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  1. #1
    Incredible Member your_name_here's Avatar
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    Default What gives a villain good staying power?

    As the title suggests, I’m curious as to what makes a villain have “staying power”. There have been quite a few new additional villains over the years but only a few of them seem to make a dent enough to become regulars.

    Morlun, Knull, The Black Order come to mind...what is it these guys have that the other new villains (who soon got forgotten about) don’t have?

  2. #2
    Niffleheim
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    Villain with staying power I feel have to question or completely destroy the premise of the hero or heroine. They have to have their "hero's journey" I'm still in love with Gorr even though Thor is one of my favourites. Lex Luther is the hero I follow in any Superman story.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Panic's Avatar
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    Generally they need to keep some semblance of credibility by being smart and dangerous; that said, the Wrecking Crew come back again and again purely on having a strong gimmick.

  4. #4
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    I doubt that there are any specific qualities that make a ideal comic book villain other than the basis features that every villain of a particular ilk possesses. maybe it's just a peculiar circumstance(in case of hood Bendis taking a fancy to the character leading to a resurgence) or concatenation of circumstances( the rise of thanos) that grants some villains staying power
    Last edited by theoneandonly; 05-10-2019 at 03:34 AM.

  5. #5
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    Another writer using them well after the first writer.
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Stark
    That's what I have over Beelzebub now, Honoka-chan. He thinks he's a third-year school idol. I know what I am. And in this fight-- that makes me INVINCIBLE!

  6. #6
    Astonishing Member Panic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    Another writer using them well after the first writer.
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    This is so true. The opposite happens all too often.

  7. #7
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    Depth and characterization. Something that makes you care, and distracts fro the fact that they are likely to lose.

  8. #8

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    being liked by multiple writers. or having a costume that is fun to draw.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member Omega Alpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    Another writer using them well after the first writer.
    .
    Yeah, and that applies to heroes too. There's too many heroes and villains that are writers pets but ignored afterwards.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by your_name_here View Post
    As the title suggests, I’m curious as to what makes a villain have “staying power”. There have been quite a few new additional villains over the years but only a few of them seem to make a dent enough to become regulars.

    Morlun, Knull, The Black Order come to mind...what is it these guys have that the other new villains (who soon got forgotten about) don’t have?
    Knull is still too new. We don't know what sort of staying power he has.

    What all of these villains have in common is that they're connected to more popular villains and in the case of The Black Order, they can be easily used in a lot of cosmic series.

  11. #11
    Kinky Lil' Canine Snoop Dogg's Avatar
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    The Black Order started being thrown into the dumpster as Thanos stories had no need for generals until Infinity War encouraged them to be brought back. So not even being in one of Marvel's main sagas will help you. A movie definitely will, see also Malekith being dug out of the trash.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Stark
    That's what I have over Beelzebub now, Honoka-chan. He thinks he's a third-year school idol. I know what I am. And in this fight-- that makes me INVINCIBLE!

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Having a strong personality and theme that is apparent early on but still leaves plenty of scope for later development. And being lucky with other writers picking it up. After that, it's repetition to gain a brand recognition, but not so much that one wears out the welcome.

    Taking an extremely simplified and stereotypical stance, DC and Marvel work on opposite strategies here. DC has rather bland heroes (basically vehicles for power fantasies) where the villains and the sidekicks provide the personality and the texture to the story; Marvel has heroes with full-fledged personalities and problems but that gives less room for villains with personality: they are only there to make the hero shine.

    I think the same trend also explains why a lot of DC's female characters tend to be more memorable than Marvel's female characters. In both cases, they generally started out as sidekicks or spinoffs, but the same logic that gave DC's villains personality also gave DC's women personality.

    Note that the above is extremely simplified, and you can find plenty of exceptions on both sides of the fence. Especially DC has moved towards heroes with more personality since the Golden Age.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  13. #13
    The King Fears NO ONE! Triniking1234's Avatar
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    Morlun is a situational villain. Kull is new. The Black Order is handled badly outside of The Amazing Hickman.

    As for the OP's question I'll say threat level and stories.
    "Cable was right!"

  14. #14
    iMan 42s
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    Saying that a villain is used well doesn't really answer the question. Because a villain can be used well and then never be seen again or their appearances are incredibly sparse you constantly forget they exist.

    But I'll tell you what I think it comes down to.
    1. Visuals. In a visual medium the first thing is always to have a striking costume design. You need to grab the readers attention with it as well as it has to say something about the character. You wanna know why Morlun and his families designs suck? They are every steampunk Halloween costume you've ever seen. Why does Doctor Doom's work? It's a knight's armor with a face on-top of a flowing cloak and hood combo. It's not what the costume is that matters, it's the theatricality and it's the symbolism. And above all else even if it isn't fun to draw, that's what's going to bring artists back to it. That's why nobody likes drawing Spider-man's costume but does so because of the symbolism.

    2. Theatricality. Same thing as costume design as since we cannot hear what the villain is saying, we need to read it as if they are saying it with enthusiasm. Nothing is worse than a villain who is boring to read.

    3. Competent storytelling. At no point should your reader stop reading and say "couldn't this be solved with a gun?". What I mean is that you need to write in such a way that we completely believe that the villain's plan will work even if it clearly wont. If a gun is in the holster of your villain but they plan on using a death trap instead, the death trap is the plan A. It's confidence, and you need to have that translate to the reader. But you also need that plan to be easy to follow and their isn't a "plan B" to speak of. It's the plan A because its the best foot forward to the writer, villain, and reader. Convincing us with continuity, the villainous plan, and the villain's actions itself is all critical to making this work.

    4. Boundaries. What does your villain do? Can a third grader tell you the basic motivation of your character? If not, their not going to last long. Doctor Doom wants to take over the world, Red Skull is a Nazi, Arcade likes death traps, Iron monger wants Tony's inventions.., etc. Now using that framework can you put a twist on that basic idea, within its boundaries can you make the villain stand out even from past plots?

    5. Endings. And at the end of the day you also need to know when to let a villain go. An ending to even a villainous career or then going straight can loom over the former villain and be something powerful to look back on. It can make something far worse if the villain is no longer around to punish for the crime or it makes a certain era uncomfortable to look back on because there might not be any mercy then.

    So in short they have a design and personality that is easy to remember, their plans are easy to follow and have confidence behind them without an easier "plan B", you know at their core what they are, and if they have a good ending they stuck with it.

    Otherwise on a character level they need to be deeper than a puddle on a rainy day. Does anybody give a shit about Jennix? Does anybody really give much of a damn about Green Goblin? At the end of the day, you don't. Depth doesn't just mean they have backstory that can change on a whim (Green Goblin) or that by changing something that it automatically makes it interesting (Norman Osborn's wife being alive.., also why?), it means that you can go into the core of their personage and you can explore them more than "I want to take over the world" or "I like murder" or even "what is my motivation" (which is also shared by Norman Osborn). The basic understanding of their motivation is important, but it's not all their is.
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  15. #15
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