Captain Space, Defender of Earth!
In The Future, when mankind has explored the outer reaches of space, the forces of evil threaten our peace. But never fear, for humanity is under the stalwart protection of the parody hero of Space Operas and serials, known as Captain Space, Defender of Earth!
Yes, his origins make him a Dead Unicorn Trope, based more on Captain Kirk and Adam West's portrayal of Batman than of the old Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers stories, but that does not stand in the way of his quest For Great Justice! Okay, it might, but even if he is an arrogant Jerkass (meant to mock the old values, or what we think they were), that won't stop people from admiring him due to his deep, manly voice, larger than life mannerisms, dedication to truth and justice, and some of his trusty gadgets (Ray Gun mandatory).
When our hero actually is heroic, although sometimes an Idiot Hero, he leads the fight to stop Death Rays, alien armadas, Space Pirates, and Evil Overlords from destroying The Federation! Furthermore, he does not need to do this alone, as he is always accompanied by a Girl Friday, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, or an Eager Young Space Cadet, who may also be parodies of their respective archetypes of the true saviors of the day!
Film -- Live Action
- The Prince of Space from Prince of Space.
- Bronco from Gentlemen Broncos
- Buckaroo Banzai from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.
Film -- Animated
- Uncle Art in Meet the Robinsons (voice, appropriately enough, by Adam West) is a subversion—his spaceship is a conveyance for delivering pizza.
- Buzz Lightyear of Toy Story
- Captain Sternn from Heavy Metal, although we don't get to see his exploits, just the trial.
- The Honorverse series within a series Preston of the Spacelanes.
- The parody was firmly entrenched by the time Robert A. Heinlein wrote The Rolling Stones in The Fifties: Roger Stone and, later, Grandma Hazel help support the family by writing a deliberately over-the-top three-vee serial in the Captain Space Defender mold.
- Similarly, Harry Harrison parodied the trope in his comic SF novel, Bill the Galactic Hero.
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin's "Spaceman Spiff" persona, who doesn't defend Earth so much as get randomly captured and shot down on faraway planets.
- Comic strip character Brewster Rokkit: Space Guy!
- Named for CAPTAIN GORDON, DEFENDER OF EARTH! of Disgaea: Hour of Darkness.
- Captain Qwark of Ratchet and Clank
- Chibi-Robo!: Drake Redcrest is an action figure from the Show Within a Show.
- Captain Commando mixes this with Tokusatsu tropes.
- The title character of Blasto (not to be confused with the arcade game of the same name).
- Duck Dodgers, in both the original cartoon and its TV series Spin-Off.
- Major Courage of "Courage of the Cosmos", a Show Within a Show in the DuckTales (1987) episode, "Where No Duck Has Gone Before".
- Zapp Brannigan of Futurama, although he is more explicitly a parody of Captain Kirk (his character was originally pitched as "What if William Shatner was captain of the Enterprise rather than Kirk?).
- Commander Hoek and Cadet Stimpy
- The "Starboy and the Captain of Outer Space" movie-within-a-show in Home Movies.
- Crash Nebula in a Show Within a Show of Fairly Oddparents.