Heroic Archetypes Ascendent – American EagleThe Dark Herald
I have become quite a fan of Alex Macris’ Ascendant Star Spangled Squadron
If you aren’t familiar with it, then smash the link above and become familiar with it. This webtoon is actually doing what up to now, I didn’t anybody would be doing. Creating new superheroes based on the heroic archetypes I’ve been writing about on this blog.
Before I go any further let me make clear that Alex Marcris never read any of my articles on this subject before my interview with him.
Yet, he has created a new pantheon of heroes based upon them. The reason he did so is simple enough, he is a talented artist and a genuinely talented artist is drawn to truth like moths to a flame.
I’m going to be looking at three of his heroes over the next few days.
First up, American Eagle – The Aspirational Hero.
“What is the aspirational superhero?
At his core, he is the man we all wish in our hearts we could be. The man we know we should be. The man who is the best in all of us. The man who we (in a word) aspire to be.
He is a symbol of what we deem to be the finest in humanity. He is a flawless, faultless paragon of personal character. And one who possesses a power greater than any of the other superheroes of his pantheon. Not physical or mental power, although in truth they almost always have those. No, their greatest power is unassailable moral superiority…
Our need for the aspirational heroes is like our need for water and air. The need is that aboriginally fundamental to our makeup as human beings. Our reactions to the traits that turn a character into a hero we find aspirational can’t be taught. The Wokelings claim that these are simply socialized reactions and the only thing we need to do is socialize new traits. They are completely wrong. The traits that make a character an aspirational hero can’t be acquired. Our reactions to those traits come from a place that is too deep to be the product of nurture.
So, what are those traits?
First and foremost, the defining trait of the aspirational hero is instinctive prudence. The ability to determine what is the right course of action in any situation and pursue it.
Also, they are pure of heart. Instinctively so. Their inherent goodness is at the core of their characters. It’s also the reason that everyone reacts to these characters the way they do. This is not a Mary Sue being rewarded for living at the center of her universe. This is how people respond to genuine, heartfelt goodness as a baseline human reaction…
This brings us to the next trait, great power under great restriction. The power they are entrusted with does not get handed over to anybody without the fortitude to control their emotions. The most powerful of them could destroy the world, so you don’t hand that power over to someone given to tantrums…
The aspirational hero is destiny-driven more than anything else. Yes, his primary motivation is prudence, but he was born with that prudence. The truth about aspirational heroes is that they did not choose what they were born to be. It is their fate…
American Eagle easily fits all of the Aspirational Hero’s traits, to include the sub-archetype Proven Worthy of the Gift. He started off just as a firefighter, but he was willing to go farther than the average man. He took risks to save lives that should have resulted in his own death. He is a devout Christian. And a dedicated family man. He doesn’t use those things as an excuse to avoid his duty. He knows that using his gift for good could easily come with an unbearable price.
He does what he does because he will always do the right the thing.
I remember a great little passage from a short story by Jim Butcher. “You know how you can tell when you are about to do something really bad? It starts with the words, ‘I know it’s wrong but…’ Just stop at the word ‘wrong’ and don’t add anything else.” It wouldn’t occur to American Eagle to go any further than, “I know it’s wrong.”
I had ended my piece on Aspirational heroes on this dour note:
“The sad truth is, there is no hope for the old aspirational heroes. They are all owned by multi-billion-dollar corporations that are no longer even interested in making a profit in the traditional sense. And who are all controlled by people who think that Barrack Obama was the greatest president in American history.
Sure, they may throw you an occasional bone like the Return of Luke, but those companies are swamped by people who hate everything that Luke used to inspire. There will never be genuine reform from that quarter.
DON’T BE SATISFIED WITH A BONE!”
If you aren’t satisfied with just a bone then please consider supporting Alex Macris’ Indiegogo campaign to bring Ascendant in graphic novel format to a grateful world.