The World is Yours! The 5 Step Guide to Super Villainy
So You Want to be a Super Villain...
The title of "super villain" is, unsurprisingly, one few aspire to, and yet can be an extremely rewarding and, however arduous, exciting career path. Bear in mind that this career will not appeal to everyone. It takes a special person to hold human life in utter disregard, to actively pursue the terrorization of entire populations and to command respect from his minions while donning a green cloak or a white jumpsuit. The hours are unpredictable, the opposition fierce, and there exists the remote possibility of perishing in an extremely swift and well-coordinated air-strike against your base of operations.
But with my five-step program you can optimize your chances of becoming an effective, heartless, terror-inducing S.V. (Super Villain). With a little work, you can be standing atop a moonlit spire of your own 17th century castle, laughing maniacally while moving your pawns on the chessboard of life.
Step One: Study
I cannot emphasize this enough. You are, after all, trying to be a "super" villain. It's important that you are able to outsmart your opponents and manipulate your allies, so get in that library and hit those books. I strongly suggest subject matter directly related to your specific goals (i.e. world domination, global devastation, household domination, etc.) Try to focus on those topics which will improve your ability to manipulate others (Psychology), enhance your business management skills (Some, uh... business classes), and help define what makes you special. Does playing Toccato and Fugue in D minor on a huge pipe organ appeal to you? How about taking in an opera or symphony every Saturday night? Or pursuing falconry? Whatever quirky trait you adopt, remember: Make it your own. No one will remember you if you don't possess at least one interest/hobby that sets you apart from the crowd.
While I stress the importance of pursuing a mindset of cold, analytical, rationale, the underlying passion which defines an S.V. should not be ignored. It is, in essence, what makes a villain truly villainous, for it is a trait to which the public can readily identify with. However, the feelings of reverent elegance which are often experienced by the average individual when listening to a work such as Mozart's Requiem will most likely be replaced by a desire to level whole city blocks by yourself. You're special, embrace it.
Step Two: Study More!
Put a large emphasis on math and science, particularly those subjects which will help assist you in viewing the planet less like a thriving, beautiful, web of life, and more like a host of organically sustained numbers that could use a good thinning. Statistics should help, as well as any subject that can aid you in making every decision based not on emotion, but on cold, hard, numbers.
Beware of Ethics
If you plan on attending a university in hopes of pursuing Super Villainhood, try to avoid those courses which may unwittingly impress a sense of ethics or morality upon you. General philosophy courses may be playing with fire, and definitely avoid those courses dealing with the philosophy of ethics. Sure, your Professor may be a postmodern relativist, unwilling to take a hard-line stance on many issues of morality, but the odds are fairly strong that he/she will strongly oppose the subjugation/extermination of those humans who oppose you. If you absolutely have to take classes of this nature, it would probably be best to avoid mentioning your plans to your Professor, and everyone in your entire class. Probably the entire college body too. Better yet, just don't tell anyone anything at this stage.
Destroy the insects
The study of Darwinism will be of great help here, especially when applied socially, The quicker you start viewing the human race less as a divinely-inspired creation and more as a highly-evolved, fairly obnoxious insect the quicker you can begin the process of eliminating your enemies and large amounts of civilians.
Bear in mind that your minions, associates, or, God forbid, business partners may take serious issue with being viewed as a large insect. Thus, this is an opinion best kept to yourself during the preliminary stages of empire-building. After establishing your dominance, decide for yourself what the best policy is. Are your minions (Your associates/partners should be eliminated by this stage) the sort of people who thrive on positive reinforcement and a reward system? Or is rigid discipline, terror, and disproportionate punishment a more effective approach? You be the judge.
Step Three: Money=Power
Without money, you're not only largely ineffective, you're kind of creepy. No one is going to take a guy wearing a cape seriously unless that guy is seen getting picked up/dropped off by a limo, chopper, or private jet. More importantly, you can pretty much disregard this entire list without an obscene amount of money. How are you going to get a respectable education? A Bavarian castle? Minions? In pursuit of the coveted label "super villain" this must be your first aspiration. Thankfully, with little to no moral consideration blocking your way, any financial endeavor that crosses your mind, however base, may be pursued. The porn industry, drug trafficking, child labor...nothing is off limits. Just generate some serious income. Of course, such unscrupulous activities may catch the attention of various law-enforcement agencies, and while I advise you to avoid incarceration, most super villains have had to put in some time in this regard. View your time in prison as an opportunity to hone your skills, connect with potential minions, and brush up on your Machiavelli.
Step Four: Location, Location, Location!
Whether atop the lofiest mountain peak, or within the deepest recess of the earth, your base of operations/place of residence must invoke a sense of unmitigated power, spark architectural interest, and display a keen grasp of organization. Whether it be a castle deep within the dark forests of Latveria or a neo-clasically inspired mansion on a remote tropical island, your lair must be big, bad, and hidden. It should reflect your personal megalomania, temporary delusions of grandeur, and a sense of pompous entitlement. Keep it well stocked in case of emergency (which, inevitably will come), outfit it with a secret escape tunnel and install a self-destruct system. Whether or not you opt for big red lights and sirens to warn your minions of the imminent destruction of your compound, you must implement a countdown. With a preliminary escape plan in mind, five minutes should be more than ample time to escape the devastation.*
*Power note: If this most disagreeable of events does occur, you are fully allowed, in fact almost encouraged to mourn the loss of your lair. But one tear shed for any loss of human life is highly frowned upon. If you experience any tinge of emotion upon the death of a former employee, perhaps consider a different vocation. The field of evil geniushood is not for you.
Step Five: Flair for Terror
Flair is optional, but can do wonders in the realm of psychological impact. Often the implementation of flair is directly related to a physical defect, such as a limp (cane), poor eyesight (monocle), missing limb (prosthetic), or horrible and irreversible facial disfigurement (big iron mask). if you suffer from a visibly obvious physical defect, consider yourself lucky: You're halfway there! If not, don't worry in the slightest. Dr. Doom, in the "infant" stage of S.V..hood, suffered a small facial injury. But Doom, in his infinite wisdom, knew that this negligible scar didn't exactly warrant covering up his face with an iron mask for the rest of his life. So how did he overcome this obstacle? He had the mask put on his face immediately after its forging! Believe me, red-hot metal, when applied to flesh and allowed to cool, will do some fairly extensive epidermal damage. Consider yourself inspired.
Implement the Flair! There are a variety of reasons and benefits to the implementation of flair. The most obvious being that if you do indeed suffer from a disbaility such as a limp, then the most personally responsible course of action is to invest in a cane. Secondly, your personalized flair speaks a clear message to the world, it says "I'm different than you, and if you don't like it, I'll feed you to the komodo dragons I keep in my basement."
The last, and most important benefit of flair, is the component of fear it can induce. I can almost gurantee that if you walk into a busy Starbucks with an obsidian skull mask and a prosthetic arm ending in a rusty meat hook, you can probably bud into the line anywhere you please.*
*Power note: If anyone contests this, be polite, say little to no words in response, and REMEMBER THEIR FACE. Even a minor slight should be met with complete overreaction on your part. Exit the store, call your minions, and deal with the offending party appropriately. If especially insulted, perhaps a visit to the afforementioned's friends or relatives is in order. You be the judge. Just make sure the retribution completely outweighs the initial offense. You are evil, after all.
Some Good Places to Start...
Animals Will Love you no Matter What
Power note II: During bouts of vengeance (which, if you are doing your job, there will be many) you will inevitably come into contact with family pets. These are, generally speaking, usually left unharmed. As odd as it may sound, the malajusted super villain is often motivated by a reaction against the inherent sinfulness of human nature. Odds are, a super villain has had an extremely traumatic and unjust act thrust upon them as a child, and is primarily reacting against that event, using it as a justification for the surpassingly sinister actions foisted upon the human race. That being said, there is a certain respect the super villain holds for that rarest of virtues, innoncence. Cruelty for its own sake does not appeal to the true super villain, and one should never adopt an attitude of sadistic cruelty, but rather indifference. The super villain may, however, eliminate those organisms that mean to oppose him (guard dogs or innocent bystanders), but inconveniencing oneself solely for the sake of inflicting torture on uninvolved parties is a serious faux pas on part of the S.V. and should never, under any circumstances, be pursued. The domestic house cat is particularly not exempt from this rule, as they are the super villains of the animal kingdom.
A Brief Look into the Lives of Successful S.V.s
S.V.'s come in all types and sizes, and what works for one S.V. might not work for you. The following list will give you a good idea of where to garner inspiration, and who to imitate and why.
The Alpha Club
No Tolerance=No Dissension
The upper eschelon of S.V.hood, the veritable cream of the crop. Theirs is an absolute, all-encompassing authority with no room for sharing and no patience for negotiation. The hammer has fallen, and it will not budge an inch.
Number One: Victor Von Doom
The quintessential super villain. Doom perfectly characterizes each of the five steps. From traumatic childhood to prestigious education to King of Latveria, Doom has put it in the work necessary to earn him the title of greatest of super villains, and is at the very top of my list.
Number Two: Sauron, Dark Lord of Mordor
The reasons for Sauron's 2nd place status are simple. First, he's not even technically human, and most importantly, he lost. Granted, 1000+ years is a good run, and finding the strength of will to transform oneself into a big, fiery eyeball after having one's body completely obliterated is really impressive, but even so, after all that hard work, one little hobbit slipped unnoticed into his realm and destroyed his entire empire. Tsk, tsk Sauron.
Number Three: Darth Vader
This was a difficult decision. He was, after all, 2nd in command. Also, his nancy-pants return to the light side should be held in contempt by S.V.s everywhere. But still, his almost robotic apathy regarding murder, the vast scope of the empire he co-ran and the cultural phenomenon he has become place him in the Alpha Club. Oh, and he eventually killed the emperor.
Number Four: Lex Luthor
An easy choice for the Alpha Club. Luthor is obscenely wealthy and yet morally bankrupt. His arch-enemy is Superman, and yet even the man of steel hasn't been able to keep him down for very long. A most resilient S.V.
The Good Intentions Club
These are those S.V.s whom, for whatever reason, just don't quite get it. The skills are there, as are the intentions, and yet these guys just can't seem to command supreme authority over others. Those S.V.'s in this category invariably experience management difficulties, and are in constant danger of having their authority usurped by their second-in-command, i.e. Skeletor by Beast-Man, Cobra Commander by Destro, etc. The G.I. club member is usually spending way too much time trying to eliminate his arch-nemesis, and is thus fairly ineffective in reaching the S.V.'s ultimate goal: world domination.