For years, the supernatural genre of urban fantasy has been dominated by female protagonists. Not just any females, but kick ass strong women who struggle with the hero journey. They filled an important need for female role models. Urban fantasy gave women a new perspective on their place in the world. The genre allowed us to see ourselves as more than a damsel in distress, or the woman behind the superhero, but as a strong figure who was a hero in her own right.
And it has been fantastic!
But lately, I’ve had an itch for urban fantasy with male leads. I’m seeing the female hero move it’s way into multiple genres and now I’d like to see the male protagonist emerge as the next evolution of urban fantasy. If you’ve been feeling the same, you may be surprised that this movement is already underway. Male leads have been creeping their way into the genre for the past several years.
Here are a few fantastic series in the genre that have great male protagonists. Starting with the one that broke ground for all the rest…
The Dresden Files
At the head of the pack is the ever-lovable Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. Harry’s a wizard who lives in Chicago. The series starts with Harry under suspicion from his own Wizard’s Council. It seems Harry is always getting into trouble because his use of magic borders on breaking the rules. He also twisted a lot of panties into a bunch by announcing himself as a wizard to a mocking human public and hires himself out to humans and preternaturals as a sort of supernatural detective.
But never doubt his motives. Any bad magic Harry uses is only for the greater good. His loyalty to his friends and his need to protect the women in his life often force him to bend the rules of magic. That’s were the trouble begins. It is those very heroic traits that keep me coming back to find out where his adventures will take him next. Well, that and his fantastically geeky references to science fiction and fantasy classics.
Of course, no urban fantasy would be complete without a complicated and unconsummated love story. Karrin Murphy is a cop with the Chicago police department. Harry describes her as a looking like a cheerleader, blond and perky, but warns us to never say that to her face. She’s a rebel, like Harry. Trouble within her department gets her assigned to the Chicago Police Department’s Special Investigation Unit.
Much like the X-files for the FBI, this unit is considered laughable by the rest of the force. They investigate cases that have strange and unnatural origins. No one outside the department really believes that there are supernatural creatures at work, so being assigned to the unit is a form of career killing.
But Karrin takes her job seriously. She often calls on Harry to give her insight into strange cases. Throughout the thirteen books of the series, the two have had many relationships with others, but the bond between them grows stronger and fans of the series (and by fans, I mean me) would love to see the two finally get their romantic shit together.
Other Hot Male Protagonists in Urban Fantasy
Harry is not alone, the urban fantasy world is gaining men by the minute. Take a look at these fine specimens:
Felix Gomez Adventures
Some of the older folks reading this will remember a show called Rockford Files. As I read this series, Felix Gomez reminded me of a modern day Rockford. He’s torn by his past, perpetually broke, has little luck with the ladies and is always getting shot at as he races around in muscle cars. He’s a conflicted vampire and detective who’s overflowing with angst as well as humor.
And ladies, don’t let title’s like “The Nymphos of Rocky Flats” and “X-Rated Blood Suckers” fool you. Felix is always a gentleman—if still a red-blooded male. (Can you call a vampire red-blooded?) Author Mario Acevedo takes us on a wild ride into seductive worlds that leave his hero battered, bloodied and often heart broken.
I have a fantasy that the actor, Felix Gomez, will one day play the character Felix Gomez in a racy television show that I’d watch any day.
Not to be outdone by Felix Gomez, we have the British-based Felix Castor. He’s an exorcist who, just as he’s about to hang up his robes and holy water, get’s himself in over his head with ferocious ghost. The series is written by the award-winning comic book genius, Mike Carey.
The books are filled with wit and insight into human behavior. Felix is less perturbed by the dead than by the living. He spends the series learning that he can use his abilities for more than just party tricks and magic acts. One of the things that makes this series stand out is it’s high stakes story lines that often don’t have completely happy endings.
John Taylor finds things. The things he finds are within a dark world that is part of ours, yet not. It is a world beneath the streets of London that is perpetually 3am. It is a world where humans and other creatures come to find release for their depraved needs. It’s called the Nightside.
Invariably, innocent (or not so innocent) people make their way to the Nightside looking for lost loves and lost items. Jahn Taylor helps them.
This Nightside series by Simon Green has been around for almost a decade and has a large following of fans. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but am eagerly looking forward to it, based on the reviews of others.
Tomorrow I’ll be tackling the letter I with Imps and Incubi