Last week we looked at lovable/hateable villains. So, in that spirit why not flip this coin and talk about what makes a hero feel real. Now, a protagonist is not necessarily a hero. For instance, despite being the main focal point through which we, the audience experience the story, Walter White from Breaking Bad is a far cry from what we would define as an archetypal hero. So what makes up a hero and, in turn, how can they come off as more relatable?
A hero, in short, is someone who has the drive to pursue a positive goal, often times one that appears insurmountable by every day standards. This can range from an “everyday hero” where the goal, though difficult to achieve, is one that is accessible to one who has the adequate drive and training, often spurred on by selfless intent, to a hero that exhibits great power and abilities not experienced by normal humans who then goes on to tackle out of this world villains.
One Punch Man’s Saitama, for instance, is the most powerful hero in the world, possessing the ability to literally “one punch” any and all adversaries. However, his struggles are relatable. His power means that he is bored with life, looking for the next thing, or villain, that can challenge him. In the meantime he is overlooked by other heroes, oftentimes not given the credit he deserves due to his unassuming aura and inability to inspire others despite his strength. But let’s take the idea of a hero and push it beyond the archetypal hero some more.
When a hero has the ability to change events or deal with them using sheer force taken away and they are subjected to the will of chaos as it were, their character and struggle becomes immensely more relatable; in other words having no control over your situation is more relatable. The hero’s sheer force of will, rather than sheer force of power, more interesting to watch as you want them to win from an emotional level. When they fall or doubt themselves, you feel that much more than if they had the ability to punch a hole through the universe.
Vulnerability makes any character, be it a villain or a hero, much more interesting to watch because it stirs an emotional reaction in us, which, in turn, sparks us to relate our experiences with what we read and see. By pushing a hero to be less powerful, vulnerable but still possessing a strong sense of will, means we relate to them a lot more.
What hero do you find the most relatable? How do you do that in your comics? Let us know in the comment section below! And join us on Sunday evening for our Quackchat at 5:30PM(EST)!
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Emma_Clare at 12:00AM, April 26, 2019
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