Monday, April 9, 2012

Forced Perspective: The difference between Heroes and Villains, A Guest Post by Liana Brooks

Today I have a guest post from Liana Brooks as part of her blog tour to promote her super-hero/villain romance novella, EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE. It was just released by Breathless Press. 


In photography there is a technique called Forced Perspective that manipulates perception to change how you view objects, like making the moon look like a light bulb, or making a distant lighthouse look like a toy. In the movies, this is the trick that makes Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen look like one is Hobbit-sized and the other is tall. It's the trick that historians use to make you remember King John (1166-1216) as a horrible, whiny man-child who never moved past Prince John (a different person entirely, the prince lived from 1905-1919).

Forced Perspective is what defines a hero and creates a villain.

Consider for a moment the long list of things that are considered impolite - even outright criminal - by modern society: punching a stranger in the face, breaking into to someone's home, spying on someone, eavesdropping, murder... Any person caught committing these offenses would be considered a criminal. Done with enough flair and pomp the person might be considered a villain.

Unless the person in question wears black spandex, drives a funky car, and calls himself Batman.

Let's pretend that vigilante justice is excusable because "Batman never kills anyone" and then consult the actual text of Batman's life. Class, please open your comic books to Batman Incorporated Volume 2 wherein Batman is fighting the immortal Lord Death Man... and shoves him into a rocket so Lord Death Man can resurrect and die for the rest of eternity.

Holy overkill, Batman! Why didn't someone stop to consider the advantages of rehabilitation?

Batman should be the ultimate villain in our modern era. He's the one percent. A man who runs roughshod over the law not because of divine right, mutation, or superior morals but because he has more money than everyone else. Let me repeat that. Batman is a hero because he's rich.

That's it. That's his superpower. "By the trust fund invested in me I get to run this town!" Yet, through the miracle of Forced Perspective, Batman has been a superhero since 1939. This product of the children's welfare system is 73 this year, and still acting like an angsty 15-year-old who didn't get a date to prom.

Seriously, Bruce? Most people call a therapist.

This is how Forced Perspective works in literature. It makes a hero out of someone who ordinarily wouldn't be considered a good person. Robin Hood was a thief. Luke Skywalker was a terrorist. Superman was an alien who came and forced his views of right and wrong on our people.

I admit, I had fun playing with Forced Perspective in EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE. I took someone who was technically a criminal, technically a super villain, and made him almost a hero. Doctor Charm gets what he wants through sneaky and underhanded ways, but when his back is up against the wall he makes the right choice.

Choice is the theme throughout the Heroes and Villains series. When you have superpowers, whose side are you on?

Feel free to leave a note for me in the comment section. Defend Bruce Wayne, tell me what superpower you would have, and whose side you'd be on if you had the power. And, don't forget, I'm running the EVFIL in the Wild contest until May 5th. Send me a picture of EVFIL on your e-reader for a chance to win a $10 gift certificate to Sock Dreams!


Thanks, Liana.

More from Liana can be found at her author website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Her book can be purchased from Breathless Press and Amazon.

EVEN VILLAINS FALL IN LOVE has a Facebook and Goodreads page.

Liana Brooks was born in San Diego, California. Years later she was disappointed to learn that The Shire was not some place she could move to, nor was Rider of Rohan an acceptable career choice. Studying marine biology  so she could play with sharks seemed to be the only alternative. After college Liana settled down to work as a full-time author and mother because logical career progression is something that happens to other people. When she grows up, Liana wants to be an Evil Overlord and take over the world.

In the meantime, she writes sci-fi and SFR in between trips to the beach. She can be found wearing colorful socks on the Emerald Coast, or online at


Helen Hanson said...

I think Batman's limited allure comes from his cool toys. Of course those cost a bundle...

J.A. Beard said...

I'm imagining Batman having to cut back because of reduced capital gains/dividends from the recession.

Budget Man.

Not quite as scary to criminals.

Liana Brooks said...

Helen - That's a definite possibility.


David Brown said...

An interesting perspective on Batman, but, I fear, a flawed one. Batman is a hero because he takes his circumstances and the fact that he is flawed and very screwed up (you know, like the rest of us), and still chooses a self-sacrificial route to protect those who cannot protect themselves. That may not work with the "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" American mentality, but, at the end of the day, we all long for a hero when we are inevitably faced with an evil that we cannot overcome.

As with every hero, Batman is accepting his flaws, and trying to use what he has for good, at his own expense. That's better than most of the ridiculously wealthy in any country. That's also what makes him a hero, because a villain would make the opposite choice.

Liana Brooks said...

David - I knew someone would come to Batman's defense! Yes, Batman has his good points, but so do well rounded villains. Usually the defining characteristic is selfishness. A villain is selfish to the end, they only think of themselves. A hero can be selfish sometimes, but can put aside their own needs or wants to help other people.

It's a fact that always causes me a few minutes introspection when I'm feeling selfish. :o)