Tropes in the Media: Hero

The hero trope has been used in various forms of media in order to portray a character with the ideals that society typically strives for. The hero trope aims to cater to the sense of morality that many people crave and aim for. The rebel trope includes characters or situations that are challenging yet inspire audiences. In advertisements when the hero trope is used to promote a product, it works because if someone as courageous and noble as a hero is promoting a product, the quality of this product must be worth it. In general, the hero character typically exhibits hypermasculine traits such as broad shoulders. Additionally, the hero character is stereotypically tall and muscular.

Hero Comic Cover:

Captain America Comics (1941) #1 | Comic Issues | Marvel

This superhero trope came to be in the late 1930s during the rise of the superhero comic book genre. The superhero character at this time was stereotypically a straight white male that was usually gifted with unnatural superpowers which they used to save any citizens in danger around them. This comic book cover displays the superhero, Captain America as he punches Adolf Hitler. The hero displays the values that members of society should strive for. Such heroes are fearless and bold. A factor that is constant whenever there are superhero characters is the presence of a villain. The corrupt and evil traits given to the villain provide a stark contrast for the morality of the hero to shine through. A trait that was common throughout comics at this time and their modern film and TV adaptations is the presence of American propaganda throughout. If the Captain America name isn’t telling enough, the character’s costume is in red white, and blue and includes stars and stripes prominently. Because of these design elements, this hero character can also be used as a form of propaganda in favor of the United States. This is because the hero represents positive traits such as strength and integrity and the character’s name and costume represent the United States.

Hero Movie Poster:

This movie poster depicts the mythological hero Achilles as he is in battle. The mythological hero is similar to the superhero in that they both are typically depicted as muscular straight white men that are also conventionally attractive. In addition to this, the mythological hero is typically depicted as an ideal warrior above all else. There is also a greater emphasis on battle and violence in depictions of mythological heroes. In the case of this movie poster, we can see that this mythological hero is angry as he holds up a bloodied sword. Even though the character is in the midst of battle and armor is essential protection, the poster leaves his entire arm completely bare in order to put emphasis on the physique of the actor/character.
Hero Illustration:

Modern Super Hero, Digital Arts by Art De Noé | Artmajeur

This illustration depicts a doctor looking into the camera as they are wearing a surgical mask with the Superman logo on it with a black backdrop. This illustration provides a stark contrast to the other examples I had previously mentioned. Instead of being an example of fictional hypermasculine traits, this artwork seems to be more representative of real-life heroes. The date in which this artwork was created is incredibly relevant to its meaning. Since the artwork was published in 2020, one can assume that the message is that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the heroes that need more appreciation are healthcare workers.

Example 1:“Captain America Comics (1941) #1: Comic Issues.” Marvel. Accessed February 8, 2022.
Example 2:Fury of Achilles, 1962

Example 3:Artmajeur. “Modern Super Hero, Digital Arts by Art De Noé: Artmajeur.” Artmajeur Online Art Gallery. Accessed February 8, 2022.