Sam and Dean Winchester
Sam and Dean Winchester
If I write a blog post about heroines, I am morally obligated to follow up with a post about heroes. And there are some good ones out there. 

What makes a good hero? He must be strong, but able to put his arms down (sorry Governator!). He must be complicatedmaybe even a little tortured, but not unreachable. He must have good intentions that sometimes go awry. He must spend forever trying to make up for his mistakes and misdeeds. It doesn't hurt if he has awesome fighting skills and wit. Added bonuses: a cool car, stylish clothes and possibly a sidekick or two (see previous post on sidekicks).

When I was in college, I wrote an essay comparing heroes and heroines from literature. I specifically remember comparing Hercules and The Duchess of Malfi. It's a strange comparison, especially since the duchess never slew a lion or hydra or stole various livestock or fruit to appease the angry gods, so I won't get into it here. Suffice it to say, that mythological heroes were forced to perform daunting tasks. Epically daunting. I mean, I'm pretty brave, but someone asks me to bring them a three-headed hellhound and I'm out.

It wasn't just Hercules, who was forced to perform terrifying tasks. Theseus, Odysseus, Perseus, Jason and Orpheus all performed their tasks with bravado and style. Because these guys were so cool, contemporary heroes sometimes follow suit--performing seemingly impossible tasks to pay penance for some misdeed, for vengeance purposes or as a rescue. Action movies are fraught with stories about a thug, playboy or goof-off who has to rise above his ego to save the world, the town, the girl or some cute kid.
Maximus Decimus Meridius
Maximus Decimus Meridius

Something you should know about me
when it comes to movies, I’m a total dude. I like action, car chases and well-choreographed fight scenes. But intelligence and wit are super sexy. So is social consciousness. If a hero can pull all of these off simultaneously, well he has my heart. Also, I don't like being treated like I'm helpless. With that formula, I suppose the perfect way to meet a hero like that would go something like this:

(Scene: streetside cafelunchtime)

"Hello," he croons, setting down his copy of Plato's Republic. "I couldn't help but notice this guy seems to be bothering you."

"I can handle it," you hiss. "Move along."

"You appear to be favoring your arm when you're punching this guy. Can I help?"

"It's just because I sprained my shoulder being awesome last week. And this beefy bully  is harassing my grandma." 

Your hero takes a step back. "Would you hold this?" he asks, handing you his puppy, who nuzzles up under your chin in a totally non-annoying snuggle. 
Robert McCall
Robert McCall

"I don't need help," you mutter, but your arm is throbbing. You could use a rest.

You lean against his Aston Martin while he wails on the bully with what appears to be a mixture between jujitsu, street fighting and yoga. 
When the bully is dispatched, your hero pulls out a chair for your grandma (if a chair isn't available, he'll fashion one out of what's left of the bully) and hands you a single rose that somehow wafted onto the sidewalk while he was fighting.

"Let me pay for your lunch," you say, exchanging the puppy for the rose. "It's the least I can do."
Mahatma Ghandi
Mahatma Ghandi

"Absolutely not," he whispers, looking through you for a moment, his eyes unfocused. "It's true a significant amount of my income goes to charities for starving children, literacy and support groups for women, LGBT and other minorities, but I invest wisely and started saving while I was young, so I'm independently wealthy. (Translates to: I have a lot of money, but I am not completely spoiled, plus I'm really responsible.)

"Oh thank you," you say. "By the way, that's a really cool shirt." 

"I apologize," he says, blushing. "But I seem to have gotten some bully blood on your grandma. Shall we take her home and then grab a drink?"

"That sounds wonderful," you say.

"I hope it's not too early for a nice white wine," he whispers.
Ralph Hinkley
Ralph Hinkley

"I'll just have a beer," you whisper back.

He smiles.

That being said, some of my favorite heroes are:
  • Angel from Angel (TV)—because he can mope and fight and looks equally sexy doing both
  • Sherlock Holmes from The Complete Sherlock Holmes—because he is so damn smart
  • Mahatma Ghandi from real freaking life—because he was from real freaking life
  • Ralph Hinkley from The Greatest American Hero (TV)—because he had no clue what he was doing, but he kept doing it
  • Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings—because he was full of undying loyalty and determination
  • Superman from movies, TV and comic books—because he doesn’t even belong here, but he keeps saving us anyway
  • Robert McCall from The Equalizer (TV)—supercool retired British spy who spends his time trying to help set the world right
  • Sir Gawain from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight—you're going to have to read it
  • Moses from The Ten Commandments—because know...freed a whole bunch of people AND got the girl
  • Jarod from The Pretender (TV)—smart, cute and witty
  • Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird—because of this link
  • The Terminator from The Terminator—too beefy to put his arms down, but he's a soulless robot with a soul, so points there
  • Sam and Dean Winchester from Supernatural (TV)—let’s see, cute, funny, tough and they’ve literally been to hell and back
  • Maximus Decimus Meridius from The Gladiator—indomnitable spirit against insurmountable odds
  • Odysseus from The Odyssey—because he not only fought evil with brawn, but brains as well—also has been to hell and back
  • Beowulf from Beowulf—fights Grendel, Grendel's mama, various sea creatures and a dragon. Dude.
  • James Bond from the movies and books (but mostly Sean Connery and Daniel Craig)--because—accent and abs, respectively.
Blog off.

Also, watch this for fun:
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