Many things are OlderThanTheyThink, and ThisVeryWiki is no exception. In the days of yore where the mere idea of the Internet was a pipe dream, and the secrets of the first computers were either lost to history or covered up by nervous post war governments, one Joseph Campbell published his seminal work in 1949: ''The Hero with a Thousand Faces'', a comparison of classical mythology that focused on the archetypal hero and his [[TheHerosJourney journey]]. In essence, it's his attempt to render these stories down to their common tropes, then demonstrate how these tropes originate from archetypes encoded within the human brain.
The work became a lot more well-known after Creator/GeorgeLucas cited the work as a '''major''' source of inspiration when writing the first six ''Film/StarWars'' movies (which also served as a pretty big ColbertBump for the work as a whole). Since then, it has become a major source of SchoolStudyMedia for anyone involved in creative writing careers, and its themes are commonly discussed in many literature courses.
!!''The Hero with a Thousand Faces'' discusses the following tropes:
* BackFromTheDead: The hero usually dies and returns, either literally or figuratively.
* BigBad: Every journey needs one to drive the plot.
* DeityOfHumanOrigin: Buddha, Jesus, and others become this after apotheosis.
* EternalHero: This is what the phrase "hero with a thousand faces" describes, the idea being that all mythological heroes are facets or reflections of one heroic archetype.
* EternalRecurrence: In many cosmologies the world is in cyclical decline and improvement.
* IChooseToStay: The hero is tempted to but usually doesn't and instead brings the boon back to their people.
* MessianicArchetype: The classical hero is often one or at least aids one.
* StandardHeroReward: The boon they find is often represented by a woman.
* TheUnderworld: The hero might wind up here, either while spending time dead or entering it themselves without dying.
* VisionQuest: Again, the hero might find themselves on one.