Archive for the ‘anti-heroes’ Category
Today, Lisa Hook drops by with an article on the relevance of the anti-hero. Please read on.
Anti Heroes and Addiction
The anti-hero has existed since the days of Greek theatre, as a character with more appeal than the conventional hero. Whilst the hero had morals, his counterpart had flaws and this is what makes the anti-hero so attractive to his or her audience. Whether it’s a violent temper, a weakness for the opposite sex or an addiction, this antagonist holds our attention and we root for them, perhaps because they seem more ‘real’.
The Noir Anti-Hero
The anti-hero has appeared in various guises through the history of cinema and literature, from Phillip Marlowe in The Big Sleep to Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre to Lady Macbeth. Through different genres, the anti-hero prevails and historical events have made this character more appealing than ever.
Film noir took the anti-hero to new levels in the 1940s and one of the reasons for this was as a reaction to the atrocities in Europe in World War II. The world was disillusioned and escapism was a way of reaching a new kind of reality. Film noir anti-heroes were hard-boiled detectives, addicted to drink, women, and sometimes drugs.
In The Man with the Golden Arm, Frank Sinatra plays the drug addicted Frankie Machine, determined to live a morally good life when he comes out of prison. Pressure turns him to gambling however and he soon begins his drug addiction once more. Although the film has an upbeat ending, with Frankie kicking his habit, the scene where he goes cold turkey is still considered harrowing by today’s standards. The film remains a reminder about the cold reality of drugs in the U.S. Addiction is not glamorized, but serves as a warning.
The Anti-Hero Today
Political events have always shaped cinema, television and literature, with the anti-hero remaining at the center of the story. Whether it’s Vietnam or 9/11, the events of the 20th and 21st Centuries have shaken us to the core and characters like Frankie Machine, Phillip Marlowe, Dexter and Hannibal become more real for us than traditional heroes.
Dexter Morgan is an anti-hero who is also a serial killer, but who kills with a conscience. He made his appearance in Jeff Lindsay’s crime novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter before appearing on screen. Audiences support him and his decision to kill those who have been confirmed as murderers. Dexter is an intelligent character, working for the police, yet harboring his dark secret and this makes him fascinating and compelling for the audience. He has become an unlikely figurehead for the U.S in the 21st Century.
Another gritty anti-hero is Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Lisbeth is out for revenge on society for what happened to her and she makes a fabulous anti-hero with her fierceness and complex personality. In fact, she has been psychoanalyzed by readers and reviewers, who try to understand what is going on in her mind. She may be autistic; she may be trying to cope with her trauma and therefore has a sort of attachment disorder. Whatever her psychiatric profile, Lisbeth makes a compelling antagonist who is very watchable. Larsson’s series of books are among the highest sellers of the past few years, proving that audiences want a thrilling read and a character who is the driving force behind the stories. The anti-hero is alive and kicking.
More Appeal Than Ever
We celebrate anti-heroes in our literature and on our screens today, more than ever. Why is this? The Global Post claims there is a fault line in the American psyche, that the lines between hero and anti-hero are being blurred and much of this is being laid at the feet of the economic downturn, terrorism and the loss of the American dream. Whatever the reason, it seems we are obsessed with our flawed characters of fiction. This isn’t to say that we are glorifying their flaws; certainly addiction is an issue that is taken very seriously in the U.S today. Frankie Machine’s drug problem was a wake up call to the noir audience of its time and drug abuse remains a very real concern in our society, and one that is receiving much attention. Addiction sufferers can use inpatient drug rehab ratings to find the treatment center that will help them kick their habit and the message is clear: drugs destroy lives. Frankie Machine overcame his heroin addiction in The Man with the Golden Arm and enjoyed a happy ending in this noir classic. The point is that we cared about his journey. Anti-heroes have moral flaws that make them appealing characters because we all relate to moral dilemmas.
The traditional hero is losing his/her appeal in the 21st Century. We want realism, however gritty. Let our anti-heroes be reluctant, angry, narcissistic even. They reflect the times we live in and this is why they work.
(C) Copyright 2013 Lisa Hook
“I am very much enjoying this story. Great characters, lots of action, just blazing fun. I’m always sorry when it ends and I can’t wait to read the next installment!”
Thanks again, Lily! We’re thrilled by the responses to our serial. Magic Man is now available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Click the book cover below to read an excerpt and for all buy links.
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“I love superheroes that turned bad. Especially like these kinds. Will defiantly buy the next book in the series. Worth reading if you love people from the dark side.”
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Magic Man (Anti-Heroes Book V)
Louise Bohmer & K.H. Koehler
About: In Anti-Heroes Book V: Magic Man, the Geek Squad learn some shocking and hard truths, Jinx and Serena grow closer, Nikki finds romance, and the Supervillains face their greatest battle of all with Serena’s uncle!
Excerpt: Serena counted thirty or forty winged gargoyle specks on the horizon before finally giving up and swearing under her breath. They were a huge, nasty looking lot, and something told her she and her friends were in for a bad time of it this sunny afternoon.
“Holy shit,” Jinx said, coming abreast of her and pushing back the hood of his hoodie. “Are those what I think they are?”
“No, they’re a flock of seagulls. What do you think, genius?” Isaac said, slapping Jinx on the shoulder and nearly crumbling the smaller boy to the ground.
Jinx grumbled in response, rubbing his smarting shoulder.
“Um…” Nikki had finally joined them, and she was pointing off to the far end of the fairgrounds where the screeching gargoyles were skimming lower and reaching for a group of kids from their school who were standing by the funnel cake vendor. The moment the kids spotted the threat, they dropped their treats and stampeded away in a panic. One of the gargoyles tilted his wings and snatched at a longhaired girl who had lagged behind her group. She immediately started screaming and dropped to the ground, cold, grey, and as motionless as a statue.
“Did I just see what I think I saw?” Isaac said, his eyes wide.
“Damn, I didn’t know they could do that,” Jinx admitted. He yanked on the cords of his hoodie like he wanted to disappear inside it Kenny McCormick-style. “Did you guys know they could do that?”
Serena thought back to her date with Harrison, when the two of them had first encountered the gargoyles. She remembered how they’d touched people and turned them to stone right before her eyes. She’d used her Grey Magic to battle them and Harrison had used his powers to help her fight them off. But now wasn’t the time to mention that to her friends. Now was the time for quick action. “I think the question is, what are we going to do about it?”
“Serena’s right,” Nikki said. “The Supers aren’t here to help anyone. We’re all these kids have got.” She dropped the red pleather jacket she wore. Under it she wore her favorite black mini, thigh-high stockings and knee-high combat boots. With a determined glance their way, she started to transform. Seconds later her eyes had reddened and her skin had turned a glossy ebony color, though her hair remained the same white-blonde cornsilk, a flaming pale contrast to the rest of her. Her wings shushed forth like two black sails, and the new creature, a combination of Nikki and Nix, said in a lilting, snake-like voice, “Let’s show those creeps what we can really do!”
With that, she rocketed off toward the opposite end of the fairgrounds.
Serena turned to Jinx with a brave smile. “Let’s do it.”
Jinx gave her an arch look. “Go rescue a bunch of kids we don’t know who hate our guts and will probably blame us for this too?”
“That’s the plan.”
He grinned, suddenly looking very handsome and dashing, and shed his own hoodie so he could stretch his wings and shoot off into the air. The earthbound Isaac and Serena exchanged a nod and a smile and raced off toward the crowd of frightened kids.
While Jinx and Nikki met the hoard of gargoyles head-on in mid-air, Serena concentrated on racing to the nearest cluster of kids. Already a number of them had fallen to the ground and lay there like chiseled statues. She stared at them in horror, wondering if they were dead or just in some kind of suspended animation. She feared the former rather than the latter.
As soon as she was among the survivors, she stopped and raised her hands, calling on the Grey to form an impenetrable shield even as four gargoyles descended on her all at once, their claws reaching for her, toothy mouths gaping in hellish screams.
“No!” she cried and pushed out at them. The shield went from a dull, gunmetal grey to bright white. When the gargoyles hit it, they immediately bounced back, but Serena quickly learned that she could step outside her own shield. She looked in at the kids huddled together under the umbrella of her power and said, “Stay there! I promise you’ll be safe!”
She quickly raced to the next cluster of kids, who were under siege by no less than seven ugly gargoyles. The brutes were being held off by no more than Isaac’s quick thrusts as he punched at them to keep them away.
“Lemme give you a hand, big guy,” she said as she weaved another glistening dome of light over the small group of screaming kids.
Stick with our young adult series, because our next book, Book 6: Witch Wars, will wrap everything up, and rock your world (literally!). And keep checking the site for sneak peeks at the covers for Book 6 and the complete collection!
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Hi readers & friends,
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And don’t forget to visit http://antiheroesbook.blogspot.ca/ for all the latest Anti-Heroes news and free sneak peeks! Keep watching for the new series–Species–coming from myself and K.H. Koehler soon. She and I have talked about possibly releasing Anti-Heroes in paperback once the series is finished. Of course, if there are any publishers out there interested in releasing the paperback through their own imprint, and maybe taking a look at our next series, you’re welcomed to hit us up for the details anytime!
Thank you again, readers and friends, for making Anti-Heroes a success! We’re thrilled you’re enjoying your adventures with our supervillains.