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The Basics

Super Villains don't just happen, they're made. This page is intended to offer up some food for thought for the Super Villain-wannabe. This page is not an endorsement of evil actions, just a listing of the important elements that make up today's cartoon Super Villains.

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Villain Rule #1: YOU ARE NEVER WRONG!!

ATTITUDE: The Super Villainous attitude is your first and foremost key to the whole endeavor of achieving the status you desire. Super Villains have to be sure of themselves, even above experts whose experience may outweigh the villain's in many situations. Remember this, as a Super Villain YOU ARE NEVER WRONG. Sure, your head physicists might tell you it's impossible to build a giant electromagnet that will throw the earth off of its axis and cause climatic chaos that will leave leading governments vulnerable and ripe for takeover, but don't let that deter you!! Your genius must not be compromised by any means. If you think it's possible to build a machine that will cause the simultaneous disintegration of the population's underwear, go ahead and do it! No, don't stop to think about what kind of advantage this might possibly give you, just build the darn thing and ASSUME its disastrous results will work out in your favor. Also keep in mind that those around you are peons, unable to grasp your genius. They are simpleminded drones who are begging for your dominance. Try to imagine them as ants or a similar small creature worthy of dominance and crushing. Try not to imagine them as kittens, though. This may trigger a sympathetic "cute" reaction, which will undermine your authority. Picture worms. Now picture yourself stepping on them, with shoes of course. There, feel more powerful now? What we're looking for here isn't a sense of self-actualization, we're just looking for some ego. Feel your head swell with villainous pride! Now you're ready!!

OPTIMISM: This goes along with attitude. (remember: YOU ARE NEVER WRONG. Tattoo it on your butt if necessary.) Keep your chin up. You can never accept defeat. You ARE capable of world domination. You ARE capable of designing a machine that will convert the world's population to spam long enough for you to establish your universal rule. You cannot accept a setback, no matter how major. A setback is simply a change in the timetable, not a defeat. Patience, my pretty. Patience.

DEVICES: This brings us to the topic of devices themselves. You can't have too many gadgets. Never just carry a knife, instead take a lesson from the Penguin and sheath it inside an umbrella. Sure, the umbrella is unwieldy and certainly suspicious on a sunny day, but perhaps you can use it as your signature, as he did. Whatever the case, you must use gadgets at every opportunity. Even Aeon Flux's Trevor Goodchild used jet-powered loafers for easy escape, in spite of their relative instability (careening into walls does not help the intimidation factor). And certainly his mechanical advisors must have told him that the shoe rockets weren't perfected yet, but never let prototypes deter you. Product testing does nothing but delay your plans. Remember, YOU ARE NEVER WRONG. Use every device you can get your hands on. Especially the ones you steal and don't understand yet.



THE LAUGH: If you're really planning on a lifetime career as a Super Villain, consider taking a few voice lessons first. This will strengthen your diaphragm and make for a much more evil laughing experience. Remember, support from the gut! Creating too much pressure in your throat could cause polyp development, and you would be surprised how hard it is to find a decent crooked surgeon when you're working on the wrong side of the law (look at that awful surgeon The Joker got after his bath in the acid pool). Remember, your laugh is your sword and your shield, as well as your signature and an important part of your intimidation factor. If you blow your voice box you'll be left with nothing but a gasping wheeze. Remember The Terror from "The Tick"? Not a pretty sound. Not intimidating at all. When it comes to evil laughs, stick with the basics: Ha, Heh, and Ho. Stay away from guffaws, giggles, chortles, snickers, snorts, and "hardy-har-har." Example of a good evil laugh: "HA-ha-ha-ha-ha." Pick a syllable and stick with it, emphasize the first, and let the rest follow. . If you start with "ha," end with "ha." Don't mix your "ha's" with your "ho's." After mastering this technique, try adding the syllable "mua" or "bua" to the start. Example: "MUA-ha-ha-ha-ha!" Note: "mua" and "bua" only work with the "ha-ha-ha" laugh. Absolutely no "heh's" or "ho's." Best user of this laugh? Zorak from "Space Ghost Coast to Coast." Now he's not really a good villain anymore, what with that talk show thing working out so well for him but you still have to admire that gutteral delivery he's got.

PERSONAL APPEARANCE: Costumes, costumes, costumes! Would the Kingpin be The Kingpin without his massive suit and tie? Unless you're the Red Guy from "Cow and Chicken" you're gonna need clothes, and preferably interesting ones. Try to identify your evil qualities, and if a particular characteristic sticks out, emphasize that with actions AND costume. The Riddler doesn't just wear a suit, he wears a suit covered in question marks. However if no part of your personality dominates, pick something suitably intimidating and identifiable. Mojo Jo Jo of "Powerpuff Girls" and Piccolo of "Dragonball Z" both feel self-actualized in a turban and cape. If you plan to be one of those Super Villains who never shows his/her face, think of an identifiable body part to remain visible at all times and dress it up to the nines, circa Dr. Claw ("Inspector Gadget"). Remember, although Dockers may indeed be nice pants, no one ever conquered the world wearing a pair.





MASSIVE OVERSIGHTS: Let's face it, YOU ARE NEVER WRONG, but nobody's perfect. Sometimes when things go bad your henchmen might lose faith in your judgment. Remind them that it was not a mistake in your judgment, it was an oversight. This implies that if you HAD considered the faulty factor you would have made a correct judgment. It's impossible for you to take care of every detail, and just like dookey, massive oversights happen. They suck but don't let them prevent you from moving on and improving. If you focus on massive oversights you may become depressed, lose some of your ego intensity, and descend into a shame spiral from which you can never achieve world domination. If you have to, execute an invaluable member of your team. It will make you feel better. I promise.

ARCHENEMIES: Although it can be hard to believe at times, Super Villains have it easier than Super Heroes. At least villains don't have to learn how to fly! (I've tried, but it takes more practice than I have time for) Just like peanut butter is nothing without jelly, an evil villain is nothing without an archenemy hero. And a Super Hero is nothing without an archenemy Super Villain. You won't get any respect without a hero trying to stop you, and he will have a hard time justifying his existence without you. Remember, the Super Hero has to live off of the taxpayer's money so he can afford to focus his attention on stopping you. That means his job security is in your hands! Don't let him down! Make him work for his living, and give the taxpayers a good show. Never forget that as much as you need him for respect, he needs you for validation. Take time to reiterate this point to yourself every time you fail to eliminate him/her.

EDUCATION IN TODAY'S WORLD: Perhaps back a few generations any old schmoe could become a Super Villain. Nowadays, however, anyone with aspirations of world domination will need an education. High school diplomas will not be enough. After years of studying the College Educational System from the inside (more years than I'd like to say…) I have concluded that our future Super Villains must come from the Business Schools of the world. Think about it, where can you learn about organizational startups, management skills, marketing techniques, focus groups, and other such details that you will need as a Super Villain? How can you arrange for a helicopter to pick you up on the roof of a convention center (that you've most likely wired to explode) if you never worked out your yearly budget to include transportation cost? Face it, your ride would never come. Case in point: former Microsoft mogul Bill Gates. For all intents and purposes this man should have become an excellent Super Villain (have you ever heard his laugh?? Geeky-creepy!) but he was a computer person, not a businessman. He would have never survived against someone like Spiderman. Even Dudley Doright could have taken Bill Gates out. (NOTE: perhaps at this point in time, and now that he has stepped down as CEO of Microsoft, he has absorbed enough business skills and enough followers in the Cult of Bill that he may still emerge as a Super Villain in our lifetimes. But probably not.)


This leaves us with one more topic to cover: The Stare. Click on the link in the lefthand frame or click the "next" button below to read all about it.