The Generic Villain on Poses

You are The Main Villain, and it’s your time. The part where you reveal yourself to those foolish heroes who choose to defy you. You’ve got your best armor/biggest coat/creepiest prosthetics/most intimidating combination of visible magic effects, the spot where you’re supposed to come in is just right, and all you have to do is appear, strike about one sentence’s dialogue worth of pose, and they’ll all be quaking in their gloriously destined boots.

What can possibly go wrong?

The first thing to consider, before you’re even at a point where you need to pose, is the question of “What am I going for with this?” Nine times out of ten, the answer is some form of intimidation—but intimidation fails a lot, often due to people choosing a pose or other form of presentation that gives the wrong message.

Unless you are The Fop of Doom (don’t scoff; I’ve known a lot of demons who’ve done some degree of pulling that off), you don’t want your opponents to think that you’re deliberately posing. That gets lampshades thrown at you pretty quickly, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this industry, it’s that in most cases, lampshades are a lesser form of kryptonite to us unless we’re the ones wielding them. As soon as someone points out that nobody should be able to take you seriously, your efficacy might as well have been swiped wholesale. Instead, you need to take the bodily arrangement that most surely gets across your intended effect and internalize it, so when you reach the part in your dramatic entrance where you pause with some sort of light or greater darkness at your back, it all naturally falls into place. This does, I admit, mean practice, but really, I’m sure we can take some of that out of the time we generally spend brooding or talking over our plans for the sake of villain cutaways. Note: if your opponents are prone to posing, you’ve got a lot more slack; you just need to limit your posing to the amount of posing they do. (And if they do anything that could reasonably be called transforming, your job has probably become a lot easier.) I’d still recommend practicing; there’s no blow to your dignity quite like having to break a perfectly good pose to move your foot/deal with the wrenching feeling in your back/recover your balance because your center of gravity is in the wrong place.

Female Hands of Darkness: try to avoid anything that makes it look like you replaced your spine with a semi-solid chain of nerve-impulse-transmitting ectoplasm. Wait. Let me rephrase that. Female Hands of Darkness: if you MUST use a pose that makes it look like you replaced your spine with a semi-solid chain of nerve-impulse-transmitting ectoplasm, make sure you’re doing it for creep factor rather than because it is The Sexy Thing To Do (I’ll be back to THAT in a moment). And if you’re doing it for creep factor, I strongly suggest going for something that is completely humanly impossible rather than just pretending to be humanly possible. Otherwise, people are going to do things like ask if that hurts or try to get the phone number of your chiropractor.

Speaking of which, The Sexy Thing To Do. We’ve discussed this before, but let me make one thing clear—if what you’re trying for is an intimidating pose, and your schtick is not My Sexy Will Destroy You, for the love of the Dark Powers don’t make a special effort to show off your assets! If you’re going for intimidation, the result you want to get is [cowers before that], not “I’d tap that.” And while one does occasionally get opponents with phobias of specifically-sexy opponents, don’t assume you’re going to have them unless you have reliable confirmation. Common sense, people, do you have it?

There’s more to making a good entrance and striking an effective pose than that, but taking these into consideration should at least keep the heroes’ first response to you from being some variation on “who’s this loser?” or [uncontrollable laughter].

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