Bad Characters in Books 2

Published on 24 March 2023 at 18:58

In my search for bad guys in books I came across an interesting overview of the characteristics of super villains on Wikipedia ( Here's a selection based on the most commonly mentioned villains:
The Evil Genius: These are villains that were especially standard in the Golden Age of comics. They are really bad through and through and have a constant hunger for power. Examples include Lex Luthor, Doom, Red Skull, Krang, Professor Moriarty, and Joachim Sickbock. Nowadays, the villains are a lot more complex. 
The Psychopath: villains who are completely deranged or crazy, unable to control their homicidal tendencies. Examples are Sabretooth, Shredder, the Joker and Carnage.
The Beast: villains who turn into beastly creatures or monsters, and in that form can no longer control themselves. Examples are Man-Bat, Dr Jekyll, Baxter the Fly, The Lizards Sauron.
The Dark Lord: a dark villain who is sometimes more of a diabolical force than a person. This type of villain is often very skilled in (dark) magic and usually lead armies of dark mages or infernal creatures. Some dark lords are so feared that people dare not speak their names, such as Voldemort (Harry Potter) and Sauron (The Lord of the Rings).

Many super villains come from comic books, such as Joachim Sickbock from Marten Toonder and Lex Luthor, Superman's nemesis. It was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
By most definitions, the first supervillain was John Devil, a proto-Fantômas created by Paul Féval, père for his 1862 book. Another early example of the supervillain is Professor Moriarty, the nemesis of Arthur Conan Doyles detective Sherlock Holmes, who became introduced in 1891(

Even bad guys can outdo each other. In a tie for second place are Professor Moriarty and the serial killer and psychopath Dexter (writer Jeff Lindsay). And in the first place: God. Because, as Van Acker writes, he is full of himself and creates things over which he can exercise power and authority. He is unapproachable and creates a human being in his image and then says: "You may remain in paradise as long as you do not taste the forbidden fruit and thus gain the knowledge of good and evil." Exactly the characteristics of bad guys. ( 

Neither God nor Hitler are book characters. The first has an astonishingly efficient network of believers, who submit of their own free will, thinking it is for their own good. The second
fortunately succumbed to his own pride. But the main question, namely what drives villain followers, is still unanswered. Understanding this is important, because followers are indispensable for great villains: without followers, no power can be exercised. If there is a good book on this, I'd love to hear it.

To keep Wikipedia going, donations are desperately needed!

Add comment


There are no comments yet.