Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Antiheroes? Anyone?

So enough with the preachy blog posts. While I mean them in good humor--and ultimately anyone who knows me that I'm not the antagonistic type--I don't want this blog to be all about 'how to' or 'what not to do'. Right now, I'm thinking antiheroes. The true bad guys is books/TV/film who do questionable things, yet we find ourselves rooting for them. Why, you ask? Well, I've recently picked up Richrd Kadrey's latest installment in the Sandman Slim series, The Getaway God. Oddly enough this has coincided with me finally getting around the streaming the TV show Dexter. It seems I'm surrounded by them...

I'm not sure what it is, but I've always been drawn to these types of characters. James Stark of the Sandman Slim series (highly recommend if you like gritty dark humor + urban fantasy) is essentially a sarcastic asshole of a character; a magician who's been to Hell and back (literally) who pretty much plays by one set of rules--his own. Yet, despite his faults and nasty disposition, we're given such a solid look inside this character's head that as a reader you can't help but root for him. He makes no apologies for who he is. He's loyal to the people he cares about. He's saved the earth from monsters much, much worse than him. Basically, he's deeply flawed and doesn't always make the 'nice' choices, yet at the same time he can't really be classified as evil.

Dexter is a slightly different animal. I haven't read the books, but I'm midway through the third season of the TV show. On the surface, Dexter Morgan projects this image of a decent, hardworking guy who at worst appears to be a little odd and closed off from other people. Of course, because the story is from his POV, we know that's not the case. It's an interesting premise--this guy living a double life--forensic blood spatter analyst for the Miami PD on one side, prolific serial killer on the other. The idea that he's following a 'code' when choosing his victims (never someone innocent) which is referred to over and over, attempts to make the idea of a serial killer more palatable. Without the benefit of his constant internal monologue, I don't think this would work. Yet I think because we're so close to him, we see his struggle to maintain this dual life--basically we get to know him so well, it's hard not to feel for his character.

I don't want to turn this post into a novel, but there are more than a few characters out there that could also fit the bill. Think Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle or Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Maybe even Chess Putnam from Stacia Kane's Downside Ghosts series. What about you? Who are your favorite antiheroes?

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