We all have our favourite fictional characters – you can probably name a dozen from myths, legends and popular culture! These characters can be iconic for years or even decades…. and some have had their stories told for a hundred years or more!
But what is their appeal? What makes some heroes and heroines stand the test of time? Studies say we like underdogs, the ordinary people who win against all odds. But other characters are popular because they are so amazing that they couldn’t possibly exist in the real world. Younger characters are appealing to kids because they can immediately identify with them – they are aspirational role models!
But there is one thing that all evergreen heroes have in common – they are fearless and funny and always find a way to win and go on another adventure! We have featured many of these eternal heroes in Storytime through the years, and they have entertained and inspired readers both big and small.
In honour of this month’s cover star, Robin Hood, we have decided to revisit some of our favourite heroes and heroines from past issues of Storytime. Have you read them all? If not, you can pick up any magazines you may have missed from our shop!
1. Robin Hood
Tales about the English outlaw who robs from the rich and gives to the poor date back to the Middle Ages. He has been popular ever since – probably because a clever rebel who fights back against greedy rulers never goes out of fashion! Robin’s story has been retold in dozens of books, movies, TV series and comics, and there are certainly many more to come. We have had some fabulous and fun tales in four issues already …but we are not done with Robin yet. You can read his tales in Storytime 9, 38, 57 and 105!
2. Finn MacCool
Mighty warriors make great heroes – and they don’t get much mightier than Finn MacCool. When it comes to battling giants, he’s your man! He is an iconic character in Irish culture, and pops up in modern novels, plays and even songs… In our magazines, you will find out about his clever wife, the giant he defeated and the fish he cooked to gain wisdom! Find out more about Finn in Storytime 7, 29, 87!
The spider god is a ‘trickster hero’ from West African myths, and his popularity has spread to the Caribbean as well. Tricksters often triumph over stronger foes using wit and cunning – and when we are facing trouble, we would all like to have the wit and cleverness of Anansi! Perhaps that is why he remains popular to this day? Stories about his deeds have been passed down for centuries, but he also appears in modern books, comics, TV series and music. Anansi has made us laugh many times and we reckon there are many more hilarious tales to uncover!
If you do not know about Anansi, read about him in Storytime 4, 51 and 107 (not out yet!)
Myths are full of evergreen heroes and heroines, and this Cretan princess appeared in a couple of Ancient Greek myths already – it was she who gave Theseus the tools he needed to defeat the Minotaur and escape from the maze he was trapped in! Ariadne was associated with intelligence and spinning, so she has inspired clever and creative women for thousands of years… Read some of her magnificent myths in Storytime 12 and 104!
5. Alice in Wonderland
Young Alice tumbles into a dreamlike world where even the strangest things appear to be real! The character was created by mathematician Charles Dodson (writing as Lewis Carroll) in the novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871). Her story has been popular ever since, and has been turned into movies, comics and even video games. What is the secret to her lasting appeal? It could be that we can all identify with a child who is caught up in a world that makes no sense – or perhaps we all like to visit a dream-world once in a while! Wonderland is so amazing that it has inspired several spin-off adventures in Storytime! You can follow Alice down the rabbit hole in Storytime 1, 21, and 78!
Aladdin is another child hero, this time from Arabian folklore (but he became famous in Europe after his stories were included in the book One Thousand and One Nights). He is a poor boy who makes his fortune after finding a lamp containing a genie! The dream of getting what you want through a combination of cleverness, luck and magic is very appealing, so it’s no wonder his story has been retold so often in books, movies and theatre! The exotic setting of this story inspired some fantastic illustrations featured in Storytime, and he even featured in our first-ever issue! Read how this beloved boy found his fortune in Storytime 1, 40 and 91!
Heroes and heroines come from all over, and we could not leave Maui off this list! Maui is a creator-god from Polynesian myths – it was he who tamed the sun and created New Zealand by hooking a great fish. He is a brave and creative hero who made life better for humans – no wonder he has been beloved among Pacific cultures for many hundreds of years! He has recently become more widely known in Western culture after he appeared in animated films. But he has always been popular in Storytime… and you can find why by reading his tales! Find out more about Maui in Storytime 20 and 48!
Who are your favourite evergreen heroes and heroines, and which ones do you tell stories about to your children? Who else should we have included on this list?
Tell us in the comments – we’d love to know who you would like to see featured in future issues of Storytime!