Do you have a flair for the dramatic and a gigantic axe to grind with your local superhero? You might be an excellent candidate for becoming a supervillain! Unsure of where to turn for advice about creating a costume, hiring a henchman, and securing a secret (and deadly) lair?
Fortunately for you (and, er, unfortunately for him) Matt D. Wilson, of the excellent War Rocket Ajax podcast, was kidnapped by notorious supervillain King Oblivion and forced to write the definitive guide to mayhem and destruction: The Supervillain Handbook, a hilarious and informative resource for anyone who desires to turn to a life of over-the-top crime.
Wilson has recovered enough from his ordeal to talk about the experience–read our interview, below. Plus, check out our six-page preview of The Supervillain Handbook–you won’t regret it. Plus, enter our Supervillain Contest: the last person to comment on our special Facebook post by 5 p.m. PST today will win a signed copy of the book!
TFAW.com: So how did you meet King Oblivion, Ph.D.?
Matt D. Wilson: I was working as a reporter at a newspaper when he took the entire staff hostage one afternoon. He asked, “Does anyone here read comic books?” and someone pointed to me. Next thing I knew I had a bag on my head and was on my way to a theater where my eyes where held open as I was forced to watch propaganda films about K.O.’s achievements. I don’t know how long I was there. Days? Weeks? Months? Anyway, after the films ended, King Oblivion told me, “You’re going to help me write a book,” which meant, “You’re going to do all the work while I try to turn the city’s water into spoiled milk.”
TFAW.com: Why did he create The Supervillain Handbook? Isn’t he worried about breeding a bunch of competitors? Or is he hoping to recruit some new blood, Legion of Doom-style?
MDW: My understanding was that he felt a need to prove his superiority, and gave constant assurance that he could put any aspiring supervillain who tried to usurp him in his or her place with little effort.
TFAW.com: How did Adam Wallenta become involved with this book?
MDW: Adam has worked with the publisher, Skyhorse, on some other projects, notably author Scott Kenemore’s zombie books. He was a great fit.
TFAW.com: Who do you think are the greatest supervillains in the history of comics?
MDW: King Oblivion dedicated The Supervillain Handbook to Dr. Doom, and I can’t argue. (Literally. He put a collar on me that prevents me from arguing with him.) But, really, Dr. Doom is the tops. Darkseid is also up there.
TFAW.com: This is a really detailed, step-by-step guide to becoming a supervillain. Will you feel any personal responsibility if this inspires a new generation of villainy?
MDW: I reject any and all legal responsibility whatsoever for anyone who attacks any city hall with a group of irradiated monkeys.
TFAW.com: What makes someone a good fit for a life of destruction and mayhem?
MDW: The number-one thing is theatricality. If your first instinct, when you want to get rid of a pesky superhero, is to tie them to a giant piano string or zap them with a ray that turns them into a glob of purple goo, you’ve got the right mindset. And that’s what matters. Shooting and stabbing are so pedestrian.
TFAW.com: What are some obvious pitfalls a new supervillain should avoid at all costs?
MDW: Expecting that you won’t, at some point, get punched by a superhero. You’re going to get punched. Prepare yourself for it. Also, it’s pure folly to ever trust another supervillain. You can team up with them, sure, but always be ready to stab your compatriot in the back at the first sign of trouble.
TFAW.com: What, in your opinion, is the role of the henchman in today’s supervillain society? Are they being replaced by apps, or what?
MDW: They’re as important as ever, but don’t tell them that. They might grow some confidence and start thinking they’re above being expendable cannon fodder. You can’t send an app after a superhero team to take a beating on your behalf.
TFAW.com: What are your personal essentials for a good secret lair?
MDW: It’s got to have lots of space. You need to have somewhere to store all the giant magnifying glasses and moon-carving machines you’re going to be amassing over the next several years. It’s more imposing if it’s hidden within something natural, like a volcano or under the ocean, though big skyscrapers or clock towers do look cool. Bonus points if you can make it fly, whatever it is.
TFAW.com: Were there any surprises that popped up while you worked on the book?
MDW: There was that week Micro Sophie found out that we were writing the book, charged into our lair, shrunk us and transported us in a thimble to a very small maximum security prison. Luckily, we managed to escape by hypnotizing some centipedes and fighting our way out. Then it was back to work.
TFAW.com: What are your favorite comic book series, at the moment?
MDW: I love Mark Waid’s Daredevil. The Sixth Gun is great. I’m bummed out that Scalped and Sweet Tooth are ending. Chew. Animal Man. Batwoman. Batman.
TFAW.com: What’s next for you? Will there be a sequel?
MDW: Only time will tell about a sequel. I’ve got some ideas for where one could go, and I’ve got some other ideas for other, unrelated humor books, as well as comics pitches. In the immediate, I’m continuing to work on my webcomic, Copernicus Jones, with artist Daniel Butler and see if I can get that in print fairly soon. I’ve got my podcast, War Rocket Ajax, with Chris Sims, and all the writing I do online. I’ve got a full plate, for those times King O. doesn’t have me locked in a room, tasting all the various liquids he’s turned water into.
Our condolences once again to Wilson for his traumatic (yet creativity-inducing) experience–thanks for answering all of our questions! You can order The Supervillain Handbook right here at TFAW.com–check it out today! Plus, comment on our Supervillain Facebook post by 5 p.m. PST tonight for your chance to win a signed copy of the book!
What do you think? Have you always secretly wanted to be a supervillain? Post your comments below!