Joke’s on You

Joker (comics)

Joker (comics) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next one is one most people will recognize: The Joker.

The Joker is a villain that took some time to grow on me. I never thought of him as a criminal mastermind until I got a little bit older. I can see now that he is truly one of the greatest villains around.

I never collected comic books as a kid. My father was more interested in model trains and computers than comic books and baseball cards. Most of my experiences with heroes and villains came from television shows and movies.

The first Joker I have any recollection of was the one voiced by Mark Hamill on Batman: The Animated Series. This incarnation of the joker was acted incredibly well. The trouble comes from the fact that it was a daytime cartoon for children. All the crimes that The Joker committed were harmless. They were covered in a film of clown jokes and everything always seemed to go wrong for him in the end. He was frequently victim to his own traps and jokes.

This kind of made him feel like he was more jester than villain. He was just there for comic relief. He wasn’t to be taken seriously as a dangerous villain for Batman to deal with.

As I have gotten older, I have been exposed to many different versions of The Joker. The most familiar to people that I know is the incredible version in The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger portrayed an amazing version and I think it would have fallen flat with anyone else. This version really brings the core of The Joker into sharp contrast. He is truly insane.

The Joker has no special powers. He is very intelligent, but he isn’t superpowered. His real advantage is his insanity. It makes him unpredictable, and it removes most of the social constraints that the rest of us possess.

What all this creates is a man who is willing to do anything that suits his purposes. Anything that crosses his mind is in play. He is also actually capable of pulling most of it off. He is a true wild card.

This makes him so incredibly frightening because he is the antithesis of what we work every day to build. People work to build predictability and structure. We rail against our very nature to create a safe and predictable environment to live in. The Joker threatens all of that with his very existence.

We’re also drawn to this. He does things with no moral compass. There are a lot of us who wonder what that would be like. To have true freedom to do whatever you want. It’s unknown, unexpected and scary.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

 

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Weeping Angels

Weeping Angels

Weeping Angels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next Villain(s) on the list are some you might not have heard of. They are the Weeping Angels of Doctor Who.

Without getting too much into the specifics of the Doctor Who series(you can do that investigating yourself if you are unfamiliar,) the Weeping Angels are an ancient race of aliens. They attack people by sending them back in time.

The Angels are only able to move when they are not being looked at. If they are seen, they turn to stone. They look just like any other statue of an angel. When they move around other Angels, they frequently cover their eyes so that they do not see other Angels and they are able to move freely. If they happen to be seen by someone else while this is happening, they appear to be weeping, hence their name.

They are very strong and fast. They can move great distances in literally the blink of an eye. When they are attacking and close to someone, they appear more bestial with fangs and claws. They are very adept at working together, and make frightening predators.

What really makes them both frightening and compelling is that they are only able to move when they are being looked at. If you happen to see one, you know that any blink or look away will end in your destruction. You won’t die, but you will be sent back to a time before you were born and no longer be able to live the life you were a part of.

I find this interaction intriguing. Their way of movement is just captivating. It’s devilishly simple, but hard to do. Just. Don’t. Blink. We all know how hard it is to try to not blink. That one simple thing is all that it will take to save you. You will blink, though. Everyone does.

That’s why they’re so scary. There’s an inevitability to the interactions with them. There are ways that people have escaped, and most people will never come in contact with them at all. Once you’re entangled with them, you have few options. It creates a level of discomfort that is something special. You’re constantly uneasy.

Just. Don’t. Blink.

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Moriarty

Jim Moriarty, Consulting Criminal

 

 

The first of the Villains in this series(in no particular order) is Jim Moriarty.

 

 

 

If you aren’t familiar with Jim, he is a recent incarnation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s nemesis to Sherlock Holmes. Sometimes referred to as Professor Moriarty. The version I’m referencing is from the hit BBC show Sherlock. It just finished it’s 3rd series. The first 2 are available on Netflix if you’re interested.

Thinking Sherlock

Thinking Sherlock (Photo credits: Giphy)

 

You should be interested. It’s a beautifully done present day re-imagining of the the old Sherlock Holmes mysteries. The acting is superb, the writing is phenomenal, and it’s a pleasure to watch. Each series is 3 episodes long, and each episode is roughly 90 minutes.

 

Jim Moriarty is exactly like Sherlock Holmes. He is super-humanly intelligent, he is a deductive master, he is not really a people person, and he gets bored very easily. While Sherlock seeks to alleviate his boredom by finding a new case to solve, Moriarty puts his talents to more nefarious uses.

Sherlock has created a professional niche for himself. He is a ‘Consulting Detective’. He doesn’t work for the police, and only solves cases he deems interesting. Moriarty is the opposite. he is a ‘Consulting Criminal’. He puts his massive intellect to use by arranging perfect crimes for people with an idea, but no criminal experience.

What really makes Jim Moriarty so interesting as a Villain is his personality. There are many kinds of mad genius in the realm of fiction. It takes a special kind of person to stand out from the crowd. Moriarty is truly special. His superior intellect means that he is a supremely worthy foe. It’s his changeable personality that really draws you in.

Moriarty can go from whimsy to frightening evil at the drop of a hat. He delights in mocking and taunting, but that never changes the fact that he is the most dangerous man you will ever encounter. He plays with his clients, his victims, and his enemies all just the same.

When he starts to talk you can catch a gleam in his eye. The scary part is that you can never be sure whether that’s his excitement, or his insanity flashing through. Make no mistake, as intelligent and cunning as he is, he is a true psychopath.

That’s what really draws my attention. He has admirable qualities, and he is an exceptionally interesting character. At the heart of him though, he is a murderous psychotic. It’s intriguing to be so interested in a Villain so inhuman.

 

 

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Series!

Ok, I’m here.

I had an idea. I want to do a series on Villains. Comic books, movies, television, villains from all over. I have some favorites.

I want to tell you why some of my favorite villains are so compelling. I want to introduce them to you if you haven’t ever had a chance to experience them.

I’m going to do a post on each of my favorites. I might find more favorites later, but these will be a good place to start. I need to do a little research and planning first. 

So no villain tonight, but I assure you, There will be villains in the days to come!

High Fantasy

I mentioned the other day that I had an idea brewing, but I was a little tire to get into it. Here goes.

I think I may have figured out why I enjoy spending so much time watching movies and television, reading books and playing video games: They’re easier than real life is. Let me explain, because that sounds weird and possibly concerning.

Fairy tales are something a lot of us are exposed to very young. Every society has different versions, but a lot of them are still similar. Quite a few even come from the same basic source: The Brothers Grimm.

Monument to brothers Grimm on the market place...

Monument to brothers Grimm on the market place in Hanau. (Hessen, Germany) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of these fairy tales are designed to communicate something to us as children in an easily digestible fashion. Many of them are structured very similarly; The prince, who is handsome, brave and righteous gets the princess by saving her from something bad. They’re all trying to show us that by doing the good things, even if they’re difficult, we’re in the right and will be rewarded.

This is kind of an oversimplification, but it sort of applies to all of the things I mentioned before. The good guys, get the girls and the reward by defeating the bad guys, even though it’s hard to do. That’s what makes them so entertaining to watch ,and so dangerous at the same time. Most of our everyday lives aren’t anything like that.

or the average person, the most courageous thing we do all day is getting up and going right back to work. It could be to look out for your family, it could be due to a sense of responsibility, or maybe you just need the money to get by. There are no dragons to slay, no wizards to defeat and no armies of evil doers to fell in battle. Entertainment is easy.

All these forms of entertainment make everything so easy and clean. It’s simple to see the good guys win when it’s a battle to the death between ancient enemies. It’s easy to see who is good and who is bad when the good guys are the ones you root for the whole time and the bad guys are looming large over the heroes. That’s also what makes them dangerous.

All these stories don’t prepare us for the basic living that most of us do. I may want to be a hero, because that’s what  I see during my leisure time. I’m not trained to be a hero, and I am also not going to come across moments to be a hero in my everyday life. Entertainment has given me a false sense of things.

It isn’t like I didn’t know that this was the case. It’s easy to see that life isn’t as grand as the stories we tell. That’s why it’s easier for some of us to live the entertainment. Staying wrapped up in a good story where evil is vanquished is nicer than vanquishing the evil of unwashed dishes. Getting on the computer and slaying evil minions is simpler than slaying the grass with the lawnmower.

We live our lives, and we sometimes do great things. Sometimes the things we do that aren’t so great are still us doing what needs to be done. Sometimes, we just have to sit back and let the simplicity of a story tell us what it could be like. Maybe if we lived a different life, in a different time or a different world.

We need that escape from time to time.