Enjoy comic book history? Chances are you know Seymour Chwast. Don’t miss your chance to see his keynote address “God War Sex” at HOW Design Live in Chicago May 2–6, 2017. Register today and save big!
The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History
In a world filled with polished silver-screen superheroes, one author has curated the unthinkable. Cartoonist Jon Morris delved deep into the past and unearthed a medley of forgotten villains—Robbing Hood, who steals from the poor; Brickbat, who throws poisonous bricks; the Crimson Raider, an evil pirate giant—and collected them all in The Legion of Regrettable Supervillains: Oddball Criminals from Comic Book History.
Morris has divided these eccentric villains into three eras: The Golden Age (1938–1949), when the creation of Superman started an outburst of comics on shelves across America; the Silver Age (1950–1969), when superheroes began evolving and so did their enemies; and The Modern Age (1970–present), when American pop culture began embracing the concept of antiheroes.
Each section is full of gorgeous vintage comic art and poignantly entertaining character entries, complete with the villain’s backstory and superhero rivals. Resurrected, these forgotten villains finally enjoy a moment in the cultural spotlight alongside their overshadowing opponents at the box office.
From the Press Release:
The Golden Age (1938–1949): The creation of Superman spurred a rush to put superheroes onto comic book shelves. In the beginning, their opponents were largely limited to corrupt politicians, industrialists, and gangsters, but before long creators began to flex their creative muscles. Working in a new genre without established rules resulted in some oddball inventions, including the Horrible Hand, Robbing Hood, and poisonous-brick thrower Brickbat.
The Silver Age (1950–1969): As superheroes evolved, so did their enemies. New backstories gave baddies depth that rivaled that of their heroically costumed foils, and recurring appearances gave villains the chance to amass a fan base. Writers looked to fill the needs of a booming postwar economy interested in science, space flight, and espionage, though not always to great success. Notably lamentable examples include Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, Tino the Terrible Teen, Mod Gorilla Boss, and a pirate giant named the Crimson Raider.
The Modern Age (1970–present): In the ’70s, American pop culture began to embrace the idea of the antihero. As the good guys increasingly turned to violence to save the day, villains were forced to up the ante. Characters like Powerhouse, Snowflame, and evil juggling troupe the Death-Throws were part of the era’s collection of indiscriminate evil-doers.