The concept of the badass, while the term itself its a relative neologism, is as old as time itself. Novelists, poets and playwrights through the ages have witnessed, and utilized, the appeal of the powerful character of a badass. Here are some canonical examples. There are overlooked literary badasses, of course. I plan to submit a sequel to this list, denoting populist literary characters. Think Harry Potter series, LOTR, etc. If you think I have missed any classic tough guys of note do tell!
I agree, Erin.