Famous Literary and Pop Culture Impostors
Screenshot from Among Us by author
The three-person team of indie game developer Innersloth brought veteran and new gamers around the world much needed social connection and good ol’ fun in the form of Among Us. This social deduction game follows a 4-10 person crew attempting to fix their spaceship while 1-3 impostors, assuming a crew member's form, sabotages the ship, picks the crew members off one by one, crawls through vents, and frames other members.
There are countless literary and pop culture characters who are too much of a hero to pull off the impostor look (and we love them for it), but what about the ones who would ace the impostor test? Scroll through for some characters who are already impostors in their own right.
NOTE: Some of these secret impostors are a bit spoilery, so to avoid ruining the show, book, etc., each section is labeled with the title of the work—not the name of the impostor character. So scan through and skip past any story you don’t want ruined.
The Boys by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Darick Robertson
For those who’ve had any exposure to Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys comic or the Amazon TV show adaptation, it’s no surprise that Homelander would easily make this list, but the recent season two introduced another, and arguably more terrifying, impostor in the form of Stormfront. In the show, she’s initially presented as a hip, tech-savvy new member of the Seven, and depending on if the viewer read the comics (or on how closely they historically analyzed her costume), it’s easy to mistake her as a feminist or general forward-thinker, especially when she puts Homelander in his place. But the show takes an abrupt turn with her character and portrays her as a full-blown white supremacist and OG Nazi. No really. She’s from Nazi-era Germany. She’s infiltrating her deceased husband’s company and using social media and surface-level feminism to manipulate people into believing racist and xenophobic ideals. The worst part is it works.
Buy volume 1 of the comic:
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Read the back of Grady Hendrix’s The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires or even a short review, and it’s no real spoiler that James Harris is an impostor. Does that make him a bad one? Not at all. Though protagonist Patricia Campbell sees James for what he is—a vampire strategically preying on the black neighborhood instead of the rich, white one—the rest of the community doesn’t believe her. Everything about James is purposeful from his placing himself in the ladies’ true-crime book club to the financial success he brings to Patricia’s and the book club’s families. He makes friends with those who will defend him and points fingers, leading people to doubt their own accusations. James understands that even though Patricia literally saw him feed on a child, if he plays the long game and manipulates others with money and misogynistic and racist concepts, he’ll be able to go on killing.
Buy the book:
Locke & Key by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez
Another big baddie that’s really no secret impostor to the readers is Dodge from Locke and Key. Whether you watched the Netflix TV adaptation or the original comics by Hill and Rodríguez, you understand Dodge plays a mean game of metaphorical Among Us throughout the series. She/he/it uses the magical keys to assume the forms of Luke, Gabe, Bode, wolf, boy, girl, shadow being, etc. and to exploit and threaten characters like Ellie and Tyler into unintentionally assisting its search for the Locke keys. It understands completely the rules of the keys, manipulating those to its advantage to play the blame game, and generally sabotaging from injuring to killing. Oh, and did we mention past all its forms it’s really a demon straight from some hell void? A bit like some alien impostor splitting open to reveal sharp teeth and a deadly spike tongue.
Buy volume 1 of the comic:
Fables by Bill Willingham and illustrated by Mark Buckingham
The first volume of Willingham and Buckingham’s Fables comics leads you to believe the series will play out like a noir crime series, similar to its video game counterpart, The Wolf Among Us (loving the last half of that title), but these stories are drastically different in tone and plot. After reading through the first few volumes, the narrative whispers of someone called “The Adversary,” aka, the main antagonist who conquered the Fables homeland and forced them to flee into our world. It takes a while for the reader to discover who the real mastermind behind this conquest is, and throughout their reveal and eventual defeat, they manipulate their own son, use their age as a crutch, pretend to be kidnapped, send in spies and other minions to start a war, imprison and kill those who discover their identity, and overall, do whatever needs to be done. Like others on this list, The Adversary would be a great Among Us impostor, but they’d also be a masterful chess player.
Buy volume 1:
Baccano! by Ryohgo Narita and illustrated by Katsumi Enami
Both the Baccano! anime and Narita’s light novels (which are now translated to English) are packed to the brim with colorful characters and just as colorful motives, but when it comes to characters with impostor vibes, look no further than Czeslaw Meyer. Czes may look like a harmless ten year old boy, but he’s actually one of the super-healing, non-aging immortals, clocking in over two hundred years of life and over two hundred years of cynicism, paranoia, and mistrust. This leads him to grow into a rather bitter and fearful person who utilizes his abilities and cunning to manipulate humans and hunt other immortals, the only ones with the power to end his life. As an impostor, he’d most likely utilize the sabotage feature as he’s afraid of putting his own identity on the line, but if he had the chance to kill and the results benefited him, he’d definitely make sure there was a vent nearby for quick escapes.
Buy the first light novel:
Soul Eater by Atsushi OhKubo
Another anime impostor, this one more infamous and not at all redeemable, is Medusa Gorgon from the anime and manga Soul Eater. Although she’s introduced as a witch and the first main antagonist of the series, she’s later revealed to have also inserted herself in the main protagonists’ ranks as their school nurse. This is an impressive feat as her witch magic should have revealed her as an immediate threat to the students and staff, but she conceals this with a little trick of her own. Not only is she good at keeping her identity a secret, but she uses her influence in the school to mislead staff members like Franken Stein and carry out experiments on others like Crona and Soul. These experiments are a sort of sabotage in that they’re intended to assist in her plot to basically overrun the world with Madness (an ever-present force that compels people to do a variety of things from harmless obsession to deadly violence). Even if she’s eventually found out, she does a solid job of not only surviving over eighty chapters and forty-five episodes but leaving a lot of damage control in her wake for other impostors to take advantage of.
Buy the first manga volume:
Gabrielle likes a lot of things and dislikes very little. Retired ice cream cake decorator, occasional farmhand, and reminiscing library worker, she spent her childhood dreaming of fighting fires and her college days writing about Bong Joon-ho before he was cool. Now, she preaches the importance of dental hygiene; chats up books, movies, and comics via the Quirk blog; and legally climbs silos. Whether the legality of the silo climbing makes her more or less interesting is up for debate. Email [email protected] if you want to review our titles or feature our authors.