Last year, I had the pleasure of having my first book, The League of Regrettable Superheroes, published by the fine folks over at Quirk Books in Philadelphia, PA. Although the cat has been out of the bag for a little while, I'm nonetheless proud to announce that the logical sequel -- The Legion of Regrettable Super-Villains -- is slated to debut on March 28th! You can now pre-order the book over on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and probably on the weird superhero book black market. It does thriving business!
To whet your appetite for the new book, every Friday leading up to the release date, I'll be providing brief snapshots of just some of the 108 (!) historically effed-up bad guys covered in the book (and that's not even counting the sidebars).
Strangely, not every super-villain who takes up this grim, absurd career is all that emotionally stable! No kidding, really! Here's a selection of sinister sad-sacks who could really probably just use a little rest and therapy ...
Created by Jerry Siegel and Paul Reinman
Debuted in The Shadow #8 (Archie Adventure Series, September 1965)
You may take my word for it, as a guy who runs a blog recounting every single appearance of Superman across every form of media one-at-a-time, that Jerry Siegel is a writer who knows melancholy. When he wasn't having Superboy metaphorically save the father that he, himself, could not, he was coming up with daffy and dour crooks like Elasto here. A stretchable supervillain who'd once been a law-abiding scientist, the accident which gives him super-stretching powers also gives him clinical depression. Coerced by his damaged mind to commit acts of evil, Elasto simply won't shut up about it. He's like Tumblr but without the porn accounts. It's almost a mercy when he's tricked into expanding to the size of the universe and passes out.
Created by: Steve Gerber, Gene Colan and John Tartaglione
Debuted in Daredevil (and The Black Widow) vol.1 No.100 (Marvel Comics, June 1973)
Hippie counter-culture doesn't get a lot of good press in comics, with peace-loving kids frequently portrayed either as laugh-a-minute figures of ridicule or angry yippie devils. All David Angar (of the Connecticut Angars) ever really wanted was for his people's dreams of peace and plenty to have a chance to come true. And if that means taking orders from a "suit" and a "man" (where I come from, we call that "a fully-dressed man"), then he will! The problem is, though, that not-evil-but-angry Angar does end up losing his mind and, as crimefighter Daredevil tells him, "You're on a violence trip." When his girlfriend is murdered, Angar goes balls-wild and starts screaming up a hallucinogenic psychedelia death storm. It happens, that, it happens all the time. It'll be fine, I'm sure. PS whenever they bring this guy back, he's still dressed like a hippie.
Created by Eddie Campbell, Pete Ford, and Eric Battle
Debuted in Catalyst: Agents of Change vol.1 No.5 (Dark Horse Comics, June 1994)
Trying to take over the world is the primary raison d'etre of the modern major supervillain, and it's hard work. Imagine how much harder it is for villains who already run the world! That's the premise behind this drunk, feckless, disappointed and disillusioned so-called bad guy. Once an engineering whiz, he becomes fascinated by calculators and, like, how they work. Living in a town without an ITT or a Reddy Kilowatt comic at the local library, he finds out instead that it's magic, just like magnets. This enrolls him into a club of reality-shaping mystery men who rule the world. It's a little too much responsibility for someone who just probably wanted to figure out the difference between the "C" and "CE" buttons, plus also he accidentally creates a giant gorilla to rampage through midtown. The end.