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Superman Parodies Ranked Worst To Best

Superman is as simple and perfect as a comic book superhero can be, and that's not a bad thing. Whether it's his iconic appearance or his unwavering dedication to truth, justice and the American way, people love the Man of Steel.

But any popular character with such longevity is bound to have an ample amount of spoofs and imitators. That is most definitely the case with the Last Son of Krypton, with several characters taking a cue from him. No two variants of Superman are the same, as all of them contain a radically different look, tone and even presentation. From television to movies both live action and animated there have been many costumed heroes, and even villains, who have taken a page or two from Superman's playbook. 

It's important to determine the strengths of these interpretations and just how well they flip the script on the Man of Steel. With all that in mind, let's take a look at some of the best spoofs, warped interpretations, and parodies of Superman.

The Ghost (Doctor Who)

It's amazing to think that despite having 13 incarnations and 50 years of stories, the Doctor has never interacted with a caped superhero. That all changed in the 12th Christmas special from the modern era of "Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio."

A strength of "Doctor Who" from its inception has been its ability to tribute other styles and genres. In this instance, the long running series finally chose to dip into the ever growing superhero genre. The episode concerns a child named Grant who, due to the unintentional sci-fi meddling of our favorite Time Lord, gains superpowers. This leads to the Doctor keeping tabs on Grant throughout his young life to make sure he's not using his abilities for anything nefarious. It turns out quite the opposite has occurred as Grant, in his adulthood, has become a superhero known as The Ghost.

Best known for his work on "Shameless," Justin Chatwin brought a very affable almost Clark Kent quality to his portrayal of Grant/The Ghost. His chosen costume is sadly not very impressive, as it's more in line with Batman than Superman in terms of design. It doesn't evoke any real sense of hope like Superman's costume, instead looking more like a costume from "Sky High." 

GizmoDuck (DuckTales/Darkwing Duck)

Gizmo was first introduced as a recurring character in DuckTales as Scrooge's accountant and the security for his riches. Eventually he would end up appearing as a guest character on the follow-up series "Darkwing Duck." Gizmo's rather goodie two shoes personality stands in sharp contrast to Drake Mallard AKA Darkwing's more braggadocios tendencies.

GizmoDuck's alter ego Fenton Crackshell is very similar to Clark Kent due to his overly positive demeanor and almost obsessive need to do good regardless of the situation. Also, much like Superman, he stands in contrast to another superhero who he is constantly butting heads with. The hero in this instance being the titular Darkwing Duck, the resident protector for the City of St. Canard. The two are constantly seeking to upstage the other and prove the validity of their respective methods. A defining aspect of Superman and Batman's relationship is how they would ultimately put their differences aside in the pursuit of justice.

While the visual comparisons are minimal, Superman being a humanoid alien and GizmoDuck being ... a duck, the latter definitely serves as a fitting tribute to the former. Superman is always labeled as the ultimate boy scout and GizmoDuck simply takes that descriptor to its logical and most comical conclusion.

Metro Man (MegaMind)

Dreamworks has always stayed relevant due to their outside-the-box thinking, often taking more risks than some of their competition. Case in point the 2010s superhero comedy "Megamind," with many choosing it as a favorite Dreamworks property alongside "Kung Fu Panda" and "How To Train Your Dragon".

The film concerns the titular villain Megamind (Will Ferrell) who, much like his heroic adversary Metro Man (Brad Pitt), is the lone survivor of an alien world. This is, of course a, very on-the-nose reference to Superman's origin. The twist here is that one of them is a powerless but hyper-intelligent blue skinned weirdo and the other is a macho picture-perfect stud. While the movie predominantly focuses on Megamind and his antics, they still take time to give Metro Man some development of his own.

Metro Man, presumed dead for most of the film, is revealed to be alive and living under the radar. He doesn't return triumphantly to help save the day at the end. He appears in the final scene, just a face in the crowd, content that his former adversary is Metro City's new protector. One of Superman's defining traits is his unflinching dedication to justice and to helping the citizens of Metropolis. Knowing that makes it even funnier to see this version be totally content with being a bearded loner who plays the guitar. 

Hyperion (Squadron Supreme)

"Squadron Supreme" could be best described as Marvel Comics' take on the Justice League. It's a prominent entry in the long and storied history of DC and Marvel lampooning, spoofing, and deconstructing one another.

The Squadron hails from another dimension where they were brainwashed by a super villain to take over the United States. After disposing of their enemy, they find the nation on the verge of collapse. They opt to take over the world and use their powers to eliminate hunger, war, and other issues. This, of course, doesn't pan out for the better, and leads to several shocking developments throughout the story. Hyperion, much like the other members of the Squadron, is a distorted parody of Superman. They both have science fiction backstories detailing their arrival from an alternate world, and both are made even stronger by being on earth.

Despite the obvious similarities, Hyperion rarely gets brought up when talking about evil versions of Superman. When compared to the likes of Ultraman or the Russian "Red Son" Superman, Hyperion is a more interesting character. 

Brandon Breyer (Brightburn)

An alien spacecraft crash lands on earth and is found by a humble husband and wife. Inside is a healthy baby boy who the couple see fit to adopt and raise as their own. When the child comes of age his interstellar origins manifest in the form of flight and super strength. It's at this point that he becomes a crazed murderous psychopath and goes on a rampage.

Wait, did you think we were talking about Clark Kent? You've clearly not met young Brandon Breyer (Jackson A. Dunn) from "Brightburn." His backstory is almost the same as Superman's, right down to the space pod. But Brandon was not sent to earth for good — rather he was sent to "Take the World". Brandon is one of the more unique Superman variants, especially considering the fact he is a literal child with a body count. It's also a horrifying idea to take someone with Superman's power set and make them into a legitimate slasher villain. Brandon's actions in this movie range from the creepy to just down right sickening.

What earns Brandon a spot here, in addition to his disturbing actions, is the idea that he represents. Specifically, the idea that the DC Universe got lucky that Krypton was a progressive and kind place, one that instilled Kal-El with noble ambitions. "Brightburn" shows what it'd be like if Kal-El was sent here with far more sinister and gruesome intentions.

Nolan Grayson AKA Omni Man (Invincible)

You really think this list will be complete without Omni Man? Think, reader, think!

The animated adaptation of "Invincible" is one of the newest additions here and it's generated lots of buzz. Of particular note are its shocking twists and turns concerning Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) and his father Nolan AKA Omni Man (JK Simmons). The show, in just the first episode, hits the ground running by showing us just how ruthless Omni Man truly is. Not only does he kill off the Guardians of the Globe, but he later nearly wipes out an entire alien race in mere moments. 

Whenever Batman talks about the prospect of Superman turning evil, this is more than likely what he pictures. "Invincible," and the character of Omni Man, have been the basis for much discussion and coverage since the conclusion of its first season. Omni Man represents the strength of the writing for "Invincible," in that it takes something we know and subverts it in a shocking way. In this case, it takes the idea of having Superman for a father and makes it utterly horrifying. The nature of Omni Man's parenting towards Mark in the finale especially shows just how cold and callous he can be.

It's as brutal and heartbreaking a development as Robert Kirkman, creator of "The Walking Dead," can provide.

All Might (My Hero Academia)

He is ... here! "My Hero Academia" has taken the world by storm in recent years. It shows the story of young Izuku Midoriya, who looks to follow in the footsteps of his world's number one hero: All Might AKA Toshinori Yagi.

All Might is a perfect parody of Superman due to his uncompromising good ideals, bright colors, and dynamite smile. It's a character that so easily could have been one note but is elevated by stellar voice work. Christopher Sabat and Kenta Miyake, the respective English and Japanese voices for All Might, both bring intense energy and somber kindness to the role.

After capturing All Might's heart with his selfless nature, Deku becomes his protegee and the next holder of his powers. All Might also serves as a teacher for Deku and his friends at the hero school known as UA. This, of course, makes Deku and his fellow heroes in training a target for various villains throughout the show. The dynamic between Deku and All Might is a major factor for the show's widespread appeal and almost immediate success. The comparisons to Superman are intentional and very appropriate considering the importance of All Might in the show's world. The use of red, yellow, and blue on his costume count as a visually charming homage to Superman's famous look. All Might is also proclaimed as both the embodiment of good and a symbol of peace, just as Superman is within the DC Universe.

Homelander (The Boys)

While Omni Man and Brandon Breyer are both solid, Homelander from "The Boys" is the best Superman parody in modern pop culture right now. He is also the best example of how to write a dark deconstruction of the Man of Steel.

Homelander (Antony Starr) is the show's main antagonist, despite being widely recognized as the world's finest superhero. He is Vought International's golden boy and the leader of the show's version of the Seven, the show's take on the Justice League. As far as the public knows, he is a super powered all American do-gooder — when the truth couldn't be anymore the opposite. Homelander was the result of horrific laboratory experiments to create superheroes or, as the show calls them, Supes. What resulted was an uber-powerful but emotionally broken, power hungry, love starved psychopath. His actions include lasering people's heads off and allowing a plane full of people to die.

People have been comparing him to Omni Man from "Invincible" and debating who is actually the more heinous person. Both are hailed as the best superhero despite their true nature, and neither will be winning father of the year anytime soon. However, what makes Homelander the best Superman parody is just how well Starr showcases Homelander's broken psyche. It's horrifying to consider that someone that the world views as a kind hero is one of the most emotionally damaged people imaginable.