Heroes have played a major role in the epic narratives of the past and grace the pages of mainstream comics of today. The comic industry has taken classical gods, demi-gods, and furies and placed them into new comic universes, but classical heroes are reinterpreted through new characters. The modern popular culture medium of comics draws heavily on the classical components for the construction of the heroes' attributes and narrative arcs. To get to the roots of the modern hero, one must look at the components of the ancient heroes of Greece. This focused analysis of the ancient heroes of Achilles, Odysseus, and the Amazons reveals the roots of the modern comic heroes of Wolverine, Batman, and Wonder Woman. In both theme and function the modern warrior hero Wolverine corresponds to Achilles, the anti-hero proper Batman relates to the trickster-hero Odysseus, and the heroine of Wonder Woman connects to the Amazons. As popular culture icons, these modern heroes reflect the external attitudes of their contemporary culture, while still maintaining the heroic roots to the ancient past. Additionally, the popular appeal of comics presents an opportunity to examine the reception of classical themes. A further look into the narrations of all of these modern heroes reveal a long standing heroic narration found in the classical Greek tradition. Using the archetypical methodology to unpack the modern heroes reveals their association with classical predecessors, confirming the continued relevance of heroic narrative.


Teo, Wendy


Classical Studies


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Other Film and Media Studies



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2012 Emma Zieske