Friday, April 24, 2009

Vamps and Villains, Pt. 1

Yeah, I'm out twirling my moustache, trying to create some recognizable-yet-not-total-ripoff villains for my Supers RPG, Criminals and Crusaders.

Years ago, when my dream was to make it big in comics, I had a Note/Sketchbook that had an area you could draw on and a lined column to the right. It was perfect to work out my ideas, blending both sides of the brain: the written word and the visual concept, enabling one to feed off of the other.

My latest ceration? Fiendess, the Cackling Comedienne of Crime. Just think of Phyllis Diller or Jenny McCarthy meeting the Joker and you've nailed it.

Her backstory was a little rough, but I took a hint from Alan Moore's origin of the Joker and realized that an entertaining dame could conceivably get very close to a mob boss or one of his lieutenants.

"Hey, big Mickey. Whatcha' doin' with a broad heah?"
"She makes me laugh. Shut your face."


And when everything goes south as this Las Vegas/Comedy Central girl who started her own cosmetics firm gets asked by the Feds to spy on the Giaconni family? Well, you just knew it had to happen, right? A firefight in the middle of a "Killer Looks" [her legitimate corp] Board meeting and suddenly she is going backwards through a sliding glass door, over a railing and down two stories onto shelves of chemicals?

What's that? A little too Joker-like?

Hey - I SAID it had to be recognizable! ;)

The funny/sad/scary thing was that I felt the pathos of the character - this crazy woman who entertained everyone to be accepted and loved. Classic movie star type, and tied to the Mob. It was inevitable and tragic.

There are bad girls who have had enough - and bad girls who never say "Enough!"

Both are found in the Bible, you know. Here's Rahab the prostitute telling the Israelites, the good guys, she will work with them.

Joshua 2:1-15
Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. "Go, look over the land," he said, "especially Jericho." So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

The king of Jericho was told, "Look! Some of the Israelites have come here tonight to spy out the land." So the king of Jericho sent this message to Rahab: "Bring out the men who came to you and entered your house, because they have come to spy out the whole land."

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. She said, "Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from. At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, the men left. I don't know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them." (But she had taken them up to the roof and hidden them under the stalks of flax she had laid out on the roof.) So the men set out in pursuit of the spies on the road that leads to the fords of the Jordan, and as soon as the pursuers had gone out, the gate was shut.

Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below. Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them, and that you will save us from death."

"Our lives for your lives!" the men assured her. "If you don't tell what we are doing, we will treat you kindly and faithfully when the LORD gives us the land."

So she let them down by a rope through the window, for the house she lived in was part of the city wall.

Rahab helped them and ended up being the great, great, great grandmother of King David and the ancestor of Jesus Christ.

In stark contrast, we see the ruthless Jezebel, widow of weak-willed King Ahab, gets her come-uppance after making sure she was "presentable" - and snide.

2 Kings 9:30-37
Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair and looked out of a window. As Jehu entered the gate, she asked, "Have you come in peace, Zimri, you murderer of your master?"

He looked up at the window and called out, "Who is on my side? Who?" Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. "Throw her down!" Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.

Jehu went in and ate and drank. "Take care of that cursed woman," he said, "and bury her, for she was a king's daughter."

But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet and her hands. They went back and told Jehu, who said, "This is the word of the LORD that he spoke through his servant Elijah the Tishbite: On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs will devour Jezebel's flesh. Jezebel's body will be like refuse on the ground in the plot at Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say, 'This is Jezebel.' "


Ewwwwwwwwwww- the dogs ate her FACE!!

Maybe Maybelline tastes good?

Anyway, my mother had a saying: "Pretty is as pretty does."

When you are crafting your villains, keep in mind that they must have very desirable qualities - beauty, intellect, education, wealth - that THEN become twisted.

'Almost good' people make the BEST villains, I have found.

Have fun creating yours.

Amen.

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