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The superhero is a character who has a strong sense of responsibility, care for others, and a penchant for taking action in dangerous situations. The superhero character also has a sense of duty, courage in the face of danger and a dedication to protecting others. Superhero characters are optimistic and inspire hope in others, acting justly and mercifully, with a strong moral character. Superhero characters are usually naturally born leaders, or develop leadership traits as they gain experience. Many superhero characters have special abilities, suits and masks or speak alien languages, which may give them a unique and recognizable voice.
The superhero character often starts his or her journey as an average person, then becomes a superhero after a life-transforming event. The original, civilian persona of a superhero character may be referred to as an alter-ego, due to that personality being alternative to the superhero persona adopted by the hero. This personality may be more insecure, reserved and focused on non-hero duties. This personality also has close relationships with civilian friends and family. The superhero character’s personality may shift to embody a bold, courageous, tough, merciful, self-sacrificial personality, usually in strong contrast to the civilian alter-ego. One of the most recognisable examples of the civilian/superhero alter-ego contrasts would be Superman/Clark Kent. While both are upstanding men in their own merits, Clark Kent portrays himself as a reserved, quiet, unassuming gentleman; while Superman is an alien with godly abilities, a bold attitude and a larger-than-life public image. Superhero characters aim to maintain a positive public image and live up to a strict moral code, which can influence their attitudes and character.
The superhero character communicates with others differently and uses different tones depending on the situation he or she is in. The superhero character is compassionate toward, and protective of, the civilian population in times of danger, and friendly during times of safety. The superhero character is respectful of authorities and the media, even when either party misunderstands the hero. The superhero character may be harsher with criminals, or make witty one liners during battle, depending on the personality of the hero. Generally, though, superheroes wish to save lives, even those of their opponents. The superhero character frequently yells over chaotic situations, trying to restore order and issue commands to others. Superhero characters’ hero alter-egos may have relationships with others, such as romantic interests or fellow heroes as part of a team.
Superheroes in older works were mainly mythological deities or strong men, who were not as morally inclined as the contemporary superhero, but still held the status of a folk hero or legend. Examples of classical heroes include Achilles and Hercules, who were renowned for their strength and military victories. These hero characters are more conceited and arrogant, fighting for fame, power and glory, rather than out of a self-sacrificial desire to protect and save others.
Superhero characters can be seen most often in the superhero subgenre of the broader action, science fiction and mystery or thriller genres. Superhero characters appear in many mediums, either film or television, animated or live action. Superhero characters may also appear on the radio, in video games, in audiobooks, or in advertising. Companies such as Marvel and DC have the largest influence on the superhero subgenre, though there are many other superhero characters to be found outside of these two companies. By studying and embodying the selfless, principled and focused attitude of a superhero character, and adjusting your voice for all possible superhero scenarios, you can equip yourself to voice a mighty superhero character today!