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"Were would Spider-Man be without the Green Goblin [...] or any of his other splendidly savage and sinister supervillains? Sure, you always need the hero, but ask yourself this: how eager would you be to read about a superhero who fought litterbugs, jaywalkers, or income-tax evaders?"--Stan Lee

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A supervillain or supervillainess is a variant of the villain character type, commonly found in comic books, action movies and science fiction in various mediums. Supervillains typically concoct complex and ambitious schemes to accumulate power. They are often used as foils to superheroes and other fictional heroes.

Many supervillains share some typical characteristics of real world dictators, mobsters, and terrorists and often have aspirations of world domination or universal leadership.



By most definitions, the first supervillain was John Devil, a proto-Fantômas, created by Paul Féval, père in his eponymous 1862 novel, or Féval's nearly-immortal, machiavellian Colonel Bozzo-Corona, leader of Les Habits Noirs introduced in 1863. Professor Moriarty, the archenemy of Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective Sherlock Holmes, was introduced in 1891. Dr. Fu Manchu, the antagonist of several popular novels of Sax Rohmer, is credited with popularizing many of the typical characteristics of the modern supervillain, including his sadistic personality, his desire for world domination, and his use of sinister lairs and themed crimes and henchmen. Rohmer's work had a strong influence on Ian Fleming, whose James Bond novels and their film adaptations further popularized the image of the supervillain in popular culture.

The first supervillain who wore a bizarre costume was the Lightning, from the 1938 film The Fighting Devil Dogs, which preceded the first modern superhero, Superman.

The first supervillain to regularly battle a superhero was Ultra-Humanite, who first appeared in Action Comics #13 (1939).

Supervillain psychopathic characters

Comic book-inspired movie supervillains such as Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor in Superman and Superman Returns, and Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman, also qualify as comedic psychopathic characters (although it is to be noted that certain interpretations of the Joker in the comic book series depict him more in the manner of the postmodern psychopath). With their wild antics and extravagant crimes, supervillains often make comic stooges out of their straight-arrow, stiff-backed superhero nemeses.

Even Mike Myers as the absurd, pompous Dr. Evil, an effete megalomaniac forever plotting world domination in the Austin Powers movies, is but a parodic pastiche of the preposterously well-financed and well-equipped psychopathic supervillains (both smooth and comedic) that appear in the James Bond series, such as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Dr. Julius No, Auric Goldfinger, Emilio Largo, Scaramanga, Karl Stromberg, Hugo Drax, Max Zorin, and Le Chiffre.

Notable henchmen in the Bond series who qualify as supervillain psychopathic characters include the lesbian spymistress Rosa Klebb, the steel-eyed assassin Red Grant (who is described as a "paranoiac psychopath"), the lethal Korean manservant Oddjob, the femme fatale Fiona Volpe, the bionically enhanced strongman Jaws, and the Amazon murderess May Day. Robert Shaw's portrayal of the affectless blond killer, Red Grant, in From Russia with Love, is probably the closest the Bond movies have come to depicting a psychopathic personality with a plausible degree of clinical accuracy.

Zim, the titular character in the Nickelodeon animated series, Invader Zim, is also a parody of the supervillain; his comic absurdity is tempered by moments of genuine malice and destructiveness.

List of super villains

Famous master villains:

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Supervillain" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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