I’ve also read recently that the best villains are the opposites of the hero. While I’m sure that works for the comic books with Heat Man invariably going up against Madam Frigid, or Hydroxy Cut, I decided to do a little bit of a fun game. It was inspired by the interesting idea that when you take the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” and translate it into German, then into Japanese, and finally back into English it becomes “Invisible, insane”.
How so very true. Out of sight would be invisible, and out of your mind would be insane.
So I took this and found a group of heroes that I like. Some comic book characters, some literary heroes, and some traits that are traditionally paired with a good or brave person.
I put those descriptive words into thesaurus.com, highlighted an antonym, and then chose the antonym of that antonym.
I was too a few times.
Here is what I did:
Courage is a heroic trait. An antonym of Courage is obviously Fear.
The Antonyms of Fear are: assurance, calmness, cheer, confidence, contentment and on.
I chose the trait that could be an “evil” characteristic. Confidence.
Selfless became worthiness.
Humility became assertiveness.
At first I was going to keep this little tidbit a secret. Then I though, “why?”
Keeping this a secret won’t make me a better writer, and it may make other writers greater.
Or it’s just a cheap trick. Either way I’m going to try it and see if something new and original comes from it. I’m not implying it hasn’t been done before, but I know some of my favorite comic villains are the ones that are not just mirror reflections of the hero. On the surface Joker is Batman’s opposite; murderous, a fool, bright and colorful and unrestrained in any way. In a deeper way he isn’t an opposite of Batsy, he’s the opposite of organized crime, the original target of Batman. That’s why Bats isn’t prepared for anything Joker does, and why he was such a compelling villain (especially in Chris Nolan and David Goyers hands).
Joker is the opposite of “good for virtue’s sake”, he is a criminal for the sake of crime. Evil for evil’s sake, whereas Batman has been the victim of injustice and wears the mantle of vengeance.
That’s what’s going on my end.