by Julia Buckley
The Monarch and his love interest, Dr. Girlfriend.
Many people have written about the great literary and screen villains--the ones we truly love to hate, the ones who make us afraid to be alone in the house, the ones who are even a bit humorous while they do their evil thing.
But I was thinking today that all the greatest villains have truly wonderful villain names. In mystery literature, there is the great nemesis of Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Moriarty. It was genius of Conan-Doyle to give his villain a title--something to suggest intelligence behind the evil. Moriarty, of course, was the one villain that Holmes never really bested--they went down together (until Holmes mysteriously rose again).
There are other classic literary villains--the great Mr. Hyde, Jack the Ripper (who exists in true crime and in many fictional examinations), Madame Defarge, Mrs. Danvers, Raskolnikov, Hannibal Lechter. And what about the deliciously creepy-sounding Count Dracula?
And then there are the Hollywood villains--like Dirty Harry's serial killer, Scorpio, or Batman's many evil enemies: the Joker, the Riddler, Catwoman, the Penguin, Bane. Spiderman has a slew of enemies, as well, including The Green Goblin, Mysterio, Dr. Octopus, Electro, Sandman, Craven the Hunter. And of course Superman's villain had the ultra-cool name of Lex Luthor.
Naming a villain would be difficult work, but enjoyable, I think. I've only written one truly villainous character (Nob Stevens), but I can see how those who write villains could be caught up in the fun of creating their evil personas.
My husband and sons have discovered a new favorite from Adult Swim on The Cartoon Network. It's a show called The Venture Brothers, which is a campy take-off on Johnny Quest (remember him?) and lots of Marvel comics characters and other cartoon cliches. The writers of the show, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer (not their real names, I'm guessing), seem to have had lots of fun in creating their stable full of enemies, who fight Rusty Venture and his two sons, Hank and Dean.
The Monarch (a man dressed as a butterfly), Phantom Limb (who is just a floating torso), Sergeant Hatred (whose power is mainly anger), Truckules (pronounced like Hercules, who is part truck), the Manotaur (part man, part bull) and Dr. Septipus (who has an extra set of arms) are just a few of the crazy villains that populate the world of this funny cartoon.
If you watch The Venture Brothers, you'll see that naming villains can be fun and funny, and so can writing their dialogue.
Who's your favorite villain from literature or screen?