Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > The importance of evil villains
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6
"The importance of evil villains", 12 days ago, 12:03 AM #1
MK_Wizard

User avatar
Posts: 5214
Registration date: 17th Jun 2017
Location: Canada
When I say evil villains, I mean villains who really are just bad people who make no effort to even try to be good, they don't appreciate the people who work with them, they care for no one but themselves and have evil qualities like sadism, greed and such.

While I do appreciate villains with a sympathetic side, I do think the evil villain still is important in story telling. For one thing, this villain shows you how not to act, but also, when a person uses cruelty as a means of self medicating their past trauma, they merit being held accountable not sympathy. How many abusers and criminals played the "bad past" card to gain sympathy only go on to be repeat offenders? I think it's important to show kids that some people in here and now, don't merit our sympathy.

What do you all think? Is the evil villain still important or just an outdated concept?
_______________________
12 days ago, 12:20 AM #2
swamp
Min-Pin Kingpin
User avatar
Posts: 1267
Registration date: 8th Feb 2017
Location: too far from my dog, usa
I don't think it's an outdated concept, but I also don't think... it's a vital one.

Every person who is bad is bad for a reason. As an author, it's not my job to tell the reader if that makes them sympathetic. I certainly don't think you need to know the past or that a sad life excuses horrible actions.

But the truth is nobody is 'just cruel', at least in my opinion. There's a reason pretty much every serial killer has both severe brain damage and/or horrific abuse. Because people don't just start killing other people for no reason. Nature, nurture, whatever. Not my business, because I'm not God. I don't choose what they deserve, I do my best to stop them from killing people.

And I think it's important kids recognize that. It doesn't mean they can fix every bully with friendship, or that they shouldn't stand up to cruelty, but I don't want to teach my kids some people are 'just bad'. I want my kids to know bad is something they can do, something their friends might do, that good is a choice that they should make every day, and a choice some people have no been given the same chance at.

Added: On repeat offenders using a sad past, I think encouraging a view of 'bad circumstances vs. evil person' actually can make that worse. If we say some people are just evil, then how do we explain an abuser who truly loathes themselves but is caught in their own trauma? A bully who really does have a strong but skewed sense of justice? If we see the good in people, then they aren't the 'evil ones'. And most people have that drop of good.
But we do not have to cut of sympathy to stop abuse. Is this wife beater a sad, hurt man? Maybe. I don't care. I don't want him in prison because I have judged him morally bad. I want him in prison because he beats his wife, and if in prison, he cannot beat his wife.
It's not about evil. It's not about my personal judgement on his soul. It's about stopping people who hurt others.
_______________________
12 days ago, 12:27 AM #3
MK_Wizard

User avatar
Posts: 5214
Registration date: 17th Jun 2017
Location: Canada
I can respect all of that and that is the right way to put it. Though I meant to imply that no one is "just bad". I meant some people are just sick and perhaps "troubled" is the better word.

However, I have to disagree about repeat offenders. I think if at one point, you just refuse to learn your lesson and refuse to get proper help, then you've been given all the chances we can give you. At this point, you can't be trusted.
_______________________
12 days ago, 12:33 AM #4
Timishayd

User avatar
Posts: 96
Registration date: 22nd Nov 2019
Location: Mexico
I'm all for irremediable bad villains, but giving reasons as for why the villain is bad is important, not because of sympathy points, but to understand their motivations.
Unless it's a cartoon setting, just having a villain being bad just because won't make people relate to the story. It's the humanity of it that makes it believable.

Of course, there are good examples of villains being bad just for the sake of being bad, but even then, a bit of context or background information is given.
_______________________
image
12 days ago, 12:39 AM #5
DiggityDogDingo

User avatar
Posts: 92
Registration date: 24th Apr 2019
It's not so much that it's outdated, as much as it is ...juvenile. To clarify, as swamp said it's a rather lukewarm take that there are "Truly Evil" people in this world. Heck if you want to get biblical, even the Devil isn't portrayed as just "Evil". It's been a general trend that I'm glad to see leaving literature as a whole because compelling villains make for compelling heroes.


When you can empathize with your villain and their motives and understand why they are doing what they're doing it forces the author to write heroes that the reader *wants* to root for. It strips away the "this is the good guy like him, this is the bad guy don't like him." trope and really forces you the reader to empathize with the heroes motivations over the villains...and in a really good story that may be a struggle up till the end.


No hero is truly good, just as no villain is truly evil. But that doesn't mean either should be forgiven or damned for their actions in turn.
_______________________
image
12 days ago, 12:39 AM #6
MK_Wizard

User avatar
Posts: 5214
Registration date: 17th Jun 2017
Location: Canada
Timishayd:I'm all for irremediable bad villains, but giving reasons as for why the villain is bad is important, not because of sympathy points, but to understand their motivations.
Unless it's a cartoon setting, just having a villain being bad just because won't make people relate to the story. It's the humanity of it that makes it believable.

Of course, there are good examples of villains being bad just for the sake of being bad, but even then, a bit of context or background information is given.


Oh, I never said that backstories and motives aren't important. They will always be important. I just mean some characters are just evil.
_______________________
12 days ago, 12:55 AM #7
Timishayd

User avatar
Posts: 96
Registration date: 22nd Nov 2019
Location: Mexico
Reading your other replies, I see your point more clearly.

However, villains like that are usually sociopaths and have only one fate, which is death. That make their characters somewhat predictable. The audience root for them to be killed off as soon as possible. Villains with a little good on them on the other side, can contribute more to a story.

Of course, a story is not about the end result but the journey, that's why I enjoy a purely bad villain from time to time, like Kiriyama from Battle Royale. That dude was sick.
_______________________
image
12 days ago, 1:02 AM #8
swamp
Min-Pin Kingpin
User avatar
Posts: 1267
Registration date: 8th Feb 2017
Location: too far from my dog, usa
Also, 'just evil' people are often written as 'they're just CRAAZY' which is... super harmful to mentally ill people and not how mental illness works.

But to clarify, MK by 'just evil', are you saying
1. People who experience no compassion
2. People who have no moments of kindness or regret
or
3. People who would be cruel regardless of nature or nurture
4. Something else

Personally
1. Exists, but not always evil! I think you can even have a protag wholacks compassion! ('I am not a serial killer' is a good example, as is 'dexter')
2. Do these exist? Maybe? But even some loathsome people have some moments where they seem very pathetic and pitiable to me.
3. This concept implies a 'bad soul' and makes me mad uncomfortable
_______________________
12 days ago, 1:17 AM #9
MK_Wizard

User avatar
Posts: 5214
Registration date: 17th Jun 2017
Location: Canada
I get where you are coming from that it makes you uncomfortable as I myself don't like believe people can be born bad, but I myself have some really awful people who were just... awful for no reason. I used to know this bully in high school who was so cruel, she once pushed her baby sister down a flight of stairs and found it funny. I'm not making this up! She was a teenager who pushed a baby (most likely a toddler) down the stairs for laughs. And from what I hear, she would abuse her other siblings physically too. And her parents were not abusers at all. From what I know, they were civil and involved in her life. For some reason, this girl was just evil.

Edit: I also wanted to add that she would see psychiatrists and get punished frequently, but she was determined to be bad. Like... she just honestly LIKED being bad. I can't wrap my head around it either. The only time she ever left you alone is if you fought her back and won (which I did once). I don't know if she was sick or something traumatised her into being that way, but as far as everyone knew, she was just evil.
_______________________
12 days ago, 1:36 AM #10
DiggityDogDingo

User avatar
Posts: 92
Registration date: 24th Apr 2019
MK, what's the point in engaging with you in threads if you just ignore people making points that can be addressed by a wider audience just to bring up some anecdotal evidence that can't really be disputed and conveniently supports your initial point...
_______________________
image
12 days ago, 1:36 AM #11
Rulerbrain
swears it's 7 inches
User avatar
Posts: 1171
Registration date: 9th Jun 2015
I think when it comes to villains it's best to think of them like: "Bad people are normal people who want what normal people want, they just care less about collateral"

And the degree of how much they don't care can help you separate 'kinda mean' from 'complete monster'

Thing is though, even the complete monster wants something out of their actions, they don't do it just "becuz evil". Maybe the hardline sadist thinks the people they're hurting deserve to have it done to em'. Maybe they feel wronged somehow and just like any normal person, they want payback. They've just taken it to a wild extreme.

Doesn't justify their actions at all, but I don't think anyone does evil for evil's sake. And heck even if they say they do, that sounds more like they just want attention, which is also something a lot of normal people want. The bad guys just go off the deep end with it
_______________________

image
12 days ago, 1:38 AM #12
MK_Wizard

User avatar
Posts: 5214
Registration date: 17th Jun 2017
Location: Canada
DiggityDogDingo:MK, what's the point in engaging with you in threads if you just ignore people making points that can be addressed by a wider audience just to bring up some anecdotal evidence that can't really be disputed and conveniently supports your initial point...


I'm sorry if it came across like that. I was just sharing an experience and I had. I even admitted that I agree that backstories which shape the villains is always important. What I meant to say is that sometimes, any good that used to be in them is gone at one point. That's all. I didn't mean to make it sounds like I wasn't listening.

I just also shared that experience of a case of a person who was just bad and no one could understand why. People like that are most definitely NOT the norm. So far, she is the ONLY person I ever met who was like that. She isn't the norm. She was a case of a person no one could understand. It wasn't bringing it up to trump anyone. I brought it up because I'm wondering if anyone else ever had an experience like that where they met a really bad person and no one could understand why they were bad.
_______________________
12 days ago, 1:41 AM #13
killersteak
Botanist
User avatar
Posts: 5089
Registration date: 25th Apr 2011
Location: i wish i were a berd
this villain shows you how not to act,


dont tie damsels onto train tracks. got it.

doesnt really apply to many franchises though. the cliche evil villain was often more fun to watch than the hero whom had personality of a loaf of bread.


best villain in modern tv that ive seen, despised, shiver when i even see a pic of - this guy
image
12 days ago, 1:44 AM #14
DiggityDogDingo

User avatar
Posts: 92
Registration date: 24th Apr 2019
MK_Wizard:I'm sorry if it came across like that. I was just sharing an experience and I had. I even admitted that I agree that backstories which shape the villains is always important. What I meant to say is that sometimes, any good that used to be in them is gone at one point. That's all. I didn't mean to make it sounds like I wasn't listening.

I just also shared that experience of a case of a person who was just bad and no one could understand why. People like that are most definitely NOT the norm. So far, she is the ONLY person I ever met who was like that. She isn't the norm. She was a case of a person no one could understand. It wasn't bringing it up to trump anyone. I brought it up because I'm wondering if anyone else ever had an experience like that where they met a really bad person and no one could understand why they were bad.




"No one", No one being anyone who knew her on a very superficial level. Lets be honest, you were a teenager, you weren't in her house, you weren't living her life. No-one understood her because no-one had the benefit of an author explaining their motivations from inside their head. It's apples to oranges, it's your understanding of the reality, not the objective reality.
_______________________
image
12 days ago, 1:47 AM #15
MK_Wizard

User avatar
Posts: 5214
Registration date: 17th Jun 2017
Location: Canada
That, I will accept. For all I know, she did go through some kind of trauma or something. In fact, it's very likely that it was that in order to reach the point of pushing a baby down the stairs for laughs. It most likely was something I and other kids didn't see, but it was a fact she was seeing professionals for her sadistic behaviour though she was refusing to change at least back then.

Merged Doublepost:

Maybe I'm also posting wrong because I am exhausted from expecting. I am at the very end and I have some trouble sleeping so maybe sometimes, my head isn't as clear as it should be. Lol.
_______________________
12 days ago, 2:46 AM #16
Robotwin.com

User avatar
Posts: 3292
Registration date: 22nd Sep 2010
Location: USA, Milky Way
I think it's important to show kids that some people in here and now, don't merit our sympathy.


That promotes ignorance and prejudice by caricature.

On the other hand, it's tempting to portray mustache twirlers just for fun, like play acting. Like Jim Carrey in the new Sonic movie.
12 days ago, 9:52 AM #17
Dadaph

User avatar
Posts: 74
Registration date: 4th Dec 2019
Location: Oslo, Norway
Nothing bad with pure evil (quote me on that, just add Dadaph 2020), it all depends on the story you want to tell.

Lord of the Rings wouldn't have been Lord of the Rings if Sauron wasn't some ultimate force of nature type evil. It needed that to tell the story it told, and if Sauron had been some deep troubled soul with a misunderstood past, it would have taken the focus away from where the drama is, and we would have felt bad about the ring being destroyed.

However, a complex antagonist can add a lot of drama, and if that's what you're going for, a mustache twirler might not do it...
_______________________
image
12 days ago, 10:27 AM #18
Eve Z.
and the Sorcerer's Stone
User avatar
Posts: 759
Registration date: 10th Mar 2017
Location: no
Well, there are purely evil people in real life too who didn't have overly-traumatic experiences and became evil as a result. Some are just born bad.

Not sure what's up with this societal pressure to make all villains sympathetic in a way or another.
This only comes off as a way to excuse bad behavior.
_______________________
12 days ago, 11:48 AM #19
The Letter M
🎀Official CF Wine Tester🎀
User avatar
Posts: 3858
Registration date: 28th Nov 2012
Location: Australia
The modern villain I've liked most is Fire Lord Ozai. Lots of people say that having a character just be a bad guy with no explanation or motivation isn't interesting but that guy is just pure bad. Just wants self agrandisement and power, just wants to wreck all the other kingdoms and take everything for himself and he's great. I think if we spent a lot of time with him he might have become less compelling but not showing his face for the first season, then having him just be a megalomaniac when we do see him...I don't know...I see MK's point. You don't need any more. If we saw his relationship with his mother or something and some excuse as to why he was obsessed with ruling the workd to feel good enough for parents who didn't love him or to be better than an arrogant sibling or something...it'd be unnecessary, it'd detract from his mystique.
_______________________
imageimageimageimage
12 days ago, 12:20 PM #20
Reapeageddon

User avatar
Posts: 161
Registration date: 20th Nov 2019
Location: The Internet, duh!
Hm, pure evil villains, huh? What makes pure evil villains work is how well-executed they are as a character. I'll steal ideas from Diamondbolt's videos here and tell you guys what makes a good villain... But of course I gotta consider the fact that this is about pure evil villains.

They gotta be either threatening or/and charismatic, and they have to be equal to the hero. Pure evil villains whose personality is defined by "I WANNA BE STRONG AND RULE THE WORLD!" are just really boring (See Steppenwolf from Justice League). They need something in their character that will make the audience invest in them. That's why characters like Aku, Loki and Dio Brando are loved characters.
_______________________
image
Forum > Webcomic & Art discussion > The importance of evil villains
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6