Monday, January 27, 2014

The Purples and Greens of Supervillainy

I’m not sure what purple and green combine to represent in the real world, aside from maybe Mardi Gras, but in the comics world they symbolize evil. I’m not clear why. At least at the beginning, someone probably picked purple and green to contrast against the good guy, and that good guy may well have been Superman, what with his emblematic trio of primary colors. But at some point, purple and green ceased to be a contrast and instead came to represent evil outright — a comic trend that was perpetuated just because it already existed, kind of like the whole double initial thing. Right? Doesn’t that have to be it?

Observe.

The Joker (via)
Lex Luthor (via)
Green Goblin (via)
Old-school Catwoman (via)
Mysterio (via)
The Impossible Man (via)
Brainiac (via
The Lizard (via)
The Riddler (via)
Skrulls, in general (via)
the Marvel version of Morgan le Fay (via)
EDIT: I’ve added a few more, as a results of comments pointing out some purple-green villains that I’d missed.

Firely (in the early days, when he was redundantly called ”Human Firefly” (via)
Certain versions of Two-Face (via)
the DC version of Circe (via)
The Beetle (via)
Mesmero, looking entirely too provocative (via)
Kang the Conqueror (via)
Of course, you have to wonder how The Incredible Hulk fits into all this.

(via)
I mean, you have to wonder how The Incredible Hulk fits into his pants in general, but he seems to come from an era and his colors should have signified villainy.

So who have I left out? And who have I overlooked in an effort to prove my theory that there exists an unusual preponderance of purple-and-green-clad bad guys in comic books? And could this support my theory that eggplants, too, are evil?

Superheroes, previously:

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17 comments:

  1. Two counter-examples are Donatello and Barney bur neither is especially a superhero character like the ones you are focusing on...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Donatello sort of is, but that's more a result of running out of the available colors that aren't turtle skin green.

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    2. And Barney is just clearly pure evil.

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  2. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who's noticed this! I think Hulk fits because all too often he's the villain protagonist (or at least perceived that way) of his own book. Also, orange is often part of the mix as well, but isn't as required as green and purple.

    Some other common color combos are red/blue (and sometimes yellow) for heroes and red/yellow/green for many Golden Age heroes.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I've noticed that more recent superhero color schemes seem to depart from the trend. I guess it became campy?

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  3. JuicyFruit10:49 PM

    Check out Wonder Woman's villain Circe, another lady with purple hair who wears a green dress. And the Riddler.

    BTW, I love the font you used for your site! Subconsciously, it makes me feel like I'm reading a printed book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I added Circe to the list!

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  4. Anonymous11:08 PM

    Mojo Jojo from Powerpuff Girls is also purple and black.

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    Replies
    1. That's a good one. That show seems to know its comic book history, so it makes sense that Mojo would fit the classic pattern.

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  5. My wedding colours were purple and green.

    This now explains why I am 33 and going through a divorce.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, I'm sorry. That's rough. Yes, let's blame the colors. Damn colors.

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  6. Anonymous2:41 PM

    There is a lot of purple with the Disney villains, but the aboslute worst/best of them is Maleficent, and she is purple and a certain pallid green.

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    Replies
    1. Jor-ella3:32 PM

      The Marvel bad guy The Beetle is also purple and black.

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    2. Jor-ella3:34 PM

      Mesmero too. There are SO MANY.

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    3. I've added them! Thanks! But not Maleficent, her status as the baddest of the Disney bads notwithstanding.

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  7. Anonymous5:53 PM

    Is Morgan Le Fay's superpower being able to wear that dress without her giant boobs falling out?

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    Replies
    1. That is such an uncommon superpower that it's not even mentioned anymore.

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