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Quackcast 684 - The hero is dead?

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, April 23, 2024

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What happens when the hero dies? Especially when it's early on in the story… do things fall apart or does someone else take over? Our topic is about a story style where you establish that a character is the hero or chief protagonist, only to do a bait and switch and swap them out with a less likely character like a sidekick. This makes the audience rethink the way things are going, instead of sticking to an expected formula you force the audience to wake up and wonder what will happen next. This can be very effective!

Some notable examples of this trope are “the Other guys”, the anime “The legendary hero is dead” (cover pictured), and Mystery Men but there are many others. The seemingly main hero doesn't even have to die, they just need to be replaced by a character you wouldn't expect for the role, as in My Hero Accademia where Almight is replaced by Deku at the beginning, of Steve Rogers in the first Captain America film becomes the hero even though his friend Bucky Barnes better fits the hero architype.

Have you ever used this trope? What are your fave examples?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme inspired by Animal Society - Don’t cross at the red light… traffic signals flash. Make way for the zebra at the zebra crossing! This is a flashy cityscape sound with a touch of the jungle.

Topics and shownotes


Tantz Aerine's newspost on sidekick heroes -

Featured comic:

Featured music:
Animal Society - - by CressidiasComics, Rated T.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Kawaiidaigakusei -
Tantz Aerine -
Banes -

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CressidiasComics at 6:05PM, April 26, 2024

Great podcast, guys! Thank you so much for the shoutout and wonderful theme song to Animal Society! It was a pleasant surprise that made my day!

Ozoneocean at 10:47PM, April 23, 2024

Love that mantale theory Quackcast idea!

PaulEberhardt at 2:46PM, April 23, 2024

The Star Trek approach: the "hero" is the crew, as in a body of persons, rather than a single individual, or even just Star Fleet and the Federation. That way you could in theory have heroes die/retire and be replaced all the time as a matter of course... if not for stupid viewers like me who somehow find individuals more engaging than some aloof bureaucratic system. Assimilate them all, these viewers! They ruin everyone's career, don't they? Can't go up the regular line of promotion after a few years like any normal self-respecting officer if you're a fan favourite, can you? If they still had salaries to consider like in our time, the "I'll stay because the Enterprise is where I belong" trope might not stand a chance, with perhaps only a few exceptions that can stand their colleagues jeering at them. Because of us viewers it's the other way round.

PaulEberhardt at 2:14PM, April 23, 2024

"Mantle theory"... that would be another really interesting topic to tackle, indeed. When does it work, when doesn't it? Why does it work at all? I've got that down as solidly belonging to movies and series that outlive their cast (James Bond, Doctor Who, Star Trek), born out of necessity. After all, in comics the appearances of characters don't need to change unless you want them to - not counting different artists' takes on characters that you need to be a fan to really notice most of the time.

Hapoppo at 1:35PM, April 23, 2024

@Banes - the "mantle" argument would probably make a good stand-alone article and/or topic for another podcast, honestly

Banes at 9:36AM, April 23, 2024

@marcorossi - Agreed on Mystery Men. I haven't seen it in many years but I don't think Captain Amazing was taken seriously as the hero by most audiences. I was naive enough at the time that I may have...haha.

Banes at 9:34AM, April 23, 2024

We didn't even touch on the "mantle theory" that has been the center of some drama behind the scenes with Marvel Studios - the idea that the powers/costume are what matters, and these things can be passed to different characters and it doesn't matter. My bad - I think I'm the only one on the Quackcast who follows that behind-the-scenes movie stuff. And even I have lost interest in Franchise movies for the most part. But I would've mentioned it if it had occurred to me.

Banes at 9:24AM, April 23, 2024

The Hero is dead! Long live the Hero!

mks_monsters at 5:27AM, April 23, 2024

I have never used this trope however, when it does happen, I like to believe the story had multiple heroes. It was just a matter of who fills in the shoes of MC. I like it when it is well done and adds to the story. I don't like it when it's done as a means of replacing legacy characters by making them come across as outdated and not needed anymore.

marcorossi at 2:37AM, April 23, 2024

I think there is an ambiguity in the way we use the term "hero". Generally by "hero" we mean the positive protagonist of the story, however sometimes we mean a very positive protagonist in general. In Mistery Man, for example, Captain Amazing is a hero in the second sense but, IIRC, he is already so much exaggerated that it is quite evident that he's not the protagonist.

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