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6 Awesome and Ancient Stories We Love To Tell

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Storytelling has been around since the very first vestiges of language started popping up in tribes thousands of years ago. Perhaps, though, you never realized that we keep telling the same stories, over and over with only tiny variations. These stories are familiar and comforting to us and no matter how much we complain, we just can’t get enough of them. SO, pour yourself something frosty cold and pull up a comfy chair, MAKE SURE TO HAVE YOUR AWESOME BUTTONS NEARBY!!!  Let's take a look at stories our ancient ancestors enjoyed and how we’re MORE than familiar with brand new versions of these tales...

6. The Flood!

Maybe you’ve heard of a little story about a guy named Noah and his amazing yet probably impossible boat? It’s one of the first stories in the most popular book of all time. How popular is this book? The name of this book is literally “The Book”.

To be fair, it IS a good book.

The story of a great big flood is REALLY ancient...so ancient that the human race supposedly had only built five cities before it happened. There were multiple versions of this tale, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to the Hebrew Bible, heck, even India, North and South America got in on the action. This was a REALLY popular story for thousands of years. And guess what? We’re still telling it. In 2014, Darren Aronofsky gave us his version of Noah’s story, and before that? How about Deep Impact where an asteroid caused a massive flood? Or what about The Day After Tomorrow? Or maybe a movie so generic, it just used the year it came out to scare the crap out of us?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Here we go again.

5. Man vs. Monster!

Oh yeah! This is the good stuff! Crunch on some popcorn and settle in for a good old fashioned rowdy-dow between a great big snarling monster and a muscle-covered hero. The oldest great work of literature we have on record, The Epic of Gilgamesh includes a fantastic fight between the bigger-than-life King Gilgamesh and the monstrous Enkidu so epic and so violent, that the two exhausted combatants became friends after the battle. If that seems familiar, it’s because it is. We still cheer when the evil Magneto faces off with the heroic Charles Xavier and we cheer even louder when they sit across from each other and play chess as BFF’s. Sherlock Holmes drinks tea with Professor Moriarty, the Doctor lived next to the Master when they were Time-Children…even Superman and Batman just can’t stop beating the crap out of each other.

Yes, you should get into comic books.

Yep, it’s not always a Friend vs. Friend fight. Sometimes it’s just a hero kicking the ass literally off a huge beast. Today we force-feed our children these stories every summer just to shut them up. If you doubt it, just try and remember this the next time you’re in the theater with your kids watching Optimus Prime on a giant robot dinosaur swinging a huge sword into the face of a giant Decepticon world-breaking baddie! We even have names for different types of “Man vs. Monster” stories, like Cops vs. Robbers and Man vs. Nature. Yet again, we’ll be telling these stories far into the future.

4. The Monster in the Maze!

Why would mazes be interesting? Why would we tell stories about them? Because they’re Awesome! That’s why! Early examples include the myth of the Minotaur, where a monster, half-bull, half-man is trapped in a maze and our hero must find his way out while avoiding being gored to death by the big hairy thing. But this can’t possibly be a commonly told story, right? Sure, there’s the Minoan Minotaur of Knossus, but what about the Egyptian fascination with labyrinths? Or how about Greek or Roman or Italian or British labyrinths? There are hedge mazes all over the world and half of them are either haunted or contain monsters [citation needed].

The Kubrick film, "The Shining" gives us little Danny being chased by the axe-wielding Jack into a frozen maze.  Ever watch a movie where the evil antagonist is hiding in a mess of walkways or hallways or perhaps the hero is slowly taking out enemies in a tall building, going from floor to floor?  You might have played the incredibly obscure and unknown computer game, Doom, where you wander around the twisting halls of a Martian military base with demons ready to attack you around every corner.  Wait…that’s a phrase you’ve heard a bunch of times, right? “Around every corner?” or “Around ANY corner?” or “Just around the corner?” Starting to feel nervous? Feel like that big meeting with your boss is “just around the corner”? Yep, we can’t stop telling this story. 

3. Animal-Themed Superheroes!

Spider-Man! Batman! Ant-Man! Black Panther! Animal Man! OK, that last one hasn’t gotten popular yet, but trust us when we say that movie would be Awesome. Wait, these aren’t “ancient” stories. What the hell? How about Sun Wukong, the Monkey King? That story is about 400 years young, the great book “Journey to the West”, a story that was completely forgettable and old and couldn’t possibly have directly inspired the story of another monkey boy called Goku in “Dragon Ball” and later “Dragon Ball Z”. Here’s Set, ancient Egyptian god of the desert, and storms (multi-tasking was big in Ancient Egypt), and a god that certainly enjoys having the head of a jackal.

Cute little pooch.

How about Horus? He was an Egyptian god with the head of a Falcon. Hmm….Falcon, that name sounds familiar.  There couldn't possibly be a popular hero named "Falcon" while thousands of years ago we had a super-powered hero with the head of a falcon...right?... Anthony Mackie’s ears are burning.

2. The Thing From Another World!

OK, this one is sort of cheating, considering the very basis of every world religion is that something or someone came from very far away and was definitely NOT human. Gods and demons have to come from somewhere, so even if they don’t come from Mars or Venus, they come from somewhere that is without-a-doubt NOT the planet Earth, and sometimes they want to eat all our Reeses Pieces and drink all our beer.

ever noticed this...

looks like this?...

Stories of both friendly and not-so-friendly extraterrestrials pop up on TV and in movies every single year. Pacific Rim gave us a movie where the monsters were from another dimension. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles face off with a monster from Dimension X named Krang. Captain America and friends fight off Thanos and Galactus and Ronan and the Beyonder and others ALL THE TIME in the pages of Marvel Comics. Doctor Who is practically based on this storytelling trope. He’s literally an alien from another world hiding on Earth. Superman, too is an alien hiding on Earth. Moses was from far far away, washed down a river, only to become an Egyptian prince! Great heroes have popped up out of nowhere, claiming to be from distant lands, and they will continue to into the far distant future!

1. The Hero’s Journey!

We’ve talked about a LOT of stories so far in this article, so we present to you, the mother of all storytelling types, the Monomyth! We’ll let much more qualified experts explain:

Star Wars, every Superhero, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Doctor Who, Hercules, Star Trek…the list goes on and on. Every great story has to start somewhere! So, we encourage you! Go out and watch an Awesome movie or read an Awesome book or…if you’re brave, go out and tell some Awesome new stories that were created by the next great storyteller, YOU. But don’t be afraid if parts seem…familiar yet AWESOME.

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Note: All non-Awesome button related images are from Wikimedia Commons.