Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Spotlight Post: Three Secrets of Three-Dimensional Antagonists

saunters through the fog with a black cape flapping about his heels, shoulders back, chin tucked so he can fix you with a sinister glare. When his eyes catch yours, you can’t help but shudder at the complete lack of compassion or humanity in his gaze. His chuckle sets your skin crawling, and your brain sends panicked signals to your limbs: run, run, run.
But something holds you back. A tickle at the back of your mind won’t let you quite believe. Haven’t you met this fellow before—at least a dozen times? And aren’t black capes and maniacal laughs a little passé? Does this embodiment of senseless, delighted evil represent dimensional antagonists–or will it be nothing more than a host of clichéd villains?

Dimensional Antagonists–or Melodramatic Clowns?

Sometimes those villains we grew up with—the ones who twirled their curly mustaches, smiled “evilly” to show off a gold tooth, or wore black cowboy hats—like to worm their way out of our memories and crawl onto the page to take up residence in our stories.

 Snidely Whiplash Tying Nell to the Railroad Tracks in Dudley Do-Right
But when that happens, we run the risk of creating a robotic villain who exists solely to resist the hero–or, worse, as some sort of twisted villainous clown whose ineptitude provides nearly as much comic relief as opposition.

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