Who Are Your Favorite Villains?

by Gail Z. Martin

OK, so I’ve talked about favorite heroes, but what about favorite villaians?  Who are the people I love to hate?

I don’t buy into the idea that a villain needs to be sympathetic. Understandable, but not sympathetic.  While a good villain needs a back story, I don’t think it’s essential to identify with them.  Sure, no villian believes he or she is bad.  Yes, many villains had terrible childhoods or endured some kind of trauma.  But so do many other people who don’t become villains.  In fact, the split in the path between hero and villain lies in the choice of what to do after the trauma.  Do you identify with the victim, and vow to keep terrible things from happening again, becoming the hero, or do you identify with the perpetrator, choosing to make others suffer as you have suffered?

I have a fondness for comic book villains, maybe because they’re just so  cool.  So  yes, all of Batman’s foes make my favorite’s list.  Ditto for Spiderman and the Fantastic Four and the X Men.  I liked the nuances that were so much a part of Voldemort, but I found the “banality of evil” of Cornelius Fudge and Delores Umbridge to be equally scary because they are so real and I have met their real-life counterparts.  For sheer stage presence, you gotta love Malificent (great costume), and the Shadows of Babylon 5.  Angelique from Dark Shadows had a single-minded stalker quality that made her pretty scary.  I never really bought into Anakin Skywalker–perhaps he should have been fed to Louis from Anne Rice’s books and they could have been angsty together.  But I think one of my very favorite villains is Belle Morte from the Anita Blake series and

So who are your favorite villains and why do they rock?

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