Superheroes. Don't you just hate them? Goody-two-shoes, namby-pamby do-gooders the lot of them. Chiselled of jawline, rippling of 6-pack, and shiny white of teeth, they really do grind you down, right? And as for the superheroines - ridiculously hot women you don't stand a chance with, the lot of 'em. Someone needs to take them all down a peg or two.
And while we're about it, isn't the world badly run today? Not enough people trampled under the jackboot of evil, despite some notable efforts? Too much effort expended on trying to save the Madagascan Rain Forests, and not enough spent building Volcano Fortress Lairs and Laser Death Rays? People not giving you the respect you deserve?
What if there were a way you could do something about both of these problems? A way that you could rise up, overthrow the system, stamp your mark on the world for good, get a really cool nickname, and as a bonus side-effect, increase your chances with the ladies?
Well, you could always try running for president, but that doesn't do much in the "cool nickname" stakes. You could just forget about it, get a nine-to-five job and just piss your boss off by doing as little as humanly possible while not getting sacked, but you have grander dreams, do you not?
In short - you, my friend, are ideal Supervillain material, and we are going to show you how to make your evil rise to dominance!
Step 1 - How Super Do You Need To Be?
This may seem like a silly question - after all, it seems implicit in the name, right? Supervillain and all that? But dig a little further, and it's not quite so simple or restrictive. Let's look at the evidence: The Joker - no super powers, just purple clothes, a white face, a sociopathic attitude and the best evil laugh in the business (step 2 - let's not get ahead of ourselves); Lex Luthor - no super powers, just charisma, bottomless greed and ambition; The Kingpin - no super powers, just intelligence, arrogance, and the ability to become a large black man in the movie version.
You should see what we're getting at here: superpowers are not a prerequisite for supervillainy. Of course, it could be argued they're not a prerequisite for superheroism either, and both professions are equally accessible to all, but let's examine that a little more closely, shall we?
Method 1 - Have or Gain Superpowers
The first way to become either a superhero or villain is to have superpowers, either because you come from another planet (Superman for the heroes, Galactus for the villains), or as a result of some sort of accident (pretty much all the rest of the powered-up heroes and villains brigade, really). If you come from another planet, you really should know about it, so you can either spend an unhealthy amount of time around professions where strange mixes of chemicals are created and boiled or ingested every day, or you can try method 2.
Method 2 - Have or Gain Demonic Powers
Method 2 involves doing a deal with the Devil, or coming back from the dead as an avenger or something. Surprisingly, this gives rise to quite a few anti-heroes (Ghost Rider, Spawn, Hellboy etc), but not as many out-and-out supervillains as you'd think. Also, it usually involves, you know, dying first, and if you're reading this article, chances are you're the kind who'd throw a dozen henchmen into an inferno to save your own skin - perfect supervillain material in other words, but possibly not via this method. Which leaves method 3.
Method 3 - Have or Gain Loads of Cash
The final method is the one most accessible to the majority - score loads of cash. However, in order to become a superhero via this method, you have to inherit fabulous wealth from your murdered billionaire parents, then dedicate yourself to fighting the forces of oppression and tyranny (Batman). That's quite a lot of specifics there - kinda narrows the field down a bit, doesn't it?
However, for supervillains, it's way less specific. For instance, while the "murdered parents" part is well within your capabilities, the "billionaire" part probably isn't. But the great part here is that you're setting out to become a villain, so such niceties don't apply here! If your parents are billionaires, murder them and claim the inheritance. If they're not, murder some other billionaire and steal their fortune. Or rob a bank, or something - getting the cash is what matters here, not how you do it. Once you have the cash, you're well on your way to setting yourself up as a supervillain, and without any super powers at all! Which leads us on to step 2.
Step 2 - The Evil Laugh
It is absolutely vital that you perfect your evil laugh before you can be taken seriously as a supervillain. No-one is going to take you seriously if, after announcing to the world's leaders your diabolical plot to hold the world to ransom, you giggle like a little schoolgirl who's just seen her friend pee herself. Your laugh is a tool that must inspire fear in your victims and not merely a mild state of shock and/or indifference.
There are three standard "evil laughs" to choose from:
The Mad Scientist: "A-ha-hahahahhaaaha-hahah-aaaa-hhahaha!!" To perfect this laugh, first find a suitably dark place, then laugh as loud and long as you can, preferably whilst raising both arms high into the air. This is really more of a cackle than a laugh, and it *must* be accompanied by a flash of lightning - if there isn't a handy thunderstorm at the appropriate moment, at least flick a light-switch on and off repeatedly - or better yet, get your minions to do it for you. For maximum effect, accompany this with shouts such as "they called me mad! MAD!!" or "now you're all going to pay!!"
The Demonic Overlord: "Muahahahahaha!!" To perfect this laugh, first find a large room, then laugh in as deep as tone as you can manage while seated. Best effects are achieved by sitting atop a mountain of corpses, but if your budget won't stretch that far (or you haven't really started on your murderous rampage yet) you may use a chair and/or elderly relative instead.
The Psycho-Giggle: "Hee heeheeheeee hoo hooo hhaaaaa heee ha ha ah heeee hhaaaa!!" Not exactly an evil laugh, but somehow the most terrifying of the lot - at any time and in any location, simply burst into hysterical, over-the-top high-pitched giggling fits. Preferably at moments of high tension, and never at anything truly funny. If you are struggling to pull this one off, think of something that always brings a smile to your face, such as torching your neighbour's prized puppy - that always works for me!
Step 3 - Choose Your Name
Yes, OK, you already have a real name, but you need a supervillain identity - your evil brand, if you like. Your mom may have named you Clive, but you'll need something with a bit more oomph to it to really set yourself up. Simply adding sinister words to your own name won't work - Evil Clive, Clive the Destroyer, or Clive, Master of Chaos all still have the vital drawback of containing the name "Clive" here. And it doesn't matter if you're name's not Clive - this is just an example. Unless you were lucky enough to be given a name like "Thraxx, Lord of Mayhem" by your parents, the effect is going to be the same. You need a brand new supervillain identity!
So, choosing the right name is vital to your success as a supervillain! A memorable name is important when establishing your thrall over whichever city/community/reasonably sized hamlet you are attempting to bring to heel, so they always know from whom they are cowering in mortal fear. If they can't remember, they may end up cowering in mortal fear of the milkman, or something, which won't do you much good at all. Something that rolls off the tongue easily is also important, as commanding the respect of your minions is a lot easier when they can pronounce your name.
A really good supervillain name also has to do at least one of the following 3 things:
- Lend itself to a really cool costume
- Sound dark, threatening and menacing
- Have potential to inspire good nicknames
Think about it, would "The Evil Ballerina" ever get taken seriously? The costume alone would get you laughed out of any crime scene! If you do commit your crimes through the expressive power of dance, (hey, whatever works for you!) we would suggest something slightly more sinister, such as "Death's Dancer".
A good rule of thumb to work with is: anything that inspires a costume with blacks, reds, or dark greens should be fine - plenty of menace in those colours. Purple is difficult to pull off while looking truly evil, and pink is obviously a complete no-no. Think about it - how can you inspire fear in people who are rolling on the floor laughing at your get-up? The costume follows the name, so choose wisely.
Step 4 - Choose Your Secret Lair
OK, every supervillain worth their salt needs a Secret Lair. We suggest you scout for prime locations very carefully - you need to consider several key criteria.
First, you need somewhere secret, so you can concoct your evil schemes in peace, and secure, so you can hopefully repel all assaults by whichever hero is your arch-nemesis - lost islands, remote mountains, asteroids in a geo-synchronous orbit and so forth are good, while office-sharing in a crowded tower block is to be avoided if possible.
Secondly, you need somewhere that looks menacing, to strike fear into the heart of any would-be attackers. Islands shaped like some form of skull, active volcanoes and the like will deter unwanted guests. If you don't have access to these, putting up a "Jehovah's Witness lives here - our door is always open to talk about God" sign should have a similar effect.
And crucially, you will need to be handy for public transport - how else are your mindless underlings going to get to work every day? A Secret Lair without at least 20 boiler-suited men and women walking around is never going to get you taken seriously, so unless you want to have them sleep over, make sure there's a bus stop nearby. (Note: this may be tricky for the asteroids in geo-synchronous orbit, but if you can set up base on one of those in the first place, you'll probably find a way).
Step 5 - Perfect Those Monologues!
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Now you're really making progress, it's time to prepare a few monologues. These are a vital part of your arsenal, and no supervillain should be without them. Prepare them for as many situations as you like, but you should be sure to have the three main ones ready for the appropriate moments:
The Full Recap: Delivered to your minions, and used to bring them up to speed on your evil plot, despite them having been with you every step of the way so far. Evil minions are stupid, by nature, and need regular recaps in order to keep abreast of your complex designs. Don't worry about the hero overhearing you and learning everything they need to know to foil you - they'll never be able to penetrate the defences of your Secret Lair, will they?
The Mocking Gloat: Delivered to whichever superhero is your arch-enemy, and used to cow them into submission. When your malevolent schemes are moving like clockwork, and your plan to ensnare the hero has worked like a charm, don't forget to deliver a morale-crushing tirade to them about how their tiny intellect is no match for yours. This is a tried and tested way of breaking their spirit, and will not in any way inspire them to greater efforts to escape and defeat you. In fact, as long as your plans are well-laid enough (and they're bound to be, right?) you may as well explain them all in detail. With numbered diagrams, if need be, just to show how completely they have failed. Don't forget to sign off with something memorable, like "spend your last few moments knowing how assured my final victory is, super fool!" for maximum effect.
The Promise To Return: You'll never need it, of course, but just as every Secret Fortress Lair should have an escape tunnel, so every supervillain should have a good promise to return in the incredibly unlikely event of the hero somehow vanquishing them. A quick burst of "you may have won the day this time, TightCodpieceMan, but I will have my vengeance soon!" - followed by your finest evil laugh (remember step 2) and then an infeasible escape - is like your villainous calling card: don't leave the lair without one!
There, you are now a fully-fledged supervillain, ready to embark on your glorious campaign of crimes against humanity, hopefully leading to eventual World Domination (and if not, there's always the Society for the Intervention and Rehabilitation of Supervillains to fall back on). From here on, you're pretty much on your own, but we should have provided you with the essentials - the only boundaries are your own creativity, and the ineptitude of your minions. Good luck!