First, yes, I know that's Belkar Bitterleaf, and he's an excellent example of the trope. Be that as it may, all he's doing in this picture is standing a top of goblin corpses clearly very proud of himself. That's not sociopathic behavior, that's something practically any Bad Ass could do.
I grant that with this framework, it's sort of difficult to think of any good image for Heroic Sociopath, and I'd just as soon not make this page picture-less since this one at least gets the "important fighter character" part down. Still, I'd like to know if we could do better.
The dialogue, facial expression, and wielding of weapons seems to imply that he killed a lot of people. That is a clear violation of Thou Shalt Not Kill, a rule that even some type-3 Anti-Hero characters (Batman from The Dark Knight comes to mind) try to obey.
For what it's worth, I'd never read Order Of The Stick and I laughed and got the trope when I saw that pic. With that art style, it didn't even occur to me that those are goblin corpses: it just looks like a guy giving a cheerfully crazy boast atop a mountain of bodies.
"And for the first time in weeks, I felt the boredom go away!"
Yeah, that Kratos stuff just doesn't do it. Let's try a different tact- maybe try using an image of Belkar, just from a scenario more obviously sociopathic.
Take this page, panels five and six. Belkar is (1) randomly killing someone who has no idea who Belkar even is, and (2) making a smug joke about it. That is clearly sociopathic behavior, and in my opinion at least it pretty well demonstrates the other qualities of the joke.
That one might work. Size may be an issue, but the bigger one would be cropping the image—a lot of people get a little bit lazy on getting pictures from webcomics that dont always stay inside the borders, and it looks bad. But other than that, I think it'd work.
EDIT: Here we go. here◊.
I know Belkar because I frequently read OOTS and I do think that he's a really old example of the trope too. But to be honest, the above image isn't really working for me. Yes I know he's a sociopath and that is clearly shown in that image, but how does it portray him as "heroic"? To someone who's never read the strip, it just looks like he's killing some random guy *
At least the original image had him standing on top of a pile of monsters, screaming that he just killed them all.
If anything, the one where he's talking to the guy about "City Limits" and then proceeds to kill the other people at least deonstrates that he has a team he's looking after.
edited 18th Sep '10 5:22:11 PM by Mattonymy
You are displaying abnormally high compulsions to over-analyze works of fiction and media. Diagnosis: TV Tropes Addiction.
Wasn't there a comparatively recent (or recentish, I haven't caught up with the strip in a while) bit where they're in the desert lands, and Belkar's heroic sociopathy is especially lampshaded? My recollection is extremely vague, but I think the upshot was Belkar saving the day because he's a sociopath?
In any case, I think there's probably a better Belkar moment in there somewhere, but of the two in this thread so far, I think the "pile of corpses" one is marginally better.
Oh, I remember that. Let's take a look here. Try the right half of the last panel. He's clearly killed several evil creatures. However, he's also torturing one of the creatures, whose name he knows, while the human he just freed from the net watches in horror.
He's being heroic and he's being sociopathic in the same shot. Granted we can see his face, but this trope doesn't have anything to do with appearance.
It's really a question, then, of whether we want the page image to be more text-intensive or visual-intensive. Since it's a page picture, I prefer the latter, but either of these choices would represent a significant improvement over the current image. We should put up a crowner as soon as we can get these shopped and uploaded.