Everybody loves a good villain.
Villains are the darlings of countless fandoms, from Avengers’ Loki to Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time. Movies like Megamind and Despicable Me turn villains into protagonists. Some of the most compelling men in comics are villains – the Joker, Magneto, and Lex Luthor, to name a few.
And we can’t forget some of the most well-known female villains: Catwoman and Poison Ivy in comics, the Wicked Witch of the West in film, and the seemingly ever-present Evil Stepmother in Disney animation.
Excellent villains make some of the most memorable characters in our favorite books, shows, and games, and villains tell us a lot about ourselves and the culture we surround ourselves with. Yet the villains who fascinate us also raise questions that can keep us up at night.
The villains of the Harry Potter series are an excellent example. Bellatrix Lestrange reflects how we see obsession; Dolores Umbridge represents abuse of power to oppress others. Voldemort himself represents all sorts of moral issues we consider to be villainous in some way, from reckless and regardless slaughter to tampering with fundamental aspects of humanity.
But not all villains address such serious issues, at least not blatantly. Team Rocket from the children’s anime Pokemon are definitely three of the most entertaining characters on the show, and who doesn’t remember their motto?
This month, we’re taking a look at villainy and just what we learn from villainous characters.
What villains do you find most compelling?