A Classification Scheme for Villains

The Axes of Evil

The working title of the book is currently “The Field Guide to Villains.” And as I outline it, I realize that the topic covers a lot of ground. How do I make sense of all these bad guys? How do I compare one to another? How can I organize and describe, not just the Joker or Darth Vader, but rather, make sense of the entire field?

I channeled the World’s Most Dangerous Consultant, Edwin Windsor, and developed a quadrant diagram. I could have filled it in with famous characters, but I thought it might be more beneficial to identify the edge cases and see if my scheme made sense to anybody else. So, commenters, what do you have to say?

The Axes of Evil

11 Replies to “A Classification Scheme for Villains”

  1. I think Bane is in the wrong place, possibly on both axis. He was certainly more intelligent than the average man, he figured out Batman’s identity and constructed a plan to push him to the limits of his endurance (observing him for months beforehand and releasing the Arkham inmates).

    I’m also not sure he falls on the side of Chaos, he certainly created chaos but it wasn’t for chaos’ sake. he wanted to take down the Bat, he had a goal.

    And now I’m just realising that you might be talking about the movie version, not the comic book, and I have to ask the question would he would fall far apart on the scale?

    I guess he wasn’t the leader, he didn’t come up with the plan so he probably was of average intelligence. But I still don’t think he would be that far down the chaos axis. Again he was causing it, but again, for a purpose.

      1. Unintentional. Off the top of my head: Lady MacBeth, Morgan Le Fay, Cruella De Ville, the Wicked Stepmother, Irene Adler, Nurse Ratched, Annie Wilkies, the Queen Mother in Alien.

        But more importantly, who do you think the great female villains are?

    1. Fair enough. This is really a Beta. And I was thinking of the movie Bane. who doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of sense. Can you think of any totally chaotic villan, bad guy or monster. May be a failure in my scheme.

  2. I like this chart, If you where to add another value like effectiveness by changing the size of the mapped data point like a bubble chart. Also I wonder if you were to rank the villain before charting to give relative over absolute ranking.

    thanks darren

      1. Hello, After thinking about it. I think, productivity, is the 3rd aspect. How hard are these are they working to get to the goals? Zombies for example would be a really big circle they are foucssed on getting lunch and do nothing that will divert them. Bane however is a merc and only works for pay so if you dont hire him he is not working the evil mojo. The bond villian are always working the long plan for their schemes while bond whom is mostly clueless, just gets lucky once and wins the day. In short if you going to be evil work at it…

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