I feel like the nature of the villain is misunderstood by many of today’s storytellers. The villain serves as an obstacle for the hero or a reason for the hero to go do something heroic. Today’s storytellers want to prove how “three dimensional” their villains are by trying to make them sympathetic so we feel sorry for them as they slowly murder a bus of schoolchildren. Or they like the villain because he or she can get away with certain actions that fuel a revenge fantasy of the viewer/reader. I mean, Loki has fans because the actor is attractive and makes the character charming…by the way, two things the Marvel comic version typically is not.

A villain who is evil for evil’s sake seems to only work when the writer is taking shots at their critics or a politician they don’t like and insist you hate as well. Apparently that kind of one-dimensional villain is allowed. Can you add nuance to a villain while keeping them evil? I guess not the redemptive kind, which author Caroline Furlong goes into with Zuko and Zhao from Avatar: The Last Airbender as a good example. Meanwhile, fellow author James Harrington goes to Javier from Les Miserables to explain how a character can be the villain without hesitation but still be conflicted. There are plenty of ways to write a villain while keeping them evil.

I don’t want to root for the villain or feel sorry for them unless they’re doing an arc of redemption. Evil for evil’s sake as their method of obtaining wealth and power make for a good villain as well. It’s why Skeletor or the Joker don’t need to be sympathized with. Some people do want to watch the world burn and even be the one to light the match. Those villains are important, too.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

One response »

  1. Thank you for the link – I couldn’t agree more!


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