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  1. #1
    Nightmaren PantoTako's Avatar
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    Question Campy Villians vs Serious Villians

    A Disscusion between DC villians who are Campy vs DC Villians who are more serious

    Although serious villians can have interesting motives I have gotten to liking DC villians who are far more campy for how goofy they can be and the looks of their costumes
    Last edited by PantoTako; 05-19-2022 at 03:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Mighty Member
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    In real life, there are campy villains who are serious threats!

  3. #3
    Moderator Frontier's Avatar
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    Both kinds of villains work depending on the execution.

  4. #4
    Extraordinary Member marhawkman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frontier View Post
    Both kinds of villains work depending on the execution.
    Yeah, it's all about the story. The style of villainy is integral to the nature of the story. Livewire, for example, doesn't just... go around murdering people. She more of an annoyance that a deadly threat most of the time. It's just that she's an incredibly powerful annoyance that usually takes some super powered heroes to defeat.

  5. #5
    Extraordinary Member Lukmendes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marhawkman View Post
    Yeah, it's all about the story. The style of villainy is integral to the nature of the story. Livewire, for example, doesn't just... go around murdering people. She more of an annoyance that a deadly threat most of the time. It's just that she's an incredibly powerful annoyance that usually takes some super powered heroes to defeat.
    "Incredibly powerful annoyance" who tends to go against Supes, meaning that doesn't help her much.

    It works better in DCAU with a nerfed Supes, but in the comics, I remember two separate occasions where Supes defeated her, one where he was focusing on Lois being attacked so Livewire was just a minor nuisance by comparison, and another where Supes accidentally defeated her by throwing her on water lol.

    Either way, as pointed out, it depends on the story, Mr. Mxyxptlk isn't gonna be a serious threat most of the time, but he is a fun "villain" and can be used for breather stories, or just a goofy episodic story for the sake of it, having villains like that around help with flexibility of story telling, and that's hardly a bad thing if they're used properly.
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  6. #6
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    I got this from the Urban Dictionary:

    camp

    1. something that provides sophisticated, knowing amusement, as by virtue of its being artlessly mannered or stylized, self-consciously artificial and extravagant, or teasingly ingenuous and sentimental.

    2. a person who adopts a teasing, theatrical manner, esp. for the amusement of others.

    3. An affectation or appreciation of manners and tastes commonly thought to be artificial, vulgar, or banal.

    4. Banality, vulgarity, or artificiality when deliberately affected or when appreciated for its humor: "Camp is popularity plus vulgarity plus innocence"
    adj. Having deliberately artificial, vulgar, banal, or affectedly humorous qualities or style: played up the silliness of their roles for camp effect.
    If a barber is one who shaves all those and those only who do not shave themselves, does the barber shave himself?

  7. #7
    Extraordinary Member Lightning Rider's Avatar
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    Rainbow Raider comes to mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukmendes View Post
    "
    Either way, as pointed out, it depends on the story, Mr. Mxyxptlk isn't gonna be a serious threat most of the time, but he is a fun "villain" and can be used for breather stories, or just a goofy episodic story for the sake of it, having villains like that around help with flexibility of story telling, and that's hardly a bad thing if they're used properly.
    Great example. I was actually reminded of Mr. Mxyxptlk watching "Everything Everywhere All at Once". Absurd reality-bending elements full of vulgarity that serve to tell a character-based story.

  8. #8
    Hawkman is underrated Falcon16's Avatar
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    Campy villains! Case in point: a dA user tried to make Swayzak (Toonami) "eDgY," having him say, "Municipalities and homes being wiped away in a flash! Thousands of people burning and dying!" when THAT'S NOT WHAT HE WANTS!! Swayzak is a Super Friends level villain, NOT a genocidal maniac!! Screw that author!! (I know everyone has different takes on characters, but that had to be one of the worst. Even worse, everybody else who decides to write Sway that's not me, makes him a pure evil psychopath. Some even make him serious. Do you even know Sway's character?!)
    STAS apologist, New 52 apologist, writer of several DC fan projects.

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Depends on the story.
    There's room for both in different types of stories.

    However, I really dislike the trend of taking campy villains and making them dark and edgy.
    Some writers probably do need to stop being embarrassed for liking campy villains so much that they feel the need to *fix* them.
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  10. #10

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    I want a mix of both.

    Although these days I lean towards villains who are campy but effective as antagonists. Give me Sportsmaster in colourful attire and winning attitude but can still kick everyone's ass. Or a Polka dot Man or Crazy Quilt or Zebra Man who look outwardly silly but are actually really good at being villains.

    I'm thinking stuff like the Injustice Guild from JLU Or villains like Music Meister from Brave and Bold or guys like Mumbo Jumbo, Control Freak and Gizmo from Teen Titans.

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  11. #11
    A Wearied Madness Vakanai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Stone View Post
    Depends on the story.
    There's room for both in different types of stories.

    However, I really dislike the trend of taking campy villains and making them dark and edgy.
    Some writers probably do need to stop being embarrassed for liking campy villains so much that they feel the need to *fix* them.
    Disagree. I want every single campy villain to be made into a serious villain. BUT for every campy villain that is made serious, one traditionally serious villain is made to be campy. Just curious to see how that would work out...

  12. #12
    Hawkman is underrated Falcon16's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Venus View Post
    I want a mix of both.

    Although these days I lean towards villains who are campy but effective as antagonists. Give me Sportsmaster in colourful attire and winning attitude but can still kick everyone's ass. Or a Polka dot Man or Crazy Quilt or Zebra Man who look outwardly silly but are actually really good at being villains.

    I'm thinking stuff like the Injustice Guild from JLU Or villains like Music Meister from Brave and Bold or guys like Mumbo Jumbo, Control Freak and Gizmo from Teen Titans.
    Basically what BoneSatellite thought his version of Swayzak was like, before making him go all Nolan in chapter 5, since he HATES campiness (and lack of action... BECAUSE HE DIDN'T PLAY THE GAME!!) Thousands of people burning and dying? Like he'd crash The Absolution into a city? Hell, no! He'd crash it into a field. Stop worshipping TOM. Everybody who writes Sway besides me has a hard-on for TOM (he's supposed to be like Peter Parker, NOT a Marty Stu) and makes Sway an out-and-out psychopath. #SwayzakDidNothingWrong
    STAS apologist, New 52 apologist, writer of several DC fan projects.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PantoTako View Post
    A Disscusion between DC villians who are Campy vs DC Villians who are more serious

    Although serious villians can have interesting motives I have gotten to liking DC villians who are far more campy for how goofy they can be and the looks of their costumes
    You say this as though they have to be one or the other. It’s a false dichotomy.

    If it wasn’t, Batman and Spider-Man wouldn’t be as popular as they are.

  14. #14
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    It's hard to know what people mean when they say something is "campy."

    Going back to the 1960s, in the comic book letter columns some of the college students writing in were clearly reading the comics because they considered them camp. Everyone back then believed that comics were not a serious artform, so these young adults were picking them up with the attitude that it was all bad and worth a good laugh.

    I don't think even the writers and editors felt that much different. In his books about creating Marvel Comics, Stan Lee is glib and self-mocking regarding his process. The reason he used the pen name "Stan Lee" was because he was saving his real name, Stanley Lieber, for when he became a serious writer. So it seems obvious that Stan went into comics writing with the attitude that it wasn't going to be Tolstoy. This was just something he was doing for the money, until a better thing came along.

    For me, the first I heard of "camp" was in reference to the BATMAN television series. The inspiration for that series came from Hugh Hefner screening the old serials. Those 1940s serials were not meant to be funny (not on the surface at least), but that seriousness about them made them laughable. That was camp. I think the T.V. show is at its best, as camp, when the actors deliver their lines in a deadpan fashion. When the actors ham it up and make it too obvious that they are deliberately being funny, then the show goes over the line from camp into slapstick.

    So the key to camp is that it has to be played in a serious fashion. That's why the Marvel Comics of the 1960s and 1970s seem much more camp to me than the Distinguishd Competition's output. Stan and his acolytes are writing in this affected manner of mock-seriousness. On one level it seems like everything is important but the hyperbolic nature of the language has the opposite effect. The writer isn't really taking it seriously at all and that's why he's using such purple prose.

    This is why, as a kid, I had a hard time getting into the Marvel Comics Group and preferred the stuff from National Periodicals (except when they were trying to copy Marvel). I felt like Stan and his pals were just trying to get something over on me and that if I bought those comics I was being played for a fool. Sure, a lot of what National published was downright silly, but they weren't overselling the seriousness of their comics.

    So the bottom line is that what's serious and what's camp is not so easily determined. It's probably just a matter of perception. The more serious that comics try to be, the more they leave themselves open to a camp interpretation. Nowadays, the comics that try so hard to present themselves as important subject matter can become bathetic in that attempt. The Joker, given all these treatises on his allegorical significance yadda yadda, he's much more camp now than when Cesar Romero played him.
    If a barber is one who shaves all those and those only who do not shave themselves, does the barber shave himself?

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member Jackalope89's Avatar
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    The truest, biggest, most threatening, and dastardly evil villain of all time...!

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