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).
Sometimes there's only so far you can go in your career of choice. There are glass ceilings, office politics, and the changing face of the American workplace. As for options, you can try rebranding yourself, changing careers, launching a startup of your own or, failing that, do what you've always done but evil ...
Created by Unknown
Debuted in: Yellowjacket No.8 (E. Levy Publishing, February 1946)
Strangely, the Mad Architect who bedeviled the golden age superhero Yellowjacket isn't the only golden age mad architect in comics! Heaven knows, there may be many more, but Superman once fought a height-challenged empire-happy nogoodnik named Emil Loring, an architect who captured slave laborers in order to create a monument to his own genius.
The other Mad Architect doesn't have anything nearly as colorful a scheme as Loring. In fact, all he really wants to do is murder all the members of The Architects League, an entity which denied him membership because his house designs all sucked. It happens, man, that's why Betty Crocker kicked me out of America's Test Kitchen. PS I don't know if Betty Crocker has anything to do with America's Test Kitchen, don't @ me.
Created by Bill Woolfolk and Paul Reinman
Debuted in: Top-Notch Comics No.26 (MLJ Comics, April 1942)
"You're never fully dead without a smile!" Ah yes, a pleasant little jingle makes murder all the more palatable. When a failed poet is driven by desperation to steal bread to survive -- and murders the shopowner from whom he's stealing, in a fit of pique -- he accidentally drops one of his totally-shit poems and starts a sensation. Pretty soon, the front-page prestige of the would-be Byron goes right to his head, and the Jingles of Death begin pouring from his poison pen. PS Jingles of Death sounds like Santa's most bad-ass elf.
Eventually, the Jingler's increasingly high-profile murders catch the attention of The Wizard and his sidekick Roy, The Super-Boy. That last one is a real boon for the Jingler, since Roy and Boy already rhyme and that makes his job so much easier. What do you do with Wizard, though? "I'll slit your gizzard" or "You look like a lizard" or, you know, "How about the comedy of Eddie Izzard, in a blizzard, once these sheets of fabric gets scissored?" You wander out of the menacing metaphors pretty quick.
Created by Maurice del Bourgo and an unknown writer
Debuted in: Prize Comics vol.4 No.6 (Prize Comics, June 1944)
The King of the Cattle Rustlers, south of the border (and parts of Texas, it's worth mentioning), the Vaquero takes his cow-crazy crime spree up north to the big city, crossing the paths of The Black Owl and his sometimes sidekicks Yank and Doodle, the super-powered teen twin jerk-offs. Remind me to get into this some day. Those kids suck.
A couple of interesting accolades hang off the sarape-clad shoulders of the Vaquero. First off, he wins. In his first fight with The Black Owl and those stupid jerk kids, the Vaquero straight up wins and gets away. Yay Vaquero! I was on his side all along!
The second great accomplishment is that he manages to smuggle a semi-truck full of dairy cows onto a ferry without anyone noticing. "They're just moving some moo-ing furniture," I'm sure many of the other commuters were thinking. Oh, shit, I should have called it "A moo-ving van!" I quit, you can write the rest of these.
Created by Dick Dillin and an uncredited writer
Debuted in: Blackhawk No.113 (DC Comics, June 1957)
Listen, I kind of hate The Blackhawks too, but you don't see me spending the promising years of my youth building elaborate jails for them just to prove how good I am at my job. Also, I don't build jails, so probably they'd suck and prove that I wasn't very good at my job. I got ahead of myself, hold on.
Gilbert Gaol (whatever happened to him?), latest in a long line of prison architects, mistakenly believes that his ground-breaking design for a super-secure prison was rejected by a big gang of civic leaders. In response, he decides to try to kill the Blackhawks. This salves his wounded ego until he finds out that actually the people in charge liked his prison designs -- so much so that they'll be incarcerating Gilbert there! That seems likely to cause a million breakouts, but at least the Blackhawks got a couple months' reprieve from Gilbert trying to kill them.