To many people Super Villains are just the Villains of the ‘SuperHero’ genre and this is one way of separating the two groups, but I’m pretentious and want to find a deeper reason. 

What are Villains? 

Villains are characters which take evil actions to achieve their goals, these actions usually have a sizable impact on the plot of the media they are in. However Villains are not always the antagonist of the story, an antagonist being someone whos goals oppose the protagonist, and in some rare cases the Protagonist and Villain are the same character, some examples of these “Villgonists” are Megamind from Megamind and Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War. 

Villains also typically have a close relationship to the Hero of the story, usually this manifests the typical ‘Protagonist vs Antagonist’ which in of itself has many variants namely, ‘Two Sides Of The Same Coin’ Where both the Protagonist and Antagonist have similar backstories/abilities/lives, ‘Opposites’ where the Protagonist and Antagonist are complete opposites and ‘Opposites Attract’ where the Protagonist and Antagonist are complete opposites and their dynamic has some level of romantic undertones or overtones (i.e Batman and Joker). These three examples are of course not all of them as there are many more broad and specific types of Hero/Villain and Protagonist/Antagonist relationships.

These relationships between Hero and Villain often lead to an audience being more engaged with the characters but this isn’t the only reason…

Why are Villains So Popular? 

 Ever since there have been Villains there has undoubtedly been people who prefer Villains to Heroes, and as time has gone on and as society has progressed it become more acceptable to prefer Villains to Heroes as most people would agree that your preferences in fictional characters has nothing to do with who you are as a person, these people are wrong.     

Many viewers of a TV show or movie become most engrossed in the characters we can relate to, but why are there so many of the younger generations, mainly generations Z and Millennial so attached to Super Villains? Well there are a multitude of factors to consider, maybe we just grew up watching to many cartoons or maybe it’s to do with (cut off) 

Queer Coding 

Queer Coding is a term that came about after it was realised that many villains in movies (particularly Disney villains) had characteristics stereotypicly associated with homosexuals, such Villains include ‘Scar’ from The Lion King who had ‘effeminate’ tendancies *show example* 

Or Jessie and James from the Pokemon animated series who were eccentric, colourful and most importantly used to (as it was later stopped) wear the clothing that did not match their presumed genders *show example*

And the most obvious one, Batman, not the more modern Batmen the old Batman the Batman that helped to cause German-American Psychiatrist Dr Fredric Wertham to write ‘The Seduction of The Innocence’ in 1954, a book about the effects of comic books on youths, but it is abhorrently homophobic and stated that quote “The lesbian counterpart of Batman may be found in the stories of ‘Wonder Woman’”(page 192) end quote, one of many quotes blaming comic books for ‘Homosexual Propaganda’. But nevertheless this did help to lead a campaign against comic books, but that’s a topic for another day. 

So what does queer coded characters have to do with relatablilty, well turns out the Melenial and Z generations are the most openly queer generations in history, with 15.9% of generation Z and 9.1% of Melenials identifying as gay or transgender, acording to an article by ‘them.’ magazine.  

But many could still argue that queer coded characters arent in of themselves queer, but then comes the interesting case of DC comic’s ‘The Joker’. 


To many who have seen media depicting The Joker he’s just an eccentric psychopath, but what he is behind the psychopathic, eccentric, flamboyant, brightly dressed, fashionable and make up is ‘The Homophobic Nightmare’, the Joker represents all that is feared by homophobic people, the Joker is an anarcist hes dressed in an uncommon manor and he’s obsessed with a man. 

There have been many times throughout DC Comics inwiched its pointed out that Joker loves Batman *show examples* and it’s not limited to just the comics, in ‘The Dark Knight’ Joker outright states that he is completed by Batman, and in the Leo Batman movie Batman and Joker’s relationship is a metaphor for a romantic relationship. 

But is that what makes Super Villains Super? The relatability to them? No, but the attributes and characteristics given to villains through queer coding  is a big part of what does seporate Villains and Super Villains which is of course-

*Play “Presentation” scene from Megamind* 


The showmanship of Super Villains is something that most Super Villains have down to a science, but none like Megamind from 210’s Megamind. The movie follows the ‘Villganist’ Megamind, a blue alien who loses his drive to be a Villain after he kills his lifelong rival Metro Man. But what’s really important is Megamind’s showmanship, every time he confronts a ‘Hero’ he puts effort into his entrance, which is extremely evident in his fight against ‘Titan’ 

*Play “Presentation” clip again* 

THIS in my mind is what mainly separates Villains and Super Villains, take for example the antagonist and Villain of “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, Ultron, he doesn’t have much presentation on entrances, he usually drops in or is already there just slightly hidden. Now compare that back to Megamind who put together a giant mech and a special outfit for a debut fight against Titan, the effort the character Megamind puts into every aspect of Villainy, it art to him. 

Even though Super Villains aren’t real, it’s great to imagine and sometimes see the quote on quote work they put into it, one line from Mark Hamill’s Joker that sticks with me is “Without Batman crime has no punchline” which I think perfectly illustrates both Joker’s obsession with Batman and that Super Villains mostly do what they do for the Super Hero, or as Megamind puts it “The Game” to a lot of Villains it’s serious business, toppling rivals, killing the Hero, only caring about their goal, but Super Villains? They want to have fun with it, trade witty one liners with the Hero,  be who they are no matter how out of the ordinary, colorful or however many hours of make up it takes and pursue who they love, to be foiled by.