Tag Archive: villains


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.

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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!

Train Like a Superhero: Ten Points of Fitness

For those of you like me who are ambitious and training for that superhero physique and fitness level, you may be wondering exactly what it takes to get that superhero body. Let me start by qualifying my desire for getting a superhero body–it’s not vanity. It’s so that I can have the ability to do the things I love, to be there for the ones I love when they need me, and so no one can get the upper hand (I choose not to be a victim anymore–I’m not even a survivor–I’m an ass kicker. See my bio for details).

Before you even start pursuing a fitness goal, you should understand that there is more to fitness than looking  good. Specifically, health professionals have identified ten aspects to fitness:

  1. Strength: Ability to apply force (e.g. lifting weights)
  2. Power: Ability to apply maximum force (e.g. jumping, plyo, etc.)
  3. Agility: Ability to change movements seamlessly (e.g. dancing, obstacle course, etc.)
  4. Flexibility: Wide range of motion (e.g. twisting into a pretzel)
  5. Balance: Ability to maintain center of gravity even on an uneven base (e.g. standing on one leg or on an unstable surface)
  6. Endurance: Ability to work for long periods of time (e.g. distance running)
  7. Cardiovascular strength:  Ability to collect, process, and utilize oxygen. Whereas endurance is your ability to perform over a long period of time, cardiovascular strength is more about your ability to continue to produce oxygen, even under high intensity. They feed into each other, but are quite different. (e.g. running without loosing your breath)
  8. Speed: Being able to move quickly (e.g. sprinting)
  9. Coordination: Ability to do complicated movements or a series of movements (e.g. a series of dance steps)
  10. Accuracy: Being able to control the direction and/or intensity of a movement (e.g. controlling a punch)

Any fitness regimen you undertake, in order for it to be truly complete, must incorporate activities that build on each of the ten aspects of fitness. My regimen includes a mix of free weights, cardio, plyo, resistance, and functional training to create that muscle confusion and to engage all ten levels of fitness. I also work in yoga and daily stretching to improve my flexibility and to decompress so I stay a superhero and don’t turn into a super villain.

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.