An anti-hero by definition is the opposite of what a hero is supposed to be. While this definition works, the truth is that people are seldom as simple as that definition would have you believe. The anti-hero archetype has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity as our society begins to question many of the black and white views it has held for so long. This less-than-perfect figure captures our imagination in books, movies, and more and makes us realize that sometimes doing the wrong thing for the right reasons or the right thing for the wrong reasons may be the right thing in the end.
10. Richard B. Riddick
Riddick almost qualifies as a sympathetic villain rather than an anti-hero accept for the fact that he isn’t near as evil as he would like you to believe. Riddick is a hardened criminal who winds up stranded on a desert planet with several other survivors. At first Riddick seems to be the epitome of a violent criminal but as we watch the story unfold we learn that while he is violent, he also is capable of being heroic when other people’s lives are on the line. Riddick is the classic example of how sometimes even those who seem beyond redemption still care.
9. Robin Hood
The classic example of someone who does the wrong thing for the right reasons, Robin Hood has been part of our culture for hundreds of years. He steals from the rich to give to the poor and defies corrupt authority with bravery. Robin Hood stands out so strongly in our cultural conscience because he represents the inner fire in all of us to correct injustice wherever we may find it even if it means operating outside the law.
8. Eric Draven
Better known as The Crow from both the comic books and movies of the same name, Eric Draven is a great example of how loss and grief can drive a good person to the brink. Eric Draven and his fiancé were murdered by a group of thugs and he returns from the dead to seek out vengeance against those who killed him. While Draven’s desire for vengeance is completely understandable, what qualifies him as an anti-hero is the depths he sinks to in order to bring justice to his murderers.
7. Incredible Hulk
The Incredible Hulk is the definition of losing oneself to anger. Starting out as scientist Bruce Banner, the Incredible Hulk is the product of a scientific experiment gone wrong. Because of changes created by exposure to gamma rays, Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk whenever he becomes too angry. The Hulk himself is a creature of pure rage and knows no morals or reason, blindly seeking to destroy everything in his path. The Hulk is representative of how the anger inside us can lead us in directions we would never go even though we may see ourselves as good people.
Rorschach represents the desire in all of us to bring justice to those who deserve our anger the most. He represents the inner demon in every person on this planet when confronted with the horrors we are able to perpetrate on one another. What makes Rorschach an anti-hero is the fact that he is doing what he believes needs to be done regardless of the cost to his own humanity. He gladly sacrifices what it means to be a member of society in order to destroy those he considers too evil to deserve to live.