In a lot of media, even if cavemen aren't Neanderthals, they're usually depicted as ugly, hirsute and slouching. But there's a problem — after all, Beauty Equals Goodness, so if a caveman is supposed to be a non-comedic hero, the audience might have a tough time rooting for such an unattractive character.
That's where the Handsome Heroic Caveman comes in. With the Nubile Savage trope in play, this character is always well-groomed and never slouches, and their appearance mirrors the aesthetic ideal of the time when the work is created: usually an idealized hairless body, well-done hair and a handsome/pretty face (expect men to have no facial hair or even stubble, and women to wear makeup and have their eyebrows on fleek). Sometimes there's an attempt at justifying their drastically different appearance in-universe by making the character "the first modern human". Expect Stripperriffic clothes on both female and male versions of this trope, of the Fur Bikini or Loincloth variety.
The Handsome Heroic Caveman usually lives in 1 Million B.C. or a Lost World, and fights with enemy cavemen (who are always depicted as ugly and shaggy, or even as Frazetta Men), giant apes and dinosaurs. A lot of times, the Handsome Heroic Caveman's love interest also gets the same treatment, as well.
This type of character was quite popular in comic books and cartoons especially. Unlike Tarzan Boy/Jungle Princess, the female version of this trope, while quite popular, never superseded the male version in popularity. As such, this is an Always Male trope.
Note: If a caveman or cavewoman just happens to have a Nubile Savage appearance, but isn't any more heroic than their non-handsome peers, then it's just an example of Nubile Savage and not this trope.
- Tor, created by Joe Kubert and Norman Mauer, is probably one of the first examples of this trope. He was a Conan-esque caveman who fought apes and dinosaurs.
- The title character is a young caveman who looks very much like Tor and fights all kinds of real and fictional prehistoric beasts. He is described as "The First Boy", since he is supposedly the first Cro-Magnon human. His Betty and Veronica girlfriends, Embra and Nima, who sometimes join Anthro on his adventures, are also Cro-Magnon (supposedly, they were born after Anthro) and follow this trope as well.
- Kong the Untamed is a direct descendant of Anthro. He is quite similar to his ancestor, both in adventures and looks, only he has blonde hair.
- Rahan: A French take on this trope. With his tribe killed by an exploding volcano, Rahan was left to wander the prehistoric Earth. Even though he also fought dinosaurs and Neanderthals, his approach was often more intelligent than violent: he tried persuading other cavemen to cooperate and help each other, and also made a lot of useful inventions. Appearance-wise, he had long blonde hair and a chiseled body.
- Tragg and the Sky Gods: The comic's two main characters, Tragg and Lorn, were the first modern humans on Earth, and looked drastically different from other cavemen. In a peculiar twist, it had a solid in-universe explanation: they were actually a result of Ancient Aliens tampering with caveman DNA. Tragg and Lorn fought a militaristic branch of the same Ancient Aliens who wanted to (of course!) conquer Earth.
- Cavewoman: The main character, Meriem Cooper, is not an actual cavewoman (she's a modern woman who was transported back in time), but is forced to live a life of one. She has enhanced strength, speed and senses, and uses them to fight dinosaurs (justified since she traveled to the Cretaceous period, not the Stone Age). She has an idealized sexy body, which is appropriate given the comic's erotic undertones.
- Jungle Girl, created by Frank Cho and Doug Murray, is this trope in all but name. She's a statuesque blonde woman who lives on a mysterious jungle island inhabited by dinosaurs, other prehistoric beasts, and cavemen. So it's basically a Prehistoric setting that doesn't acknowledge that it's Prehistoric.
- Marvel Comics' Ka Zar, while being a Tarzan Boy type of character, bears a slight resemblance to this trope, owing to the Prehistoric feel of the Lost World called Savage Land where he lives.
- Kamandi, created by Jack Kirby, is a twist on this trope. Instead of being "the first human" at the beginning of history, he is the last human (specifically, "The Last Boy on Earth") after history's end. Likewise, his appearance and constant fights with beastmen and monsters are very reminiscent of this trope, making this comic an unusual amalgamation of post-apocalyptic and prehistoric adventure genres.
- Tragg from Tragg and the Sky Gods is the first modern human male: the result of the manipulation of his mother's DNA by aliens. He is tall, handsome and clean limbed, unlike his more stooped and hirsute kinfolk, and definitely heroic, as he opposes an alien invasion that seeks to enslave humanity.
- Chrono Trigger: Ayla is a strong and fearless chief of a Prehistoric tribe, who joins the main heroes on their quest. She is depicted as a beautiful tall blonde woman in a fur outfit. Her blonde bishounen Love Interest, Kino, is also an example of this trope.
- The Joe & Mac series is about two cavemen who goes to rescue some beauty cavegirls from other cavemen tribes. Both characters got their faces shaven, have muscles, wear loincloths and have blue (Joe) and green (Mac) hair compared to the Cro-Magnon enemies they have to fight, which seems to be the standard of their world.
- Mighty Mightor: The eponymous character was a prehistoric superhero with an idealized Captain Marvel-ish physique. He is the Older Alter Ego for teenage caveman Tor (no relation to the comic book character Tor), who, along with his his girlfriend Sheera, also fit this trope.
- Guy from The Croods looks like a modern teenage boy in a caveman outfit, in contrast to the titular family who are cartoonish cavemen. Justified in that he's supposed to be a more "evolved" human than the Croods.
- Ralph Bakshi directed the animated feature Fire and Ice, which centers on An Ice Person Nekron expanding his frozen domain ever southward toward Firekeep. The hero is Larn, who's a blond Tarzan Boy, right down to the loincloth and Walking Shirtless Scene. He's aided greatly by Blackwolf, a mysterious warrior also attired in loincloth, bare chiseled chest and wolf's hide (with horns!) as a headpiece. Not surprising, as their character designer is Frank Frazetta himself. While Larn fools around with the Damsel in Distress, Blackwolf engages Nekron mano a mano.