It's never been a better time to evil. But there's one cardinal rule to being a successful bad guy and that's to pretend you aren't evil. No one is going to support a group named the Murder Society, but if you call yourselves the Action Society? Then you're in business! Here are 10 villains who need P.R. help badly.
1) Legion of Doom, Super Friends
Founded by Lex Luthor and the other villains of the DC universe to stop the Justice League, the Legion of Doom presumably adopted their name for sounding badass. But the problem is that the Legion isn't really specifiying whose Doom they want. Obviously they want to Doom Superman, Batman and the other heroes for sure, but do they want to Doom regular people? It's unclear, but with members like Brainiac and Scarecrow, odds are yes. Casting themselves as the heroes is the logical step: The Legion of Human Liberation. (It's just that some members, like Gorilla Grodd, want to liberate humans from their pesky lives.)
2) Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Marvel Comics
Magneto's first group of mutants had two problems: 1) they outright called themselves "evil," and 2) come on, a "brotherhood? When Scarlet Witch is 1/5th of the team? That will not fly in today's gender-sensitive modern society, Mags. And it's hard to pretend your cause is at all noble when you're declaring yourself evil in your mission statement, and Magneto's supposed to believe he's doing the right thing. So his group's new name should be the Assembly for the Advancement of Homo Superior, being the proper name for mutants. We'll let the "At the Cost of the Lives of Homo Sapiens" part remain unspoken.
3) Decepticons, Transformers
Come on, guys. I don't know whether the Autobots and Decepticons are two different groups, nationalities or even species, but I know the Autobots made the better name choice. "Autobots" is neutral at worst. "Decepticons"? You might as well call yourselves "Liar-cons" — actually, the "con" doesn't help either — for one thing, as a noun, it also means deception (thus effectively making your name "The Lying-liars") but also, it's generally used opposite of "pro" to list bad things are qualities (which makes you "The Lyingbadthings," more or less). The Autobots are mostly ground vehicles, while the main Decepticons are mostly planes; and there's no reason you can't use the opposite of con — making you the Aeropros! Now you sound like adventurous professionals, a major set up from lying evil robots.
4) The Empire, Star Wars
Hey, Emperor. Did you ever hear the saying it's easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar? Probably not, seeing as you probably have space honey or some nonsense. I guess that's why you decided to use fear to keep the local star systems in line as opposed… uh, not using fear. How's that working out for you? Oh, there's an open rebellion against you? Well, that's going to happen any time you call your soldiers Stormtroopers like Nazis did. Call them "troops." And the "Death Star" and those "Star Destroyers" of yours? Let's try to remove all the death/destroy/harm words to words without hideous negative connotations. What's wrong with "Star Cruisers" or "Imperial Space Station? It's to the point and neutral. Also, Emperor: If you're planning on subcontracting out any more work to the Sith, please either hire ones whose names don't include words that mean "evil" "and pain" — or ask them to change their names before they start work. No one's going to give you any trouble if you hire a dude named Darth Puppy.
5) Masters of Evil, Marvel Comics
I'll forgive Baron Zemo, having not been a member of a supervillain team before founding the Masters of Evil to take on the Avengers, for not learning the lessons of his forebears. But obviously you have the same problem as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, in that heroes tend to give you a hard time if you run around proclaiming yourself as "evil" all the time. But you're also going to get it from the supervillain community who aren't members — are you really the "masters" of evil? You guys are truly the best at being evil? Doctor Doom might disagree. The best thing for you to do is to take all new identities and a new team name, and pretend to be a group of superheroes. Go out, fight crime for a while, lull everyone into thinking you're a bunch of new good guys… what? You did that? And you called yourself the Thunderbolts? Well, great, my work here is done.
6) The Boltons, Game of Thrones
Unlike the other groups on this list, the Boltons don't need a name change, but they still need some P.R. help if they want to rule the northern lands of Westeros without armed uprisings springing up every 20 minutes. The first step? Stop being homicidal psychos. Failing that, the second step would be to ditch the Bolton house sigil of a flayed man. You know what people don't like? Being ruled over by people who are so into flaying people alive that they decided to make it their mascot. Do you think Disney would have been nearly as popular if Mickey Mouse had no skin? No, me neither. So turn that blob of red into anything else. Cherry Pie. The Kool-Aid Man. The lips from Rocky Horror Picture Show. Whatever. Oh, and don't try to cut corners and pretend the image of a regular guy and start calling your symbols the "Redskins." Even the flayed man would be better than that.
7) Fuhrer-King Bradley, Fullmetal Alchemist
OH MY @$$%ING GOD ARE YOU KIDDING ME. YOU RULE THE COUNTRY OF AMESTRIS AND YOU CALL YOURSELF THE FUHRER-KING. CHRIST. YOU MIGHT AS WELL CALL YOURSELF "WORLD'S GREATEST HITLER." Just… just… just change your title to "king," make a public apology, resign, and go live in a cabin for 20 years or so. Then we'll talk about your next PR steps.
8) Voldemort, Harry Potter
First of all, Voldemort, sir, I don't think anything here is unfixable. Sure, your name means "death-stealer" in French, you look like an albino version of a Goomba from the terrible 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie, and you have spent most of your time trying to kill children and babies. But you still have your fans, and really, "death-stealer" isn't even as much evil as it is kind of awesome. Really, your best bet is to change your look. We'll get you in a tanning booth, and schedule a visit with a plastic surgeon to get you a nose. Then we pick you out a wig, get you into a nice suit instead of your tattered black wizard robes and I think you're golden. I mean, if you want to give yourself a first name, so that the press can start calling to "Steve Voldemort" or something, that'd be fantastic. But I think we can start with the fashion update and just go from there!
9) V.E.N.O.M., MASK
Really. So your name is Miles Mayhem. You run an organization named the Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem, which you have obviously carefully arranged to spell out the word "venom" and somehow you felt it was appropriate to call your network both vicious and evil. Riiiiggghht. Okay, well. First step: Stop being a @#$%ing idiot. Second step: Your new team name's acronym is F.L.O.W.E.R. Get back to me when you figure out what you want it to stand for. Also, the finished team name must not contain any of the following words: "Foul," "Loathsome," "Obscene," "Wicked," "Evil" or "Repulsive." Got it?
10) Injustice Gang, DC Comics
Really? Let me tell you what I think of when I hear the words "Injustice Gang." A group of people too immature and unorganized to form a legion, and people too lame to even commit to evil. Seriously, who fights for injustice? Are you trying to make our legal system shittier? Because it's not great as is. The "Injustice Gang" doesn't even sound evil; it's sounds like you're a bunch of incompetent assholes. Do you want to know what Wikipedia says about your exploits in 1997? "Unfortunately, no charges could be pressed due to the Gang having caused no real harm, forcing the League to allow them all to go free." You guys are too terrible to even get arrested. No amount of P.R. in the world can manage stupidity of that magnitude.