Today with us is Richard Roberts, author of Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain, who was kind enough to stop by on his blog tour and share about his fav villains. Be sure to check out the Goodreads giveaway of his book!
Penelope Akk wants to be a superhero. She’s got superhero parents. She’s got the ultimate mad science power, filling her life with crazy gadgets even she doesn’t understand. She has two super powered best friends. In middle school, the line between good and evil looks clear.
In real life, nothing is that clear. All it takes is one hero’s sidekick picking a fight, and Penny and her friends are labeled supervillains. In the process, Penny learns a hard lesson about villainy: She’s good at it.
Criminal masterminds, heroes in power armor, bottles of dragon blood, alien war drones, shape shifters and ghosts, no matter what the super powered world throws at her, Penny and her friends come out on top. They have to. If she can keep winning, maybe she can clear her name before her mom and dad find out.
Since my book is about a 13 year old supervillainess, I’ve been asked to write about my favorite villain. How am I supposed to make a choice like that? like dramatic, conflicted characters, and villains provide me that in a heaping helping. To try and wiggle around this tough choice, I am breaking down my list into different media.
Books – I have read so many books, this becomes ‘Who is your favorite villain you remember?’ I’m going with Soulcatcher from Glen Cook’s Black Company books. I have mason jars full of mixed feelings about those books, but in the Ten Who Were Taken, Glen Cook created some of the scariest villains in fantasy history. They are physically warped and crippled, mentally deranged, emotionally selfish and sadistic, and magically unstoppable. Their personalities were both believably human and murderously evil.
Soulcatcher is my favorite, with her constantly changing voices from the people she’s eaten, concealing her appearance to pretend she’s as deformed as the other Taken, and her almost being a tragic and likable person if it weren’t for the mood swings and the depth of her sadism when she gets mad. Complex, mysterious, and terrifying, she’s a great villain.
Comics – Comics are a minor focus for me, but I do enjoy them. My favorite comic villain is Mojo Lifebringer, at least from the preLiefeld days when the character was created. An insane alien god and plutocrat, Mojo was so divorced from the needs of his mortality that he spent all his time trying to turn other people’s lives into art. He put heroes through the kind of stuff I put my book characters through, and that fascinated me.
In one of his first appearances, he enters Earth in an abandoned warehouse. His divine aura poisons everything around him, and roosting pigeons fall out of the rafters, dead. Picking one up, he breathes life into it and proclaims how beneficent and kind he is. That is why he calls himself the Lifebringer, and it tells you everything about his entertaining madness.
Television – There is no question here. The most evil villain in all of television, in any genre, is an adorable little white rabbit/cat thing named Kyubey from the cartoon Puella Magi Madoka Magica. He is the most true sociopath I have ever seen portrayed. Human life and happiness means nothing to him, and he does not even understand why we see him as evil.
He harvests misery from humanity for what he believes is the greater good. His cute appearance and every action is a lure to convince teenage girls to sign contracts with him so that he can turn them into misery factories and then devour them. The series uses magical girl cuteness to sucker you into a cruel retelling of Faust, and Kyubey is the devil. As a writer, I was impressed.
Movies – Movies allow an integration of acting and concept, and there have been many great movie villains. My favorite has always been Jareth from the movie Laybrinth. He pushes the heroine and pushes her, playing vicious little games and taking every opportunity to preen and pose and look evil. In the end he tells her that he did it all for her, that he was a villain because she wanted to be a hero, that he was scary because she needed someone to fear. Between the writing and Bowie’s acting, I was never quite sure whether he was blaming the victim for fun or telling the absolute truth. The duality there, and the obvious fun he was having as the villain, has stuck with me all my life. No movie villain has ever displaced him as my favorite.
Thanks for stopping by Richard!
Richard Roberts has fit into only one category in his entire life, and that is ‘writer’, but as a writer he’d throw himself out of his own books for being a cliche.
He’s had the classic wandering employment history – degree in entomology, worked in health care, been an administrator and labored for years in the front lines of fast food. He’s had the appropriate really weird jobs, like breeding tarantulas and translating English to English for Japanese television. He wears all black, all the time, is manic-depressive, and has a creepy laugh.
He’s also followed the classic writer’s path, the pink slips, the anthology submissions, the desperate scrounging to learn how an ever-changing system works. He’s been writing from childhood, and had the appropriate horrible relationships that damaged his self-confidence for years. Then out of nowhere Curiosity Quills Press demanded he give them his books, and here he is.
As for what he writes, Richard loves children and the gothic aesthetic. Most everything he writes will involve one or the other, and occasionally both. His fantasy is heavily influenced by folk tales, fairy tales, and mythology, and he likes to make the old new again. In particular, he loves to pull his readers into strange characters with strange lives, and his heroes are rarely heroic.