We all know know what makes a hero. Someone who is selfless and brave is heroic. What if we took away some of those traits? What do we have? We’d have what is known as the Anti-hero.
Now what is an Anti-hero?
“A central character in a story, film, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes.”
What does that mean? Well as stated in the beginning, a hero is seen as brave and selfless. An anti-hero could have some of these traits, but for the most part, they don’t.
Before I go more into the matter, let’s get some good examples of anti-heroes in comic books. We have everyone’s favorite “Merc with a mouth” Deadpool, the violent Red Hood, the greatest cat burglar Catwoman, and the symbiotic brute Venom. This is a small list of Anti-heroes, but it gives us a chance to look into them and see what makes them who they are.
Looking at our four examples, we can see that all of them could be classified as villains, and that could be true, but here’s why it’s not.
Each one of the four characters listed have committed acts that could be seen as bad, but that doesn’t make them villains.
All of them have done bad things, but back it up for with a greater reasoning. For example: Venom. He has tried on multiple occasions to kill Spiderman, but in the eyes of Eddie Brock and the Symbiote, they believed that Spiderman was “the bad guy.”
Red Hood: He kills the bad guys, which seems bad, but he justifies it by explaining that when they get out of prison they will continue criminal activity. Therefore, he kills them to prevent this from happening.
The overall idea of anti-heroes is this: they are more flawed than a hero, but they can use that flaw to do what most heroes won’t do. In a sense, heroes will “always” go for the all-good path, villains will always go for the all-evil path, and anti-heroes choose a grey path. That grey path may not be the most selfless path either.
Some Anti-heroes will choose the path that may be beneficial to themselves. A fellow writer here at Geek Motivation, Akhil Modali, told me this about his favorite anti-hero Deathstroke:
“…I like the fact that he is a man of his word and lives by his own code, rather than letting others tell him what to do!”
What Modali is saying is Deathstroke doesn’t fight for good or for bad, he fights for his own moral code and for what he believes in.
What can we learn from anti-heroes? Well maybe we don’t learn anything from them because we are them. What I mean by that is: we are all humans, and we all believe in something different. No two people will be 100% with one another, and that’s a beautiful thing.
If anything, anti-heroes show us that we don’t have to be the “always be perfect hero” to do good by what we believe in. All you have to do is stay true to your beliefs and what you see is right.
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