The Super Villain
An opinion piece by Albie.
As comic book nerds, Fantasy enthusiasts, or sci-fi geeks we all know the classic story of good vs evil and the need for an antagonist to move a story along or create an obstacle for the protagonist to overcome. Without said character archetypes stories often, but not always seem boring. Exceptions of note off the top of my head being Lost in Translation and In Good Company. Still, those stories leave you asking yourself what happened or did anything happen?I think it all comes down to the dawn of the human civilization and what passed for entertainment when we first started being able to enjoy a story. It was most likely schadenfreude. The enjoyment from someone else’s pain or misfortune. Think of it like this, our people living in groups, these bands of primitive hominids had hunters and the humans didn’t always win. The others in the tribe may have watched the hunts and were fascinated by the kill or saddened by the loss of the hunter. Fast forward many millennia and it may have been a good caveman and a bad caveman fighting to the death for the spot of the alpha male. Who was the bad guy? He may have been a rapist or simply the guy who was such a jerk that he shit next to where you slept. Either way, you wanted that guy gone. Ugg Oohah may have been our species’ first villain. The sheer joy when he was defeated brought the rest of the tribe together in relief and excitement that the cave would no longer smell like feces. This also created a hero that everyone looked up to.
The stories were told around the fire for generations. Storytelling was born.
In our recorded history there are many examples of villains from Rome ‘s Caesar (the salad dressing dude), the Catholic Church who persecuted Galileo for rightfully theorizing that the earth revolves around the sun, to Hitler which has become the go-to comparison for modern day real life super villains. Nazis, in general, became the easy villain in many comic book stories and movies they were just synonymous with bad guys for obvious reasons. Even the color scheme red and black was used in V to give the feel of Nazis.
Even most mythologies throughout history had gods and devils. To make the baby face look really good the heel has to be even better at his job of being bad.
Comic books are probably most known for in popular culture for the superhero titles. When there’s a superhero there needs to be a super villain. Or it’s just Peter helping Mary Jane do the laundry.
I often wonder what is the super villain’s real motivation? Some are obvious, money, power, revenge, but mostly just because.
It’s all fun and games until the bad guy actually wins, in real life. Most stories end with the good side winning. That’s the easy ending, the ending that makes us happy. When the villain wins in real life, our brains just don’t know how to process it.
I think most of us remember that night, November 8, 2016, when we slowly, very slowly came to the realization that sometimes things don’t exactly go as we thought they would. What we all thought would be over before Hawaii even had a chance to vote stretched on into the night and early morning. Then it was finally time to give up and go to sleep and wake up to a world of uncertainty. Not knowing what to tell our children and I myself for weeks living in denial. No one thought the super villain would win, not even the super villain himself. Everyone knows James Bond will save the day, right?
The rise of the antihero, I think, is what to blame. In professional wrestling, for decades it was a simple story about good versus evil, comic books come to life. And it was good. Fans during the late 80s early 90s started getting bored with the good guy always winning in the bad guy always losing. They started enjoying the bad guy more and cheering for him, and booing the good guy. Vince McMahon (owner of WWE and friend of Donald J Trump) saw this and realized he had to start adding a more advanced form of storytelling. Stone Cold Steve Austin was born.
We all have this friend on one of our social media platforms that is just a jerk. An asshole for the sake of being an asshole. That one person that you know is going to say something on your post just to stir the pot. Who knows why that person is like that. It may be the old saying “You can’t be afraid of the monster when you are the monster.” They are afraid of not being loved so they make sure no one loves them so at least there’s a reason. They push people away on purpose to feel they’re in control.
People that were offended by Obama being our hero, because he didn’t fit a white drunk chest beating racist on beach, or old racist ladies in Walmart that likes to yell, their idea of the proper racial pecking order almost outweighed people cheering for the future, kindness, and love, people that assumed they didn’t need to vote or didn’t want to vote for the “lesser of two evils” combined with voting zones, and an outdated electoral college system, well now we’re fucked for the next few years.
With the daily examples of our commander-in-chief shitting the bed, metaphorically speaking, of course, brings me back to that question what is a super villain’s motivation? In this case, I don’t think it’s motivation, it’s a case of wanting is better than having. The super villain got what he thought he wanted, and is now trapped. The only explanation is doing bad things for the sake of being the bad guy.
Most of us know Trump was celebrity talent in World Wrestling Entertainment, ironically playing a babyface, or a good guy to Vince McMahon’s heel or bad guy.
When Trump came out from backstage at the Republican national convention to a Kmart version of the undertaker’s entrance, lights fog machine and all, I realized he was going the pro wrestling route to try to win over the people, or at least the masses of asses.
What is this super villains motivation? Is it fear of failure, being the monster so the monster doesn’t get you? Or is it just the thought of I’m gonna burn down this town and take you all with me? Only time will tell.
I’ve seen the movie The Postman, I know we will recover from this. One man can try to ruin in the world, many have before. At some point, the people realize the only reason a super villain has power is that we give it to them. Without us, he’s a guy with bad hair and an uneven tie, or a guy without a nose, Annie in a dark helmet with a breathing problem, or a green woman that doesn’t do well with water, walking and waving or cackling at no one. Most people are good. Most people are kind. Most people just want a happy healthy family, food on their table, hugs at night, Netflix, and free internet porn. Humanity will survive. One man can make a difference, but many people can be superheroes in their own way. This is only the middle of the story, we can and will get our happy ending. We don’t need a leader to tell us that wrong is right, we know what is good, and what is kind. Help somebody, make a difference, volunteer to help at a homeless shelter, fight to keep science alive, or simply smile at someone on the street.With great power comes great responsibility. We all have that power to be a hero, wearing your underwear on the outside of your pants is of course, optional.
“Wouldn’t it be great if wars could be fought just by the assholes who started them?”
-from the film The Postman
David Brin … (novel)
Eric Roth … (screenplay) and
Brian Helgeland … (screenplay)
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