Sexy, Snarky Scoundrels

Based on the sheer volume of Deadpools every year, it can be assumed that Dragon Con attendees love their antiheroes. But what makes an effective antihero? Authors David B. Coe, R.E. Carr, A.J. Hartley, Michael Williams, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro discussed the key characteristics with moderator John Hartness Saturday at 2PM on the Fan Tracks channel.

One resounding trait is moral ambiguity. To Coe, Faith and Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer personify the antihero. They start off as villains, but as their characters are revealed more, the audience sees that they both have a need to do the right thing. The reader is never quite sure if the antihero will make the moral and proper decisions throughout the story.

Yarbro agreed that moral ambiguity is extremely important. To many, Captain Ahab is a hero, but she sees him more as a crazy man.

Humor, intelligence, and self-awareness are another three important attributes, according to Hartley. That combination, especially when the humor is self-deprecating, is the root of antihero sexiness.

Characters with emotional detachment, or who lie to themselves and think they are emotionally detached, are a hallmark of antiheroes, according to Williams. Often, the antihero has a bug out bag and an emergency escape plan for when everything goes wrong. While the antihero is often wondering why the heck they haven’t killed everyone and left, he or she ultimately does what’s right in the end.

Carr added that antiheroes are often looking for love in all the wrong places and that leaves its mark.

With many more character favorites like Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Professor Snape, Magneto, and Han Solo, it’s unlikely that antiheroes are going away anytime soon.

Author of the article

Not everyone can say they watch television for homework, read novels for inspiration, and are paid to follow what’s trending. For Alicia Pack, it is all part of life as a writer and media enthusiast.  When she isn't lost in the world she is trying to create, you can find her with her nose in a book or catching up on her favorite supernatural shows.  She has a Master’s degree in Mass Communications and a Bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television, and Film.  Her nine years of diverse media experience include news writing, copywriting, website content management, social media, promotions, television production, and teaching.

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