I've been working on my new comic series, Re-Do, and one of the first things I do is to write character sketches for each of the major characters. I don't want to give away his identity, but the villain in issue 1 plays a key role in the story, and a lot of mystery surrounds this villain. When his identity is revealed at the end of issue 1, it leads to some major questions.
Having a good villain is a huge part of a good story. Look at Star Wars. It would not have been the same if Darth Vader was not as effective a villain. Or look at Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. What made that movie work so well was Khan and his obsessive quest to find and exact revenge on his white whale, Admiral Kirk.
The problem a lot of people make is that the villain is SO villainous as to be a caricature. The fact is, the villain is the hero in his own eyes. He's doing something for what he deems to be noble purposes or for some reason that justifies his actions, otherwise he wouldn't be doing it. We're all the hero of our own stories, and villains are no less the same.
I'm still working through the backstory of my villain, trying to figure out what makes him tick. His history is there; I just have to uncover it. Once I know what makes him do the things he does, then I'll better be able to write his character, to make sure he does things in a manner consistent with his background. My villain may not be doing good things, but he's doing them because he feels he must. My job is to figure out WHY he feels he must. And then pit my hero against him and let the conflict begin.
That's really the essence of good drama. Two opposing forces, both convinced they're doing the right thing, let loose on each other. I can't wait to see where their conflict takes them. It's as much a joy for the writer as the reader to see where their journey takes them.
More to come on the development of Re-Do. I'll use this page to step through the creation process and how I approach it.