Saturday, January 28, 2017

Reasons for Supervillainy (comment dump)

I wrote some things in conversation at Ana Mardoll's that are not without merit for inclusion here.

~ Comment One ~

[Winged Beast wrote:] Applause for the Evil Has Standards story. I quite enjoyed it. On that vain, and because I'm vain, I'll throw in this little scenelet I did a couple years ago and hope it amuses.

So Lonespark and I were somewhere trying to have the necessary calories to face the day and my food money couldn't pay for it because they didn't take that there. (Assholes.) And this caused me to expound on a theory I have on how supervillains are born.

You see, it starts with, "What the fuck? They already give me too little to actually stay alive on, the system is deeply fucked up when it comes to the whole 'prepared food' thing. Do you realize that if they let me buy fountain drinks I could get seventeen gallons of this same fucking drink, brand name and all, for the price of the 2 liter they will let me buy? Is the government trying to lose money?

"Then, after red tape, jumping through hoops, being demeaned, and having to beg just to not starve to death, you don't take fucking EBT food money!

"That's it!

"When I rule the world I'm making it so that everyone, from the richest to the poorest person, automatically gets enough food money to live on [and everyone has to accept it as money]. Not just keep from dying, eat so as to allow proper fucking living."

Like you'd ever rule the world.

"Just you wait."

*Villainous career begins.*
*possibly with that hand clasp of evil thing*


Also the villain's response to, "You'd never get that through committee," is, "I plan to rule by fiat."

~ Comment Two ~

Also, WingedBeast, should I ever reach the point where I have a company with which to showcase my super person universe --I envision both graphic novels (comic books) and prose-- I think you definitely have what it takes to come up with some villains for it.

I mean, some people are traditionally evil in an, "I've read Callicles, Nietzsche, and Rand, and the strong imposing their will on the weak is the natural order of the world. The constructs of good and evil are psychological traps to prevent us from reaching our true potential and mine is to rule the world/this country/the tri-city area! All who oppose me will get a hard lesson in what happens in nature when the weak pick fights with the strong!" because that's totally a thing, but it seems at least as likely to have villains with goals more like:
  • As God is my witness, no one will ever be hungry again!
  • When I have swept away this government, I will create a world where there is no poverty.
  • I will do whatever it takes to make sure what happened to me never happens to anyone ever else.
  • I want to stop oppression and the standard means aren't working, we need to get rid of the current system and build a new one from scratch.
  • Then I looked at my student loans and I realized: by drowning an entire generation in debt they're trying to make those who might rise to greatness into the progenitors of a well educated permanent underclass to augment the existing underclass that is denied a decent education.
  • There are 32 states where you can legally be fired for being trans* and only three fewer where you can legally be fired for being non-straight.  This is to say nothing about the violent crime rates.  The US isn't working and it needs to go.  Every day we don't replace it more people are hurt.
And so forth.

Then again, back on the evil side, we have callous capitalists.  The ones who don't care who they hurt or kill so long as the bottom line looks good.  Some use villainy to help profit along, some aren't classed as villain and so can't very well have law abiding heroes take them down.  (So the job falls to criminals.)

And when you go down these roads you get interesting villains instead of boring ones.


Marvel example of boring vs interesting villainy:

Original Magneto was a boring villain:
 - I do evil for evil's sake alone.

Retconned Magneto was an interesting villain:
 - I will do whatever it takes to make sure it never happens again.
 - 'Whatever it takes' includes a lot of morally questionable actions.
 - What.  Ever.  It.  Fucking.  Takes.

~ Comment Three ~

On the DC side, Teen TItans (cartoon version) Jinx is an interesting case of what seems like a boring motivation "I'm bad, I do bad things," that got more complex and almost tragic (if not for her redemption arc) when you found out how she arrived at it, "I'm bad luck; good was never an option."

She honestly thought she had no choice, so embraced bad (which, generally, was a restrained kind of bad regardless) because it seemed the only thing she could do other than live a life of self-loathing.

Terra was just plain tragic.  She thought that good had betrayed her (which was pretty easy to believe considering that everyone she met prior to the good guys in her life had done just that.)  Switched sides, and then when she tried to turn around at least some of what she'd set in motion, good rejected her (for real, no misunderstanding) in the most painful fashion possible.  She kind of broke at that point, and put herself back together using hate as the glue.  (And still didn't manage to hold onto evil in the end because she'd never really wanted that.)

Hardly something you could write volumes on the intricacy of, but for the format it was pretty decent.

Teen Titans Go [TV series] presents an entirely different reason to be evil: the heroes are complete and utter assholes.

~ Comment Four ~

And to continue spamming the thread, Jacob in my Kim Possible work (and possibly future entirely original work) is a card carrying (he's unionized, damn it) villain who totally sees the Possible clan as emblematic of what's wrong with the world because they're always fighting to protect the status quo.

Yeah, they stop [insert bad guy here] from taking over the world, but what do they do to actually make the world better?  In contrast, when his boss (Jacob is a second, and happy in that position) takes over the world there are going to be massive social reforms that will improve, sometimes dramatically, the lives of ordinary people.

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