Friday, June 28, 2013

I Need a Hero

by Niki Turner

I'd like to lay the blame for my current Avengers obsession on my grandson, but he IS only two. It's not his fault I've watched the Avengers movie three times in a month, and it's not his fault I went and saw Iron Man 3 in the theater twice. Once all by myself.

No, it's me. I'm craving heroes, and the Avengers seem to cover all the bases for four of the basic hero archetypes in literature. At least the ones I found in this amazing syllabus: The Four Types of Heroes/The Hero Archetype.

The Classical Hero (Of royal birth, or half mortal and half god; performs extraordinary feats; noble character; fights for honor and the greater good.)
Chris Hemsworth as Thor 
In the Avengers, this role is played by Thor. Thor's a demi-god, of course, and that kind of puts him on a different level than the others. I mean, who can compete with a demi-god with a really big hammer and great hair? Seriously, Thor is the unattainable hero, the guy you love but know you can never have, and that's always a bummer, especially in a romance novel. For me, that's a warning as a writer... don't make my heroes TOO perfect. I'd throw Superman in this category as well, but Gina may disagree with me. 

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America 
The Medieval Hero (Of common birth, good moral character, obedient to authority, follows the rules, wages war on behalf of others, not himself.)

So this would be Captain America, the ultimate "good guy." I mean, he's so good that if he weren't ridiculously cute, he'd be boring. In fact, there's a big chunk of our American superhero culture clad in this particular cape and mask. They're the ones you forgot about while you were drooling over Batman or wishing you were Lois Lane. These guys are just too nice to be hero fare, in my opinion. The love interest for these nice guys is usually a very bad girl (i.e. The Black Widow, for the nice Cap'n). Gotta have some balance, you know. 

The Romantic Hero (Birth and class are unimportant, battle is internal/psychological, he makes his own rules, his passions are outside of individual control and he is often moody, isolated, and introspective, his loyalty is to a project or community of like-minded others.)

I think the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner belongs here. As would Wolverine and probably Spiderman. This is the the tortured, tormented hero seeking to come to terms with himself. He's a little hard to get to know, a little hard to read, and impossible to keep in shirts. He could actually be a threat, but the right heroine will see through the danger and offer him unconditional love.
Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk
The Modern Hero/Antihero (Seeks merely to survive in a dark world and find meaning; code of behavior, not a code of ethics; might be as "bad" as the villain; his internal struggle is often with addiction to something, external struggle is with corruption.)
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Iron Man 3
Honestly, I didn't save this one for last on purpose, but this IS my hero of choice. This is the quintessential bad boy with a sordid past and a heart of... well, whatever Tony Stark's neon blue disk is made of. We see this hero show up in fiction as the thief or the gambler or the pirate or the rogue. He's bad, and he knows it, but it's really just a cover for all that depth of emotion. Batman probably fits in this category quite nicely, as well. This hero needs a woman who is extremely independent. He's got too many issues to deal with a needy chick. 

Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Does he match up with your favorite type of literary hero?

Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of two. She has thus far been unsuccessful at coming up with catchy taglines for her writing, her purpose in life, or what she hopes to achieve in the future. Suggestions are welcome.


  1. This is proof that I need a chart of Superheroes. I don't know who is in what clique.

    So there's X Men and there's the Avengers and none the twain shall meet? And Superman, Batman and the Hulk? do they dwell in different universes from each other?

    I guess this is all based on comic book companies right?

    This is what I know of Superheroes:

    Christopher Reeve as Superman. Loved the Clark Kent portions that shined through.

    Used to watch The Hulk on TV decades ago. Never could figure out how he stashed away new outfits where he'd need them.

    Have never seen Wolverine in action in any movie (Forgive me, dearest!)

    Watched X Men First Class only because of some curious discussions I'd read about Fassbender and a certain turtleneck shirt.

    In fiction I like all those heroes and, upon reflection, I have written them all as well.

    Here's my big revelation about heroes this week:
    I just figured out DUH DUH DUH that there are Helmsworth brothers.

    And, please don't bother charting out superheroes for me unless there is a chart available already!

  2. Niki, I loved The Avengers. Saw it twice in theaters, and now that it's on Netflix, will likely see it several more times. It was an awesome culmination of all the individual story lines that had come out. In terms of favorites, it's a close call between Iron Man and Captain America for me. But I think Iron Man wins, simply because he's witty. Words will ever be the way to my heart. (It also doesn't hurt that Robert Downey Jr has also played Sherlock Holmes!)

    Deb--Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Flash--are all from DC comics. The Avengers, Batman, X-men, and Fantastic Four are all Marvel Comics. And you should totally see X-men Origins: Wolverine, Hugh Jackman doesn't need a turtleneck.

  3. Niki, forgot to say I totally demand that you also do a post in comic book heroines and then another one on villains. (And it's not just because I want to see pictures of Tom Hiddleston, although I do.)

  4. Looks like I need to go to see the Avengers. And quick. My Tony Stark is one? How could I have missed this?

    I think I'd like these guys at my next release party. I wonder if they'd mind being waitstaff for the day?

    You know, I thought Superman, Batman, Gina .... er, I mean Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and someone I can't remember, were the Avengers. Oh. Spider-Man is the one I couldn't remember.

    I hope my lack of Avenger knowledge is nit a sign of what my day will be like.

    Thanks, Niki. This was fun and I agree with Lisa. More please. The girl who thought she knew everything, obviously needs Super Hero education.

  5. I'm coming in late to the superhero party too... didn't learn about any of these folks until adulthood! And I still don't fully get the difference between the DC Comics characters and the Marvel comics characters, but I think that's how we determine who meets whom.

    Suzie, Aquaman and Wonder Woman and Superman et al, were the Justice League. They're the ones I grew up with. Supposedly a Justice League movie is in the works, too. And yes, rent the Avengers ASAP. Keith would probably even like it. Lots of "Hulk smash" and Tony Stark snark and Loki (bad guy) quips and some really funny moments.

    Deb... YOU MUST SEE HUGH JACKMAN AS WOLVERINE. Period. Caps intended.

    Lisa, I'm actually considering researching who plays the love interest to the different superheroes, and how they play off each other's strengths and weaknesses. Hadn't considered the villains, but that's an excellent idea! I told God I needed to learn about plotting and characterization and motivations and so forth and now I'm getting all this stuff about comic books. *sigh* Obviously He knows what I need better than I do.

  6. Great post! I love the Avengers. (Captain America's line about God cracked me up. Well, lots of lines cracked me up!)

    When my son was in preschool, he'd have me read the Marvel encyclopedia to him. Clearly we are superhero geeks around here.

    Deb, give the X-Men a try. Hugh Jackman runs around in a tank undershirt. I can't believe you haven't seen it for that reason alone.

  7. I watched this You Tube video yesterday while I was looking for pictures. Funniest moments from the Avengers. Every time Hulk grabs Loki I start laughing uncontrollably. It's just what we want to do to our enemy, ya know?

  8. Thanks for this post. I LOVE superheroes - pretty much ALL of them. But my all time favourite is Superman. I think the category that most appeals to me is the Romantic hero though - love the emotional turmoil.

  9. Niki, I did have the Justice League confused with the Avengers. I'm so easiky confused.

  10. Fun post, Niki.

    I'm with Deb on this one... I need a who's-who superhero chart.

  11. awesome post. haven't seen Avengers, I know it's a must see. (haven't seen a movie since my 3yr old was born *sigh*).

    i love Tony Stark with his quips, but for a hero, give me Romantic brooder Wolverine. Sometimes I think my DH is like him. Little or no talking, prefers grunting for communication, but has a heart of gold.


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