Love for the Anti-Hero

January 11, 2015

What is with the human species and the anti-hero?  I can go as far back as Shakespeare’s main character Hamlet, comic book heroes like Iron Man/Tony Stark and Batman/Bruce Wayne, to Grumpy from Snow White, Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street, to Walter White & Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, and, of course, Grumpy Cat!

What is our fascination with these characters?

In present day, you see it a lot in wrestling as the “heel” is seen as the hero, while the good guy is seen as the enemy.

Eminem put the record labels on their ears with “The Slim Shady LP” (released in 1999) as the one guy who would say what most folks couldn’t, and do what others wished they could: tell the world off.

But really, what’s the deal with the anti-hero?  When did the starry-eyed child who loved Superman decided that Batman was way cooler?  Does it have to do with depth?

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…or does it involve touching a nerve within each and everyone of us who have been jaded over one thing or another in life that allows us to sympathize with this anti-hero?  That we don’t always want to do the right thing  because doing the right thing will have you end up like Ned Stark on Game of Thrones.

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But we rooted for him.  We rooted for this man of valor who wanted to do the right thing.  Maybe it’s because he was no nonsense.  Maybe we rooted for him because we knew he was an underdog, and underdogs outrank the anti-hero, because if there’s one thing we really are in touch with, that’s the person that is going through major dosages of Murphy’s law.  God knows when Ned died, our devotion was divided between Jon Snow, Arya Stark, and Tyrion Lannister (the anti-hero that now carries that mantel).

When it was announced that Marvel was going to kill off Wolverine, their iconic anti-hero, it came about with much ado from fans worldwide. (SPOILERS – don’t click on the vid if you plan on reading it yourself)

How can Marvel conceive about killing off one of their more popular anti-heroes?  Doesn’t the X-Men movie franchise account for nothing?  It was hard to imagine Marvel ever deciding to kill of Logan off, but that they did.

Marvel then declared they were going to also kill off one of their other major anti-heroes, the ever popular Deadpool.  The comic book fan favorite (who is getting his own movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the merc with the mouth in 2016) is being killed off in Deadpool #250, on sale in April 2015 (only a year after he got married in “Wedding of Deadpool”).

Wait, aren’t these characters invincible?  Isn’t their healing factor supposed to keep them going for eternity?  Aren’t they the ones that are supposed to be left with twinkies, roaches, and Cher’s career once the human race is gone?  Or are we okay with the extinction of these immortal super heroes and realize that even the cool anti-hero has to one day take their walk into the mist?

Who is your anti-hero of choice?