Superheroes Cause Supervillains

The city of New York is experiencing an average day. Average because it’s normal people doing normal things, as has been the case ever since New York’s conception. Somewhere within, a nerdy boy is on a science field trip in some labs when a curious spider bites him. He gains “fantastic” powers – I personally would probably kill myself if I started to become spider-like – and days later, he has equally fantastic – or should we say sinister – enemies to fight. It’s after Parker’s mishap with a spider that mishaps create a goblin of a particular color, or a fellow with four extra limbs and a vengeance, or a man made of sand.

Good thing the guy who uses his powers for good happened first, right? I mean, can you imagine how screwed first New York and then The World would be otherwise?

Hey remember in The Incredibles how there were totally supervillains at the beginning of the movie

and then the improbable lawsuits happened and all of superheroes were rejected by the common folk to the point that the heroes were all forced into hiding and the supervillains, no longer opposed by powers equal to their own, laid utter waste to the city?

Yeah I don’t remember that part either. No one really says what happened to them; they all sort of just disappear. Sure, there’s a brewing supervillain and that’s the whole plot and everything, but not only is it not quite the same thing, but it doesn’t really prove me wrong.

Just remember that Syndrome WAS this kid.

It’s all Mr. Incredible’s fault that Syndrome was ever a thing, undeniably so. You want to argue with me about how you can’t blame Mr. Incredible? Batman and Robin the boy wonder your argument is invalid.

What about at the end of the movie? Superheroes are back in style and the very next day someone comes popping up.


Where were these craptastic villains before? Why always are Krypton prisoners landing on Earth after the escape pod has landed and the child inside grown and prepared to be a ridiculously OP superhero? What about Ultron – built by Stark or Pym depending on the version you prefer?

Back when Megamind was first released, I was excited to see it because it was a story from the villain’s perspective. I was excited to see a superhero story about the rise of the villain, his struggle, his goals without the taint of morals making him look like a crackpot. That’s not what Megamind would up being about in the slightest and my first time watching it, I was really disappointed, although now that I know what the movie is about, it’s one of my favorites. And Megamind highlights my point because it addresses the true reason for the existence of supervillains.

Megamind is not an evil person. You see that as a youth, despite his interesting upbringing, he still wants to do good. His goals were to fit in. And the hero of the story – the hero, people, the hero! – is the one leading those mindless drones in their refusal to accept Megamind. Ultimately, Megamind chooses to be the hero once Buttface McPreppyPants gets out of the way and lets him do anything good. Megamind is a good guy and was clearly playing evil because that was the way to accomplish his one goal: to fit in. He fit in as a villain. He didn’t want to take over the world, he just wanted to fit in and fitting in meant playing evil and playing evil meant trying to take over Metrocity. If you didn’t just pronounce that meh-trah-city, you’re dead to me, by the way.

Once he got Metrocity, Megamind left his blue mark, did some hilarious things, stole the Ark of the Covenant, and had an existential crisis because he was no longer playing evil. He was being evil, because at this point, evil wasn’t a tool for fitting in because he didn’t fit anymore. Megamind thought that he needed opposition because it was the yin to his yang. That wasn’t it. He needed opposition because that was how he fit – he was a villain made to fight the hero, never actually evil. Once his evil became a career rather than a coping mechanism, he didn’t want to do it anymore. Or, more specifically, he wanted to go back to when he was just playing evil, never actually able to harm anyone because of the opposition.

What’s the point of being bad when there’s no good to stop you? What’s the point of being bad when there’s no good to stop you!? DO YOU EVEN VILLAIN, BRO?

And that’s the thing, folks. Super villains are not independent from superheroes. When you have someone who is invincible equipped with lasers, X-rays, speed, and good looks (y’know, if he’s your type), you can’t have a story of him running around with a pair of extremely diversionary glasses getting news stories. Boring. Boriiing. And you can’t tell a story about him flying around breathing on bad guys to stop them. It would not serve to entertain the masses to see some villain like myself running around doing evil only to shriek and surrender, sobbing, when some man with spider qualities approaches, web-slinging device at the ready. (“Please put the spider web down. I’ll go quietly. Don’t touch me. I swear to Satan’s second cousin I’ll go quietly if you don’t touch me. Actually why don’t you just bring the police here, I’ll collapse into a nervous wreak at the thought that you almost slung a giant spider web at me and sob hysterically while you’re gone.“) No, no, you can’t put ordinary people with major arachnophobia against your superhero! That’s boring! You have to make someone suitable. And if your superheroes all team up, you’re going to have to make a villain more stupid ridiculously OP than My Only Weakness Is An Alien Rock Earth Has No Reason To Possess. Like maybe Death’s Boyfriend with Bling.

Bling-a bling bling

Hey, in that post I linked to about how your villains need to be separate from your heroes, I said that your villains can’t be pins you set up just for your hero to knock down. But guess what? That’s exactly what supervillains are. In a lot of superhero stories, no supervillains existed before the superhero showed up. Their creation, their birth, is just to fill a necessary role. The best supervillains are those who are not so stilted because of this birth defect.

The backstory, the goals, the actual character himself, all fleshed out beautifully. He is a villain I truly enjoy.

The worst…well, I learned in my research for this post that Lex Luthor isn’t bald just ’cause he is, and his sole reason for villainy is because he’s bald.


It won’t bring your hair back, Lex.

Either way, supervillains exist so that superheroes have someone to fight and therefore, you see, superheroes cause supervillains.

About Rii the Wordsmith

An aspiring author, artist, avid consumer of storytelling medium, gamer, psychologist (insomuch as one with her bachelor's is a psychologist), wife, mother, DM, Christian, a friend to many, and, most importantly, an evil overlord.
This entry was posted in Making Villains (Making Villains la-la-la!) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Superheroes Cause Supervillains

  1. Medusa says:

    Hi Rii,
    I found your blog address on a little slip of paper that my husband knocked off the counter while we were at The Dragon’s Keep today. As I am a writer (acceptable by your definition in an above post) I was interested in what you had to say about villains. I’ve gotten to this entry, and decided to stop here and leave a thought. Since childhood, I’ve had a specific story gestating in my mind. This past year, it began showing signs of being ready to be written. So, I started to work on it. As I did, however, a strange thing happened. As I developed my villain’s backstory, I became far more interested in him than anything else. His story unfolded before me more easily than the one I originally thought to write, and I realized that I needed to start much earlier in history. The more interesting story here was his origin. Perhaps the original story will indeed follow, but first my villain’s journey, if you will, must be told.

    Thanks for your blog. It intrigues me, and I’ll keep reading.


    • Huzzah, I’m so glad the admittedly flimsy bookmarks were worthwhile.
      It’s funny how that can happen, isn’t it? Many people don’t understand how another person could fall in love with a villain, and not because they want to save the villain, but because of what he is. I think it’s because in some ways, a villain has a better chance of being more real than a hero – a hero “has” to be good and is more likely to cover up faults or lack flaws, but a villain has no need for this and can let it all be out there. Or, barring that, they do tend to have a more interesting story because in other places, I’ve mentioned that most people at least try to be good, so there’s got to be quite the story as to why this person, your villain, isn’t managing that the same way as everyone else, whether they have become so turned around in what’s good or because they just don’t care anymore.
      I’m excited for you, the journey of getting to know your villain is a fun one and I definitely understand the discovery of a story that you have to tell in a story you thought you wanted to. I’m also pleased that you’ve enjoyed my blog and I hope that it will be of service to you as you develop your relationship with your villain!


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