The role of a villain in a comic book is simple, to escalate the stakes for the hero, to bring out their heroic side, to give them something to fight against, to make the story exciting. And oftentimes, the more vile, evil, and despicable the villain, the more we root for the hero, and cheer when they bring down the big bad. But what if the villain is not actually that bad of a person? In recent years, comics, TV show and movies have been toying with the idea of three-dimensional villains, who have surprising depth and motivation for their more heinous actions, making them more relatable and making audiences wonder if they might act similarly if they found themselves in the same situation. And it seems this kind of thinking actually goes back farther than recent times. Stan Lee himself has created classic “villains” that he himself never really saw that way.

Recently, while attending the Rhode Island Comic Con, Stan Lee took time to speak with a 14 year old fan and leukemia survivor, an interview which was set up by a local ratio station named Cat Country. During the chat, Stan Lee was asked all manner of questions about comics, his favorite comics, Spider-Man stories, etc, but things got really interesting when he was asked about his favorite super villains, and Stan took a moment to clear up some misconceptions about one of his favorite nemesis-type characters, who, as you will read, he does not actually consider to be a “villain” :

“Everybody has Doctor Doom misunderstood. Everybody thinks he’s a criminal, but all he wants is to rule the world. Now, if you really think about it objectively, you could walk up to a policeman, and you could say, ‘Excuse me, officer, I want to tell you something: I want to rule the world.’ He can’t arrest you; it’s not a crime to want to rule the world. So […] it’s unfair that he’s considered a villain, because he just wants to rule the world. Then maybe he could do a better job of it. So I’m very interested in Doctor Doom, and I’d like to clear his name.”

So he is basically saying Doom is not a villain, just a man cursed with wanting to rule the world, but not having any other way of doing it besides having to conquer the world. I know, a little convoluted, but I guess it makes sense. And it certainly explains recent Marvel comics where the character seems to have softened a bit, giving up on his dream of ruling the world and even taking on the mantle of Iron Man in Tony Stark’s absence, much to the chagrin of many heroes. Do you think Stan Lee could be pulling  our leg? Is Doom truly not a villain? Share your thoughts on the matter in the comments below!

Source: Screen Rant