Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Meta: Matter and Anti-matter Heroes and Anti-Heroes

Hero Classic
In the olden day times, a hero was the ideal. These were the guys who everyone wished they were. The best example of an American hero is Superman. He's strong, fast, brave, and just.

The way it would happen in the old Grecian tales is you would have your hero living the life then fate would fuck his shit up and the rest of the story is him trying to deal with that, because the gods are dicks.

Eris, was destroying a civilization of heroes really worth it.

What is an Antihero
In the broadest sense of the word the antihero is just a hero who isn't. A hero who the audience can and will disagree and find fault with.

What Hero Classic Says About Society
One of the codifying antiheroes is Mark Twain's good ole' Huck Finn. One of those things people forget though writers almost never do is that generally speaking the hero is always right. The hero's especially hero classic's viewpoints and ethics generally line up with society's but when the hero's viewpoints differ from society it's a way for a writer to say this is where society is wrong. The plot of Huck Finn gets kicked off because Huck thinks that society's rules are stupid and doesn't want to be "civilized". It's a fun way of Twain saying the same thing.

Bring 'em back down to normal

When your hero is near perfection you run into some narrative problems on occasion. Let's go back to superman. Sure Supes does lose on occasion, but it's so rare that the audience wonders why the baddies just don't get smart and go "You know what? I've played this game too many times. Here's my cell. Call the cops." Also it's not that hard to be brave when you're arguably the most powerful being on earth. Also a large part of storytelling is getting the audience to sympathize with your character's problems and I'm sorry but it is hard to with Hero Classics when they are living the life. Strength, money, women. Do you know how many dates Bruce Wayne gets? Sure his parents died, but he's still rich, hansom and waist deep in women. Not to mention he's the goddamn Batman, a martial arts master, techno wizard, who has a supercar. A SUPERCAR!!

This is what Marvel had going for it. Clark Kent is Superman, but Spider-man is Peter Parker. Kent is the costume. Parker is the character. Parker with all of his money and girl troubles. With a boss that hates him AND his alter ego.

The audience can relate to him.

White Black and Gray
One of the reasons why antiheroes have proliferated modern American culture so much is because they allow for moral ambiguity. Because certain wars that will not be mentioned ach cough Vietnam acch and cough Iraq people are becoming more and more aware of moral ambiguity. We used to consider ourselves the heroes in our own stories, but if we're the heroes the heroes did some damn distasteful things. Doesn't mean we aren't still the heroes of our own tale but we do have to question the heroes' actions. You end up with your Angels,William Adamas and Jimmy McNultys who have to make hard choices that are either smart and wrong or right and stupid and occasionally can just be petty because let's face it sometimes people, even good people, are like that. Putting your hero in situations where they have to choose between two evils says something about the setting their in.

Then you have the idiots who push it too far
One of these days I'm going to write a rant on Star Gate Universe, the show that took a bunch a hero classics, decided we want a bunch of antiheros and turned everyone into a bunch a backstabbing double crossing douche nozzles who undermine their own survival with their own stupid pettiness and arrogance. They're all going to die and guess what. They deserve it.

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