When I was originally planning out the columns I’d be writing for October, I wanted to do a Top 10 or Top 5 list of the greatest heroes in the horror genre. Then I started trying to devise the lists, and I ran into a bit of a problem. My knowledge and appreciation for the horror genre is more mainstream than some of the other writers on the site, and I couldn’t think of enough characters to fill up a list. The horror genre isn’t exactly known for its heroes. It’s known for the monsters, and how they terrify us.
That got me thinking about fear itself. Fear is a really a core aspect of human behavior, and it always has been. It has been around since the time of our first ancestors, and it’s unlikely that it will ever be truly extinguished from the human spirit. We’ll never be able to shake our most primal fears, like the fear of death, the unknown, the loss of our family, and danger in general.
If you think about it, our modern world seems to be completely ruled by fear, in more ways than one. Just look at the way that the news and the government has been run for the last decade! The corporate news stations and corrupt politicians do their best to influence our opinions by using cheap fear tactics. We’ve had wars started out of fear before, and it could happen again all to easily.
But we can’t have courage without fear, and we cannot have heroes without courage.
I’m sure that if you were to survey a group of any people around the world and asked them what the defining characteristic of real heroes are, courage would be the top answer. We always admire the people who don’t let the fear get the best of them. That’s why we look up to the people whose jobs involve a lot of danger, like soldiers, police officers and firefighters. They live and work knowing that they face injury, death, and tragedy on a daily basis, yet the keep coming back to work, and keep on helping people.
All stories are about change, conflict and conquering fear in some shape or form. Including our own. If any of us want to be heroes, we have to recognize our own fears, and work to overcome them.
Next week on Most Heroic, I’m going to be making up for my absence last week by giving a very special edition of Jesse’s Pick. I’ll just leave you with with a few words as a teaser. The Icon Versus the Phenom.