A folk hero is a type of [[TheHero hero]], real or mythological, who has become the stuff of legend through [[OralTradition generations of retellings]]. The single salient characteristic which makes a character a folk hero is the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character [[{{Meme}} in the popular consciousness]]. This is evidenced by mention in folk songs, folk tales and other folklore. In modern times, folk heroes are also the subject of films, comic books and literature.

Although some folk heroes are historical public figures, they generally aren't, and even if they are they [[HistoricalHeroUpgrade won't bear much resemblance to the real person]]. Because the lives of folk heroes are generally not based on historical documents, the characteristics and deeds of a folk hero are often [[PowerCreepPowerSeep exaggerated to mythic proportions]].
The folk hero often begins life as a normal person, but is transformed into someone extraordinary by significant life events, often in response to social injustice, and sometimes in response to natural disasters.

One major category of folk hero is the defender of the common people against the oppression or corruption of the established power structure. Members of this category of folk hero often, but not necessarily, live [[{{Main/Outlaw}} outside the law]] in some way. There is a strong tendency for them to be {{Guile Hero}}es.

The tradition is carried on nowadays in an "ironic" fashion in the form of the MemeticBadass - games of one-upmanship involving ChuckNorris or Creator/BruceCampbell only really differ from embellishing the exploits of [[CelticMythology Cu Chulainn]] or PaulBunyan in the fact that they're about living people, and as such are obviously fake.

See also KingInTheMountain.

[[WMG: Historically Documented Folk Heroes]]
* Abe no Seimei
* AlexanderTheGreat
* JohnnyAppleseed
* Baron Münchhausen
* Billy the Kid
* Black Bart Roberts
* Blackbeard
* Bonnie and Clyde
* BuffaloBill
* Captain Kidd
* El Cid Campeador
* Daniel Boone
* DavyCrockett
* Dick Turpin
* UsefulNotes/GeorgeWashington
* Geronimo
* GenghisKhan
* GotzVonBerlichingen
* UsefulNotes/HattoriHanzo
* HarrietTubman
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hernan_Cortes Hernán Cortés]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Malinche La Malinche]]
* [[{{Janosik}} Jánošík / Janoszik]]
* Jesse James
* Joan of Arc
* NedKelly
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_Ludd Ned Ludd]]
* [[Literature/TheBible Judas Maccabeus]]
* Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary
* MaoZedong.
* MiyamotoMusashi
* Mykola Sjuhaj / Nikola Šuhaj
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancho_Villa Pancho Villa]]
* Paul Revere
* Pocahontas
* The Red Baron
* Rob Roy
* Rózsa Sándor
* Samson
* Skanderbëg
* Solomon the Wise
* Spartacus
* Stepan Razin
* UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt and his Rough Riders
* UsefulNotes/WongFeiHung
* Wild Bill Hickok
* William Wallace
* UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill
* Wyatt Earp
* YagyuJubei
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emiliano_Zapata Zapata]]

[[WMG: Possibly Apocryphal Folk Heroes]]
* Creator/{{Homer}}
* KingArthur
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Henry_(folklore) John Henry]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hua_Mulan Hua Mulan]]
* Sarutobi Sasuke
* RobinHood
* WilliamTell
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring-heeled_Jack Spring-Heeled Jack]] - also a Folk ''Villain''.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalli Lalli]] (though more like folk anti-hero)
* Literature/AraTheHandsome
* Literature/TillEulenspiegel

[[WMG: Fictional Folk Heroes]]
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* ComicBook/{{Asterix}}
* Franchise/{{Batman}}
* Franchise/TheFlash
* ComicStrip/ThePhantom
* Radio/TheShadow
* Franchise/{{Superman}}
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica
* [[Franchise/TheAdventuresOfTintin Tintin]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* The Man With No Name (''Film/DollarsTrilogy'')
* Keyser Soze (''Film/TheUsualSuspects'')

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* The Hero of Canton, the man they call Jayne (''Series/{{Firefly}}'')

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Folklore ]]

* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bunyan_(lumberjack) Paul Bunyan]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pecos_Bill Pecos Bill]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jiraiya Jiraiya and Tsunade]]
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigurd Sigurd]]
* Big Joe Mufferaw
* Joe Magarac
* Alfred Bulltop Stormalong

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Literature/DonQuixote
* El-ahrairah (''Literature/WatershipDown'')
* Franchise/{{Tarzan}}
* Franchise/{{Zorro}}
* Mr. Badger (''Literature/TheWindInTheWillows'')
* Literature/{{Gilgamesh}}
* Literature/{{Beowulf}}
* [[Literature/TheOdyssey Odysseus]]
* Hong Gil Dong
* Martin the Warrior (''Literature/{{Redwall}}'')

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Commander Shepard (''Franchise/MassEffect'')
* The Warden - "The Hero of Ferelden" (''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'')
* Hawke - "The Champion of Kirkwall" (''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'')
* The Lone Wanderer (''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'')
* The Dragonborn of ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsSkyrim'' already has a folk song being sung about him/her by the end of the game.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* Webcomic/{{Poharex}}
* Saddy Dumpington (''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'')

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Optimus Prime (''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'')
* WesternAnimation/BugsBunny
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