To be honest, I’m a little hesitant to continue my 15 Days of Nerd posts since I seem to have personally offended my friend over at my time on terra firma with my assessment of Spiderman, and with my lack of in depth knowledge about the classic superhero I chose to use as my favorite. The truth is there are characters in books, normal novels, that I like better than any of the “classic” comic book heroes. There are comic book characters, such as Shi, that aren’t as well known that I like better than many of the “classic” heroes. But, I decided to focus on the classics because I thought it would be easier. Now I kind of wish I hadn’t. But I’m not going to go back and rewrite the post. I’m too lazy for that. Instead, I’d just like to point out that I’m not trying to attack anyone and I don’t intend offense when I describe fictional figures that you may love in an unfavorable way.
Now that’s taken care of, on to the next nerdy topic: Anti-Heroes. These are the heroes who act in ways that Superman never would unless he was high on some fucked up bit of the geology of his home world. These are the bad guys who through some twist of circumstance have found themselves on the side of good. Or the good guys whose methods and motives are less than noble. Dexter Morgan is a good example of the former.
From what I understand, The Punisher is a good example of the later.
But there’s one more kind of anti-hero. The bad guy who isn’t really doing anything all that good but he’s still the hero of the story. That is the kind of anti-hero that one of my favorite anti-heroes of all time, Hannibal Lector, happens to be.
Don’t let the picture fool you, I don’t just like him because Anthony Hopkins played him (though I’m sure that helped). I love Lector because he is fascinating. When you first meet him in Thomas Harris’ novels, and in the subsequent films, he seems to just be a charming, intelligent monster. The more you see of him, the more you realize that he’s not just intelligent, he’s staggeringly intelligent. Genius level intelligent. And he’s not just a monster, he can make human connections and care for people. Then you learn his origins, and everything snaps into place and it all makes sense in a sort of twisted way that makes it difficult not to like the character at least a little bit.