How to be a successful villain


I’ve read enough comic books and watched enough movies based on comic books that I think I can teach someone how to be a successful villain. So, to quote the Joker in Dark Knight, Here . . . we . . . go!

First off, you don’t have to be a supervillain. No need for a giant head or a genetically modified body. Seriously, have you considered the problems with having a huge, spiked body? Think of the furniture you will ruin. Not to mention the need to be constantly naked.

i'm looking at you, abomination.

Second, you need reliable minions. (Also, quick tip, don’t call them minions. Follow Walmart’s lead and call them associates.) This means good pay, a flexible work schedule, paid vacations and holidays, overtime, sick time, and most importantly, health and dental insurance. They are going to get hit by things like shields and stun rays. They need to know broken bones and burns are covered.

this is going to hit some poor little minion in the face.

Give them a retirement plan, too. This says stability and makes them less likely to ditch you for that new evil doctor with the fancy cliff side castle.

And while we’re on that subject . . . a villain’s lair is his castle, unless it’s literally a castle.

Don’t use a castle, no matter how long it’s been in your family. They’re drafty, they smell weird, and there’s always some hidden entrance the hero will use to gain entry. Always. Plus, having a dungeon will just make you want to use it. More on that in a bit.

You want a modern lair. Something in a busy part of the city. Sounds odd, but think about it. Heroes are all about protecting the innocent. Nothing says collateral damage like a skyscraper in the heart of the financial district. They might just hold off on attacking you until you’re outside your lair, which means you can enjoy your lair for what it was intended to be: a place to chill, count your ransom money, and plan your next villainous move.

When it comes to villainous moves . . . stay away from using innocent civilians as human shields or test subjects for your zombie gas. Seriously. This just pisses the hero off, and you do not want that. There’s always the chance your heroic adversary will suffer a mental breakdown and kill you.

Also, you may be fighting the early Batman. That dude just didn’t give a shit.

Speaking of heroes, this links to the dungeons I mentioned earlier, and why you should not have them: you’ll think it’s a great place to keep your hero until the time comes to kill them.

Do not fall for this ego trap. Kill them immediately.

I repeat, immediately.

You’ve gotten the drop on Captain Golden Boy? Knocked him to the ground? You have him in your laser gun’s sights? Pull the trigger. Don’t say you’re about to. Don’t give a speech about how easy it was to defeat him, and definitely don’t brag about your world domination plans. Foreplay’s only place is in the bedroom. Don’t decide to hold him until your moon death ray is complete. He doesn’t care how big it is or what kind of metal it’s made of. What do you care what he thinks, anyway? You have minions to worship you. Off that sucker.

Make sure to kill the sidekick too, if there is one. Used to be, you couldn’t lift a hero’s cape without finding a wise cracking masked teenager hiding under it, but sidekicks are fairly rare now. Rare, but not extinct. If you don’t kill the sidekick, he or she will avenge the mentor’s death. Or, even worse, take up the hero’s mantle and carry on the tradition. There is nothing worse than battling the 2.0 version of your longtime nemesis. The banter just isn’t the same.

Last of all, lose the cape.

sure, it looks cool now. but wait until it gets caught in a door.
(I’ve always wanted to write a book about superheroes and supervillains; Austin Grossman beat me to it, with his novel Soon I Will Be Invincible. Might try my hand at it anyway later.)
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6 thoughts on “How to be a successful villain

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    1. Thanks . . . back when I worked for Walmart, I definitely felt like a minion.

      Minus carrying the cool laser photon stun rifles.

  1. Funny post! “Get him, my associates! One hour of accrued paid vacation time to the one that brings me his head!”

    May we add a few tips for aspiring diabolical ones?

    Always refer to yourself in the third person.

    Never come up with a plan that does not include 1) ultimate destruction of the people who bruised your ego a long time ago, or 2) total destruction of the earth, galaxy, or universe, or 3) both of these things at once.

    Always verify the kill.

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