Humans love an underdog tale.  The plucky robot operators taking down the massive army of monsters, the crew of a single rickety ship opposing the entire galactic alliance, the one barefoot man taking down an international terrorist network; When an overmatched David pulls off an impossible win against his particular Goliath, a part of us cheers, regardless of whether it seems logical or not.  I myself am a lifelong fan of legendary future hero Bouncing Boy, and one of my great personal inspirations is the man born Virgil Runnels, known to his legions of fans as ‘The American Dream’, Dusty Rhodes.  In an industry where one can become a megastar for being a wonderful physical specimen, a good talker or a breathtaking athlete, Dusty’s rotund physique and slight lisp might have doomed him to failure, but through the power of charisma and determination, he became a multiple-time NWA world heavyweight champion.  Modern storytellers have adopted this selfsame ‘unlikely heroes’ trope as one of the most common storytelling elements of recent years, which in turn, begs a query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you that it’s hard times in America, baby, when after thirty years a man works a job, they give him a watch and kick him in the butt, asking: What’s your favorite ‘underdog’ story in all the many worlds of pop-culture?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. November 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm — Reply

    Best underdog is Underdog!

  2. November 14, 2013 at 3:31 am — Reply

    I gotta go with Rocky Balboa.

  3. Oldcomicfan
    November 14, 2013 at 7:48 am — Reply

    Again with the “pro” wrestlers. That’s all fake and scripted, man. Get over it. That aside, my favorite underdog is Bilbo Baggins. Let’s face it, he’s sixty years old, overweight, undersized and never been more than fifty leagues from home, and he ends up facing trolls, goblins, giant spiders, mean elves and a huge dragon that whole armies weren’t able to defeat and emerges whole in the end. I almost went with Frodo, but when you look at it, he actually didn’t face off against the main villain the way Bilbo did, but merely snuck in the back door and metaphorically stabbed Sauron in the back.

    • November 14, 2013 at 9:57 am — Reply

      Yeah, fake and scripted. If only it were real like the events of the Hobbit…

  4. Hannah Jones
    November 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm — Reply

    Cool Runnings, what better underdog story is there? A bunch of guys gaining eachothers’ trust to win at a sport that they know hardly anything about on an international level!

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