MovieChat Forums > Diabolik Discussion > Semi-OT: A missing archetype

Semi-OT: A missing archetype

Anyone else notice that this character/story archetype is missing from mainstream pop culture? Going way back to the 19th century you saw it all the time, with characters like Fantomas and Spring-Heel Jack and others. Then of course there's Doctor Mabuse, and eventually we got to the deliciously hard-edged Italian variations such as Kriminal, Killing, Satanik, and most notably Diabolik.

This whole super-criminal narrative is never really used anymore. I can only think of three examples off the top of my head that even come close.

One of them is Breaking Bad, thanks to the awesome fury of Walter "Heisenberg" White, but it isn't quite "super" enough, if that makes any sense.

Another is the character Labyrinto, the villain of Francesco Francavilla's graphic novel Black Beetle: No Way Out. Francavilla clearly created Labyrinto in the mold of characters like Kriminal or Diabolik. However, Labyrinto is not the focus of the narrative. It's closer to a conventional superhero narrative, with the heroic Black Beetle as the central figure.

The closest example I can think of is another graphic novel character, Mark Millar's titular character from Nemesis. He is definitely the focus of the story, and what a horrific character he is. Millar claimed that if Kingsman was successful that this would be next, from director Joe Carnahan. I'm curious to see if it'll remain as violent and over-the-top as the comic.

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I agree with you that this archetype is largely missing from current mainstream pop culture. It seems to me that mainstream culture has changed in at least two ways which directly affect this archetype (from the 60's/70's which I think is the last period where this archetype was popular).
- There is far less sympathy for a super criminals who would kill soldiers/police. Diabolik kills several of these on his missions.
- There is more of a feeling that everyone is linked. So the criminals like Bonnie & Clyde are not stealing just from the rich, they are stealing from the commoners too.

Also, we're talking about mainstream pop culture which is the middle class European/American populace that is doing okay (compared to the depression era at least). The supercriminal archetype is always popular with the populace that is downtrodden or not doing as well or rebellious. It is generally thought that the rise of the anti-hero in the 60s/70s was largely due to the baby boomers being at a rebellious stage in life.

These are just some of my thoughts on the matter. It's not meant to be authoritative, just a discussion on an interesting topic.

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