In our post-modern world of pop culture, it’s often hard to tell the difference between the characters designated hero and the characters designated villain.  Even the Golden Age paragons of virtue aren’t safe, as seen with DCEU Superman’s willingness to kill or the endless debates about Batman murdering bad guys.  Add in the massive collateral damage of the movie Avengers and the distressing number of fatalities in the CW’s Flash show, and it’s clear that being a fictional hero is a much different game than it was in the past.  It’s easy to blame the plethora of awful heroes on Wolverine, but the truth is, the transition from square-jawed stalwart to loose cannon is a cultural shift, leading us to today’s anti-heroic query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) really enjoyed much of The Authority, even though they were often brutal, antagonistic thugs who literally took over the world like old-school villains, asking: Which protagonists (whose adventures are still enjoyable) are the most awful heroes of all?

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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.

5 Comments

  1. Jarmo Seppänen on

    I can still enjoy occasional Iron Man story (from the 80’s & 90’s) but from Civil War on, Tony Stark is pure trash. Many others, like Mr Fantastic got dragged into that as well, to variable degrees.

  2. It is an interesting trend that started in the 80s and then really came into bloom in the 90s. I think that tough awful people, some of those troublesome protagonists actually were able to pull of interesting story arcs. One of my favorite Hero/Villain folk was Doctor Zero, A terrible fellow who sort of walked a precarious line between hero and villain.

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