By Dave White
There are days I wish I was Spenser. I wish I could drink a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee, eat a doughnut, run five miles, shoot a bad guy, drink some beer, snap off a joke or two, and then make a gourmet dinner.
There are days I wish I was James Bond. Traveling the globe, shooting at bad guys, getting every available women, and again with the jokes. (The movie Bond, anyway. Fleming's Bond was rarely funny... and when he tried to be... he still wasn't.)
I've been thinking a lot about my favorite characters lately, in movies, books and TV, and there seems to be a common theme that runs through them. Indiana Jones, Spenser, Bond... they're all typically the same person, gruff, tough, funny, confident. They're not the everyman. They're the ideal man. They're the code hero, not the Hemingway hero. They get up.
When I sit down to look at my characters, very few of them have this thread going through them. They're not happy people, usually. And when they are happy, that happiness is taken from them in a flash.
My characters are a bit more realistic, I suppose, but I'm not sure they have the staying power of Bond or Spenser or Jones. They don't often stick with you months after you put the book down. My characters are dark heroes. They do their job, but they're never better for it.
I tend to like both types of characters... but I write about what I think I do well. I'm not sure I could come up with a Bond type character. The never lose your cool kind of guy. I don't see much tension there.
But these are the types of characters people love. These are the characters I'm drawn to over and over and over again. I still read Spenser... I still see every Bond book. I can't even bring myself to hate Crystal Skull.
Probably because it's what we can't be. And it what we want to be. So they watch this characters and imagine they'll have the same witty line, the same grin, the same cool under pressure.
It strikes me, that when you look at these popular heroes... the code heroes...They stick out because we, the audience, is the Hemingway hero. We're, in a way, jealous that these guys can keep getting up and up and up.
Deep down, we know we'll stay down.
So, dear reader, what's appealing to you about the code heroes? And why do we still enjoy reading about the Hemingway hero at times too?