On Supernatural

John Winchester and the Magic Bullet Theory

By Tracy S. Morris

Back in 1835, When Halley’s comet was overhead, same night those men died at the Alamo, they say Samuel Colt made a gun. A special gun. He made it for a hunter. A man like us, only on horseback. Story goes, he made thirteen bullets. This hunter used the gun a half dozen times before he disappeared, the gun along with him… They say … they say this gun can kill anything.

–John Winchester, “Dead Man’s Blood” (1-20)

There is a fifth character in the play who doesn’t appear except in this larger-than-life-sized photograph over the mantle. This is our father, who left us a long time ago.

–Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

One of the major influences for Supernatural as cited by the show’s creator, Eric Kripke (if, according to fans, Joss Whedon is God, then surely Kripke is the Little Baby Jesus), is Joseph Campbell’s 1949 book The Hero With a Thousand Faces. As a nod to the book’s influence, it was even used as a prop in the first season episode “Wendigo” (1-2).

Most anyone who knows Star Wars or Lord of the Rings is already familiar with the formula that Campbell documented in The Hero With a Thousand Faces: the archetypal hero is presented with a call to adventure, undergoes trials, is guided by a wise man, and at some point acquires a mystical and wondrous object to aid his quest.

In Supernatural, Sam is obviously the reluctant hero  …

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