Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Legion of Regrettable Super-Villains



BOOKLOG 66: LEGION OF REGRETTABLE SUPER-VILLAINS
by Jon Morris

A followup to the author’s remarkable League of Regrettable Super-Heroes, this book takes a look at the super-villains that have threatened the super-heroes, both regrettable and not, since super-heroes began to protect the denizens of the comic book worlds. While I absolutely loved the predecessor, I found this book harder to get into, mainly because these super-villains were so much more…regrettable. I actually felt sorry for the villains because they were so awful! But that in its way is its charm; the villains are goofy and their downfall, because of that, is inevitable.

For example, there’s the villain who devised how to put poison into brick (and no, how is apparently never explained, nor whether it’s feasible to carry some around for nefarious purpose). His name is Brickbat, but there’s an elegance in naming, right? There’s Bloor, the dictator of Uranus (the author has much too much fun with juvenile jokes, and how can you blame him?), Captain Black Bunny—yes, a bad bunny. So cute, so evil! The Horrible Hand, the wicked version of the officious and useful version of The Addams Family’s Thing, I would guess; and along the same lines, there’s Mr. Pointer, the Finger of Fate (not to be mistaken with the Fickle Finger of Fate, of course). Also Robbing Hood, who really is the robs everyone for himself, and Sinistro, Boy Fiend. Just “Boy Fiend” would do, but no, it’s Sinistro, Boy Fiend!

What I found particularly funny but it makes sense is that many of these villains have their authors as uncredited. Which makes sense, of course. If you wanted to keep working, would you want to admit to having created some of these? Nevertheless, there are still notables in the industry who did cop to inventing some of these sad sacks of comics, notables such as Otto Binder, SF author and classic comics writer; Will Eisner, creator of The Spirit; Stan Lee; William Moulton Marston, creator of Wonder Woman; Joe Simon, a giant of the industry (you may be familiar with a character named Captain America); and the Jerry Siegel, co-creator of Superman. I can only assume that even the greats can be stumped for an idea once in a while and come up with one of these.

One of these like Ugly Man. Doctor Bong. The Generic Man. The Ghetto-Blaster. Yep. A late night, a headache…and you come up with one of these.

Overall, these villains are well regrettable. And they’re even funny, once you get over what pathetic creatures they are. Both this book and its companion should be read together to get the right effect; the reader will be reminded that evolution works in this way, too, with the best (or more likely to be regarded as logical) super-heroes to survive and the less logical to be forgotten, and the same goes for super-villains. Once I got over how sorry I felt for these regrettable super-villains, I enjoyed the book. And so will you.

Elizabeth MS Flynn has written fiction in the form of comic book stories, romantic fantasies, urban fantasies, historical fantasies and short stories, a young adult novel, and a graphic novella (most published under the name of Eilis Flynn). She’s also a professional editor and has been for 40 years, working with academia, technology, and finance nonfiction, and mystery, science fiction, fantasy, and romance fiction. If you’re looking for an editor, she can be found editing at emsflynn.com and reached at emsflynn@aol.com. If you’re curious about her books, check out eilisflynn.com. In any case, she can be reached at eilisflynn@aol.com.

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