Self-Sacrifice and the Transformation of the Hero


heroism, self-sacrifice, sacrifice, superhero, journey


The literary notion of a hero is often steeped in great deeds, such as vanquishing the monster, completing Herculean tasks, or protecting the innocent from harm. The medium of the comic book also provides numerous tales of self-sacrifice that add weight to the legitimacy of a hero and their contribution to a particular society or cause. This article will consider certain themes within the self-sacrificing hero narrative in order to gain further insight into this phenomenon and will draw inspiration from Greek and Norse mythology as well as the Superhero genre within comics and film. Finally, this article will consider the cyclical nature of the hero’s journey and the importance of continual heroic rebirth in sustaining their legacy for new generations of comic book readers and film audiences. What does their sacrifice mean when the hero and even their universe is reborn at a later date?