Reprise: The Generic Villain vs. the Plucky Comic Relief

Originally posted on July 26, 2009.
You often see these little nuisances hanging around the protagonists. They’re characterized by being engaging underdogs—usually small and cute, but sometimes just lesser in power or Narrative Vitality than the protagonists themselves and somewhat more personable. (Given what angstballs today’s heroes are, though, that’s not hard.) [...]