomes blatantly obvious in each series's Signature Scenes; the latter's is the "hero" verbally abusing a child, while the former's is the hero saving a suicidal teenager.


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