Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Rungs of Villainy: Faceless Fodder

Finally, some real criminals, as we climb the Rungs of Villainy! Today we salute:

We all recognize (and instantly love) these guys. They stand there, dramatically posing with broken off piano legs in their hands, forming a giant proletarian lump or spread out in a dispersed "beam us up" pattern, doing nothing but menacing, waiting like dazed cows for someone to say,


Such is the iconic power of the Faceless Fodder and the performative utterance "Get him/them, you fools!" that it is now built into society's collective subconscious. Try this experiment and you'll see I'm right...

Go with your ex to something like Target or Blockbuster. Wait until he's entranced in examining discount lawn chairs or a "Best of the Care Bears" DVD. Slowly distance yourself until your back is against a wall, near an exit door, but still close enough to see and be seen. Then, point at him with a fully extended arm, quivering with outrage and desperation, and shout as loudly as you possibly can in your best supervillain voice


Then watch with glee as the collective consciousness overwhelms the otherwise rational and decent wage-earners, as they ka-pow, socko, and zing your ex into a bloody pulp using hastily grabbed and easily broken ersatz weapons. Oh, and you'll want to bring a camera.

Anyway, on television, Faceless Fodder are easy to spot. They're wearing matching outfits or black turtlenecks and bowlers, like hardened criminals do. In the comics, it's a little harder to spot them but just look for the tell-tale absence of word balloons. Faceless Fodder don't talk. In the Golden Age, Faceless Fodder did have it in their contact that they got lines to say while fighting, usually things like, "Jeez, it's like fightin' a wildcat!" or "I got a floggin' for your noggin!" But the Fodder Union lost that clause during the Great Silverage Renegotiation of '52; Schwartz was a tough negotiator. So sad; our language is correspondingly poorer for it.

You may, at this point, be wondering why there are no Fodder pictured in our accompanying illustration? Hey -- what better way to show their facelessness than by not showing them at all?
Besides, the Joker is the Patron Saint of the Faceless Fodder. To accent his own genius, he hires only brain-dead goons. Weekly, he calls up the Grand Order of Occidental Nighthawks Temporary Service...

"You! On the phone! I, the Joker, require additional Faceless Fodder for my next wave of brilliantly unpredictable heists!"

"I see, sir. Then, the last batch didn't become permanent hires?"

"The last batch is doing 10 to 20 at Stonegate, dolt! Except for the schmoe I pushed into a giant red ore-crusher named 'Roger' as part of a lame pun that I can no longer remember..."

"I see, sir. Fortunately, we have some highly recommended former employees of the Bookworm, who...."

"You don't seem to understand, my good man. I need FOOLS! Only FOOLS work for ... the Joker! HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"


David Campbell said...

I'm pissed that I didn't think of this first. You sir, are brilliant.

N said...

Actually, lately the Joker just kills the goons himself after the job, successful or no.