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The Supervillain Reader$
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Robert Moses Peaslee and Robert G. Weiner

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826466

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826466.001.0001

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Buddha’s Original “Super Foe”

(p.95) Chapter 9 Aṅgulimāla
The Supervillain Reader

John N. Thompson

University Press of Mississippi

From Homer’s Iliad to modern digital gaming, people have long been familiar with the concept of hero and villain. Other characters, however, have played a role in the epic clashes of good and evil, of ourselves and enemy. Among them are the henchmen, the minions, the lackeys, and the companions of the villain. Since the dawn of storytelling through today, they also have exhibited familiar qualities, attitudes, behaviors, and paradoxes. On the one hand, they are implacable. They attack, they fight, and they commit horrific crimes, seemingly without question, at the order of their master. Less clear are their motivations. Besides sharing in the loot and basking in the notoriety, what exactly does a henchman gain? Are the rewards worth the risks, and is there a dental plan? Our study compares an ancient and a modern text to try to understand the psychology and cultural significance of the ubiquitous, but also mysterious, henchman.

Keywords:   Henchmen, Hero, Villain, Comics, brotherhood

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