Monday, November 03, 2008

13 Posts: The Doctor is In

What's Halloween without Frankenstein's monster? And what's Frankenstein's monster without Doc Frankenstein himself? The mad scientist, cackling over beakers of bubbling substances best left unidentified, seeking out forbidden knowledge, daring That Which Man Ought Not to Dare, is a classic stock character that works in almost every genre. From horror to sci-fi, superhero adventure to medieval fantasy (mad alchemists count!), and even mundane fiction, popular culture just wouldn't be the same without the mad scientist. It's safe to say that the character type originates from the (sadly still very prevalent) phobia of scientific advancement that permeates our culture, though personally I think all the Victor Frankensteins and Lex Luthors are balanced out by scientists like Emmet "Doc" Brown and Agatha Heterodyne who use their prodigious brainpower to help the forces of good, not hinder them.

Dr Sivana pinup by ~simonpimpernel on deviantART

Without a doubt, my favorite mad scientist is the one and only Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, archnemesis of your hero and mine, Captain Marvel, and RIGHTFUL RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!!! HEH HEH HEH! He's just so willfully, deliberately, unequivocably, and joyfully eeeeeeeeeeevil! How can you not love a villain whose stated goals are as follows:

1) Become RIGHTFUL RULER OF THE UNIVERSE!!! in fact as well as in name;
2) Further the spread of evil, cruelty, and nastiness throughout the cosmos; and
3) Humiliate, discredit, and ultimately KILL CAPTAIN MARVEL!!!!! HEH HEH HEH HEH HEH!!!!!

That's in no particular order, of course.

Doctor Sivana (RROTU!!!) is like the perfect mad scientist. Disgusting little troll? Check. Lab coat? Check. Giant glasses that take up a full third of his face? Check. Bald of Evil? Check. In a comic book cosmos of increasingly gray morality, it's oddly comforting to read about a card-carrying villain who just wants to take over the world and make everyone miserable, no ifs, ands, or buts.

(Re: The hours upon hours of your life you're now going to waste surfing TV Tropes Wiki? You're welcome. HEH HEH HEH!!!)

Admittedly, the good bad doctor isn't the most complex villain out there, but when you're a snarky super-genius prone to fits of histrionics in a comic written for children and your archnemesis is a 12-year-old magic-powered Superman ripoff who hangs out with a tiger in a tux, you don't need to be. Captain Marvel has a mess of cool villains, from Mister Mind to Black Adam (hey, DJ!), but Sivana is the exact opposite of the Big Red Cheese (brainy old man who couldn't break a wet noodle with his bare hands? check), and no one can take his place as Cap's number-one nemesis.

Incidentally, I mentioned before that I thought Armin Shimmerman - Quark from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - would make a good Sivana, and that's him in the picture above, buried under 20 pounds of Photoshop magic. That's my choice for a live-action movie; in a cartoon, no one but no one should play Sivana but Wallace "Inconceivable!" Shaun.

Can we get another shot of Sivana? Preferably by Mike Wieringo?

DR. SIVANA by *Wieringo on deviantART


1 comment:

DJ Black Adam said...

Yeah, Savanna is the quintsential arch type of the evil scientist.