I would look at the epiphone knockoffs of the les paul and sg. Also I would look at the Fender standards, both the telecaster and the stratocaster. Find which guitar plays better, feels more comfortable and sounds the best.
New to this site but...my advice is always to spend time in the shop and talk to the guys there (make sure that it is a reputable place though and the assistants aren't just non-muso 9 to 5 er's) try out the guitars in your playing style to see what suits you in your price range and go from there (also borrow a strap to see how they feel when wearing them).
In my experience every time I have bought a new guitar I have had great feedback from the staff and plenty of opportunity to decide on what suits me best.
That's not true, PeterK. Guitars can have a huge difference in each other. Try a $99.00 squire, than a gibson or fender. You WILL hear a difference. Thanks for the advice, Floydican. I always check each guitar thoroughly before buying. Not worth buying a guitar that doesn't sound good.