So you want to be a big screen super villain?

Thinking of becoming a cinematic super villain? If so, Rory has a few words of advice for you…

Are you a small time crook whose recent job was foiled by a superhero, resulting in a highly characteristic disfigurement? Was the love of your life killed in an experiment gone awry during which a costumed vigilante intervened?

No matter how misguided or just plain wrong your grudge may be, if you want revenge on a superhero, mayor of a city, or even the entire world, you’ve come to the right place.

These tips and points to consider will aid you in whatever maniacal scheme you happen to be plotting and help avoid the well worn path of failure that has been trodden by so many of your villainous peers…

Forget the costume

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Turning a hideous disfigurement to your advantage should always be applauded. Basing your entire persona on the fact that your nose was chewed off by feral badgers, however, should not. Just because you have been driven to the very brink of insanity by grief or industrial chemicals doesn’t mean you have to dress like it.

Imagine if you were a superhero. When capturing criminals would you go after a normal, everyday thug, or the guy with the crazy laugh who is dressed like all of the village people?

Why not get plastic surgery and dress like a librarian? You can keep your insane hatred burning away on the inside, but look like a normal person on the surface. Blend into the crowds and when the opportunity arises, work your devious scheme to bring your nemesis to their knees. And if you really need a chilling super villain identity you can call yourself ‘The Librarian’, as long as no-one is listening.

Getting started

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It goes without saying that the first obstacle to your criminal endeavours will probably be money. Armoured trousers, personalised weapons and trained attack voles do not grow on trees. You need cash and fast.

Your first instinct will be to perform a daring heist at midday on the largest bank in the city. As the surrounding block swarms with police, reporters, gawpers and superheroes, yourself and your IQ-challenged goons will escape from the rooftops in a getaway helicopter with your hideous visage emblazoned across the side.

Although this is a great way to obtain a lot of money relatively quickly, think of the downsides: massive publicity, definite superhero involvement, police interference and your face on every news station in the developed world. While these might be ideal conditions for launching your own fragrance or line of furry underwear, they are in no way going to make the growth of your crime empire any easier.

Why not try Internet fraud? If Nigerian princes can do it, then why can’t you? Re-inventing yourself as a multi-millionaire vole farmer who has to get his millions out of communist controlled Madeuponia is relatively easy to set up, but the returns can be huge.

While you’re at it, why not sell entirely imaginary Viagra and other performance-enhancing drugs to fat businessmen who don’t really know what an Internet is.

With the whole world to scam, use your imagination. The possibilities are endless.

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Location, location, location

Every super villain needs somewhere to hang their gaudily-coloured and highly technological hat, and you’re no different. Abandoned zoos, circuses and theme parks might be readily available and suitably creepy potential sites for your operations, but they are also highly conspicuous and easily infiltrated by your heroic opposite.

If you decide to go down the executive villain route and get yourself a fancy office building, try to resist the temptation to give your front company an evil sounding name. Killers Inc, Death Ltd or Armageddon International might sound cool, but do you really need the attention?

Try to choose something that sounds benign and uninteresting. Curtains International, The National Institute for Vole Research or Consolidated Galvanised Rubber are all good choices.

Whatever you name your company, try pick the logo that will adorn the front of your building carefully. Keep the tigers, swords, guns and sharp pointy bits to a minimum.

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Goons: a user’s guide

Every super villain needs goons to pull off smaller jobs, make the tea, feed the aforementioned voles etc. But your choice of hood could mean the difference between life and death.

Give the prospective hoodlum an application form. If it comes back five hours later, completed in crayon and spelled with pictures, they will probably do more harm than good. If the form has actual words on it move them forward to the next round.

Now we’ve weeded out the ones who can’t work spoons, it’s time to get rid of the clever ones, as they will just try to take over at some point. Look for qualifications. If they’ve got any, they should go straight on the ‘no’ pile.

The ideal goon should be unswervingly loyal, have the ability to shoot straight and be intelligent enough to hold the right end of the gun without the ambition to point it at you.

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Do you really need the world?

No doubt, at some point on your super villain ‘to do’ list right between ‘need more milk’ and ‘mutated vole army?’ will be ‘take over the world’.

It seems like a plan with no drawbacks living in gold covered palaces, billions of subjects cowering at your every bellow, all the foie gras stuffed pandas you could ever eat. What more could you possibly want?

But before you unleash your politician and monarchy seeking missiles, just consider the downside. People, whether you care or not, need stuff. New roads, healthcare, coat hangers, submarines. The list is endless. Leaving them to it isn‘t an option, because they will eventually lead a revolution and there are six billion of them. You wouldn‘t have a grub in a vole pit’s chance of survival. Ruling over them isn’t an option, because there are six billion of them, even with your most loyal and least mentally-challenged goons by your side, you still can’t hope to manage them all.

Finally, depending on just how unstable you might be, you could consider killing them all, but what’s the point? You’d just be a lonely person in a shiny castle with no-one to stuff your pandas.

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Keep it simple super villain

Okay, so you now have the money, the headquarters and the manpower, but do you have a plan? Of course you do. You’re a super villain. It probably involves fake alien spacecraft, thermonuclear devices and lots and lots of voles.

Whatever your goal is, does it need to be that complicated? If you really want to get revenge on a superhero, do you absolutely need to convince them of an alien invasion, nuclear war or biblical-style vole infestation?

Most superheroes will turn up if you rob a post office, so why bother with a 10 year plan, just so you can tie them up, point at them and laugh.

Remember, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. And if your plan has more components than Rube Goldberg’s toaster, something will definitely go awry.

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Super villain team-ups

Had an offer from a fellow super villain about a prospective partnership? Think carefully before you take them up on it.

Let‘s say that Peking Duck, the exotic mistress of martial arts with the power to bewitch wildfowl, approaches you with a plan. There are a few considerations to take before you shake on an agreement:

Who’s the boss?

Super villains are an egotistical lot and don‘t look kindly on taking orders. Putting two together could be a recipe for disaster. Get the pecking order sorted or there will be feathers and bits of vole covering every available surface before you know it.

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What’s the plan?

Make sure there’s just one plan. Imagine you’ve just landed your fake spaceship in the city centre and the animatronic alien vole is shambling down the gangplank when another alien craft shows up two minutes later with a cybernetic duck monster. You wouldn’t know where to put your face.

Who kills the super hero?

You both want revenge. Superheroes do a lot of meddling and you both have a grudge. So, who delivers the final death blow? Play scissors, paper, stone, flip a coin, draw straws. Anything! Just make sure that there’s no argument when the time comes or there will be another vole/duck smackdown before you know it. And plenty of opportunities for your target to escape.

Whatever you do, never trust them. They will stab you in the back the second they can profit from it. After all, that’s what you were going to do, isn’t it?

Don’t explain your plan

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Let’s assume your plan went off without a hitch. Your archenemy is finally powerless and lies prostrate at your feet. As an attempt to best your foe intellectually as well as physically, you’ll be tempted to explain your entire scheme to the smallest detail.

Please don’t. You’re just giving them the time they desperately need to draw their strength or break free and throw you into a facility, from which you will easily escape to start the whole process over again.

Good luck!

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