Growing up, we loved to read about superheroes in comics. Thanks to recent development in CGI, public demand, and studio investments, we’ve got live action movies of those heroes, and children, teenagers or adults enjoyed them together. But not just the heroes, a lot of us would argue that some of the villains are more sophisticated than the heroes, and that’s why we love them. Sometimes, we can’t help but relate to some of their agendas, but of course, secretly. Today, we will take a look at some of the most iconic villains from Marvel and DC, and explore why we love the bad guys.
DC: CAPTAIN COLD
Captain cold is less of a villain and more a lesser goon. But he is loved by the comic readers. Or if you keep up with the CW show “The Flash,” you know him as the charming robber with a good sense of humour. Captain Cold, or Leonard Snart, grew up in poverty. His father was not very kind towards him. As a result, when he was young, he ran away from home and later, chose a life of crime to survive.
Snart had a little sister named Lisa. He was very protective of her and did not want her to get involved with him lest she is affected by his criminal activities.
During his first job (read: robbery), he was apprehended by the Flash. Later, he came to know about the cold gun, which he stole, and thus, became one of the villains that could go against the Flash. He used the gun to either immobilise, or make the ground too slippery for the Flash to move on.
Family issues, poverty, ambition... the traits that we see in Captain Cold help us relate with him. We love him for his humour, daring attitude, and most of all, his relatability.
Sandman (William Baker) is one of the arch enemies of Spiderman. You might remember him from the movie Spiderman 3 (2007). Sandman has the ability to turn the molecules of his body into sand. In the movie, we saw him manipulate sand and take the form of a giant sand monster.
Growing up, Sandman was unhappy. His father had abandoned him and he was brought up by his mother alone. In pre-school, he was bullied by other kids. This went on for a while until he was old enough to fight and took out the bullies by using their own momentum against them.
William got himself into debt and the mob went after him. In the movie, we saw him trying to manage money for his daughter’s treatment. Either way, he turned to crime. Later he came into contact with sand that had been irradiated by an experimental reactor. His body bonded with the radioactive sand and turned him into the Sandman that we know.
With his tragic background, Sandman reminds us that sometimes life is cruel and leaves a scar that cannot heal. Still, in later issues of the comics, we see that Sandman has tried to reform himself and leave his criminal occupation, and ends up an ally of Spiderman.
The fans loved Sandman not only for his ability, but for the depth of character that he has shown.
He reminds us that no matter how many mistakes we make, there’s always time to repent and improve ourselves.
DC: THE JOKER
Let’s be honest. As soon as you read “iconic villain,” the first one to pop in your mind was Joker. And for good reason. Unlike most villains, he’s not driven by any earthly quest, but rather, his thirst is for chaos. This was wonderfully represented in Christopher Nolan’s adaptation of the villain, and Heath Ledger won an Oscar for that performance posthumously. With his own solo moving coming out soon, with Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role, this villain reminds us of the inner conflict of human psychology. We are all good and bad, and most of the time, we just put on a mask that the world wants us to.
With these dark implications, the Joker is very popular amongst young adults. You cannot go to a shopping mall without noticing a “Why so serious” T-shirt these days. Cosplayers love to dress up as Joker for comic cons and other similar events. Our younger generations have taken a keen interest in this villain and are often seen debating about his philosophy and origin.
The Joker is the antithesis of Batman, and that’s why we love him. Together, they compliment each other and show us that life might not be fair, but we can choose our own path.
Comic book fans had known Thanos for a while. Others came to know about him through the series of Marvel movies than lead to “Infinity War” and “Endgame.”
Thanos is a “titan” who seeks the “infinity stones” so he can destroy half of all life in the entire universe. That’s unspeakably bad. Yet, we can sympathise with this mad titan. Why?
There’s more to him than just the heartless resolution and titan-esque physique. In his own words — he wants to save the universe by eliminating half of it, so that the other half may live in peace and not suffer conflict because of shortage of resources. As he said in Infinity War: “I’m the only one with the will to act on it.”
We asked a few fans why they love Thanos so much. One of them said, “I think his philosophy makes sense. You can relate to him when you are stuck in traffic. He means well, even though what he does is not so good.”
After Infinity war, the internet has been awash with meme’s of Thanos and his quotes. We have seen T-shirts with his armour and the debates on how great a villain he is. Whatever their perspective is, Thanos has carved a spot in the minds of comic nerds the world over.