Basically, when you throw many characters belonging to a specific genre (or sometimes a distinct division of this genre—e.g., the works of a certain author) into a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, for the purpose of exploring and deconstructing—and sometimes reconstructing—said genre from a modern viewpoint (which may or may not be Darker and Edgier). It could use the actual characters and settings from said works, or it could limit itself to using Expies if said work isn't quite in the public domain (less common online, because copyrights matter somewhat less when no money changes hands)
Note that the Massive Multiplayer Crossover itself here is just the means, while the goal is the aforementioned genre exploration/deconstruction. Also note that it's only one of the possible uses for a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, which may be implemented for numerous other purposes (e.g., fun, awesomeness, sex appeal, etc.)
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- Alan Moore loves this trope.
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vols. 1 & 2 did this with Victorian literature. It's very likely that it was this graphic novel that influenced this trope's popularity in the last decade (especially in comics), so it's probably the Trope Codifier. Note that in the movie version a similar Massive Multiplayer Crossover is made mostly for Rule of Funny and Rule of Cool, rather than Deconstruction. Thus, it's not an example of Deconstruction Crossover.
- Black Dossier, the sequel to LoEG, did this with mostly 1950s mostly British mostly literature.
- League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3 is going to do this with, consequently, early 20th century, 1960s and 1990s-2000s fiction.
- Albion (created with Alan Moore's assistance) did this with 1950s-'70s British comics published by IPC.
- In Twilight of the Superheroes, a script submitted by Alan Moore to DC, he wanted to do the same with the DC Universe.
- The original script for Watchmen was this: a crossover of several Charlton Comics characters intended for deconstructing the superhero genre from a modern viewpoint. The final work uses Captain Ersatzes of the Charlton characters instead.
- Lost Girls, with art by Melinda Gebbie, crosses the stories of Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The deconstructive part comes where instead of fantasy tales, they're all converted into similar stories of sexual awakening, often taking place when the girls are quite young and sometimes with family members.
- The Judgement Day crossover Moore wrote for Awesome was this in spades, creating an enormous history for the Awesome universe apparently populated entirely by the Captain Ersatz novelty assortment.
- Sandman does this with every comics, mythological or historical figure Neil Gaiman could work into the story.
- Kingdom Come: To some extent, it actually fulfilled the idea of Twilight of the Superheroes.
- Basically, it starts with the idea "everything ever produced for DC Comics was canon". All of it, Watchmen, Vertigo Comics, the experimental comics of The Seventies, One shot characters from anthology comics, the Superfriends Cartoon, all of it. Then, it took all the contemporary trends in comics, morally questionable storylines, Badass Nineties Anti Heroes, heroes and villains being replaced with Darker and Edgier Legacy Characters, and extrapolate them to their logical extremes. Then it took the Golden Age Generation of superheroes, and brought their powers to logical extremes, added biblical themes, and gave it to us in a photo-realistic "painted" style to make it more realistic, and disturbing. It certainly counts.
- Planetary did this with various fiction characters and genres. Most of the characters there are pastiches or Captain Ersatzs, and most genres are deconstructed in self-containing stories, regardless of the series' Massive Multiplayer Crossover premise.
- J.Michael Straszynski's unfinished series The Twelve did this with twelve various WWII-era Timely Comics superheroes, exploring the differences between modern and 1940s culture.
- Fables does this with fairy-tales and nursery rhymes.
- Twilight, by Howard Chaykin, did this with DC Comics' Silver Age science fiction characters. No relation to Twilight of the Superheroes. Or that book with sparkling vampires.
- The JLA-Avengers miniseries. The plot of the series was all about the differences between the Marvel Universe and The DCU. Compared to the DCU, Marvel is a Crapsack World, and compared to Marvel, DC heroes are just one short, bad day away from Beware the Superman.
- Hybrid Theory by Blade and Epsilon does this for the classic anime Mega Crossover and Self-Insert Fic.
- A Dark Knight Over Sin City explores the similarities and differences between the two comic franchises.
- Mighty Morphin Mecha Rangers is a Deconstructive Parody crossover between lots onf mecha anime (pretty much in the style of Super Robot Wars), where the own tag says "This was either an awesome or a really bad idea!" the city that they supposedly have to protect clearly gets the second option.
Literature[edit | hide]
- The novel Silverlock contains characters and settings from Beowulf, Don Quixote, and countless others.
- Jonathan Swift wrote the satirical tract A Tale of a Tub in 1694. It does this with Anthropomorphic Personifications of different sects of Christianity, deconstructing what Swift saw as the "flaws" in each.
- The Neil Gaiman novel American Gods does this, along with a healthy dose of All Myths Are True.
- This trope, combined with the Literary Agent Hypothesis, is the main premise of many works taking place in Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe.
- The Anno Dracula series by Kim Newman is a massive hodgepodge of characters vampire and non-vampire, fictional and non-fictional, Victorian and modern, running around in a world where Dracula killed Van Helsing and took over Britain.
- As previously stated, Who Censored Roger Rabbit? (Literature)? by Gary Wolf.
- Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde does this with nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters, to the point of postulating an entire murder mystery story around the age-old question of, "Why are the Three Bears' bowls of porridge different temperatures if clearly they were poured at the same time?"
- Into the Woods, containing characters from multiple fairy tales and weaving their stories together. The whole thing is deconstructed in the second act.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- There are some surprisingly convincing Epileptic Trees that interpret Super Smash Bros Brawl as this. One theory states that Master Hand represents the forces of video game order (the rules by which video games function), Crazy Hand represents the forces of video game chaos (the unpredictability that makes video games fun), and Tabuu represents the forces of Serious Business and "Stop Having Fun!" Guys, what with his efforts to imprison Master Hand and destroy the world of video games.
- Super Robot Wars games can turn into this to some degree, by showing how characters from one anime would react when facing plot and characters from others - friendships (Kamina and Ryoma in Z2) and rivalries (Domon and Kazuya in MX) are formed, some characters turns different that in their source material (Shinji and Shinn, very often), some events are averted, villains fight one another (Zonderians vs Radam vs Evolouders vs Eleven Lords Of Sol in W) or form alliances (Doctor Hell, Gauron and Hakkeshu in J), not to mention characters making comments about events from other series.
- Super Robot Wars Z goes one step further by actually having some characters show in multiple versions of their animated continuities, in order to contrast the differences between them. For example, Classic Ryoma witnesses Armageddon Ryoma and is horrified by his much more violent nature.
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- Breakfast of the Gods does this with breakfast cereal mascots.
- Most of Bleedman's Web Comics (e.g., Powerpuff Girls Doujinshi, Grim Tales from Down Below) do this with various Western Animation cartoons (at the same time changing their drawing styles to an Animesque one).
- Kid Radd seems to do this, but featuring Captain Ersatzes and pastiches rather than actual trandemarked Video Game characters.
- It has it's own in universe versions of games like Super Mario Bros., EarthBound, Final Fantasy, and even Deadly Towers and cheesy flash games. It really does well at showing what a character from one genre of games would look like if he was forced into a completely different genre but his character still followed the rules of his original game. For example, how would a platformer character for whom everything does equal damage, and only has four slots in his health bar deal with being put in an RPG where every character has thousands of HP? How would a fighting game character, who needs to take advantage of a character being temporarily stunned after being hit in order to perform combos deal with a platformer character who becomes temporarily invincible after being hit?
- Captain SNES fits into this category fairly well. Not only are many of the villains aware that they are merely video game characters (which is, in at least one case, why they became villains to begin with), but characters who travel from one video game world to another are not always prepared for the different rules. (The comic where Magus writes of his experiences learning from Mario seems a good illustration of this.)
- Chess Piece more and more.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- There Will Be Brawl does this with Nintendo games. It uses a pre-existing Massive Multiplayer Crossover established by the Super Smash Bros. franchise, and makes references to a number of movies, such as Silence of the Lambs.
- The Final Fighting Fantasy Flash series on Newgrounds does a good job at this. For the various Final Fantasy Characters, it starts off as what looks like a simple poorly writen fan fic, but quickly grows the beard and becomes quite epic. It turns out that the legendary weapons of the games where created by the ancients as a way of manipulating the game's protagonists into defeating the forces of evil, and thus restoring balance, however, after evil was defeated, the good guys can't stay around any longer, because they would tip the balance to far towards the light, so, the weapons transport them to another world, where they all meet each other, and (because of the influence the weapons have on their mind) convince them that the characters from the other games are evil, and thus they're forced into a fight to the death. The different characters named "Cid" that appear in every game is actually the same guy, manipulating things from behind the scenes. Unfortunatly, Final Fighting Fantasy has been left unfinished
- Cheshire Crossing. Three girls believed to be insane are all sent to a new place. A 'boarding school'. But the three girls are Alice Liddell, Wendy Darling, and Dorothy Gale. And the 'teacher' is Mary Poppins. Has to be read, because it's definitely better than it sounds.
- Marvel DC After Hours does this. Season 1 questions the validity of Superman, Season 2 deals with what the heroes would be like if they all went through what Batman did, and Season 3 revolves around the concept of the Continuity Reboot, and what it would be like to go through one. Of course, by the end, it is always Reconstructed.
- Most of the humor in Robot Chicken comes from this. For example, there's Beavis and Butthead join the Teen Titans, and MTV Exposed on Barbie and Bratz. Of course this is used mostly for comedic purposes.
- The point of Drawn Together was to be like this, they took Captain Ersatzes of Superman (Captain Hero), Pikachu (Ling Ling), Link (Xandir), Betty Boop (Toot), Josie and the Pussy Cats (Foxxy), the Disney Princesses (Clara), SpongeBob SquarePants (Wooldoor) and vulgar flash cartoons (Spanky) and put them in one house as a Parody of every Reality Show ever made. Unfortunately it quickly devolved into dead baby humor.
- The Venture Brothers. The Monarch is a deconstruction all the Campy Supervillians of The Sixties. Brock Sampson was something of a deconstruction of every Action Hero ever made, The Titular brothers themselves are a deconstruction of The Hardy Boys and Jonny Quest. Oh, and let's not forget how they turned the gang from Scooby Doo into a Manson family type collection of 60s and 70s era Serial Killers.
- Don't forget their rather interesting take on Fantastic Four
- Turtles Forever Has the ninja turtles from the 1980 cartoon, the turtles from the 2000s cartoon, and the turtles from the comic meet.
- And it. Is. Awesome! Ahem—to clarify how well this actually works as a deconstructive crossover, the antics and personalities of the '80s Turtles—somewhat exaggerated but still grounded in the source material—annoy, confound, and irritate the 2003 turtles to no end. Even Michealangelo, eventually. Then they meet the original turtles (as written in issue 1), and even the 2003 guys seem like plushies by comparison. Yet, in the end, all versions of the Turtles are deemed just as valid as the others.
- It's been complained that the 1980 Turtles seem more cowardly. Of course they are; they're in a different world where they are not the main characters, the fourth wall is more rigidly in place, and the Big Bad is both ruthless and competent. Goodbye, Plot Armor.