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Sunday, May 01, 2011

My Hero Archetypes

A little deviation from my usual political and societal topics. Since I make heroes of my own, I've had my own musings about the topic. Here's my own hero archetypes based on the hero's place in the story and origins.

1. The Outsider/Newcomer - A new guy from out of town that no one knows, may know or not know what's happening, and plunges into the conflict (my favorite type). Westerns often had this type of cowboy hero. Same with the A-Team.
2. Familiar Face - Already known to enemies or many other characters in the story, though is already a hero from the start, even in the history or flashbacks.
3. Made by the Enemy - Was given powers by the villain, although they escaped and remained good. Good example is Kamen Rider.
4. Rebel Returnee - Was once part of the enemy forces, but defected. Not necessarily the same as Made by the Enemy. Can be one who wants to redeem himself.
5. Champion - Hero chosen by destiny, given a magic sword or powers by a benefactor. Could have been preordained.
6. Secret hero - Part of the locality or town, but upon getting powers or items, decided to take upon a hero persona with a secret identity to perform their heroic acts. Typical of superheroes like Spider Man and Batman.

Hero Origins:
1. Accidental - Got their powers or items by accident. Like Spider Man.
2. Self-made - They made their own powers, like Iron Man (Again, my favorite type).
3. Inborn - They were powered from birth, like Superman.
4. Bestowed - Like the Champion above, there were assigned to be the heroes by others. Like He-Man.

I also have another opinion: the nicest heroes for me deviate from the Hero's Journey by Joseph Campbell. They offer something different.

I just need to work on explaining this, but later on.


  1. I'd add the "reluctant hero" to the list - the protagonist who is less shining knight and more Frodo in demeanor. Early Peter Parker would also fit this mold.

    I find heroes like this more multi-dimensional, with their constant inner conflict to do what's right versus their desire to just be normal.

  2. Thanks for that entry. I'd think though that a reluctant hero fits under the more traditional hero types, since there are a lot of reluctant heroes out there. And I personally don't like reluctant heroes... I really prefer someone who's enthusiastic about what they do. Like Conan and Rambo who are enthusiastic about killing enemies. hehehe

  3. wouldnt they be crossing into anti-hero territory?

    thank goodness that bandwagon's moved on, the industry's done far too many vigilante-type protagonists for my taste so much so that even network TV's going that route as well with Dexter and 24

  4. Yeah, I think it's time for that bandwagon to go away. However, I was thinking of a well-established hero associated with a police force or something who is allowed to go loose cannon as he pleases. Sort of like James Bond whose license to kill can never be revoked. But he's trusted that much because he earned it. ;)