Hercules, James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter, Buffy Summers, Spiderman, Dr Who, Darth Vader, Voldemort. Almost anybody living within the developed West would be able to group these individuals into two camps: the heroes and the villains. However, what criteria they might use to do this is less clear. Mike Alsford introduces us to a whole range of heroic and villainous archetypes on a journey through film, television, comic and literature. In trying to understand the extremes of hero and villain we are made more aware of our own ethical standards, and given a space in which to explore contemporary concerns over notions of right and wrong, good and bad.

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