13.29: Iconic Heroes

Your Hosts: Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard

The term “iconic hero” allows us to differentiate between different kinds of heroes who appear in series. Nancy Drew and Conan the Barbarian are iconic, but Leia Organa and Aragorn are epic. In this episode we discuss how (and why) to go about writing a hero with no arc.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Dan Thompson, and mastered by Alex Jackson.


Explore iconic heroes by plotting out an Indiana Jones movie.

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie

6 thoughts on “13.29: Iconic Heroes”

  1. Spiderman DID get growth as a character, but it got negated by 2007’s One More Day; It erased his marriage to MJ, Aunt May’s Death, and the fact Spider-Man’s secret identity was public at the time.
    While I’ll never forgive Joe Quesada, it DOES push the needle back towards Stan Lee’s Original intentions: A superhero with regular teen problems.

    1. Things like One More Day are why I largely threw my hands up and walked away from “mainstream” comics. Joe Q really came across as a spoiled manchild who couldn’t handle the character actually maturing and not being the same Spiderman that he loved as a little boy.

  2. Is there an episode on plotting out stories, or a recommended YouTube video?

    1. That would be great — more than a few times we’ve been given “plot out someone else’s story” homework, and sadly it’s not something I’m very good at.

  3. The team from the beehive state, Brandon, Valynne, Dan, and Howard, buzzed all around iconic heroes, including a host of favorites such as Conan, James Bond, Nancy Drew, Hercule Poirot, the Hardy Boys, Sherlock Holmes, Wolverine, Wonder Woman, Mad Max, the Hulk, Thor, Spiderman, Superman, Tony the Tiger, and even the Pillsbury Doughboy! Who are these characters, and why do we love them? Why would you write a whole bunch of stories about characters who don’t change? Whoa! Read all about it, in the transcript available in the archives and over here


  4. Great episode, and a truly useful distinction.
    My favorite iconic character is actually an icon anti-hero, Richard Stark’s Parker. Parker is professional thief who specializes in planing large scale scores. He’s also severely antisocial. Parker has no patience for small talk, and no tolerance for people’s foibles.
    Nearly all twenty-four Parker novels could be summarized in the same way. Parker plans a heist and assembles a crew. The heist goes wrong in one or more of the following ways:
    A screw-up by a necessary amateur.
    An especially clever or determined lawman.
    Betrayal by a member of the crew.
    Betrayal by a thief’s gold digging girlfriend.
    Parker either pulls of his heist or makes his escape, not with the sort of “con within a con” cleverness one sees in the Ocean movies, but with doggedness and brutality.
    The pair of Parker books that try other plot structures come across as frustrating, at least to me.
    Although Parker eventually settles down with common law wife, Claire, marriage in no way changes his personality.
    Richard Stark is a pen name of Donald Westlake, creator of that other iconic thief, the comedic John Dortmunder.

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