When you read a story of a manly hero slaying a dragon and then bedding the princess, it's easy to imagine there's a 300-pound author sitting behind the typewriter in a tiny apartment full of cats. After all, fiction is all about escaping our real life, right?
Not always. In fact, if you look at the authors behind some of the most iconic heroes of all time, you find a writer who's every bit as badass. Not only did these guys insert elements from their actual lives into the stories, they actually toned them down a bit.
We're talking about the creators of characters like...
We know what you're thinking: "I don't need you to explain to me who James Bond is, fool! Don't waste my valuable time!" But we do need to explain that the Bond from the books is not the wise-cracking, lovable rogue that you've seen in the films (that was, in fact, just Sean Connery being himself).
No, literary Bond is a ruthless, slightly amoral man who does whatever he needs to do to get the job done. He doesn't get laser wristwatches or jet packs, just an assload of fucking guns.
Even Daniel Craig's portrayal, while much more accurate, failed to express the extent of Bond's badassery. At the end of Casino Royale (the book), upon learning that his girlfriend is both (A) a double agent and (B) dead, his only reaction is to call up M and say, "Yep. She's dead." Yeah, the novelized Bond is a damn sight more hardcore than any of the movie versions.
He doesn't need puns to punish you... shit, wait.
Before he invented Bond, Ian Fleming was personally recruited by the Director of Naval Intelligence to aid them as a spy during World War II. Fleming rose to the rank of Commander and started devising ingenious plans to disrupt the enemy forces, including Operation Ruthless, in which British troops would masquerade as injured Germans and then kill their rescuers, and Operation Goldeneye, which covertly kept an eye on fascist Spain in case it decided to join the Nazis.
We're assuming it looked something like this.
Later on in the war, he was chief planner for the 30 Assault Unit, a special task force composed of 138 commandos who were trained in doing basically everything James Bond has ever done. After the war, he built his own house/slice of tropical paradise in Jamaica and, a couple years later, President Kennedy (a big fan of the Bond books) invited Fleming to dinner. While there, Fleming suggested that JFK should discredit Fidel Castro by announcing that beards attracted radioactivity and made you sterile, a suggestion that was apparently taken quite seriously by CIA Chief Allen Dulles.
Near the end of his life, Fleming said that his biggest regret was that he was "always smoked and drunk and loved too much." We're pretty sure that's awesome.
We couldn't figure out which of these was more badass, so we're just going to use both.
Seriously, now. Of all the characters in the world that are the result of the author just writing a thinly-veiled version of his own life, did you ever think James freaking Bond was one of them?