Thursday, July 2, 2009
Yesterday, we discussed the idea of independent, real-estate brokers helping supervillains and up-and-coming criminals find suitable hideouts for their activities. As I had mentioned, it is unlikely that such brokers would really make much money unless they were comfortable charging high premiums to villains and risking the consequences thereof (harm, death, etc).
Here are some better ideas for new businesses concerning villains: marketing, consulting and publicity.
For anyone considering entering the market of villainy in Gotham City, now is a particularly good time to break into the business. The bat family has just undergone an overwhelming shift in personnel. Many heroes are still having some trouble adjusting to their new roles and responsibilities. And it is generally common knowledge that the original Batman is "dead" or gone.
However, as BoneBlaster mentions above, achieving success in the field remains a daunting task. Being a successful criminal is one thing: all you really need is to hold up a convenience store or mug some unsuspecting citizens in a dark alley. However, being a successful supervillain is quite another task. It requires finesse, creativity, networking skills, and the unlikely ability to give Batman a run for his money.
And what's worse is that there are many villains joining the ranks, desperately competing with one another to be noticed by the elite of the underworld. Two-Face and the Joker don't just accept anyone into their teams. If BoneBlaster wants to have the possibility of collaborating with any well-known foe from Batman's rogues gallery, he needs to stand above the crowd. He cannot keep attacking innocent citizens haphazardly, as he does in this issue, but rather he needs adequate planning as to how to most effectively project an image of ruthless tyranny. Otherwise, he risks fading into the background with all of the other one-note hacks who continue to waste valuable resources on gimmicks that never amount to anything (I'm looking at you, Calendar Man).
So it seems to me that it would be a particularly profitable for someone to act as a supervillain consultant. Such consultants could provide a wide variety of services or at least hire separate individuals for these tasks.
One job is generating publicity. If BoneBlaster is serious about gaining the attention of the Joker, he needs an expert who is capable of utilizing his strenghths and minimizing his weaknesses at all possible times. And that includes selecting the most menacing alias and most threatening costume/attire. No one would be scared of someone who dressed like Razorback.
A publicist would also manage when and where the BoneBlaster would appear in public, how he would make his entrances, what he would say to his hostages, how he would handle the police, etc. Lines like "After I dust you, my street cred will be through the roof" completely negate any legitimate authority this man hoped to have against his subject.
In addition, the publicist would negotiate with the media to portray the BoneBlaster in the best (or worst depending on how you view it) possible light in the public's eye. For example, we all know that BoneBlaster got beaten pretty badly by Catwoman and Poision Ivy. But with the right editorial spin, the public would believe that BoneBlaster was capable of defeating Catwoman on his own and that he was only thwarted once Poison Ivy arrived on the scene. Taking on the notirious Catwoman would surely raise some eyebrows.
Another task is content management. In this case, the content is the criminal activity. Obviously, in order for the BoneBlaster to attract the attention of higher supervillains, he needs to be successful in his own attempts. It would be nice for him to have some experts with whom he could strategize the most successful heists, muggings or attempted Batman killings. These consultants would work 'round the clock and keep BoneBlater informed of police locations and routes, banks that might be vulnerable, couples that might be walking down dark allies, and even Batman sightings. Having such information delivered so easily would be invaluable to a new villain, especially one with so many other responsibilities to juggle simultaneously. They might even be able to negotiate the recruitment of henchmen. Everybody knows that any serious villain always has an arsenal of henchmen at his or her disposal.
Finally, there's the networking. BoneBlaster's expert consultants would reach out to other supervillains in the community, organize potential team-ups, and eventually reach out to the upper echelon supervillains themselves. Perhaps this is something that Dr. Horrible should have considered when trying to reach out to Bad Horse.
From the perspective of the consultants/publicists, this would certainly be quite profitable. These services are high in demand from the criminal community, and I believe that most newbies would pay for them, especially considering that it is unlikley that they could manage all of these tasks by themselves or hire legitimate marketing firms.
From the point of view of the criminals, it would be expensive, but like most things in life, it would be an investment. After hiring the right experts, it would not be long before BoneBlaster would be sitting in an abandoned warehouse, playing poker with the Joker, Penguin, Two-Face, and Killer-Croc, discussing that time that they almost got Batman.