How 1,000 Years of Storytelling Led to Superhero Movies

Why do so many superhero movies have the same origin story? It all comes down to the use – and misuse – of the monomyth. Here’s what the hero’s journey is and why it shouldn’t be used to make movies (even if great movies feature it).

Yes, this video represents Monomythic’s first tentative steps (thanks to Rusty Auto Productions!) into the vast and unknowable quagmire that is YouTube. Gotta’ start somewhere, right? Oh, and the close captioning is as accurate as possible – please turn on closed captions!

Kevin Garcia’s speech (yes, I talk about myself in third person sometimes), delivered as part of the Nerd Nite series on August 9, 2017 at the North Door in Austin, goes in depth on what the monomyth is, tying the hero’s journey (and oral tradition) to the Superman mythos. Several modernized versions of the ancient tales of Thor and Loki are thrown in for good measure, including the story of Thor’s wedding.

There’s a brief mention of the Tyrant Holdfast in the speech, and there’s more to learn about that monomythic concept, if you’re interested.

Spock’s hero’s journey is mentioned briefly, but detailing that connection was one of the earliest posts here on Monomythic, so check it out!

The TED talk by Matthew P. Winkler is briefly alluded to, and no slight is intended toward Mr. Winkler – his talk is great, check it out! The slight is intended toward those who would take talks like this one and misinterpret the purpose of the hero’s journey archetypes.

Speaking of archetypes, there’s also a brief screenshot from a video by Glove and Boots. This is a really, really great channel (with many videos that can be useful for teaching!), and this video in particular does a great job of explaining how archetypes can be applied to just about any kind of story – even if they misinterpret the whole “Seven Archetypes” thing. Either way, check out the video!

On an unrelated but coincidental note, the YouTube channel Karsten’s Chronicle filmed another (less polished) talk from San Japan 2017. Check it out if you have more than an hour to spare listening to a discussion of Chinese legends and Japanese anime.


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