Captain Ersatz

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search

I'm not Sonic! I'm my original character, Blonic!
And I'm not Tails. I'm my original character, Blails!
People really need to get their facts straight.

The character equivalent of a Bland-Name Product.

This character's design is a mix of legal issues and homage. Just as someone who wants to incorporate a Wal-Mart into a story but can't manage the Product Placement might use "Box Mart," a person who wants to write Captain Original, but can't because a rival comic company owns the trademark, will create Captain Ersatz. Sometimes, these characters are used as affectionate Shout-Outs to a series or creator that may have inspired them. At other times, they are used as parodies or Take Thats against the original characters they're based on (and possibly the company who owns them).

Done when an artist or writer wants to use a character but for whatever reason isn't allowed to at the present time, especially due to uncertainty of ownership, or else certainty that that character is trademarked into someone else's continuity and isn't going to be loaned out.

This character tends to evolve into their own direction if they make later appearances.

Captain Ersatzes are somewhat rare in American parody, as their copyright law allows use of the original characters in parody. They also (usually) aren't found in Fanfic: that Sailor Earth is a Copy Cat Sue (and they can just outright use a Crossover). Sometimes multiple characters will be distilled into one, creating a Composite Character. The same doesn't hold true for Anime & Manga parodies though, which often resort to Captain Ersatzes when the parody character is more than a background cameo.

Contrast Writing Around Trademarks, where the similarity was unplanned and unwanted; Expy, where a character is very similar to but not obviously supposed to be another character, and Suspiciously Similar Substitute, who replaces an existing original in the same continuity.

May be a result of having someone Exiled From Continuity, though it has to be a formal exile. If this happens enough, it can result in an extremely obvious variation of a Fountain of Expies.

The Trope name comes from the German word for "replacement".

Compare Alternate Company Equivalent, Lawyer-Friendly Cameo, and Brand X. The Shotoclone is a particular application in Video Games. See also Counterpart Comparison and Expy, for characters who are similar to earlier characters, but aren't actually carbon copies, and the musical version, Suspiciously Similar Song. If the character represents a Real Life celebrity, see No Celebrities Were Harmed.

No relation to Captain Obvious, obviously.

Examples of Captain Ersatz include:

Advertising[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Ronald McDonald: The Washington D.C. version of Bozo The Clown, played by Willard Scott, was so popular public appearances would require police to direct traffic. After the show was cancelled, local franchise owners asked Scott to create a similar character to continue the promotion. Ronald McDonald was born.
    • The original incarnation of McDonaldLand was a blatant copy of the cast and setting of Sid and Marty Krofft Productions' 70s-era children's show H.R. Pufnstuf. The Kroffts (who had turned down an earlier request from McDonald's to license the Pufnstuf characters for advertising) sued and won, forcing McDonald's to not only pay damages, but to dramatically retool McDonaldLand.
  • The Bombadier, a Large Ham Napoleonic Wars soldier played by Rik Mayall in adverts for Bombadier Real Ale, is what Lord Flashheart would have been if he'd appeared in Blackadder the Third, except he says "Bang on!" rather than "Woof!" Mayall even uses the same voice.

Anime & Manga[edit | hide]

  • There's so many Rei Ayanami knockoffs, tropes sites had to make a trope out of it.
  • 500 Manga Creatures, a book that purported to provide manga clipart, might as well have been named "300 Manga Creatures Plus 200 Potential Lawsuits from Game Freak" thanks to its inclusion of somewhat obvious examples of this trope applied to the Pokémon franchise. Kyogre, Dratini, Dragonair, Zapdos, Shuckle, Metang, Metagross, Shroomish, Swablu, and Bagon are just the most blatantly obvious ones.
    • Actually acknowledged in the book's description, where it claims that the characters include "Digimor (sic) and Pokémon-style creatures", among others.
  • Angel Beats! has Yuri, who looks like a color swapped Haruhi from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, only with straight bangs. She leads a group of students with a similar name to the group of students that Haruhi leads (SSS vs SOS) and even acts somewhat like her. Their backgrounds and goals are different, but their characters are pretty much the same otherwise. At least, initially.
  • Angel Blade H-series has a few characters that may be pretty familiar to some people, but the most-definitely-not-Kekko Kamen heroine is the most obvious example. Justified since AB is basically a parody of Kekko Kamen.
    • At least two characters are CEs of Mai Shiranui (the director apparently includes one in every project he works on as a Shout-Out, two more are basically the lead females of Gowcaizer renamed, and one more is Mizuki from Gravion given the same treatment.
  • Bleach has one of the most famous Captain Ersatz, Orihime Inoue: Ushio and Tora's Mayuko is probably her long-lost twin sister. Shy and naive behaviour? Check. Second female lead? Check. Amazing supernatural barrier-creating and healing powers? Check. They even share the same freaking surname.
  • Clannad 's Fujibayashi sisters and Lucky Star 's Hiiragi sisters. Both pairs are twins, both have purple hair, the elder twin is a Tsundere, the younger twin is quiet and reserved, they sport Tsurime and Tareme respectively, both twins' hairstyles resemble their Ersatz counterpart's... Seriously.
    • There is one notable difference between these two pairs of twins when it comes to Feminine Women Can Cook: The Hiiragi twins play it straight. Tsukasa is a very good chef and is among the only things where her Dojikko tendencies do not show, and Konata often teases Kagami about her cooking. However, the |Fujibayashi sisters Invert this concept. Ryou's cooking, although it looks good, makes Botan faint in disgust while Kyou's food is great to the point where Tomoya is honest about how good it is.
  • Darker than Black has Amber who bears a suspicious similarity to C.C., and November 11 is basically blond, ice-wielding James Bond.
  • Keroro Gunsou has, among others, Baio and Ouka Nishizawa, whose younger selves are heavily based on Ryu and Chun-Li from Street Fighter, although in the present their lives are radically different.
    • Other examples Eddy Honda, one of Ouka's opponents in her street fighting days, to Edmond Honda from Street Fighter II; a monster called "Ningen", with appearance and background nearly identical to Adam from Neon Genesis Evangelion and an unnamed alien judge who looked identical to the judge from Phoenix Wright, save for green skin and an antenna on his forehead.
  • Gintama featured a large number of Captain Ersatzes throughout the series, most used for short parody scenes, like the intergalactic emperor Breeza, obviously a parody of Freeza from Dragon Ball or the old man from the lake, the spirit of Gintoki's sword, who looked pretty much like a red version of the human form of the sword of Bleach's protagonist, Ichigo.
  • Kino's Journey's "coliseum" episode. In that story, Kino fights knockoffs of the Batman, Clint Eastwood and Luke Skywalker.
  • Last Exile's creators admit that the character Alex Row was heavily based on Captain Harlock.
  • Princess Lover has Sylvia van Hossen, who is almost a complete clone of Saber of Fate/stay night. Even to the point where several fans thought it was her until she was named. The only difference between them seems to be their backstory and Sylvia's much bigger breasts.
  • So Ra No Wo To has been accused of this, what with most of the cast strongly resembling K-On!! characters, plus Rei/Nagato.
  • Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo has Takane, who is a carbon copy of Chikane from Kannazuki no Miko—except she is probably not lesbian, at least as far as we know.
    • Their names even rhyme, c'mon that's just too easy.
    • Not to mention the intensely over-dramatic AI Leopard, who is, of course, voiced by Jun Fukuyama.
  • Soul Eater has BlackStar who bears a striking resemblance to another loud mouthed, overly confident, ninja in orange who's quite poor at being one. However, as the manga's progressed Black☆Star has matured and developed into his own character.
    • If you compare the main cast to the one in Shaman King, you can see a lot of uncanny resemblances. For example, Black☆Star looks like Horo-Horo, Death the Kid looks like Tao Ren and Stein is just like Faust VIII.
  • Tenchi Muyo! GXP has Seiryo Tennan and Amane Kaunaq who are a Shout-Out to Tatewaki Kuno and Akane Tendo of Ranma ½, including the obsessive stalker-violent tomboy childhood "relationship" to one another.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has Daitokuji-sensei who looks like a cross between Hojo and Ling Yao.
  • The title character of Kurohime is a gender-flip of Dark Schneider.
  • In the obscure 1960's Batman manga, Go Go the Magician is Flash villain Weather Wizard, just with a different name. This is probably due to the fact that the artist had been given some Batman comics and been told to adapt them into a Japanese style - evidently one of the issues was Detective Comics #353, where Weather Wizard bedeviled Batman for a change. The reason for the name change is a little fuzzy, though. Maybe Weather Wizard's stylin' outfit gave the impression of him being one hip swinger, Clyde?
  • Since the distinction between copyright free monsters and Dungeons & Dragons originals would remain obscure to laymen for several more years, Bastard!!'s manga originally featured a Beholder. After getting complaints from TSR's Japanese division the comic's supervisor Mr. Suzuki profusely apologized. The monster was slightly altered with comical arms and legs and renamed the "Suzuki Dogezaemon" for the collected volume. Dogeza meaning "apologizing on hands and knees," the incident gained some entertaining notoriety.
    • Konami would reference this in their Castlevania games with their own mock-Beholder, the Dogether.
  • Early translations of Lupin III had to change the main character into an Ersatz because the original author had never asked permission to create a character based on Arsène Lupin. He would be called "Rupan" or "Wolf" or, in the French version, "Edgar of Burglary."
  • Lost Brain has Rei Hiyama, a top student, bored with the world who comes upon a power of some kind and uses it to control and kill people in order to create what he considers an Utopia, where his will is the law. Also ends up playing Xanatos Speed Chess against an opposing Chessmaster who is leading the effort to catch him. Very similar to Death Note's Light Yagami.
  • In Guilty Crown, there is an In-Universe example. Shu is similar to Gai, he wants to be, and Inori is similar to Mana, Shu's older sister gone mad. She even looks like her, and is an Artificial Human, and Mana will be reborn in her body.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • According to some accounts, Elongated Man was created because there were doubts as to whether DC Comics owned Plastic Man, despite ostensibly acquiring all of Quality Comics' (Plastic Man's original publisher) assets. Quality Comics characters' legal status was murky, however. Ironically, Plastic Man turned out to be one of the few Quality characters DC Comics actually owned outright. Artist and co-creator Carmine Infantino plausibly contradicts the above theory, however. He started as a one-off rival to The Flash, one who wasn't expected to be an important ongoing character. Infantino also says he wasn't consciously thinking of Plastic Man at the time, though "It must have been in the back of my mind. I loved Jack Cole's work, so it had to be in my mind, maybe instinctively."[1]
    • Justice League Unlimited Lampshades this when Elongated Man points out he's basically what Plastic Man would be if he was a detective.
    • Parodied further on Batman the Brave And The Bold, in which the two of them are incredibly competitive with each other, to the point that an argument over who Batman prefers as a partner causes the criminal they're chasing to almost get away. After cleaning up their mess, Bats settles the matter by saying "Actually, I prefer to work alone."
    • The difference does get pointed out by Ralph that Plas is the jokester ex-con. Elongated Man is the ex-police detective. Also, one's powers are inherent, while Ralph has to drink a special formula to gain his powers.
      • The alleged influence Plas had on Ralph's creation is lampshaded, with Plas calling Elongated Man a "D-list doppleganger".
  • Zauriel was created by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar as a stand-in for Hawkman, who had been retconned so badly that he was unusable.
    • Morrison made it a point to lampshade this so readers would get the point, too. The first time he sees Zauriel, Aquaman momentarily mistakes him for Hawkman. Later on, Superman invites him to join, saying, "there's always room in the Justice League for, well...a big guy with wings like you."
    • In Morrison's X-Men run, he introduces a character named Fantomex who is based on the classic pulp characters Fantomas and Diabolik.
  • The primary Watchmen cast are Captain Ersatzes of Charlton Comics characters:
    • Rorschach -> The Question
    • Dr. Manhattan -> Captain Atom
    • The Comedian -> Peacemaker
    • Nite Owl -> Blue Beetle
    • Ozymandias -> Thunderbolt
    • Silk Spectre -> Nightshade/Black Canary/Phantom Lady
    • For the Watchmen project Moore was initially commissioned to resurrect the original Charlton Comics characters, however, DC intended to continue the Charlton Comics characters and Moore's story was obviously not compatible with that plan, therefore, by mutual decision of the author and publisher, Captain Ersatzes replaced the original characters.
    • Before being changed to Charlton, the plan was to use the MLJ/Archie heroes that DC had rights to at the time. Thus, many of the earlier superheroes in Watchmen are Captain Ersatzes of MLJ/Archie heroes:
      • Mothman -> The Fly
      • Hooded Justice -> The Hangman
      • Captain Metropolis -> The Shield
      • Silhouette -> The Black Witch (a.k.a. Darkling)
      • Dollar Bill -> The Comet (one of the first superheroes to die)
      • Silk Spectre I -> Fly Girl
      • Nite Owl I -> The Black Hood (similar costumes)
      • The Comedian -> The Web (similar costumes, and The Web's domineering wife is reversed as an attempted rape)
    • James Comtois' play Colorful World in turn employs second generation Captain Ersatzes of the Watchmen characters: Overman, Ramses, Tigress, Johnny Patriot, Peacekeeper...
  • Marvel Comics' Deadpool (a.k.a. Wade Wilson) was originally a Captain Ersatz of DC Comics' Deathstroke the Terminator (a.k.a. Slade Wilson); Co-creator Rob Liefeld had previously worked with the original Deathstroke character during his term on the Teen Titans series. Deadpool quickly became a distinct character under the handling of various Marvel writers.
    • Later, at DC,long time Deadpool writer Joe Kelly paid tribute to this origin in Superman/Batman Annual #1, where the Earth-3 counterpart of Deathstroke appeared as a thinly-disguised version of Deadpool, who was always interrupted before he could finish telling people his name. The comic was also drawn by Ed McGuiness, who worked on Deadpool's solo series for a very long time, beginning with the very first issue.
    • When Liefeld was dismissed from the Heroes Reborn 'Captain America (comics)' series, he decided to use re-use the unpublished art as a reprise of Joe Simon's character Fighting American, but licensing delays lead to the interim creation of Agent America.
    • Liefeld also created Youngblood, a superhero team whose character lineup was based on the Teen Titans spin-off he proposed while working for DC Comics. Alan Moore then used the Judgment Day crossover event to transform Youngblood into a pastiche of the original Teen Titans in the same way as his Supreme pastiched Silver Age Superman.
    • Other Liefeld ersatzes include:
  • Mark Millar's Wanted. Originally it was a Legion of Doom Reboot and got shut down. So Mark Miller made it Darker and Edgier and changed the names. It's really obvious who most of the characters are supposed to be.
  • British Comics Example: Thirteen-year old nerdy orphan who lives with an aunt and uncle, Billy Farmer gets scratched by a radioactive leopard. He begins to gain powers like those of a big cat, speed, strength, agility, night vision and a 'Leopard Sense' that tingles in the presence of danger. He takes to wearing a leotard in leopard spots and crime fighting as Leopard Boy/Leopard Man/The Leopard from Lime Street (series title). Actually a very good Spider-Man rip-off with a British setting and nicely altered characters and powers.
  • Another British comics example: In the 50s, when British publisher L. Miller ran out of Captain Marvel stories to reprint, he commissioned Mick Anglo to create a similar superhero, Marvelman (known in America as Miracleman). Due to the exceptional quality of these stories (particularly Alan Moore's 1980s revival), Marvelman/Miracleman became a beloved character in his own right.
  • Still another British comics example: In Zenith: Phase III, Grant Morrison used thinly veiled versions of characters owned by Two Thousand AD's rival comic publishers. Those he could actually get the rights to just appeared as themselves.
  • The original Doctor Who comic strips didn't have the rights to the Daleks at first, so they used similar enemies called Trods. Eventually the company did get the rights to use the Daleks, so they took advantage of it by creating a storyline in which the Daleks EX-TER-MIN-ATE the Trods!
    • Marvel Comics also created eccentric time-traveler Professor Gamble and his enemies, the marauding robot army of Incinerators, Ersatzes (Ersatzii?) of Doctor Who's Doctor and the Daleks respectively, with Shout Outs galore. Rather odd, since Marvel UK published Doctor Who comics at the time, and the Doctor had already interacted with mainstream Marvel Universe characters.
    • And now Community has gotten in on it with Inspector Spacetime, complete with a time & space travelling red telephone booth, a similar theme song and the Dalek knock-offs, the "Blorgons", who shout "ERADICATE!"
  • Nearly all the (non-series-star) characters in Planetary were created as Captains Ersatz of some existing character or trope, simply so the Planetary team could interact with visitors from many continuities.
  • Superman has Captain Marvel (now an inhabitant of the same comics universe), Hyperion (Marvel), Mister Majestic (who has actually met Superman and briefly replaced him), and Supreme. In the MMORPG City of Heroes, Statesman occupies this role. Tabletop RPG versions include The Sentinel (Silver Age Sentinels), Protonik (Mutants & Masterminds, 1e) and the Centurion (M&M 2e).
    • Also the Samaritan from Astro City.
    • The most recent Superman Captain Ersatz would probably be The Sentry, who is a damn near blatant "Marvelization" of Superman.
    • Statesman actually gets double points for being basically a Fusion of Superman and Captain America (comics). With a little Captain Marvel thrown in for backstory.
    • Then there is Plutonian (Tony) from Irredeemable who is an obvious Ersatz, yet is also a complex and divergent character in his own right. Of course, Mark Waid.
      • Hornet from the same comics is an Ersatz of Batman.
    • There is also Alpha One from The Mighty who has all of Superman's powers. He even has a secret headquarters.
    • Milestone Comics' Icon is also something of a What If Superman ("What if Superman's rocket crashed in the Deep South circa 1840... and he was black?")
    • Gold Digger (Comic Book)'s Miracle, now Agent M, is described by one character as "movin' faster than bullets ... stoppin' trains ... and leapin' sky-scrapers in one hop...."
  • The entirety of Big Bang Comics is like this, being a pastiche of Golden Age and Silver Age comics from... well, mainly DC. So read about the adventures of Ultiman (Superman), the Knight Watchman and Kid Galahad (Batman and Robin), the Blitz (The Flash), the Beacon (Green Lantern), the Atomic Sub (Aquaman), etc. This is lampshaded in DC's Final Crisis, where Ultiman is seen as a member of the team of cross-dimensional Supermen.
    • In fact, the entire Big Bang universe is super meta based on the real-life history of the characters emulated in the comics. Knight Watchman was created by two guys but only one gets any real credit or makes money off him, he had a well-received and influential cartoon in the 90s, etc.
    • Interestingly, Mary Marvel counterpart Thunder Girl isn't part of a larger superhero "family" like the character who inspired her. On the other hand, a team of villains who oppose her actually resemble the original Marvel family much more, but combine elements of Captain Marvel Jr. archenemy Captain Nazi by making them... well, guess. They also used Mighty Man (mentioned below in the Supreme entry) in the first issue published by Image as a more straight Captain Marvel counterpart.
    • By a similar token, the Atomic Sub bears little actual resemblance to Aquaman as a character, being an aged scientist transplanted into a humanlike robot body, Robotman style. His archvillain the Subhuman is a more typical "prince of Atlantis" type.
    • Interestingly, one issue featured the Knight Watchman working alongside a Silver Age version of Shadow Hawk - essentially Batman teaming up with Batman.
  • Hack Slash has sometimes included flashback panels of old enemies who haven't appeared in the actual comic yet, many of whom are very recognisable. The slasher "X-O", who makes a more substantial appearance, is very clearly a hybrid of Pinhead and Mr. Zsasz. Also, the "Wunderkind" superhero comic that exists within the story is clearly a stand-in for Captain Marvel, probably fictionalised because of the unflattering depiction of its fans.
  • In Astro City, virtually all of the characters—hero, villain, or otherwise—are directly based on more established comic book characters. Of particular note are the Samaritan (Superman), Winged Victory (Wonder Woman), and the First Family (the Fantastic Four). Batman has analogues in the Confessor (brooding night vigilante with a young sidekick) and Leopardman (animal theme, and mentioned as having been suspected to be Anders Van Rupert, a millionaire with a butler). The Lamplighter is probably meant to be reminiscent of Green Lantern, but he's only really been referred to and never actually seen.
  • John Constantine has a Captain Ersatz, Willoughby Kipling, who appeared in the Doom Patrol in the early nineties. Willoughby was a foul tempered, drinking, smoking Knight Templar.
  • The Marvel Retcon series Marvel: the Lost Generation includes an ersatz Batman called Black Fox (millionaire playboy Dr. Robert Paine) with an Elaborate Underground Base called the "Fox Hole", a plane called the Flying Fox, a former Kid Sidekick, etc. His sidekick grew up and teamed up with the empathic healer Nightingale, a Captain Ersatz of Teen Titans' Raven.
  • Jack Kirby created the Eternals as deliberate Captains Ersatz of the Gods of Greek Mythology and several other pantheons, with the idea that their adventures had "inspired the myths". For example, Makkari inspired Mercury, Ikaris inspired Icarus, Phastos inspired Hephestus...
    • Which is interesting, because the Eternals are part of Marvel canon, and so is Hercules...
    • Which is the reason for the eventual retcon that they were confused with the gods they resemble; Gilgamesh the Forgotten One even accidentally performed one of Hercules' Twelve Labors for him (the Aegian Stables, fyi)
  • The Gladiator of Marvel's Shi'ar Imperial Guard. Drawn to slavishly resemble Superman, named after the novel that inspired the creation of same, and with the real name of "Kallark" (sounds like "Clark" and Kal-El, don't it?), the Gladiator even has a similar chest insignia and costume. The only real differences are that his powers are psycho-active; he can only do something if he believes he can. Also, he has blue skin and a huge mohawk.
    • Of course, the entire Imperial Guard is like this except perhaps Hussar, Cerise, and a few others. Electron is Cosmic Boy, Hobgoblin is Chameleon, Smasher is Ultra Boy, etc.
      • Indeed, the Imperial Guard being an ersatz Legion of Super-Heroes.
      • Interestingly, the postboot Legion featured Gates, who may be an ersatz of an Imperial Guardsman who didn't have a clear Legion parallel previously.
    • Considering the Imperial Guard were originally enemies of the X Men, they arguably work as a deconstruction of the Superman mythos as well. They show what it might have been like if, instead of landing on Earth, Kal-El had wound up in some autocratic, politically unstable Alien empire where he was made to serve whatever ruler sat on the throne. Without Superman's moral center, Gladiator's just a blindly obedient thug.
  • Supreme's entire universe is a tribute to DC's Silver Age. Supreme is Superman, Supremium is Kryptonite, Suprema is Supergirl, Professor Night is Batman, Twilight is Robin, Darius Dax is Lex Luthor, Diana Dane is Lois Lane, Emerpus and Shadow Supreme are Bizarro, Glory is Wonder Woman, Doc Rocket is the Flash, Black Hand is the Green Lantern, Roy Roman is Aquaman, Mighty Man is Captain Marvel, the Fisherman is the Green Arrow...
    • Even the tiniest things are different but plainly similar; rather than "super strength", Supreme has "strength supreme", and so forth. Supreme White and Supreme Gold are Superman Red and Superman Blue from a much-beloved Silver Age Imaginary Story, Original Dax is the Golden Age Lex Luthor... cataloguing every clear parallel to the Superman mythos would take all day, basically.
  • The Avengers fought an entire team composed of Captain Ersatzes called the Squadron Supreme, a thinly veiled Alternate Company Equivalent of the Justice League of America. The members of the Squadron are:
    • Hyperion -- Superman
    • Nighthawk -- Batman
    • WhizzerThe Flash
    • Doctor Spectrum -- Green Lantern
      • This was part of a joint effort on DC and Marvel's part though, seeing as the JLA has faced off against a group of Ersatzes of Marvel's finest:
    • Silver Sorceress -- Scarlet Witch
    • Blue Jay -- Yellow Jacket
    • Wandjina -- Thor
    • Jack B. Quick -- Quicksilver
    • Bowman -- Hawkeye
    • TA -- The Wasp
    • Tin Man -- Iron Man
      • Later we would see more in the Squadron's own comic:
    • Amphibian -- Aquaman
    • Power Princess -- Wonder Woman
    • Skrullian Skymaster -- Martian Manhunter
    • Arcanna -- Zatanna.
    • Blue Eagle -- Hawkman
    • Golden Archer -- Green Arrow
    • Lady Lark -- Black Canary
    • Nuke -- Firestorm
    • Tom Thumb -- The Atom
    • Shape -- Plastic Man
      • This connection gets a gigantic Lampshade Hanging in JLA-Avengers, where after spending a few minutes going "Who do these guys remind me of?", Hawkeye finally declares the JLA to be Squadron Supreme wannabes.
  • Buck Wild from Milestone's Icon is a Captain Ersatz of several different characters. His original costume and powers are clearly based on Luke Cage, he later wore a suit to fly and teamed up with a patriotic hero like the Falcon , got a special belt that gave him the power to shoot electricity like Black Lightning, and then finally became a grim soul avenger like Spawn.
  • Pretty much every villain faced by DC's Inferior Five is a Captain Ersatz of a character from a rival publisher. The evil agents of H.U.R.R.I.C.A.N.E. are based on the THUNDER Agents, the Kooky Quartet on the Fantastic Four (with the nickname given to the Avengers after their first big roster shakeup), etc. Their version of Thor even mentions a comic book deal with a guy named Stanley, though he has to shave his beard off and bleach his hair blond first...
  • Black Cat is often thought to be a knock-off of Catwoman due to their extremely similar costumes and motifs, as well as their forbidden romances with superheroes. However, this is a misconception, as the Black Cat was conceived as a foe for Spider Woman, and Catwoman did not start wearing her iconic black leather outfit until the 80's, long after Black Cat debuted.
    • This is lampshaded in an episode of The Spectacular Spider-Man, where Black Cat uses the alias "Selina Drew" (Catwoman's real name is Selina Kyle) when going undercover as a female prison guard.
  • The Ultramarine Corps in JLA Classified were light Ersatzes of The Avengers and other miscellaneous Marvel heroes. The Olympian had power from the gods but was a little nutty (Thor), Goraiko is a giant atomic monster (Hulk), Warmaker-One is an uber-patriot who only exists inside a high tech exoskeleton (Captain America/Iron Man), the Glob is a Boisterous Bruiser who calls himself "ever-lovin'" (The Thing), etc.
  • Loose Cannon, one of the heroes introduced in DC's much maligned Bloodlines event (although he was actually one of the better ones), is a strong Ersatz for the Hulk, in that his power is connected directly to his anger, he's incredibly bulky and brawny, and lacks a certain intelligence. Loose Cannon's only original hook is that he has different stages of power, and his skin color changes as he climbs his little rage ladder.
  • The Flashback Universe is all about this for classic Marvel. Saturn Knight is Nova, Wildcard is Spider-Man, Fantom Force is the Fantastic Four, Lady Nemo is Dr. Doom, Terrorsaur Rex is the Hulk, Prometheus is Thor, Paladin is Captain America, the Legion of Monsters are the X-Men, the Vanguard are the Avengers, the Sub-Terrainer is the Submariner...
  • Jeph Loeb had a thinly veiled Avengers team show up in Batman / Superman, called the Maximums (complete with a battle cry of "MAXIMUMS, MARCH!).
  • Nightveil/The Blue Bulleteer from AC Comics' Fem Force was originally the Phantom Lady from Charlton Comics, but when DC claimed ownership they hastily changed tiny miniscule details like the name and the color of her costume. Yep, she is totally not Phantom Lady. To be fair, she eventually got magic powers and a new costume and became a totally distinct character.
    • In a Blue Bulleteer one-shot, the Blue Bulleteer runs into another hero using the same name as her - this one an ersatz version of Fawcett Comics' Bulletman. It even featured a backup story starring the other BB, which was really just a slightly edited Golden Age Bulletman story.
  • DC's Boss Bosozoku and his successor Boss Bishounen are both motorcyclists with heads on fire. Ghost Rider, right?
    • Possibly not, or at least not entirely; all the Big Science Action team appear to be based on Japanese tropes. On the other hand, his teammate Cosmo Racer is very blatantly the Silver Surfer (as well as being Astro Boy), so maybe.
    • And while he doesn't resemble him much as a character, Big Atomic Lantern Boy's design is plainly based on Hayashida from Cromartie High School.
  • In The Intimates, Mr. Hyde is a clear Superman parallel; Hyde is actually his real name and a joke about Superman's obvious dual identity, he wears glasses and teaches the Secret Identity class, he's squeamish around reporters (it's his ex...), and has all the powers you'd expect. Most of the other seminary teachers are also ersatzen; the Principal used to be Mr. Big, a Giant Man type hero, while the school counselor was once Dash Man, an ersatz Flash. Interestingly, none of the main characters are ersatzen.
  • Dr. Everything, one of the Redeemer's patients in The Sinister Spider-Man, is an obvious Dr. Manhattan parody. He's a statuesque naked physicist with incredible power and his body is entirely red, as opposed to Manhattan's blue.
  • Monster Plus features Supermane, who is basically Lion-Head Superman from that one Silver Age story involving red kryptonite.
  • One issue of X-Man features an Expy of The Authority called the Protectorate: Niccola Zeitgeist (Jenny Sparks); Thor (Apollo); Nightfighter (Midnghter); Citydweller (Jack Hawksmoor) Professor X (the Doctor); White Bird (Swift); and the Technocrat (the Engineer)
    • Interestingly enough, many members of the Authority are themselves based off existing superheroes (Midnighter is Batman and Apollo is Superman), making this team Ersatzes of Ersatzes.
  • Top Ten featured the Seven Sentinels, a clear takeoff on the Justice League with members like the Black Boomerang (Green Arrow), the Hound and Kingfisher (both Batman), Atoman (Superman), and Davy Jones (Aquaman).
    • And many other more minor ones, like Trent "Dr. Incredible" Teller (Mr. Fantastic) and his wife Beach Ball (Invisible Woman), the Skysharks (Blackhawks), etc. The Blue Dart is another Green Arrow ersatz, as well. Interestingly, none of the principal characters are Ersatzen except for maybe Jetman, who is based on Airboy and Hop Harrigan.
  • Marvel was almost going to let Warren Ellis use Nick Fury for his Nextwave series, until they saw what he planned on doing with him. They dropped the eyepatch and changed the character to Dirk Anger: Agent of H.A.T.E.
    • They also had The Dread Rorkannu, Ruler of the Dim Dimensions, an Expy of Dormammu.
  • Mark Waid's Empire features a "Dr Doom esque" villain who conquers the world by defeating a Superman pastiche.
  • The characters of the Image miniseries Battlehymn form a clear and intentional parallel to the original Invaders. Quinn Rey is the Sub-Mariner (but also shares traits with Aquaman, the Fin, and the Golden Age Hydroman), the Proud American is Captain America, the Artificial Man is the Human Torch, the Defender of Liberty is also Captain America, but with a touch of the Patriot (Cap's counterpart on the homefront and replacement after he went missing), Johnny Zip is the Whizzer, and odd man out the Mid-Nite Hour is a combined Dr. Mid-Nite/Hourman/Batman, the only one to be based on DC characters.
  • Marvel's Ultimate Adventures centered around Batman pastiche Hawk-Owl and his sidekick Woody. Accompanying them was Hawk-Owl's butler Daniel (Alfred). He also had an Asian chauffeur based on the Green Hornet's Kato, and his Aunt Ruth is a combination of Aunt Harriet from the '60s Batman show and Spider-Man's Aunt May. And the Principal is a parody of the Joker and Two-Face.
  • Kill All Parents' heroes are all strongly based on famous Marvel and DC guys. The list is long, but to give an example you have the Locust and Larva Lad standing in for Batman and Robin.
  • Every alleged "hero" that Marshal Law finds himself up against is an Ersatz. The Public Spirit is Superman, Private Eyes is Batman, the Secret Tribunal are the X-Men, the Jesus Society of America are the Justice Society of America (and include a Captain America-like Golden Age Public Spirit), the heroes holed up in a Manhattan asylum are all based on Marvel characters (and for the most part go unnamed). Pat Mills described Marshall himself as an unholy fusion of Captain America (comics) and Judge Dredd.
  • Hellboy's backstory features the Torch of Liberty, a thinly-disguised Captain America stand-in.
  • "Whatever Happened to the Green Pedestrian Palm?", a Future Shocks story, has a cast composed almost entirely of just-barely-veiled Parodies of American superheroes.
    • The Green Pedestrian Palm is blatantly Green Lantern; fittingly, a portrait of the real Green Lantern appears in the background of one panel.
    • Optimum is Superman
    • Hawkblade is Batman
    • Bathroom Buster is Daredevil
    • The Rush is The Flash
    • Captain Condom (yes, that is his superhero name might be Captain America (comics)
    • Astrodeus is Marvel's Galactus.
  • The Authority faced off against Ersatzes of classic Marvel heroes in Mark Millar's inaugural arc. The Americans were obviously Avengers pastiches with named ones being the Commander (Captain America), Tank Man (Iron Man), Hornet (Wasp) and Titan (Giant Man) while the rest were clearly based on Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and the Vision. Later, they took down unnamed Ersatz teams resembling the X-Men, Inhumans, Fantastic Four (with additional Silver Surfer, Galactus, Watcher and H.E.R.B.I.E. knock-offs, all of which are most famously associated with the FF) and the Howling Commandos while other Wildstorm heroes fought Ersatzes of Spider-man, the Punisher, Daredevil, Elektra, Doctor Strange, Namor and others. The story's Big Bad, Jackob Krigstein was an evil ersatz Jack Kirby.
    • Authority members Apollo and Midnighter are themselves Captains Ersatz of Superman and Batman, respectively. They were first introduced as part of a Stormwatch strike team that included thinly-veiled takeoffs of Wonder Woman (Amaze), Flash (Impetus), Green Lantern (Lamplighter), Martian Manhunter (Stalker) and Black Canary (Crow Jane).
    • Stormwatch also featured The Changers, who were based on JSA members, including The High (Superman), Blind (Doctor Mid-Nite), The Doctor (Doctor Fate), The Eidolon (The Spectre), The Engineer (Green Lantern), Rite (Wonder Woman) and Smoke (Sandman).
    • The Sons of Liberty, another group of Authority foes, are based on the Freedom Fighters: Paul Revere (Uncle Sam), Maiden America (Miss America), Dyno-Mite the Human Hand Grenade (Doll Man with elements of the Human Bomb), Johnny Rocketman (the Ray) and Fallout (the remaining elements of the Human Bomb).
  • Batman himself is a Captain Ersatz of Zorro: Rich playboys both missing mothers who decide to use their vast wealth to fight crime? Hell, Bob Kane himself admitted to it. There is in fact no attempt to hide this, as Batman watches a Zorro movie the night his parents die.
  • The original Guardians of the Globe in Invincible are clearly based on the original Justice League; the Red Rush is the Flash, War Woman is Wonder Woman, the Green Ghost is the Green Lantern, Martian Man is the Martian Manhunter, Darkwing is Batman, Aquarius is Aquaman, and the Immortal and Omniman are both Superman. They also had Black Samson, who seems to be based on Marvel's Doc Samson and Flash Gordon.
    • And we can't forget Damien Darkblood, Demon Detective, who is almost identical to Rorschach of Watchmen fame except slightly mellower.
    • And many of Invincible's minor enemies are based on Spider-Man foes. The Elephant is the Rhino, Doc Seismic is the Shocker, Kursk is Electro, etc.
    • And the Lizard League is a combination of G.I. Joe's Cobra and Marvel's Serpent Society. Komodo Dragon in particular is based on the latter's Puff Adder.
    • A case could be made that the new Guardians of the Globe are Captain Ersatz for the Avengers. Monster Girl for Hulk, armoured Black Samson and Robot for Iron Man, Shrinking Ray for the Wasp, and Immortal could take the role of Captain America due to his suspicious appearance.
  • In Rick Veitch's Brat Pack, Moon Maiden is an ersatz Wonder Woman, while the Mink and Judge Jury split among themselves the role of Batman (the Mink is a flamboyant millionaire whose superhero career is undermined by rumors of homosexuality, while Judge Jury is a brutal vigilante who gives no quarter to the criminal element), and King Rad is the Green Arrow. A pivotal part in each of their stories is the presence of an ersatz Superman who eventually abandoned the city.
  • Bob The Galactic Bum is an interesting example. During its original run, Lobo made an appearance as a supporting character. When it was reprinted in the Judge Dredd Megazine in the late noughties, they were unable to secure the rights to use Lobo. Thus, Lobo was replaced by a butch lesbian bounty hunter by the name of Asbo.
  • In a more recent issue of the Meg, Dredd went up against an amnesiac Canadian mutant codenamed Weasel, whose fingers have been replaced with 'unbreakium' claws. His skeleton has been swapped with solid Boing, he had an incredibly powerful Healing Factor, and he tended to call people 'Bob'. As if he wasn't a blatant enough copy of X-Men's Wolverine, at the end of the story, he returns to his pseudo-family - this consists of a woman with a stormcloud perpetually over her head, a cyclops, a beastly chap, an angelic guy, and a big-headed bald man in a wheelchair.
    • Another Dredd storyline in 2000 AD had another mutant rights organisation organised by a bald professor, including An Ice Person, a redheaded telekinetic, a guy with wings and a bestial guy. The twist? They weren't really mutants at all.
  • Bongo Comics' line of comics based on The Simpsons (and Futurama) features an occasional series of Radioactive Man comics (Bart's favorite superhero from the TV show) that pretends to be the "actual" comics from the Simpsons' universe, and parodies various superhero comic trends and styles from the 1950s through present (depending on the "year" the comic was "published"). In particular, Radioactive Man and his cohorts parody many comic elements:
    • Radioactive Man himself is Superman (Flying Brick powers, etc.), with elements of Batman (his alter ego as "Claude Kane, millionaire layabout", a teenage sidekick) thrown in. His origin story is basically The Incredible Hulk's.
    • Fallout Boy is Robin, with an origin story paralleling Spider-Man's.
    • Gloria Grand = Lois Lane.
    • WZEN, Gloria's radio (in "early" stories) or TV (in more "modern" stories) station is the Daily Planet (with elements of WHIZ from Captain Marvel thrown in).
    • Gretchen Grille = Lana Lang.
    • The Superior Squad = the Justice League of America, as well as aspects of The Avengers.
    • Captain Squid = Aquaman
    • Lure Lass = the Scarlet Witch
    • Bug Boy = Brainiac 5
    • Plasmo the Mystic = Doctor Strange
    • Purple Heart/Bleeding Heart = Green Arrow (in background and liberal views); also has elements of Iron Man, in that he owns a weapons company and funds the Superior Squadron.
    • Weasel Woman = a female version of Wolverine
    • RM's arch-nemesis Dr. Crab is basically Lex Luthor, with aspects of Dr. Sivana thrown in as well.
  • Similarly, in an early Simpsons Comics storyline where the citizens of Springfield (save Bart, though he later on does show up in his "Bartman" guise) accidentally gain superpowers, they wind up becoming Captain Ersatz versions of various superheroes:
  • The Nigerian hero Powerman was intentionally created in order as a black version of Superman.
  • PS238 is made of this trope. Virtually every main character is a Captain Ersatz of some other company's characters.
  • Lampshaded and repeatedly played with in "Heal Thy Elf", an Elf Quest satire in that franchise's New Blood Special issue. At one point, the appearance of a thinly-veiled Charlie Brown Captain Ersatz is called out and derided ... by a thinly-veiled Captain Ersatz of the bugs from Pogo.
  • Justice League Europe once met a clan of Parisian Gargoyles named Behemoth, Seine, Angelique, Montparnasse, Montmartre, Champs-Elysse and Left Bank. Behemoth had an evil twin named Thomeheb and an ex-wife named Diabolique. The story was written by Greg Weisman.
  • The crime comic Kane has a hitman named Frankie who's basically Marv from Sin City, face bandages, interior monologue and all... until he speaks...
  • Batton Lash's Supernatural Law comic is full of Ersatz versions of various horror movie, TV and comic characters, including Sod, the Thing Called It (a Swamp Thing / Man-Thing pastiche) and "Mildred Winters, the Vampire Hater," a geeky analogue to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • In Asterix and the Falling Sky (2005, original French title Le ciel lui tombe sur la tête ) an alien leader named Toon is an obvious reference to Mickey Mouse (Uderzo, the comics creator, has said that this album was also a tribute to Walt Disney). The story also includes an army of Arnold Schwarzeneggers dressed like Superman, but with a star symbol in place of the "S".
  • Marvel Zombies Return has a group of zombies that band together at the end. They consist of Sentry, an invincible guy with a cape and an "S" symbol, Moon Knight, a billionaire nighttime detective, Thundra, a super-strong feminist Amazon, Quicksilver, a speedster, Quasar, the wielder of alien items that conjure things, Namor, King of the Seas who swims fast and talks to fish, the Super-Skrull, a shapeshifting green-skinned alien with lots of powers, and Giant-Man, a scientist who can change his size. Hmm...
  • Man-Thing had Wundarr, a version of Superman who is never rescued from his spacepod due to the paranoid temerity of a certain old couple. Instead, he grows up tutored by computers until accidentally released by the title character.
  • Alan Moore's Terra Obscura turned previously unrelated Public Domain Golden Age heroes the Black Terror and Tom Strange into ersatz versions of Batman and Superman. The other heroes were made to correspond very roughly to various other figures from the era, but none so much as those two.
    • Alan Moore also created the 1963 mini-series for Image Comics, with each of the six issues being an homage to Marvel Comics of the 1960's: #1 Mystery Incorporated (Fantastic Four), #2 The Fury(Spider-Man and Daredevil), #3 Tales of the Uncanny (U.S.A and The Hypernaut = Captain America and Iron Man),#4 Tales From Beyond (Johnny Beyond and N-Man = Dr. Strange and the Hulk), #5 Horus (Thor), and #6 The Tomorrow Syndicate (The Avengers).
  • 10th Muse supporting characters Venus/Mighty Maid and Wombat are, respectively, Supergirl and Batman (though both are female). Venus' introductory issue was an extended Shout-Out to the Supergirl mythos, as it were, and Wombat actually murders her own parents outside a movie theater because she thinks it will make her a better hero.
  • In The Pro, the League of Honor is blatantly a copy of the Justice League of America. To wit:
    • The Saint: Superman
    • The Knight: Batman
    • The Squire: Robin
    • The Lady: Wonder Woman
    • The Lime: Green Lantern
    • Speedo: Flash, wearing Borat's mankini
  • One of Marvel's earliest Golden Age heroes was the Angel, best described as "The Saint in a superhero context".
  • Marvel and DC have used this to foster a Fake Crossover on occasion. One month, Marvel's Invaders and DC's Freedom Fighters both faced off against a group known as the Crusaders. In both cases, the Crusaders were ersatz versions of the other company's team.
  • Winky, Blinky, and Noddy, aka "The Three Dimwits," were Bumbling Sidekicks to the Golden Age Flash. They were obviously ersatz versions of The Three Stooges.
  • Captain Strong, a more "realistic" (for comic books' version of realistic) version of Popeye, has sporadically met up with Superman over the last forty years.
  • Many of Sin City's characters are Shout Outs to previous characters from pulp fiction and film noir:
    • Marv was created as "Conan in a trenchcoat."
    • Dwight is quite obviously based on Mike Hammer.
    • Miller was always disappointed in The Dead Pool (the movie, not the comic character) so he wrote what he thought should be the real final case of Harry Callahan. Enter: John Hartigan.
      • The Yellow Bastard is a horrific case in that Frank Miller has admitted that he was based off of a grown-up (and deranged) version of the Yellow Kid.
  • Holy Terror by Frank Miller was initially conceived as a comic that would have Batman fighting al-Qaeda, and when DC refused to publish it as such the serial numbers got filed off. Nevertheless, it's still pretty obvious who "the Fixer", "Natalie Stack" and the police commissioner of "Empire City" are supposed to be.
  • The mostly forgotton 1966 "Captain Marvel" from MF Enterprises had a rogues gallery composed almost entirely of Captain Ersatz'z. Including guys called Plastic Man (later changed to Elastic Man), Dr. Fate, The Bat (Later changed to The Ray), Tinyman (Captain Ersatz of Dollman),and Atom Jaw (Captain Ersatz of Iron Jaw, arch-foe of the then-popular hero Crimebuster)
  • The Kindle-based comic book series Limekiller At Large features a number of these. The Blue Pangolin (The Ted Kord version of Blue Beetle), The Alloy Angel (Iron Man), Commander Dynamic (Superman), The Knoir Knight and Chickadee the Boy Diversion(Batman and Robin), Quantum Phyllis (Dr. Manhattan), and the American Ranger (a mash-up of Captain America and the Lone Ranger).
  • Much of the cast of Jack Staff is made up of Ersatz versions of either Marvel Comics heroes, or British pulp comic heroes. This is because the series was originally pitched as a Marvel series. Jack Staff himself is based on Captain Britain and Union Jack; Becky Burdock is partially based on Captain Britain's sister Betsy Braddock/Psylocke. The Hurricane is Captain Hurricane, Tom Tom the Robot Boy is Archie the Robot, and General Tubbs is General Jumbo.


Film[edit | hide]

  • When director F. W. Murnau sought to make a movie out of Bram Stoker's book Dracula, but was unable to secure the rights, he made the movie anyway as Nosferatu, changing the names of the characters. (Dracula, for example, became Count Orlok.) In this case, though, the attempt was unsuccessful: Stoker's widow sued for copyright infringement and won, bankrupting the production company... and getting an order that all copies of the film be destroyed. The movie survived through piracy.
  • Detective Anna Ramirez in The Dark Knight Saga was originally supposed to be Renée Montoya, but her name was changed at the last minute.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is sometimes accused of this by Monkey Island fans, who cite similarities between Tia Dalma and the Voodoo Lady as evidence of their claim.
  • In the 1976 File talk:Mystery Fiction spoof, Murder By Death, various famous detectives are represented by Captain Ersatz characters:
  • The 1980 TV Movie Murder Can Hurt You itself seems to have been inspired by Murder By Death, but with Captain Ersatz versions of '70s TV Cop Show characters like Columbo, Starsky and Hutch, Kojak, etc.
  • Spaceballs is full of Star Wars Expy characters, but Dark Helmet is obviously a geeky-looking parody of Darth Vader from Star Wars.
  • The Hammer Horror film X the Unknown was originally intended to be a sequel to The Quatermass Xperiment. However, they couldn't get the rights to the character of Bernard Quatermass at the time, so they made up a new character called Adam Royston. He is a Science Hero with the same general mannerisms as Quatermass, the only major difference is that his specialty is nuclear physics, not rocketry.
  • The Buddy Holly Story had a fictionalized version of the Crickets (two members instead of three, names changed) because the real-life Crickets had already signed onto a different Buddy Holly project.
    • The conspiracy-laden 1980s stinker, Down on Us aka Beyond the Doors about how the CIA killed Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison, you notice that Morrison's band is never mentioned by name and have no resemblence to Manzarek, Kreiger, or Densmore. (not to mention, all of the songs in the film are original songs, which sound nothing like the songs made famous by said artists)
  • Possibly Rufus from Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure, a quirky, sophisticated fellow in a time-travelling phone box...
  • So many Spark Plug Entertainment characters.
  • Officially, The Godfather isn’t about the Mafia at all. When the real Mafia began making complaints and threats, the filmmakers compromised, removing all references to "the Mafia" and "Cosa Nostra". So the film is actually about a fictitious crime organisation that just happens to be based around five fictitious Italian-American families – it’s usually referred to as "the Five Families" when mentioned on screen.
    • Actually, some claim that the filmmakers pretended to compromise to avoid having to argue. In fact, the words "Mafia" and "Cosa Nostra" probably were not in the script to begin with. First of all, both titles refer to specific gangs, and no organized crime family that is not a member of either would use the terms. Secondly, if you *are* in the Mafia, do you really sit around talking about it with other people in it?
      • Yes, as too many mobsters have learned after getting indicted. It's true they don't use the words "Mafia" though ... the usual hint is that, if someone new enters the conversation and one of the wiseguys introduces him as "a friend of ours", they can speak freely. Someone introduced as "a friend of mine" means otherwise.
        • Averted in Part II, where during the senator hearings, the words Mafia and Cosa Nostra are mentioned multiple times (here by an outsider).
  • A series of El Látigo ("The Whip") films were produced in Mexico. El Latigo is a very close imitation of the famous gringo-created hero of Old California, Zorro.
  • BBV seemed to specialise in Doctor Who Ersatzes:
    • The Stranger was a direct-to-video series starring Colin Baker (who played the Sixth Doctor on the show) and Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown) as "The Stranger" and "Miss Brown", respectively.
    • While BBV eventually did get licensing rights to various Doctor Who monsters, the Big Two remained exceptions. They never attempted fake-Daleks, but the Cyberons are, well, Cybermen.
    • BBV eventually self-parodied this, with a video called "Do You Have A Licence To Save This Planet?" in which a swarm of Doctor Who monsters (and the Cyberons) are fought by Sylvester McCoy as ... the Chiropodist.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Sometime after Conan Doyle had publicly announced that no more Sherlock Holmes tales would be forthcoming, a young August Derleth wrote to Doyle for permission to carry on using a pastiche; Doyle approved the idea, and Derleth began a series of tales, eventually to run over 40 years, about Solar Pons, often reckoned the best of the many Holmes pastiches.
    • Similarly, before Sherlock Holmes lapsed into the public domain, several novels pitted Arsene Lupin against "Herlock Sholmes".
      • And actually continue to do so, in the French-speaking world at least.
  • Douglas Adams's book Dirk Gentlys Holistic Detective Agency was based on a script he'd written for Doctor Who ("Shada") that had never been completed due to a studio workers' strike. The character of Dirk Gently was created to replace the Doctor in the book, and the character of Richard MacDuff created as a Companion figure. Dirk Gently proved such an engaging character that Adams wrote a sequel, The Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul, and was working on a third book when he died.
    • Similarly, Life The Universe And Everything was largely based on his proposed script for a Doctor Who story, Doctor Who versus the Krikkitmen. The role of the Doctor was taken by Slartibartfast (and towards the end by Trillian), largely because none of the other shiftless main characters of the Guide universe fit the bill.
    • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency actually borrows from both the above mentioned Shada and another Doctor Who serial, City of Death, which Adams co-wrote. Compare the Big Bad's plan in both.
  • In The Dresden Files novel Proven Guilty, spirits that feed on fear manifest at a horror movie convention and thus take the forms of Totally-Not-Freddy, Jason, and other slashers to attack people.
  • In Kim Newman's novel The Quorum, several of the characters are fans of Captain Ersatz comics characters Amazon Queen (Wonder Woman) and The Streak (The Flash), with shades of Superman), and one is a comics writer creating Crisis on Infinite Earths-style series about them for comics company "ZC". The novel also mentions Dr. Shade, a British comics character who resembles The Shadow, whose first appearance was in Newman's story "The Original Dr. Shade", which in the course of describing the character's fictional publishing history performs a Lampshade Hanging by mentioning that The Shadow's publishers once sued over the resemblance.
  • Michael Shea's novel Nift the Lean was written as a sequel to Jack Vance's first Cugel the Clever novel before Vance himself wrote an official sequel. Thus, Nift is a Captain Ersatz of Cugel. However, since Nift is paired with a Barbarian Hero named Barnar, there's another level of ersatzes, as Barnar and Nift are respectively based off of Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser.
  • Minister Faust's From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain features several of these: Omnipotent Man (Superman), Flying Squirrel (Batman), Iron Maiden (Wonder Woman/Thor) and Fly Brother (Spider-Man).
  • In a rather bizarre example, where Captain Ersatz meets Sure Why Not or who-knows-what, an erotic romance novel called The Stranger by Portia da Costa features an expy of the Eighth Doctor. He has the same name as the actor who played Eight (Paul), and is almost exactly the same other than the name,[2] including the amnesia. And the heroine's surname, as some who've watched Withnail & I may know, was the surname of another character Paul McGann played. Oddly enough, this all merits a sort of Continuity Nod in a Television Tie in Novel - the heroine is mentioned as someone the Doctor knew.[3] Fandom has speculated about which writer of the Television Tie In Novels is "Portia da Costa". So this means the Doctor has a published and semi-canon Narmful Date With Rosie Palms,[4] among other things, out there.
  • Most of the superheroes in Perry Moore's young adult novel Hero are blatant parodies of DC characters, Warrior Woman being the most obvious.
  • Doctor Who again: In the Faction Paradox series the Time Lords become the Great Houses, who travel in Timeships (TARDISes) and are led by a War King who is clearly the Master. The Homeworld of the Great Houses was formerly defended by artificial beings called "casts" (Shaydes from the DWM comic strip), and an attempt to produce semi-sentient casts created homicidal maniacs called "babels" (N-Forms from the Eighth Doctor novels). The Doctor himself is only referred to as "the Evil Renegade".
  • In What They Did To Princess Paragon by Robert Rodi, the eponymous Princess Paragon is very obviously Wonder Woman. Other characters created by Bang Comics include Acme-Man (Superman), the urban vigilante Moonman (Batman, complete with campy 60s TV series), and other members of the Freedom Front (Justice League of America). Bang's rivals Electric Comics, meanwhile, created the explorer-team The Quasar Quintet (Fantastic Four), the irradiated monster Sherman Tank (Incredible Hulk), and the superhero team The Offenders (The Avengers).
  • The Vord in the Codex Alera are straight out of StarCraft. If you're not thinking "Zerg Rush kekekekeke" by halfway through Academ's Fury, you're doing something wrong.
    • The Zerg in turn are based on the aliens from, well, Aliens, just like the Protoss are based on the Predator race from guess-which-film.
  • Before creating the Wold Newton Family, Philip Jose Farmer wrote a series of novels about John Cloamby, Lord Grandrith, who was raised by apes, and his half-brother Doc Caliban, a two-fisted adventurer. As well as serving as a Deconstruction of the pulps, these books advanced Farmer's early theories about the relationship between Tarzan and Doc Savage, without actually naming names.
  • Reading the Ciaphas Cain novel Cain's Last Stand, it becomes obvious that Varan the Undefeatable is this to Adolf Hitler, down to being described as looking exactly like him down to the moustasche and flashy uniforms, along with a similar personality. If it weren't for the mutations he has in the book, one would think Hitler himself paid visit to the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
    • And it's pretty much open knowledge that the entire Ciaphas Cain series is a 40k version of Flashman.
  • In Mary Gaitskill's novel Two Girls, Fat and Thin, Dorothy, the "fat girl" of the title, is a devotee (and at one point, employee) of novelist "Anna Granite" and her philosophy of "Definitism."
  • Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia series, is very clearly a Captain Ersatz of Jesus. He could be argued as an Expy until the third book, where Lewis makes Aslan's real world identity quite clear.
  • This is a repeating theme in Jonathan Lethem's Chronic City, which contains numerous Captains Ersatz of various culture references large and small. Interestingly, just as many and varied cultural touchstones are included as themselves, helping create a pervasive feeling of a pop cultural zeitgeist almost but not entirely our own. A few examples:
    • One major character was the ghostwriter for eccentric playboy physicist Emil Junrow's witty memoir I Can't Quite Believe You Said That, Dr. Junrow, who as described bears no small resemblance to Richard Feynman, eccentric playboy physicist and writer of the witty memoir "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"
    • The Muppets are replaced in the pop culture of this world by "Gnuppets"
    • Russ Grinspoon, described as "the lamer half of [the] well-forgotten seventies smooth-rock duo Grinspoon and Hale" is likely meant as an Alternate Universe Art Garfunkel.
  • The main character of the superhero satire Super Folks by Robert Mayer has powers more-or-less identical to Superman (who's specified as missing and presumed dead at the beginning of the book). His secret identity is named David Brinkley, and because he comes from the planet Cronk, he's vulnerable to Cronkite. The book also includes ersatzen of Plastic Man and Mr. Mxyzptlk, among loads of others.
  • The Sundering deliberately echoes The Lord of the Rings (but written from the villains' point of view), so the vast majority of characters directly correspond to someone from Tolkien's legendarium.
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog featured a parody of Harry Potter called Peter Poundstone.
  • Al Ewing's contributions to the Pax Britannia Shared World (set in a Steampunk Dystopia 20th century) feature El Sombra, a masked swordsman named Djego, whose main difference from Zorro is that he's decidedly not a nobleman. Gods Of Manhattan is a Two-Fisted Tales pastiche which also includes Doc Thunder (Doc Savage with a dash of Hugo Danner), the Blood Spider (The Shadow with elements of The Spider), the Blue Ghost (The Spirit) and Jack Scorpio, Agent of S.T.E.A.M. (Nick Fury).


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The live-action TV series of The Tick (animation) replaced Die Fledermaus and American Maid, who were in the animated cartoon but not the original comic book, with Bat Manuel and Captain Liberty.
  • Charmed had a demon character named Kira who could see the future, played by Charisma Carpenter. Carpenter played Cordelia on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, who gained the ability to see when people were or would be in trouble.
  • Whistler, who appeared in a few Season Two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, was supposed to be a main character on the spinoff Angel. Since the actor who played Whistler was unavailable at the time, the very similar character Allen Francis Doyle was created instead.
  • Comparisons between Al Swearengen of Deadwood and Silas Benjamin of Kings are pretty inevitable: Both are played in the same highflown style by Ian MacShane; both are amoral and ruthless in attempting to maintain their grip on power but affectionate to those close to them, and both have a tendency to slip into lofty monologues. Except for their different wardrobes and Silas' network-mandated inability to curse like Swearengen, they're essentially the same character portrayed by the same actor.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was created with the intent to include Michelle Forbes' recurring character from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ro Laren, but the actress declined to star as a regular in the series. So the character of Kira Nerys was created as a near-identical substitute (abrasive personality, lack of trust in Starfleet).
  • And Star Trek: Voyager went as far as to cast the actor who had played Nicholas Locarno in TNG's "The First Duty" before changing the character's name to Tom Paris and altering his backstory to be more sympathetic.
    • Though Word of God has flip-flopped on whether this was done because Locarno was unrepentant and therefore unsympathetic, or because they didn't want to have to pay royalties to the writer of "The First Duty".
  • Parodied on Thirty Rock when Jenna intends to star in a biopic about Janis Joplin, but because of legal issues, the pic will be about a Janis Joplin facsimile called Jackie Jormp-Jomp.
  • The BBC did a Captain Ersatz Danza in the case of Happy Ever After. When its creator decided that it had run for long enough, he declined to write any more episodes and eventually jumped ship, retaining the rights to the show's format as he did. So the BBC took the central couple from Happy Ever After, changed their surname and character bios, put them in another suburban house, and carried on from there. Terry Fletcher (played by Terry Scott) and his wife June (June Whitfield) became Terry and June Medford in the imaginatively-named Britcom Terry and June. If that wasn't enough, the characters Terry and June are near-identical expies of Ron and Vera Baines, the couple that Terry Scott and June Whitfield played in the feature film version of earlier suburban Britcom Bless This House.
  • Get Smart had a few examples:
    • Comedian Joey Forman played a Charlie Chan-based Captain Ersatz called "Harry Hoo" on more than one occasion.
    • Several one-off villains were also ersatzen; Wheelchair-bound mastermind Leadside was based on Ironside, Yellow Peril caricature Dr. Yes was based on Dr. No, etc.
    • And Smart got his own Captain Ersatz, B. Wise, in an episode of F Troop.
  • This music video is not only a cover of Britney Spears' song Lucky, but the video is also a pastiche of Super Sentai - and the Humongous Mecha is most definitely NOT Mazinger Z.
  • In The Adventures Of Superboy, a super strong alien woman named Neila, who pursued Superboy romantically, appeared to be an ersatz version of the comics' Maxima.
  • Parodied in Psychoville when in a Pantomime production of Snow White, the director has to remind his cast that they changed the names of the dwarves (to "Prof", "Blusher", "Sniffy", "Smiler", "Snoozer", "Grumbly" and "Loopy") so as to avoid being sued by Disney.
  • Smallville had Captain Ersatzes for a shockingly-large number of DC characters. Adam Knight was Bruce Wayne, Gloria was Poison Ivy, Vordigan the Dark Archer was Merlyn, Pete Ross ended up becoming a Captain Ersatz of Plastic Man...the list goes on and on. One episode even had Lois cosplaying as an as an in-universe Captain Ersatz of Wonder Woman!
    • That same episode had a boy transformed by a magic comic book into Warrior Angel. Whereas Warrior Angel was always an Expy of Superman (with his nemesis Devilicus as an Expy for Lex), this "Warrior Angel" was a clear Captain Ersatz of Captain Marvel.
  • Ten Items or Less has a parody of this tripe where the characters create a "Star Trok" Convention with "Blingons and Blomulans" (and Special Guest Jolene Blalock) so they don't get sued by Paramount.
  • In The Event, the President and his right-hand man are pretty much Palmer and Novick.
  • Tomorrow's Pioneers has the really-not-a-Mickey Mouse-rip-off Farfur. However, the extremely controversial subject matter did draw Disney's attention to Farfur's ersatzen nature.
  • Birds of Prey had Darkstrike, a thinly-veiled Nightwing wannabe.
  • The Mentalist has done this with the entire premise of Psych.

Shawn: You've seen The Mentalist, right?
Canadian Cop: Yes.
Shawn: It's like that.
Gus: Except that guy's a fake.
Shawn: Right, if I was a fake psychic it would be eerily similar.
Gus: Exactly the same.
Shawn: A virtual carbon copy.

  • Casualty and Holby City get away with having a Lady Gaga Captain Ersatz - who, unlike the real thing, dresses fairly plain-Jane, so to speak.
  • Rhyme and Reason, an ABC game show from 1975, was a Captain Ersatz of CBS's Match Game in that it had two contestants trying to match words (the rhyming word of a poem) with a panel of six celebrities.
  • In 1961, Goodson-Todman created a Captain Ersatz of its own show The Price Is Right with Say When!!, which had two contestants selecting items from a pool of merchandise and trying to not go over a target value. In turn, 1975's Give-N-Take was an ersatz Say When!! with a spinning arrow. When G-T revived The Price Is Right in 1972 for CBS and nighttime syndication, they turned it into an ersatz Let's Make a Deal.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the King Features Syndicate did several copycats of the Chicago Tribune strips, with Little Annie Rooney being an ersatz of Little Orphan Annie and Dan Dunn being Hearst's answer to Dick Tracy.
    • Another was The Nebbs (a copy of the Tribune's Gumps), created by Sol Hess, who assisted Sidney Smith (creator of The Gumps) during the early 1920s.
  • Doonesbury: Uncle Duke was Garry S. Trudeau's tribute/homage to Raoul Duke, Hunter S. Thompson's alias. Thompson for two decades was so upset he refused to read the comic.
  • The Adventures of Aaron once ran a strip with "The Ghost of Calvin". A couple footnotes make it clear: "Any similarities between Ghost of Calvin and Calvin and Hobbes is purely coincidental." See it here.
  • In the comic strip For Better or For Worse, it originally seemed as if the artist had intended to pair Liz of with her next door neighbor, Christopher; when he and his family were dropped from the strip, Mrs Johnston altered his serial number and created Anthony Caine.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • WCW had several examples:
    • Arachniman, who is not like Spider-Man at all.
    • Ray Lloyd was dressed up as the not-quite-Sub-Zero wrestler Glacier (a character who has since popped up in CHIKARA, making for a better fit.)
    • Hulk Hogan's "Ultimate Surprise" in WCW, teasing that the Ultimate Warrior had joined WCW. Instead, it was "The Renegade", who was a blatant copy of the Ultimate Warrior. Ironically, in September 1998, the Ultimate Warrior did join WCW.
    • Renegade wasn't even WCW's first Captain Ersatz for Warrior—that "honor" would go to The Black Scorpion, a masked Heel who menaced Sting with allusions to the history that they "shared" (that, in reality, he and Warrior shared). While Warrior was still a main-eventer in WWF, no less. After painting themselves into a corner by continually insinuating that the person behind the mask was somebody who couldn't possibly have really been there, they ended up handwaving the whole thing away as mind games on the part of RicFlair.
    • Asya was a clone of the WWF's Chyna.
  • Inverted by WWE during the mid 90's. After Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (Razor Ramon and Diesel, respectively) jumped ship to rival promotion WCW, WWE still owned the copyright to their characters. Out of legal necessity, and part of a Jim Ross Face Heel Turn, they got replacement wrestlers to play Razor and Diesel, to act as J.R.'s enforcers and show off his power in the company. Rick Bogner played Fake Razor Ramon and Glenn Jacobs (who had already appeared as the Depraved Dentist Isaac Yankem, and who would later be better known as Kane) to play Fake Diesel. Only counts if it's possible to Captain Ersatz your own characters; it's more an Actor Swap, seeing how it's theoretically the same characters – complicated by the fact that the swap was so blatant and insulting, viewers weren't really even supposed to buy into it.
  • TNA examples:
    • Wrestler Jay Lethal's Black Machismo gimmick was so named because, aside from being black, his appearance and mannerisms were virtually identical to those of the famous WWF wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Of course, the gimmick was more of an homage/parody than a straight Captain Ersatz, and Lethal often took the gag a bit further by referring to other wrestlers by the name of some of Macho Man's contemporaries, rather than by their own names. He even had an appropriate hometown, Elizabeth, New Jersey.
    • Stone Cold Shark Boy, though more a parody than a true Captain Ersatz.
    • Black Reign was meant as a Captain Ersatz of WWE's Goldust (specifically, drawn from his "The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust" period). This is more Writing Around Trademarks than anything, since Black Reign and Goldust are both played by Dustin Rhodes.


Radio[edit | hide]

  • BBV's Audio Adventures in Time & Space, starring Sylvester McCoy as "The Professor" and Sophie Aldred as "Alice", Ersatzes of Doctor Who's Seventh Doctor and Ace (also played by McCoy and Aldred) actually attracted enough attention from the BBC that they had to hurriedly makes some characterization changes.
    • Another line of BBV audios starred Nicholas Briggs (who had previously played the Doctor in non-commercial fanvids) as the Traveler.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Freedom City setting for the Tabletop RPG Mutants and Masterminds is filled with Captain Ersatzes of the characters from Astro City, who in turn are mostly Captain Ersatzes of the most famous comic characters out there. The Freedom City Sourcebook even hangs a lampshade on this by ending with art of a road sign that reads, "You are now leaving Freedom City, please drive carefully", mimicking the ending tag from the Astro City comics.
    • In a picture in the 3E Hero's Handbook, there's even a character wearing a shirt that says "Ersatz" on the front.
  • Looking for 1980s cartoon Captain Ersatzes, then you won't be surprise that Cartoon Action Hour has more than its fair share. For I.E, the Black Widow from "Strikeforce Freedom" is a blonde hair version of The Baroness from G.I. Joe.
  • The Swedish superhero game Supergänget (published in English as Supercrew) features some among their quick examples - The Weasel (Wolverine, but female), The Tomani (The Incredible Hulk with a Shout-Out to children's author Christine Nöstlinger) and Tapir Man (Rhino, and being a caricature of a friend of the author), among others.
  • Play in any tabletop game long enough, and you will see a player or game master create an ersatz rendition of a character from another story, whether it be from science fiction, fantasy, history, or even modern politics. In particular, the iconic Drizzt Do'Urden of Dungeons & Dragons' Forgotten Realms campaign world has spawned enough copies to qualify Drizzt-clones as their own population demographic.
  • The card game Sentinels of the Multiverse features homages to several well-known comic book characters, like Legacy (Superman), the Wraith (a female Batman), Tempest (Aquaman with hints of the Martian Manhunter) and Ra (Thor).


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Hazama is the standout case from BlazBlue. Voiced (in English) by Doug Erholtz, has a low-cut hair style and keeps his Eyes Always Shut, with a Cheshire Cat Grin, a snake motif and a sadistic, manipulative demeanor, who pretends to amiable and polite? Clearly Gin Ichimaru before he went to the Soul Society.
    • Terumi, his ghost form, looks suspiciously like the Anti-Spiral.
  • Temple Run: While you don't get to play as the world's most famous explorer, Indiana Jones, you do get to play as the world's second most famous explorer... Montana Smith. And yes, he wears the same iconic hat.
  • Shinx, a lion cub Pokémon that is colored very unusually (blue and yellow), has mouse-like ears, and has a cheerful smile. Kimba the White Lion, is that you?
  • Captain Marcus Refelian of Activision's Star Trek: Away Team video game is something of an Ersatz of Commander Sisko.
  • The Fire Pro Wrestling games are absolutely loaded with Captain Ersatzes of pro wrestlers from around the world. Many of the American ones in some of the games have hilarious, Gratuitous English permutations on their real name. "Steel Gold" Steam Odin? Seriously?
    • Don't forget the Randy Savage clone Slim Jim Mr. Mann from Fire Pro Wrestling on the Game Boy Advance! Actually, that was probably one of those rare instances where a Fire Pro Wrestling game got an English translation that was intentionally silly.
  • Solid Snake of Metal Gear Solid looks and acts like Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken right down to the eyepatch, doesn't he? No wonder he appeals to the American audience. Raiden on the other hand...
    • Also the cover art for Metal Gear is based on a screen shot of Kyle Reese from Terminator.
  • Mega Man began his life when Capcom wanted to make an Astro Boy game, but could not acquire the rights. He's come into his own right since then, of course.
    • Mega Man X has Vile, who looks suspiciously like a certain bounty hunter...and his original Japanese name Vava even pronounces rather like Boba.
    • The Killer Bullets in the first game resemble the Bullet Bills from Super Mario Bros., which are ironically called Killers in the Japanese series. They never appeared in the series again, possibly due to Nintendo threatening legal action.
  • In 1983, there was a laserdisc arcade game called Cliff Hanger, where the protagonist was a Gentleman Thief named Cliff who looked suspiciously like the one from a popular manga and anime. Which makes perfect sense, because it uses animated footage from two Lupin III movies, most prominently The Castle of Cagliostro, and some from The Mystery of Mamo.
  • There are some Captain Ersatz (clones) characters in Tekken:
    • Lei Wulong is a Captain Ersatz for Jackie Chan.
    • Marshall/Forrest Law is a...much more blatant clone of Bruce Lee.
    • King is the Captain Ersatz of the Japanese wrestler Tiger Mask, with a little of Mexico's Fray Tormenta thrown in for good measure.
    • Craig Marduk looks a lot like...either Nathan Jones (his future actor in the 2009 Live Action Movie) or Goldberg.
      • Nathan Jones has actually been confirmed as the inspiration behind Marduk. Jones and Marduk even share the exact same behavioural traits and a few similar moves.
    • Raven is apparently an accident. The character designer claims that he just wanted to make "A cool Black Guy". The final product strongly resembled Wesley Snipes as Blade.
    • Christie Monteiro is modelled after Tyra Banks and was given a few of Britney Spears' dance moves in a couple of her Tekken 5 win poses.
  • Ghost Hunter is itself a Captain Ersatz for the Ghostbusters franchise.
  • One example of taking this too far comes from The King of Fighters 2001 with the character K9999, a Captain Ersatz of Tetsuo Shima from Akira who even had the same voice actor. After SNK Playmore bought the rights to all of the Eolith-owned characters from KOF 2k1 and KOF 2k2, K9999 became a legal liability for the company and was replaced by a more original character Nameless in the Updated Rerelease The King of Fighters 2002: Unlimited Match, who substitutes K9999 in the canon.
  • Along with the above-mentioned Statesman, City of Heroes has a lot of characters and concepts that are pretty clear homages to various comic book characters. The entire Mutation origin is straight out of X-Men, and the evil Arachnos organisation is essentially Cobra with the snake iconography replaced by spiders.
  • You in Overlord, especially when you get your best armor and a Mace of Doom, you're Sauron's equally Evil Twin.
  • Both Freedom Force games are rife with this. All of the characters have Captain Ersatz powers.
    • The Minuteman is Captain America (comics), just wearing a funny 18th-century costume and using a staff instead of a shield.
    • Mentor is Martian Manhunter with a touch of Professor X
    • El Diablo is Human Torch.
    • Man-Bot is a weird mixture of Cyclops and Iron Man. Power Incontinence In A Can. He also has Doctor Strange's origin (rich asshole turned goody goody after screwing up his life in an accident)
    • Alchemiss is Scarlet Witch with a Southern accent. With a lot of Phoenix in the sequel.
      • The Southern accent comes from Rogue, presumably.
    • Bullet is The Flash.
    • Liberty Lad is Robin. A Burt Ward-campy Robin. And Bucky, as the sidekick of the Minuteman.
    • Blackbird is Black Canary (Sonic scream, wears fishnets) with Catwoman's backstory.
    • And then there's Supercollider - a super-strong, tough-talking bruiser with rocky orange skin and a thick Noo Yoik accent. Nope, can't think of anyone else who fits that description.
    • It took this long to mention The Ant? Honestly, his 'Secret Origin' video may as well have just said "Yes, he's Peter Parker. Now go have fun."
    • Microwave is plainly meant to represent the Vision and the Red Tornado personality-wise.
    • Man O' War and the Sea Urchin are Aquaman and Aqualad
  • El Blaze is NOT Rey Mysterio. Rey Mysterio might be a little guy who flies around a lot in a mask and oversized pants determined to prove himself as good or better than the big guys, but he doesn't wear ribbons on his arms, after all.
    • El Fuerte just might be Mysterio, though, if Mysterio had a thing for cooking. Or he just might be Blaze, since they're both rather Large Hams. His outfit also bears more than a passing resemblance to El Místico.
  • If it's possible for a series to have a Captain Ersatz, then H.A.V.E. Online (known in America as Microvolts) a Korean online multiplayer shooter, is this in artistic tone to Team Fortress 2 (The gameplay of both are pretty dissimilar actually - H.A.V.E. Online is not class based, and is in 3rd person view). The choreography in the trailer is also pretty blatantly copied. Some people were not happy, to say the least—though once the original outrage had passed they were a little more forgiving. It also has its own ripoff of Haruhi Suzumiya. Ironically, the Japanese version of the game has the real Haruhi.
    • Putting H.A.V.E. Online/Microvolts to shame though is Final Combat, which slightly ressembles Team Fortress 2. And by "slightly resembles", we mean "is The Mockbuster of". Except that it also has straight Captain Ersatzes of the classes too (such as the Rocket for the Soldier and the Fatman for the Heavy), so it counts on both. Moreover, the maps are stolen from Battlefield Heroes.
    • Xunlei would eventually joke about it, saying that Valve clearly stole their idea four years before they had it.
  • The 'Present' chapter of Live a Live includes a battle against a wrestler by the name of Max Morgan, who is a none-too-subtle ripoff of Hulk Hogan.
  • Gravelyn from Adventure Quest Worlds is very much the ersatz of Jessica Rabbit as far as looks are concerned. They share the same red hair.
  • Melody from Nostalgia is the spitting image of Lina Inverse. Doctor Brown is also pretty close to Indy in appearance.
  • And it's still possible for games to have Ersatzes: Meet Duludubi Star, a Chinese Totally-Not-Super Mario Galaxy-Honest.
    • Speaking of Chinese Mario bootlegs, the lottery game Dian Shi Ma Li starred an illegitimate relative of Mario from the Uncanny Valley called Fortran.
  • A curvy female mage who lives in a secluded part of the world, is an acquaintance with a gruff older mentor, isn't very social and acts like a Deadpan Snarker to mask this personality flaw, and wears a cleavage-baring dress with a skirt made of belts. Now, did we just describe Lulu or Morrigan?
    • Alicia
      • Lulu may be snarky, but is an incredibly good and ethical person. Morrigan is the Token Evil Teammate whose wanton cruelty has become something of a meme. Their roles in plot are dissimilar, their dresses are only similar in color (Morrigan's far more revealing and "rag-like," Lulu's elegant), and Morrigan is revealed to be quite an insecure, unworldly character compared to Lulu. Lulu openly is affectionate to people besides Tidus and is loyal to the central characters; Morrigan clearly has her own agenda. And the right answer is Morgana or Medea or Circe or any number of the other inspirations for Hot Witch, Dark Magical Girl, and related tropes. This archetype is way too common for this comparison.
  • Tales of Legendia features the Oresoren, who are intelligent fuzzy creatures who are good with machines and have a Verbal Tic. Anyone familiar with Final Fantasy would recognize them as being similar to Moogles. It might be a coincidence... until you realize that one of the most significant Oresoren is named "Quppo", pronounced exactly the same as the verbal tic of the Moogles ("kupo").
  • Human Grand Prix for the Nintendo 64 didn't have the rights to use the actual names of drivers, meaning that the game was filled with drivers with names such as Hamon Dill,[5] Schael Mihumacher,[6] Babens Rurrichello,[7] Hohnny Jerbert,[8] Hika Makkinen,[9] Lean Ajesi[10] and Vacques Jilleneuve,[11] among others. This was rectified for the US/European version of the game, F1 Pole Position 64, which had the actual racer names.
  • Cannon Spike's playable roster is composed almost entirely of characters from existing Capcom properties. The sole exception is Simone, who is just a hairstyle and a slight wardrobe change away from being Lieutenant Linn Kurosawa from Capcom's Alien vs. Predator arcade game, whose ownership is apparently tied up with Twentieth Century Fox.
  • The World Heroes series has quite a few. Kim Dragon is a blatant clone of Bruce Lee. There's also a professional wrestler named Muscle Power who looked exactly like Hulk Hogan in his first appearance. They shaved off his mustache in the console releases of the first game and all the sequels, presumably so that Hogan wouldn't get any ideas about suing ADK.
  • Balrog from Street Fighter II was modeled after Mike Tyson, right down to his character portrait in the original game. In fact, his name in the Japanese version was actually M. Bison (the "M" stood for "Mike"), but it was swapped with the names of the other two boss characters (Balrog and Vega) to avoid any potential likeness infringement overseas. Since Balrog was originally "Mike Bison" in Japan, this has led to the ongoing speculation on whether Mike (a character from the first Street Fighter) is the same guy or not.
    • Likewise, Alex, the protagonist of Street Fighter III, has some elements in common with Hulk Hogan. Capcom even gave him a special intro pose with Hugo (see below) imitating the legendary Hulk vs Andre the Giant fight from Wrestlemania.
    • Andore from Final Fight is obviously modeled after Andre the Giant. When he appeared in Street Fighter III: 2nd Impact, his name was changed to Hugo, presumably to avoid any likeness infringement, although he was still called "Andore" in Final Fight: Revenge and Streetwise, which both came afterward.
  • Jon Dowd from the MVP Baseball series is a Captain Ersatz of Barry Bonds, who was not in the MLBPA at the time.
  • Rodin in Bayonetta is an ersatz of Morpheus from The Matrix.
    • Not to mention that Enzo is almost an exact copy of Joe Pesci.
  • The first stage boss in the original arcade version of the first Double Dragon is a head-swap of Abobo with a Mr.T-like beard and mohawk. In the arcade version of II, Burnov resembles the masked version of the wrestler Neptuneman from the manga Kinnikuman, Abore resembles a cross between the The Terminator and Andre the Giant, and Bolo (who replaces the aforementioned Mr.T-lookalike) resembles his namesake from Enter the Dragon.
  • The entire cast of the surprisingly good Street Fighter II ripoff Breakers is meant to suggest one character from that game or another. Tia is Chun Li (she even does her Lightning Kicks), Sho is Ryu, Pielle and Saizo split elements of Vega (Pielle being a vain Spaniard and Saizo being a ninja), Alsion III and Maherl split elements of Dhalsim (Alsion stretches and breathes poison, while Maherl inflates and breathes fire), Condor is T. Hawk, Rila is Blanka, Dao Long is Guile, and Bai Hu is M. Bison.
  • The diagnostician from the cast of Trauma Team is more or less Spike Spiegel. May qualify as an Expy instead, depending on just where you set the bar for "same character with serial numbers filed off dropped into a new continuity" vs. "Suspiciously similar but different character."
  • Francis York Morgan of Deadly Premonition is one of Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks, only perhaps even weirder and his love of coffee taken to fortune-telling levels.
  • A recent Action Replay DS package. Warning: May include Not-Pokémon-At-All and Not-Bowser-At-All, among other Not-Game-Characters-At-All.
  • The freeware Girls Love Visual Novel series Morning Star is heavily inspired by My-HiME, and has a Student Council President who looks exactly like Shizuru Fujino. Amusingly, the Shizuru-lookalike's name is Natsuki, Shizuru's crush.
  • Tohru Adachi of Persona 4 looks (and acts) like Matsuda. At least, up until The Reveal.
  • For the web game Caesary (which has actually been advertised on TV Tropes itself), there's this Hot Amazon character... which is blatantly meant to be a Wonder Woman knockoff. Seriously, the only differences are that she has more armor and (slightly) less clothing. Link here: [1]
  • 343 Guilty Spark talks like C-3P0. "Hello, I am 343 Guilty Spark, the monitor of Installation 04", and "Your behavior is not in accordance with established protocols".
  • The SPANKED-up suicide bombers in Grand Theft Auto III's "Kingdom Come" mission behave eerily similar to the Exploding BOBS from the Marathon series.
  • The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass gave us Linebeck, who has his share of similarities with a certain Captain called Jack.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online does this on occasion. The developers only have the right to use stuff from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, anything else is off-limits. This means that if something is referrenced to in The Lord of the Rings but the name only appears in say, The Silmarillion, they can't use the actual name. For example, when Sauron disguises himself to fool the elves of Eregion, he does so under the name of Antheron, Lord of Gifts in-game, where the original name is Annatar, Gift-Lord. On top of that, the elven settlement he visits is named Mirobel in-game, where the original name is Ost-In-Edhil. Off course, as a good number of players are familiar with Tolkien's works, they quickly spot the similarities.
  • Since the characters in Dragon Quest VIII were designed by Akira Toriyama, many of them are ersatzes of Dragonball Z characters; eg Hero=Kid Gohan, Trode=Namek Elder, Angelo=Trunks, Kalderasha=Mr. Satan, Valentina=Pan, Jessica=Bulma.
  • There's a fairly strong fan case in World of Warcraft for Prince Arthas Menethil's suspicious similarity to one King Elric VIII of Melniboné.
  • The characters in Cyclomaniacs are mostly hilariously blatant Captain Ersatz versions of prominent cultural figures, including Elvis Presley (Cycle King), Mr. T (Mr. C), Number 6 (Letter F - 'escaped from Wales on a souped-up penny farthing'), The Stig (The Wheel), and Laurel and Hardy (The Bowler Brothers); but also contains versions of prominent Indie Game figures, like Fancy Pants (Farty Pants).
  • Walter Sullivan from Silent Hill 4 looks like the late Kurt Cobain.
  • Heather Morris from Silent Hill 3, and Lisa Rogan from House of the Dead 3. And both are the daughter of the protagonist of the first game in their respective series.
  • The iPhone Punch-Out!! clone Super K.O. Boxing 2 features a boxer named Shogun. This boxer is actually from New York City, and is a Scary Black Man rather than an oriental. It makes little sense unless you've seen The Last Dragon. And in case you didn't already figure out that he was Sho'Nuff with the Serial Numbers Filed Off, one of his moves causes his boxing gloves to glow.
  • Nearly every NPC in Billy vs. SNAKEMAN. Some of your allies even change who they are ersatzes of as they level up.
  • In Poker Night At the Inventory, there's a character who looks and sounds suspiciously like Reginald Van Winslow but wears different clothing and is credited only as "The Host".
  • The President in Silent Scope EX is a lookalike of George W. Bush.
  • Wild Dog from Time Crisis, and Dr. Curien from House of the Dead.
  • If Perry Mason's best friend was a japanese Reibai-tradition Spirit Medium, his name would be Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney!
  • Confusingly enough, the version of Cloud in Kingdom Hearts looks and acts more like Vincent.
  • Forget that, how about Vario Kraatz from Valkyria Chronicles II? Jeez, the guy is Elvis Presley!
  • WET seems to this for the Kill Bill films.
  • One of the Dream Club characters Rui is an Ersatz of Baka No Test's Himeji. Heck it even has Hitomi Harada voicing her. Making Rui the future version of Himeji (Aka teacher by day, hostess by night)
  • Most of the survivors in Bitejacker are based on either classic game characters (like Mario or Ness) or veterans of the Zombie Apocalypse genre (like Louis).
  • The Dropship pilot from the StarCraft games takes most of her lines directly from the dropship pilot in Aliens.
    • StarCraft marines are a pretty obvious copy of Warhammer 40,000 Space Marines (as are Marauders and Firebats to some extent). The zerg bear a pretty heavy resemblance to the Tyranids, but there's something of Alien in there too.
  • Kuon Sumeragi from the Examu fighting game Daemon Bride, resembles Setsuna F Seiei, complete with the same voice actor and the last name (Setsuna's boss is Sumeragi Lee Noriega).
  • Several Original Generation mecha from Super Robot Wars bear a strong resemblance to other Humongous Mecha franchises:
  • Konami's 3DS game Doctor Lautrec And The Forgotten Knights is about a top hat-wearing archaeologist who solves mysteries with the help of his young assistant by doing puzzles. Sound familiar?
  • The Imperial Defense Droid in Super Star Wars resembles the ED-209 from RoboCop.
  • Guy Kazama in Last Alert is an ersatz of Rambo.
  • Pochi in Legacy of the Wizard greatly resembles Bub and Bob of Bubble Bobble.
  • The True Final Boss of the first Blaster Master looks like an orange version of the Gouf mobile suit from Mobile Suit Gundam, complete with the energy whip, shield, and Spikes of Villainy.
  • At least some of the player-species in the classic economics-edutainment game MULE are examples of this, the most obvious being the Packer and the Gollumer, who are respectively Pac-Man (with legs) and ET the Extraterrestrial. The Bonzoid is pretty much a human-sized one-eyed King Kong. The Flapper and the M.U.L.E.s themselves bear more than a passing resemblance to the two types of Imperial Walkers from The Empire Strikes Back.
  • China has many online mon games, but some of them more like "Pokémon" in terms of gameplay. Altough at first one may think it's all original with those emoticon-like graphics, few games have few Mons that are ripoffs of certain Pokémon. For worse, they "evolve" from a completely different Mon. See here for an example. Of course there were used to be a plant-Kirlia/Gardevoir and Cyndaquil-like families, but they're probably taken down some time.
  • Double Switch. More than once, there is a mention of the Egyptian goddess Isix. Must be Isis they are talking about. Isn't Isis in the Public Domain?
  • In the arcade version of Strider, Solo is an ersatz of Boba Fett. The Grandmaster, although resembling Emperor Palpatine, was actually based on Sauron from The Lord of the Rings according to the developers.
  • The Desert Ruins level from Spyro: Year Of The Dragon contains a character that is very blatantly Lara Croft turned into an anthropomorphic mouse.
  • Sgt. Johnson from Halo : Sgt. Morris from Quake 4. They may be both inspired by Sgt. Apone from Aliens.
  • In Cry of Fear: Sawrunner (not to be mistaken with the boss Sawer) a maniac that brandishes a chainsaw, howls loudly when attacking, and wears a uncanny mask. He is just like Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and it does not make him any less terrifying.
  • In Acclaim's Legends of Wrestling II career mode, regional promoters are somewhat based on existing promoters Vince McMahon, Ted Turner (WCW), Paul Heyman, Christine Jarrett, Jim Crockett and Hiro Matsuda.
  • Billy and Jimmy Lewis from Rage of the Dragons are obvious stand-ins for Billy and Jimmy Lee from Double Dragon. The game was initially developed as a Double Dragon spin-off, but the developers were unable to secure the rights to the license. The game's sub-boss character, Abubo, is also an obvious stand-in for Abobo.
  • The Hentai game Season of the Sakura was really blatant about this, with the primary cast all coming from famous anime; the protagonist's father and school principal are Nobuyuki and Yosho/Katsuhito Masaki, his homeroom teacher is Misato Katsuragi, his best friend is Kensuke Aida, and the girls he can romance include Hikaru Shido, Umi Ryuzaki, Fuu Houji, Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langley, Seira Mimori, Meimi Haneoka, and Shoko Inaba. They don't even try hiding it; the character designs are identical (except for one or two having different hair colors), their personalities are pretty much the same, and some (such as Seira and Meimi) don't even get new names.
  • The Nintendo DS fighting game Windy X Windam has character designs that are heavily based on Guilty Gear. Big is basically Potemkin minus his gigantic gauntlet; swordsman Kirikou is Ky Kiske with fire abilities instead of lightning; and Jack and Stin are clones of Slayer and Bridget, respectively.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Anyone who writes for The Erotic Mind Control Story Archive is forced to use this trope in their fiction. See, Warner Bros. slammed the site with legal threats in 1998 due to fan fiction on the site that used their characters. The site's webmaster deleted almost every single fanfic from the site and hasn't accepted any new fanfics since. Only four fanfics survive on the site to this day, but three of them are Star Trek, and the fourth one is The X-Files, both franchises that are not owned by Warner. Also, all four fics are legacy; they date from before 1998. To that effect, in the stories labeled "CB: Comic Book Superhero" and "SF: Science Fiction", you'll probably see characters that look exactly like Wonder Woman and Captain Picard, but have completely different names. The EMCSA also overlaps this trope with Gannon Banned, as there are several other kinds of fiction banned from the site; however, on the official forums, there's a link to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine that you can use to get at the deleted stories.
  • Open Blue has "Kukulu", a Super-Deformed copy of Cthulhu, as one of its Powers That Be. He also happens to be their Series Mascot.
  • Englishman uses blatant spoonerised names of any real life individuals who appear.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd has spawned possibly enough imitators on YouTube to start a list. Noteworthy mentions include The Irate Gamer and Game Dude.
  • Musical example in popular YouTube spoof series How It Should Have Ended. Ever since the Terminator episode, they have been using tunes which bear a rather obvious resemblance to the actual soundtrack, even the iconic ones like Star Wars.
  • Quite common in Original Slash. Shousetsu Bang* Bang, an original yaoi magazine on LiveJournal, even has this as one of its rules - "If you're hung up on characters that don't belong to you, change their names and details, AU them, and the Editor will be happy to think of you as one of those people who always draw their seme to look like Youko Kurama."
  • Also, Celsan Automotive LLC on NationStates, who appear to be a sort of copy or Homage to Nissan, Holden, Peugeot, Opel, Chevrolet in one. Possibly an Expy too.
  • Ever since Marble Hornets came up with totheark, nearly every single Slender Man-related blog/video series has had a similar character.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, there are many. More than many, really. Too many to mention. A short listing includes: Ultra-Man (Superman), Bungie (Plastic Man), Guardsman (Green Lantern), Achilles (Batman), Arachne (Spider-Man), The Damocles Directive (The Suicide Squad), Quantum (Captain Atom), The Golden Marvel (Golden Age Superman), Morningstar (Power Girl), and Jock (The Taskmaster).
  • Doctor Octogonapus, not Octopus, from The Lazer Collection.
  • Whateley Universe authors like doing this as spoofs. At Whateley Academy the team The Vindicators is definitely the classic Avengers, with Kismet for the Scarlet Witch and Donner as a dopey Thor (among others). And Elite League are all expies of the animated Justice League seven.
  • Fake Theme Park sometimes resorts to this:

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • From the early years of The Golden Age of Animation, we have the Warner Bros. star Foxy, whose image is adorned at the top of this page, and whom some of you might even remember appearing in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode Two-Tone Town.. To say he's a blatant copy of Mickey Mouse is like saying fish enjoy swimming. Incidentally, he only lasted three shorts—because Walt Disney personally complained to Foxy creator Rudy Ising, with one phone call putting an abrupt end to Foxy's career. However, him and his girlfriend Roxy did made a modern day appearance in Tiny Toon Adventures, as mentioned already.
    • In fact, he and Roxy had to be completely redesigned for Tiny Toon Adventures so they'd look more like foxes and less like Mickey and Minnie.
  • Probably the most well known Captain Ersatz of all time would have to be none other than Mickey Mouse. How, and of whom was he a Captain Ersatz of? This guy.
  • Woody Woodpecker is a rather obvious one of the early Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny prototypes. No surprise, since the Bugs Bunny prototypes and Woody Woodpecker were made by Ben Hardaway, who was a prominent writer in the Woody Woodpecker cartoons after he left Warner Bros. for Universal Cartoons.
    • Mel Blanc himself voiced Woody for his first few appearances (and invented that famously annoying laugh) before being replaced because of his contract with Warner Brothers.
  • DC Universe characters occasionally get Captain Ersatz replacements in animated adaptations:
    • For a fairly minor C-list DC Universe hero, Black Lightning has an awful lot of animated Captain Ersatz versions (most, if not all, created to avoid paying royalties to Black Lightning's creators):
      • Black Vulcan was created by Hanna-Barbera for Superfriends.
      • One episode of Static Shock features the temporary comeback of a retired 1960s hero named "Soul Power." While the writers of the show wanted to use Black Lightning, DC's executives refused permission.
        • Tantrum from the episode of that show with the same name is basically a Captain Ersatz of the Incredible Hulk.
      • Even Black Lightning villains get Ersatzed. The Justice League Unlimited episode "Double Date" features the crime lord "Steven Mandragora", a Captain Ersatz for Kingpin-esque albino villain Tobias Whale, who was the primary adversary in the original Black Lightning comic series.
      • On top of that, JLU featured a Captain Ersatz for Black Vulcan in Juice (alongside ersatz versions of Superfriends characters the Wonder Twins, and the various Captain Ethnics.) For those keeping score, that's a Captain Ersatz of a Captain Ersatz.
      • Batman the Brave And The Bold has finally bucked the Black Lightning trend, with his appearance as the de facto leader of the Outsiders. Of course since he's a teen on this show he's now a Captain Ersatz of Static Shock, which was lampshaded by Wildcat during the Outsiders' Heel Face Turn -- "It'll take more than a little Static Shock to keep me down!"
    • JLU featured a thinly-disguised Captain Ersatz for Aquaman villain Black Manta, "Devil Ray." (Aquaman and related characters were off-limits while a live-action CW series was in development.)
      • This was lampshaded in an actual issue of Aquaman, where someone mistakenly thinks Black Manta is actually called Devil Ray.
    • Justice League also had Aresia and Tsukuri, who were heavily inspired by the heroines Fury and Katana, right down to wearing very similar costumes. According to Dwayne McDuffie, Tsukuri was partially based off Lady Shiva as well.
    • While featuring characters who mostly predated the Marvel versions by decades, the team-ups between Dr. Fate, Aquaman, and Solomon Grundy, were meant to mirror Marvel's, Defenders (Fate = Dr. Strange, Aquaman = Sub-Mariner, Grundy = Hulk. The latter even acted and talked like the Hulk on the cartoon). They were later joined by AMAZO, a Silver Surfer mirror. Hawkgirl was the stand-in for Nighthawk.
    • The Question became a more kid friendly clone of Rorschach, making him a Captain Ersatz of his own Captain Ersatz (as well as ensuring that he will Never Live It Down).
    • Batman the Animated Series episode #18, "Return of the Gray Ghost" has Simon Trent, the star of a 1950s "costumed crimefighter" TV show, finding out that he was the inspiration for The Batman—because as a child, Bruce Wayne used to watch the show with his father. The Gray Ghost is basically an Expy of both Will Eisner's The Spirit and Walter B. Gibson's The Shadow. But there's still a Captain Ersatz here, since Simon Trent/The Gray Ghost is provided by Adam West, the original TV Batman....
    • Superman the Animated Series introduced Luminus and Mala, who were essentially Doctor Light and Ursa with the serial numbers filed off. There was also Angela Chen, who was essentially an Asian American version of Cat Grant. She was even given Cat's job as a gossip columnist and her infamous rivalry with Lois Lane.
      • Mala's lover was Jax-Ur. While Jax-Ur is a supervillain from the comics, this Jax-Ur has little to do with his comics counterpart, and is General Zod in all but name.
    • One episode of JLU featured Supergirl and several other heroes going to Tokyo to fight a giant turtle with tusks, which flew by retracting its legs into its shell and replacing them with rockets, causing it to spin like a flying saucer, but which was definitely not Gamera.
    • Also from JLU, the aforementioned "Defenders" fought... "Ic'thulutu."
    • In the Justice League episode "Legends," four of the leaguers get zapped into an alternate universe populated by parodic Captain Ersatzes of Golden Age DC heroes. (For example, there's the Green Guardsman, whose power ring doesn't work against aluminum.) In-universe, the John Stewart Green Lantern read all their comics growing up. The episode had originally been written to explicitly feature Justice Society of America characters, but DC Comics publisher Paul Levitz refused permission. This wound up being a fairly positive bit of Executive Meddling all around, both for the episode itself and because it allowed for greater use of JSA characters down the road.
      • The same episode featured the Justice League fighting a giant robot that looked almost exactly like one of the title mecha from Neon Genesis Evangelion. The commentary from Bruce Timm confirmed this was intentional.
    • Since Superman comics were undergoing a revamp at the time, the producers of the Ruby-Spears Superman cartoon weren't sure how to utilize Brainiac. Instead, they created an original character named Cybron.
    • Batman the Brave And The Bold had an episode focusing on circus heiress/vigilante Katrina Moldoff, who used Kathy Kane's costume but was never once called Batwoman (Riddler derisively nicknames her "Bat-Lady"). Word of God says that DC requested the rename because they didn't want this character's negative traits causing a backlash against the just-debuted Kate Kane Batwoman character.
    • The same series featured Scream Queen, Equinox and Kru'll the Eternal, who were Captain Ersatzes of Silver Banshee, Libra and Vandal Savage respectively.
    • Rumor from The Batman was originally supposed to be Hush until some Executive Meddling resulted in him becoming a new (but extremely similar) villain. Ellen Yin was also heavily based off Ellen Yindel from The Dark Knight Returns.
    • Superman X from Legion of Super Heroes is mostly a Composite Character, but his costume and backstory were heavily lifed from the modern Superboy.
    • Teen Titans had Val-Yor, who was physically based off Captain Atom. Additionally, Private H.I.V.E. was based off the Guardian, Billy Numerous was Multiple Man, Larry was Bat-Mite, Tramm was Lagoon Boy, Sarasim was Sarah Simms and Puppet King was the Puppeteer.
  • The legal fight between Disney, Amblin Entertainment and original creator Gary Wolf over ownership of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? lead to the creation of the TV series Bonkers. Especially noticeable since Bonkers himself, a Disney property, is more obviously based on a Tex Avery style character.
  • Schizophrenic and completely divorced from reality, Loogie from the Jetix series Get Ed is so similar to Sheen from Nickelodeon's Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius that it hurts.
  • Little Audrey was created by Paramount's Famous Studios to be a Captain Ersatz of Little Lulu, who Paramount lost the rights to make cartoons of. Both characters would survive for decades in comic books and eventually both wound up under the ownership of the same company.
  • Since they couldn't use other Toho Monsters for Godzilla: The Series, the writers simply created their own monsters as a sort of Homage to classic Japanese Godzilla foes. Examples include a giant Megapede/Cicada monster instead of Mothra, a garbage eating Nanomachine cluster instead of Hedorah, a cyborg version of the original American Godzilla instead of Mechagodzilla, and even a robotic yeti as a replacement for everyone's favorite giant ape.
  • The Galafems and their queen, Hippsodeth from Aladdin are obvious stand-ins for the Amazons and their queen, Hippolyta.
  • Animaniacs and its spinoffs have episodes that include "Baloney" the Dinosaur.
    • Also Googily Goop, an obvious parody of Betty Boop.
  • From the black-and-white Looney Tunes, Buddy is both a Captain Ersatz and a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Bosko. When Bosko's creators left WB for MGM and took the rights to Bosko with them, producer Leon Schlesinger quickly assembled a new animation team who hastily came up with the character of Buddy, who was, in Leonard Maltin's words, "Bosko in whiteface." The Buddy shorts are remembered for being particularly dull even by the standards of 1930s animation.
  • Baby Looney Tunes had The Super Sunshine Girls.
  • Speaking, anyone had the impression that the Totally Spies! episode "S.P.I" is too similar to PPG episode "The Rowdyruff Boys"? It's like the Boys quit Cartoon Network and worked for Marathon!
    • Made more suspicious by the fact that in another episode the teen Spies were wearing the same colors as the PP Gs (not the exact dresses, but the colors matched still!).
  • Super Mario Bros Super Show (the animated segment) Captain Ersatzes of everyone from Robin Hood to Indiana Jones (as quoted above) to Elvis.
  • The Muses of |Hercules are Captain Ersatzes of the black chorus girls from Menken's earlier, non-animated musical, Little Shop of Horrors.
  • Clearly done for copyright reasons, Arthur has Henry Skreever (Harry Potter), Persimmony Glitchet (Lemony Snicket), Bionic Bunny (Superman and The Six Million Dollar Man), Dark Bunny (Batman), Mary Moo Cow (Barney the Dinosaur... although given that an episode focuses on its cancellation in favor of "Stock Market Today", it may also be an homage to the locally produced children's shows which were once popular in the 70's and 80's), the Love Ducks (The Teletubbies) and the Vegimorphs (Animorphs).
  • 6teen uses this constantly, in fact the only thing they use that is the name of the real life thing is Star Wars:
    • Ironically, in the episode Nikki was annoying Darth's girlfriend (for those who remembers the plot) she and Jonesy saw a sci-fi movie that's an Expy of Star Wars, but not the real one! Yet they had constant references in other episodes, namely around Darth!
    • Whether or not Ron the rent-a-cop is a Captain Ersatz or an Affectionate Parody of Christopher Walken is open for debate, but he did do a dead-on reenactment of the Fatboy Slim "Weapon of Choice" video in one episode.
  • The Real Ghostbusters included Captain Ersatzes of rival shows and various movies, including Dracula (referred to by his real name, "Count Tepes"). There were only three things that were referred to by their real names: Star Wars, Newhart, and Cthulhu.
  • Kappa Mikey, a parody of anime, contains tons of characters who are legal rip-offs of real anime characters, in the same vein as Drawn Together. The character Gonard gets bonus points, since he is believed by fans to be an expy of Goku, thanks in no small part to both of them sharing the same English voice actor!
  • Depending on who you ask, The Dread Baron and Mumbly are either these, or Expys. According to some accounts, Hanna-Barbera was in a legal conflict with Heatter-Quigley (who helped co-create Wacky Races) over who owned the rights to the Dick Dastardly and Muttley characters, which led to the creation of the new characters for the show Laff-A-Lympics. Others point out that Mumbly actually pre-dated Muttley (though he originally was a good guy.)
    • Muttley, created in 1968, pre-dates Mumbly, created in 1976.
    • Issue #13 of the Laff-a-Lympics comic book shows that Dread Baron and Dick Dastardly were brothers.
      • It's been noted that Heatter-Quigley was given an on-screen credit on Wacky Races in spite of the fact that the live game show segment they were to have made as part of the show was scrapped. The Heatter-Quigley billing appears nowhere on either of the show's spinoffs, but it does appear in the copyright tag of a Dastardly & Muttley comic book story, "Truce Or Consequences" (Gold Key, Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #10, January 1972).
  • The Venture Brothers has quite a few. Dr. Orpheus is Doctor Strange. Jefferson Twilight is Blade. The Groovy Gang are a bunch of psychotic parodies of Mystery, Inc. from Scooby Doo. There are a lot, and they're mostly played for laughs. Surprisingly averted with Jonny Quest, Race Bannon, and Dr. Zin. When the creators found out the same people own the right to their show and Jonny Quest, they had them make actual appearances. Later on, they had to start calling him "Action Johnny" for trademark reasons. Intellectual property law is a cruel mistress.
  • The Fairly OddParents has two of its villains in this position: first, Dark Laser is obviously Darth Vader. In fact, his original episode was just an excuse to do an extended parody of Star Wars. The second is Foop, who is basically Stewie Griffin. No surprise, since Butch Hartman and Seth MacFarlane are friends. Catman, portrayed by TV's Adam West, is another example.
    • Although Catman gets complicated, as he's an actual Batman villain (with the same costume), who is himself a thinly-veiled stand-in for a Golden Age hero named Catman.
  • The Five-Man Band of Monsters vs. Aliens are Captain Ersatzes of 1950's B-Movies:
  • Almost every episode of The Simpsons has one. A few examples: Sherry Bobbins (explicitly), "Angelica Button and the Dragon King's Trundle Bed", Count Fudgeula, Itchy and Scratchy, Menthol Moose, Rainier Wolfcastle (married to Maria Shriver Kennedy Quimby)... the list goes on and on.
  • The wrestling episode of Ben10 has a shocking number of comic book characters getting the treatment: Wolverine, Cyclops, Wonder Man, Killer Croc, even a gang boss based somewhat on Kingpin. The clincher? Wolverine and Killer Croc were adopted by Aunt May.
  • On the 1981 Filmation series Blackstar respect for a certain no-longer-living author could not prevent the introduction of "Trobbits".
  • A few episodes of Codename: Kids Next Door mention a show called "Dr. Timespace and the Continuums" (Doctor Who). In the Christmas Episode, they fight Yule-themed pastiches of the X-Men. Yes, including a Wolverine with candy cane claws.
  • The Batman Beyond episode "Heroes" had three obvious references to the Fantastic Four in form of another superhero team called the Terrific Trio: the stand-in for Mr. Fantastic was changed to "the 2D man", the Invisible Woman gained ice powers and was dubbed Freon, and the Thing and the Human Torch were merged into one character, Magma. The idea is then ruthlessly deconstructed with the "accident" having been set up by a jealous admirer. Plus the mutation not only causes an end to normal life, but eventually psychosis. Then they all go rogue and die. And the Captain of the shield like organization is not Nick Fury mixed with J. Jonah Jameson with a Hitler mustache.
  • The Disabled Professor in Family Guy, whose name is apparently Steve, is an ersatz Stephen Hawking, with a similar Machine Monotone voice.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures very briefly shows a parody of Ren and Stimpy (in this case they're a squirrel and a chicken instead of a cat and dog) and Beavis and Butthead (who are portrayed as two furry animals, Beaver and Hoghead) here.
  • Re Boot examples:
    • During the Daemon arc, Frisket, Matrix, Enzo and AndrAla encounter a mod user character who is a spoof of Austin Powers. While playing, Frisket reboots into a version of Mr. Bigglesworth, Matrix reboots into an exact version of Doctor Evil (complete with placing his pinky near his mouth in a sinister fashion if the shout out wasn't already enough), Enzo reboots into a version of Mini-me, and AndrAla reboots into a Fembot. In one scene, AndrAla actually shoots the Austin Powers user while trying to lure her in bed, as seen here.
    • In "My Two Bobs", there was also a Dragon Ball Z/Pokémon parody.
    • Almost all of the games are a Shoutout to various other pieces of popular culture, so if a episode featured a game (which it usually did) you're bound to find a few Captains or so among the cast.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy examples:
    • Hoss Delgado, an Ersatz of Snake Plissken and Ash Williams.
    • There is also an entire Ersatz of the Harry Potter universe. Harry Potter (a parseltongued wizard who can talk to snakes) is replaced by Nigel Planter (a partial-tongue "wizard" who can talk to snacks), Lord Voldemort is replaced by Lord Moldybutt (complete with the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named title), and Dean Toadblatts replacing Dumbledore in title and Snape in his attitude toward Nigel. It also featured Ersatzes of Draco and Hermione.
  • The Tick (animation)'s animated series had a lot of these. Amongst the most prominent was Die Fledermaus (a Batman parody), American Maid (a female Captain America (comics)), and Big Shot (The Punisher).
  • An episode of The Mask dealt with Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask spending time with and causing mischief with his favorite cartoon characters The Goofalototots Stinko, Pinko, and Snot, who are obvious expys of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot from Animaniacs.
  • The Boulder knows that he is Captain Ersatz of a certain well-known wrestler-turned-actor.
  • Whenever a character from another series appears on MAD (often), their design is modified slightly to ward off potential lawsuits - even for characters that are owned by its parent channel Cartoon Network. Example: when Applejack appears in the "Cowboys and Alien Force" skit, she wears a floppy Southern Belle-style sunhat instead of her normal cowboy hat, has two bands on her tail and ponytail instead of one, has a variation on Rarity's cutie mark, and is colored reddish-pink instead of orange.
  • The Dexter's Laboratory universe has Major Glory, a Captain Ersatz America.
  • In Secret Squirrel (H-B, 1965), the villain Yellow Pinky was a Captain Ersatz of James Bond villain Goldfinger.
  • In Rango, there is a brief appearance by Hunter S. Thompson's own Captain Ersatz from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Being as the main character is played by Johnny Depp in both films, this only makes matters better.
  • Ostrich Thing with The Balls from Regular Show.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes antagonist Luicus is basically another Principal Pixiefrog.
  • ChalkZone had duos of these. The first being Reggie and his dad Bruno who look basically like DK and Diddy Kong. The other is Thor Throat and Brick Buster who look a lot similar to Strong Bad and Strong Sad.
  • Scaredy Squirrel has this effect on Conker the Squirrel.
  • Bonkey the Green Dragon from Recess.
  • The main characters of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic started as Lauren Faust's sketches of characters from the '80s show. Hasbro told her that Applejack and Spike were the only names and designs from that period that they still had rights to. So Faust renamed and recolored the other five based on more recent characters in the franchise:
    • Twilight -> Twilight Sparkle
    • Firefly -> Rainbow Dash
    • Posey -> Fluttershy
    • Surprise -> Pinkie Pie
    • Sparkler -> Rarity
  • The Pearlie character Gobsmack is bascally an obvious expy to The Little Man (Big Nose in Pink Panther and Pals) from The Pink Panther. He evens has a big nose and rambles like The Little Man.
  • The Goode Family episode "Gerold's Way or The Highway" has a cop character who's a straight Captain Ersatz to the Angry Cop from the Harvey Birdman episode "Booty Noir", who is no better either.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In an attempt to ride the show's success, disney tried to launch their own show called poopdeck with almost the exact same premise. When Cartoon network found out, they had disney cancel the show immediately on copyright basis and then made an entire episode devoted to the toying with idea with no small amount of vitrol (Panfake, for those familair with the episodes).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, an obvious parody of Batman and Robin, respectively, although appearance-wise they resemble Aquaman and Plastic Man, respctively.
    • Even down to the fact that their flashback selves are voiced by Adam West and Burt Ward.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has Alligators on a Train.
  • Johnny Test featured a parody of Pokémon called Tinymon, including a spoof of Ash Ketchum named Blast Ketchup and most obviously, a spoof of Lugia named Screechareen.
  • The Ricky Gervais Show has Knobopoly, Knobration and Chess Cock.
  • An episode of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi titled In the Cards features a trading card game called Stu-Pi-Doh.
  • The obviousness of Irma Langenstein from the 1980s incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles being the Captain Ersatz of Jeanette of The Chipettes.
  1. Carmine Infantino: Penciler, Publisher, Provocateur (2010 book)
  2. and being described as taller and younger than I personally would describe him
  3. not, mind you, mentioned as someone he knew
  4. "Claudia realised that caressing himself was as much a comfort to the young man as it was an act of sex. He seemed reassured by his body's own responses. But that took nothing away from the eroticism of his performance."
  5. Damon Hill
  6. Michael Schumacher
  7. Rubens Barrichello
  8. Johnny Herbert
  9. Mika Hakkinen
  10. Jean Alesi
  11. Jacques Villeneuve