We all know what each of these character types are and how they’re integral to genuine story, but what if I told you, all three of these are actually the same character type… only on different points of the same scale.
Let’s get into it.
With the exception of some abstract Buddhist zen-like mental kung fu (the best action is no course of action kinda thing), heroes, antiheroes and villains are defined by their actions. Ok, really, all characters are defined by their actions, but broad generalizations do apply to this specific group.
In essence, when you say you’re going to create a hero, antihero, or villain, you’re really saying, you’re going to use an archetype template for the core nature of the character.
Character Archetype p61 Story craft for comics;
“Character archetypes are “genres” for characters. If I tell you I’ve got a horror comic, slasher script, your mind automatically opens a drawer of preconceived notions. You sit to read the script with expectations.
Character archetypes are exactly the same thing. Classifications of traits that define a role—universally accepted roles that transcend culture, creed and nationality.”
At the top of the scale we have the HERO.
Someone concerned primarily with the welfare of others and who acts in a manner that puts their welfare ahead of his own. In fact, he’s likely to sacrifice himself or his personal desires, for the benefit of others. Heroes generally have a high sense of moral ground, distinguishing clearly between right and wrong, and following this morality without wavering.