I recenly read an article which had Geroge R.R. Martin criticising Marvel’s villains saying how similar they are to the heroes in terms of their powers. (link)
He made some interesting points and while there’s a lot of ranking of villains there’s hardly any proper analysis of them and their relation to the hero. This should obviously range from villains with similar powers to the hero, to those who are startlingly different, or those who have no powers at all.
This could be done with specific villains in mind or franchise by franchise i.e. Marvel, The Dark Knight Trilogy, X-Men, Spiderman etc.
There is a lot of good potential to analyze supervillains, but there are too many of them to count if you includes everyone from the likes of Marvel and DC. It would be helpful to limit it to either some of the most notable ones (regardless of which publisher they come from) or to villains specifically derived from certain franchises. You also might want to limit your analysis to one form of media (looking into movie adaptations over comic books and vice verca). – Seth Childers6 years ago
I've always been partial to Spiderman, but I can see this working for any of the major franchises. Interesting take--a strong focus on the social and political pressures of the time in which the selected franchise analyzed will help provide a comprehensive and detailed explanation for the motives of such villains. – RobertCutrera6 years ago
I was having a discussion about this once with a friend - he made the point that comic book/graphic novel villains are purposely made to be the opposite/fear of the hero.
Batman = conquering fear; Joker = anarchy and uncertainty, meaning fear.
Spiderman = spider; Dr Conners = reptile. Reptiles eat insects.
Bruce Banner = Ego; Hulk = Id
etc etc. Therefore the point that they are basically made to be challengers for the hero could sometimes mean that they are reduced to placeholders, and therefore aren't given enough of an identity in themselves.
I think it's a great topic, especially considering the recent huge popularity of some of the villains. – Nat Parsons6 years ago