The Lure of the Anti Hero

myc BloodCurse_WordpressMychael Black is a wonderful M/M author who has written, with Shayne Carmichael, such books as And The Two Shall Become One and Dark Needs, two of my favourite vampire series and other books such as Realms of Fantasy, The Prince’s Angel to name just a few. His latest book Blood Curse is available from Changeling Press.

Myc is talking about the lure of the Anti Hero today and here’s his post –

What is it about the antihero that readers love so much? Is it his take-no-prisoners attitude? His disregard for society’s usual mores? His sometimes self-serving way of going about life?

Or is it the promise of danger that makes him so utterly irresistible?

For me, as a reader and writer, it’s all of these things… and more.

I love writing antiheroes–those men who seem callous and evil, yet manage to find love in some form or another. My best-known antihero (to date, anyway) is Triarius, creator of the Inferi Brotherhood and lover to Lance Shaw and Apollonius. When I first wrote him, I knew Triarius was an antihero. I couldn’t see the entire scope of his background, but what I did see was enough to cement his status as a man capable of love and evil in a single breath. He’s not perfect–far from it. He’s horribly scarred, inside and out, and has a temper to rival any redheaded Southerner, but what he lacks in social graces and civility, he makes up for in his love for his partners, the general Apollonius and former reporter Lance Shaw.

Now I have another antihero brewing, one who surprised me a great deal. When I wrote Gabriel Walsh for Blood Curse (Blood & Fire 2), I fully expected him to be a typical vampire who happened to be a witch. Wow, was I wrong!

He’s managed to flip everything in that fictional world on its head. Now he’s shaping up to be Triarius’ rival for antiheroism. Different worlds, yes; but they’re both vampires. However… Gabriel is more–MUCH more. In fact… he was never human to begin with, and he led me on a long, at times arduous, search for his history and the lineage that began with Adam and Eve.

On the outside, and to those he cares about, Gabriel is a nice guy. He helps when needed, loves fiercely, and lusts after Firestarter’s drummer, Jesse Eldridge. Beneath the surface, though, lies a darkness even I didn’t see coming until Gabriel hit me with it out of nowhere. Now I have to find a way to reconcile two very different faces of one man in a way that endears him to readers while remaining true to his personality.

Is it easy? Not by a long shot. But it’s fun. And that, my friends, is why I love to write.


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • Oh yes, I do like me some anti-hero. The disregard of the rules is the attraction I think. He – or I suppose, she! – says and does the things we often think we’d like to do if only we had the nerve.
    But I like an anti-hero who, though he may claim to do it for his own reasons, or go about it in a different way from your more conventional hero, will, when the chips are down, do the right thing.
    I’m watching lots of Lost at the minute and I think Sawyer is one of that sort. He’d deny to his last breath that he’s a hero, and in many ways, he’s a bad, bad man, and usually doesn’t care who he offends or hurts, but in extremis, he’ll do the right thing. And possibly that’s down to falling in love! See, it’s like I say, love messes you up! If you’re an anti-hero it makes you soft. 😉
    Of course in my dreams it’s Sayid who Sawyer is in love with rather than Kate… 😀

    • I prefer the anti hero because he is more exciting. I find the traduitional hero boring which is why, in one of my favourite series, The Adrien English Mysteries, Jake the anti hero is my man. 😀
      I love the villains in And The Two Shall Become One by Mychael and Shayne Carmichael – they are so bad that sometimes they even overshadow the heroes. 🙂

  • I think that Tam is on to something when she says the anti-hero plays out our fantasies of not having to knuckle under and be polite in most situations. The anti-hero definitely cuts through all the mind-games and pretense like a breath of fresh air.

    The anti-hero can be totally unpredictable (as it sounds like you’ve experienced with the unpredictable way your characters have evolved, ha, ha!). This is great for the reader and great for the writer. It can generate a lot of conflict and unexpected twists and turns in the plot.

    Then there is the intrigue of the contrasts. You have a character who has evil or anti-social traits and yet there is some good in there somewhere. Or you have a character that should be evil like a demon or a vampire and they show a compassionate side. The contrast will hook a lot of readers in.

    Great post! 🙂

  • I think the anti-hero taps into that little bit of us that gets bloody tired of always being polite and not rocking the boat. Who just takes some of the crap rather than fling it back because it makes life easier (either for us or for someone else – I was asked to do this by my boss because he didn’t want to deal with the fall-out). So we all wish sometimes we could not necessarily be cruel or mean on purpose, but not be so damn civilized and polite. 🙂
    For me though the anti-hero has to have some redeeming qualities. If they can show tenderness and love for their twu wuv or be shown to not be completely black to the core then it works for me.
    Sounds like you have your work cut out for you. Maybe have him rescue a stranded kitten. 😉 Strong guys and fuzzy animals, you can’t lose. LOL Good luck.


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