#1 Posted by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

Hello viners, I'm posting this topic about anti-heroes (obviously) because I'm doing a research paper on the relationship between the modern day popularity with anti-heroes (such as Walt from Breaking Bad and Dexter from Dexter) and the conflict within our own psyche. I'm developing my argument by discussing the ideas of us being so intrigued by these characters based on our own projection of shadow. Our shadow can be shortly summarized as all of our desires, judgements, jealousies, inner demons and we project all this inner chaos onto these characters and it creates a subconscious relationship between us and them. In the end, we end up routing for these characters even though we know that what they do is morally wrong. Deep within our minds we deal with an issue between good and evil. That's why we love comic book characters because they are an easy distinction for our minds as to whats good and evil; unlike aspects of the real life that is not too easy to separate. But when it comes to anti-heroes, they relate to our shadow and subconscious minds in ways that we don't normally get to express in today's society.

Now some of you by this point may be asking why I'm posting this... well the truth is I NEED your help. I've hit a brick wall, especially in the creditable resources part of my research. So I was hoping to see if anyone could respond back to this and give me some feedback and possibly some more ideas to talk about that will blow my professor's socks off. And not to mention, some online sources or other sources that can better help my arguments.

Anyone that responds I'm sure will be a huge help and I thank you very much.

#2 Posted by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

and maybe you guys could give me a list of other antiheroes to check out that you are most interested in!

#3 Posted by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

@patrickborkland: hmm I wouldn't consider Walter White or Dexter anti-heroes. They're villains. Sympathetic to be sure, but still villains.

Really we've moved from heroes to anti-heroes to villains. Villains are the new obsession.

#4 Posted by PowerHerc (85335 posts) - - Show Bio

Here's an anti-hero

#5 Posted by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

@extremis: While Walter and Dexter do look like villains, wouldn't you consider them anti heroes in certain aspects? For example, by the later seasons Dexter kills many other killers simply to watch out for others. And Walter first begins his drug business to support his family. Would that be enough to say they're anti heroes because of their intentions, or not so much?

And aside from those two characters, if I focus on villains instead of antiheroes, do you think my argument above still stands?

#6 Posted by Bierschneeman (4212 posts) - - Show Bio

when I was studying literature theory, I saved a list from a book on classic antiheroes in modern cinema. my favorites from the list are, Indiana Jones, Han Solo, The Crow, Batman (1989), Ferris Bueller, Kevin costner's Robin Hood, Jim Stark (this one is James Dean, in Rebel Without a Cause),

my favorite these days, having a comic book basis, Iron Man....this drunken, unnoble, wreck of a party boy, with arrogance as far as the eye can see, is a perfect example of an antihero...superflawed.

#7 Posted by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

@bierschneeman: Wow that list is great! Thank you, so how would I incorporate some of those characters, like Iron Man, into my main argument as to why we love these antiheroes so much. How do we see these characters a bits of ourselves? Do we love them because we can relate to their flaws or do we just love to see the flawed character succeed?

#8 Posted by Squares (8392 posts) - - Show Bio
#9 Edited by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

@patrickborkland: they're intentions don't really matter. Every good villain feels they're justified in what they do, but the point is we know they're not.

Walter told himself it was for his family but in the last episode he admits he did it for his ego. He's a villain, straight up. Same with Dexter. He kills people because he likes it. He justifies it by killing other killers, but that doesn't mean he isn't doing it regardless for his own pleasure.

They're complicated villains. I thnk it'd be interesting to explore that because it seems more and more people are being captivated by these villains. One reason I think is because we find it interesting being able to relate to such despicable people. Even if we don't agree with their actions, we can almost accept their justifications because they have good intentions at times. Almost being the key word there.

#10 Posted by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

@squares: I can see why you would think that, but one that I really do think is Batman. Some don't believe that he is, but look at the original Batman from 1938. That character began as an extreme antihero and fought for what he believed was right against the modern norm of his time. What do you think? Do you have any antiheroes in mind?

#11 Posted by Squares (8392 posts) - - Show Bio

@patrickborkland: Well, Wikipedia agrees with you on the Batman standpoint. Would be much more interested to hear why you listed Iron Man as one, though.

#12 Edited by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

@extremis: Wow i never thought about it quite like that, thank you very much. What do you think about the relationship between us and them subconsciously though? Do you believe we have some shadow that we can relate with theirs that we're not aware of?

#13 Posted by PeppeyHare (4310 posts) - - Show Bio

People have some interesting ideas of the word if you consider Iron man an anti-hero. I don't even think somebody like Wolverine is an anti-hero.

#14 Edited by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

@squares: Oh I didn't list Iron Man as one, @bierschneeman did in the previous post before mine, he believes that Iron Man is based on all his character flaws, which I'm actually interested in.

#15 Posted by Bierschneeman (4212 posts) - - Show Bio

@squares said:

@patrickborkland: Iron man isn't an anti-hero. I don't think he is, at least.

antihero n is a protagonist who lacks some or all of the traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism, courage, morality, nobility, strength , altruism fortitude, et cetera.

definition from my websters physical copy....tell me how he isn't...hes a drunk, ignobled, isn't altruistic, egotistical, crass, and loose. theres more, but none of these are traditional heroic qualities.

#16 Posted by Akindoodle (1042 posts) - - Show Bio

@peppeyhare: Well if not Wolverine, then who? What about the Punisher. He's the first comic book name that pops up in my head when you say "Anti Hero" and maybe Johnny Blaze

#17 Edited by Squares (8392 posts) - - Show Bio

@squares said:

@patrickborkland: Iron man isn't an anti-hero. I don't think he is, at least.

antihero n is a protagonist who lacks some or all of the traditional heroic qualities, such as idealism, courage, morality, nobility, strength , altruism fortitude, et cetera.

definition from my websters physical copy....tell me how he isn't...hes a drunk, ignobled, isn't altruistic, egotistical, crass, and loose. theres more, but none of these are traditional heroic qualities.

Good for your 'websters physical copy'. The 'n' didn't need to be bolded there, btw.

God, you don't read Marvel comics at all, do you?

#18 Edited by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

@patrickborkland: oh definitely.

Like Walt, for instance. On some primal level we can all relate to his ambitions, the love he has for his family, that he'd do anything for them. He's also prideful. That's why he didn't take the money for free from his old colleagues when he could have.

I think that kind of stuff is basic human emotion that we can all relate to. Great, enduring villains are usually the ones we can relate to the most. They're bad, but yet we can still see why they do what they do and almost agree with their reasoning at times. People like Magneto, Sinestro and Mr. Freeze (many Bat-villains for that matter) are other great examples of sympathetic villains.

#19 Posted by PeppeyHare (4310 posts) - - Show Bio

@akindoodle: Some people I'd consider anti-heroes are Punisher, Kaine the Scarlet Spider, Deadpool,etc.

#20 Posted by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

@extremis: One more question, what is the line that draws the distinction between a villain and antihero? What constitutes the two from one another? Because from what I've read, an antihero is someone who does just things that are also against the norm of what society says is right. But then, if we don't take intentions into account, where do we draw the line between the two?

#21 Edited by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

@bierschneeman: dude like 99% of superheroes are anti heroes by following that definition. The "traditional" hero doesn't really exist anymore, obviously with a few exceptions.

And Iron Man being egotistical and crass more has to do with temperament than heroism. Heroism has to do with action, and when it comes to altruistic of course he is. He's a philanthropist and has saved the world countless times. It's why he does what he does. And he's not an alcoholic anymore.

So do I think anyone is a straight up "hero" anymore? Not many. But adjusting for modern times, Iron Man hardly comes off as an anti-hero.

#22 Posted by Bierschneeman (4212 posts) - - Show Bio

@bierschneeman: Wow that list is great! Thank you, so how would I incorporate some of those characters, like Iron Man, into my main argument as to why we love these antiheroes so much. How do we see these characters a bits of ourselves? Do we love them because we can relate to their flaws or do we just love to see the flawed character succeed?

the standard argument for the increase in antiheroes (which is old....they talk about it in the 1930s) is that they are more approachable, its close to seeing ourselves in them, its easy to see Superman, or king arthur succeed, they aren't approachable they are true heroes through and through with all the characteristics, its the "flawed character" that we see as more....realistic, we are flawed, so though we may not see the same flaws in these anti heroes we see them as flawed like we are. you take the argument how you like though those are all good ideas.... id like to see where you go with this.

#23 Posted by Hel (488 posts) - - Show Bio

@peppeyhare: Well if not Wolverine, then who? What about the Punisher. He's the first comic book name that pops up in my head when you say "Anti Hero" and maybe Johnny Blaze

This

#24 Edited by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

@patrickborkland: well I mean intentions do matter to some extent. If Batman wanted to hurt people and then did, then obviously that would be sadistic and hence would be the distinction. There's no set rule for determining this stuff but I think You have to have 1) good intentions and 2) not do morally reprehensible things. Anti-heroes do morally ambiguous things, and sometimes bad things too. It's a tightrope walk. There's lots of room for subjectivity in determining this stuff I guess, but morality isn't always black and white, so what can you expect? It's that exact tightrope that an anti hero walks. A villain crosses that line and decides it's okay to cross it for their own ends.

If anything this just gives you more to explore.

#25 Edited by Bierschneeman (4212 posts) - - Show Bio

@squares: @extremis: ohh from the comic book, I will yield to your iron man comic knowledge, no ive only read a few, he doesn't seem as flawed.

as my first post where I list him states, I was going off film anti heroes, basing my inclusion of him from the film to compare to the list from the book of classic film antiheroes.. from the film, he definitely is.

#26 Edited by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

@bierschneeman: meh even that is debatable.

Like I said, if you use that determination of an anti-hero, you're going to find 99% of all characters in any medium are anti-heroes. We are going through a reinassance of realism in our comics, films and other mediums.

Considering Iron Man in the current zeitgeist, he's hardly an anti-hero.

But technically? Yeah I suppose he is. As is 99% of every character that exists today...

#27 Edited by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

@extremis: Yes i agree and like you said, this is what make these characters so damn interesting. Having a character that's 100% good and has no internal conflict is just boring. Creating a character that is so dynamic and so complicated is so intriguing by it's nature. This is why I chose this as a research topic because I don't believe anyone has the slightest clue as to how huge antiheroes and villains are to our modern day mainstream of entertainment.

#28 Posted by Extremis (3363 posts) - - Show Bio

@patrickborkland: yeah man it's a cool n interesting topic. Sounds like you'll do a great job!

#29 Edited by patrickborkland (264 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the main issue we're trying to narrow down is what constitutes a character as an anti hero? Is there a set definition or is it up for interpretation?