Tag Archive: comic books


Most villains have a reason for being the way they are. The Runner Up is a villain because being left out made him jealous. The Self-Proclaimed Savior suffered a great injustice and is seeking revenge. The Lunatic, however, is just plain crazy.

The Lunatic may have a reason for becoming crazy, but everything they do after they’ve tipped over the edge is devoid of logic and reason. This makes them one of the most dangerous villains of all.  The hero can’t predict what the Lunatic will do next, can’t reason with him or gain leverage. The Lunatic is willing to sacrifice all to hurt the hero–there is no boundary they won’t cross.

One of the best examples is the Joker–not the Jack Nicholson one but the Heath Ledger one. The Joker had no qualms about blowing up buildings, people, and things. Never thought twice about who or what was destroyed in his wake. He was unpredictable, intelligent, and relentless in his pursuit. Beware the Lunatic.

The world is decaying–morally, genetically, intellectually, or some other way–humanity can no longer be left to its own devices. In steps the Self-Proclaimed Savior. Steeped in good intentions, the misguided efforts of the Self-Proclaimed Savior usually work against the free will of the people he is saving. Oftentimes it means the demise or eradication of a species–hence the villain stigma.

My favorite example is Magneto. Our polarizing friend believes that the only way for mutants to be free is to rid the world of humans–the weak link in the genetic chain. Despite his love of mutants, he is willing to sacrifice anyone–mutant or otherwise–for his cause and will destroy anyone who gets in his way. Even his docile attempt to create a new world in Avalon came with many challenges, and well, a villain will almost always default back to his deviant ways when things go wrong.

So beware the villain who claims to be acting in your best interest, they may not be so altruistic after all.

I struggled to find the right term for this Archetype. The Disappointing Seed won out for several reasons which I will discuss after I describe the villain who fits this mold.

The Disappointing Seed is the child (usually a son) who never quite lives up to the parent’s (usually the father) expectations. Often times the child is close friends with someone who better performs to the parent’s expectations, and must compete with his best friend for his father’s affection. The father is typically a villain in his own right possessing intelligence and/or an intensely cruel demeanor. He respect’s the friend’s intelligence, all the while ignorant to the fact that the best friend is in fact the superhero who is his arch-enemy. The superhero eventually destroys the father, leaving the son who never quite lived up to his father’s cunning and cruelty to fill his shoes. Key examples of this are the Osbornes from Spiderman and Red Mist from KickAss.

You may be asking yourself why not use the term “Prodigal Son?” Well, the prodigal son is one who doesn’t share and openly rejects his family’s values. Think a pacifist born into a family who owns a weapons factory.  The Disappointing Seed never rejects the family values, he is merely lacking in some skill or personality trait that is necessary to perform at the same level as the father. Plus, the son almost always makes friends with the hero (unknowingly) which adds the awesome twist of friend against friend.

Stay tuned . . . more Villain Archetypes coming your way!

In this installment of Villain Archetypes, we look at the classic villain boilerplate I like to call “The Runner Up.” This person always comes in second next to the hero, whether in terms of professional or romantic conquests (sometimes both). The constant thwarting fuels a deep-rooted hatred spurred by jealousy and an intense desire to be the one in the spotlight. Oftentimes, the Runner Up is always in second place because they are lacking in intelligence, creativity, strength, charisma, or some combination thereof.

Because they know they can’t best the hero on their own, the Runner Up decides to join forces with another villain. This villain tends to be less flamboyant, but also more intelligent and cunning than the foolish Runner Up funding the endeavor. Unfortunately, the Runner Up can’t control their partner, and suddenly finds themselves in an even worse situation then before (third place).

I’ll use iron Man 2 as an example since it just came out and even non-comic book geeks will be able to follow the story. Weapons manufacturer Hammer continually falls in second place to Tony Stark both professionally and personally. Frustrated, Hammer is willing to work with a convicted felon Vanko in order to best Stark on his own turf.  As predicted, Vanko is an unstable and unwieldly villain in his own way and bent on doing more than just show up Stark–he wants murder.

This theme is common in all types of superhero media, from movies and comic books to television shows and novels. Jealousy is an old motive. It’s just more fun when they have superpowers and gadgets.

Being the super-geek that I am, and because of the major hint dropped at the end of Iron Man 2, I can not stop thinking about the Avengers and Thor.

My love for comic books started at a very early age. Not in 1960 when the first Thor comic hit the stands, but in 1984 when I purchased Clash of the Titans at the ripe old age of 5. I soon discovered X-Men, Wonder Woman, the Avengers, The Justice League, and well I can’t get enough of the classics or the new emerging characters.

Why comic books?

I get asked this all the time, especially because I am a woman (for those of you who weren’t already aware of that fact). The answer:

Comic Books and the characters in them show me what can be. They represent endless possibilities while also communicating the relate-able, heart warming and often tragic facets of the human condition. They talk about love, hate, family, government, fear, want, need, mercy, greed, and occasionally an unhealthy addiction to candy bars (HellBoy). We all can relate to that one!

I love comic books so much I even started out my higher education career pursuing an art degree hoping to go work for an Indie studio and creating some new beloved character. I got pregnant instead, and went after a real degree. Now I’m back to my obsession, writing about superheroes and signing up for art classes.

Side note–follow your passion. There is no such thing as a real job. Sorry mom.

Back to comic books–you can imagine how incredibly nuts I have been going over the resurgence of comic books and the many amazing movies coming out. I’ve been watching the many attempts to translate comic books to the big screen. I felt terribly deflated after HeMan, and the X Men: Generation X pilot was so cheesy it made me cry. Even though X Men 3 totally pissed me off (along with anyone who actually read the comic books), they cannot extinguish my love for the printed comic book and I will still go and see every comic based movie they put out.  Which reminds me, where is my Wonder Woman they’ve been promising me?

Even before Kick Ass hit the theaters, a wave of citizen activism swept the nation. Concerned citizens across the United States are donning caps and spandex in an effort to educate children on the dangers of drugs, host neighborhood watches, and in some cases fend off would be criminals. They go by many names, but their mission is the same: to make a difference.

Being a superhero isn’t easy, and finding other like-minded individuals to form a superhero team is even more difficult, as Greenwich based superhero Darkslay notes. The truth of the matter is, being a superhero is dangerous and it doesn’t always pay to stick your neck out. Does this mean he should give up?

HELL NO!

What we need is for every citizen to find the superhero within them. Too often, bad things happen because people LET them happen. We become passive, complacent, desensitized, and in some cases intrigued and hungry for the depravity and crime that runs rampant. Does this mean that you should dress up like Batman and go after the mob like Big Daddy?

No.

It does mean that every person has a duty to be active in their community and to give back in any way you can. Every volunteer who spends their weekend teaching an art class, picking up trash at the park, volunteering at a local shelter, collecting donations for veterans, rescuing stray animals, and any other worthwhile venture is a superhero. The person who talks back to the rude customer is a hero. The single mother working two jobs then going home to help her kids with their homework is a hero. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Which one are you?

So, I am well aware I am slightly behind the bandwagon here but I just moved and had to do a little remodeling first, so cut me some slack.

I was thoroughly pleased with this installment of the Iron Man series. The movie provided just the right balance of plot, cheesy one-liners, and ass kicking I enjoy in a film. Robert Downey Jr does an excellent job playing the narcissistic but lovable Tony Stark. Scarlet Johannesen shocked the hell out of me with her ass kicking skills, though her character did come across a little flat. Samuel Jackson is Nick Fury. No he IS Nick Fury. Samuel Jackson is whatever the hell he wants to be. You got a problem with that?

I digress.

The effects and action sequences were stupendous. Outrageous enough to be unique, but not so overdone or poorly done for me to scream foul. Of course, you really have to do something ridiculous and crappy for me to get upset. My standards are low. If there are explosions and fighting, I’m usually happy.

Now, as a comic book fanatic can I say how freaking excited I am about the Thor reference at the end! I had to explain it to everyone who was with me of course, but I can’t wait. I also had to do my Adventures in Babysitting reenactment of the scene in the garage. Again, no one knew what I was talking about.

Overall–Iron Man 2 gets two fully functioning opposing appendages in their full and upright positions. I will be buying it when it comes out on video. Here’s a little trailer for the road.