While the illustrator of this image calls them “epic tales”, almost all of thesethese characters seem to be directly out of fairy tales and mythology. (Technology-based characters aside, of course.) The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perrault, Andrew Lang*, and other used these basic character types in a wide number of variations, giving us everything from Sleeping Beauty to Rapunzel to The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Sure some of these characters are more suited for modern day fairy tales, but I feel like this chart is a sort of Mad Libs for story writing.
Pick a location, a time, and a character listed as a starting point…and you’re off. How about…a story taking place in the Russian Steppes during the times of the Catherine the Great involving the dancing bear, the metal man, the lunatic, and the girl. Not too much magic, but just enough to keep things interesting. Is the dancing bear really a man in the throes of a curse? Is the metal man good or evil? Does the lunatic know something we don’t? And we really trust the girl?
*Andrew Lang was the author of a series of fairy tale books, each named after a color. I grew up on the Yellow Fairy Book. I remember the wonderful writing and absolutely gorgeous woodcutting and engravings that were used to illustrate it.
These stories opened my mind to magic and possibility at a very young age, divorced from the world of Disney. I have since lost my copy, but love rereading the stories online.