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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Default Why are villains written like antiheroes these days.

    Are villains these days too grey? Writing experts would tell you that the more ambiguous you make you villain the better. But when you look at all the popular supervillains they are almost always the more Capital E evil villains. I thing you really need both.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member LordMikel's Avatar
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    I agree. There has been a trend to make villains more relatable. Personally I think it makes for sucky villains.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathew101281 View Post
    Are villains these days too grey? Writing experts would tell you that the more ambiguous you make you villain the better. But when you look at all the popular supervillains they are almost always the more Capital E evil villains. I thing you really need both.
    The key, I think, is that the more human you make your villains, the better they are… with the thing that’s inconsistent being how much the writer avoids falling into a trap of ignoring how humans can still be monsters or clear antagonists and criminals, or giving into the desire to use “protagonist-centered-morality” for them.

    A good example would be those well-written Lex Luthor stories, like The Black Ring. He’s still a horrible, horrible person, and the book in fact bases it’s climax off that, even though it does a good job telling his story first. The Zooms/Reverse-Flashes are excellent examples of the same principal of a human monster.

    It’s with tragic monsters that people struggle, because you’re always one writer giving-in away from the character becoming a kind fo Byronic Anti-Hero you expect the audience to cheer because their the protagonist. Poison Ivy is a prime example of that.
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  4. #4
    Astonishing Member mathew101281's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by godisawesome View Post
    The key, I think, is that the more human you make your villains, the better they areÖ with the thing thatís inconsistent being how much the writer avoids falling into a trap of ignoring how humans can still be monsters or clear antagonists and criminals, or giving into the desire to use ďprotagonist-centered-moralityĒ for them.

    A good example would be those well-written Lex Luthor stories, like The Black Ring. Heís still a horrible, horrible person, and the book in fact bases itís climax off that, even though it does a good job telling his story first. The Zooms/Reverse-Flashes are excellent examples of the same principal of a human monster.

    Itís with tragic monsters that people struggle, because youíre always one writer giving-in away from the character becoming a kind fo Byronic Anti-Hero you expect the audience to cheer because their the protagonist. Poison Ivy is a prime example of that.
    Iím not sure thatís true though. The Joker is the most popular villain there is and he isnít relatable at all.

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member marhawkman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordMikel View Post
    I agree. There has been a trend to make villains more relatable. Personally I think it makes for sucky villains.
    that and people seem to not want to write people doing ANYTHING that's actually evil. One of the animated Lex Luthor versions(Superman: Doomsday ) was.. exceptionally evil. But the corporate sort of evil SoB and not the crazy serial killer kind.

    Lex did several different KINDS of evil in that movie.

    1: Illegal mining operation that unleashed Doomsday from the stasis pod he was contained in.
    2: After Doomsday went rampant Lex decided to hide the evidence... and killed everyone but himself who knew... including his personal assistant Mercy Graves.
    3: steals Superman's body after Doomsday fights him.
    4: stores Superman in stasis while making a clone army.
    5: tortures the one working clone he bothered to activate.
    6: does experiments using the other clones.... who die.
    7: tries to force his working clone to kill the original.

    Then there's early on the REALLY evil thing, something... not the supervillain kind of evil. He's reading emails at his desk when Mercy is about to tell him about how Doomsday wrecked his illegal mine. then he makes a comment about how he now has a cure for some disease, but decides it's unprofitable to market a cure, and decides to not release it, and instead market a treatment using the research data he acquired that will instead of curing the disease delay it's effects indefinitely... as long as it's taken daily. Yeah.... THAT kind of evil. The sort people ponder IRL daily.

  6. #6
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    The villains who actually deserve the antihero treatment never get the opportunity and chance at redemption, while the ones with zero redeeming qualities are pushed as antiheroes and receive undeserved free passes from writers/fans.

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member Restingvoice's Avatar
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    They're not that many... Harley, Ivy, Clayface, Killer Croc, Killer Shark, Kite-Man, Killer Frost, Pied Piper... and not all of them last long... Cheetah's back to villainy pretty quick, Luthor too
    Most Batman villains are mentally ill so a more complex and sympathetic portrayal is understandable, while The Rogues are supposed to be likeable anyway, don't know about the rest

    Btw grey doesn't necessarily mean antiheroes. Antiheroes are heroes with non-traditional heroic qualities, such as torturing villains. I think you meant anti-villain too? Villains who don't do things just for the sake of evil and chaos, but has understandable motivation and standards, don't harm people willy-nilly, and are willing to help heroes if necessary?

  8. #8
    Extraordinary Member John Venus's Avatar
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    People like seeing the good in bad people and the bad in good people.

    Villains who are flawed and have good and bad qualities are compelling to read about because it makes them unpredictable and you don't know whats going to happen next.

  9. #9
    Astonishing Member 9th.'s Avatar
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    People like villains they can "relate" too or see themselves in, they want to believe society broke them in some way instead of just being cartoonishly evil for no reason.
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  10. #10
    Mighty Member Baron of Faltine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordMikel View Post
    I agree. There has been a trend to make villains more relatable. Personally I think it makes for sucky villains.
    With some work. And an understandable villain, even a mild sympathetic one, does not means a justifiable or forgivable one. As best batman story say, of one read till the end and don't speed read through it not everyone who has a bad day decide to see the world burn, sometimes is just your fault.

  11. #11
    Mighty Member Baron of Faltine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Restingvoice View Post
    They're not that many... Harley, Ivy, Clayface, Killer Croc, Killer Shark, Kite-Man, Killer Frost, Pied Piper... and not all of them last long... Cheetah's back to villainy pretty quick, Luthor too
    Most Batman villains are mentally ill so a more complex and sympathetic portrayal is understandable, while The Rogues are supposed to be likeable anyway, don't know about the rest

    Btw grey doesn't necessarily mean antiheroes. Antiheroes are heroes with non-traditional heroic qualities, such as torturing villains. I think you meant anti-villain too? Villains who don't do things just for the sake of evil and chaos, but has understandable motivation and standards, don't harm people willy-nilly, and are willing to help heroes if necessary?
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  12. #12
    Amazing Member Fire Angel's Avatar
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    maybe the modern person relates to them more than superheroes?

  13. #13
    Mighty Member LifeIsILL's Avatar
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    You can blame the Harley Quinn and Venom writers.

    Although Venom is great though.

  14. #14
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    I don't like this trend.

    My theory is that it's about the I.P. There are only so many well-known properties and at least half of those are the villains. To exploit the brand, they use the villains as heroes. They could keep them as villains, but that's a sticky situation--it's not so easy to write a leading character that everyone hates. It's a lot easier to turn them into good guys--despite all the evil they've done.
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  15. #15
    Three Legged Member married guy's Avatar
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    Evil for evil's sake is boring.
    It's the old, 'nobody sees themselves as the villain of their own story'.

    Once you start writing the villain long enough, their backstory and motivations can easily start coming across as a more sympathetic character.
    Hell, if you're doing it right, readers SHOULD be able to see their point of view and think maybe they DO have a valid point/reason for their actions.
    It's something I think MARVEL did particularly well.
    Punisher - AWFUL human being, but knowing WHY he's the way he is opens that door so you think, "well I understand his anger and motivation".
    Magneto is another brilliant example, Lizard, Morbius - hell almost half of the Spider-Man rogues gallery!!
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