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Off My Mind: Where Do Henchmen Come From?

Villains can't trust anyone so where do they find trusted henchmen?

Most super-villains feel they can take on the world. They feel the world is for them to rule. A lot of villains feel a sense of superiority and tend to avoid working with other villains on teams. Because some tasks in a villain's plan for world domination are beneath them, it falls to their henchmen to do the small things to make the plan happen.

The problem with having henchmen is, you can't simply put out an ad in the paper. Villains are usually wanted by the authority for past crimes. They can't just list their home phone number for the world to see. They can't just hire any random person either to be one of their thugs. 

Being a supervillain may not be as easy as it seems. If they're going to have henchmen do the dirty work for them, they need to figure out where to look and also consider what qualifications they will require. == TEASER ==

Let's think about the qualifications first. A supervillain should look for someone smart, but not too smart. The last thing they need is someone to try to out-villain them. At the same time, we usually see villains using thugs that are barely able to comprehend how to tie their shoes. That's when plans usually fall apart. The right henchperson has to be smart enough to understand the basic elements to their evil scheme and have the ability to carry out any technical tasks the villain needs them to do.

Fighting skills and/or strength are necessary. A true supervillain needs their henchmen to be able to hold off the hero while the final stages of their dark plan take place. A good henchman can also double as protection if the villain gets outnumbered or outgunned. Of course the villain wouldn't want the hired help to be too strong. There would be the risk of them refusing to take orders or carry out their part of the plan.


To make a lot of the above happen, a villain can either look for hired help that is easily intimidated (threats of death to them or their families might work) or they can throw a lot of money at them. Money isn't always an option up front as the villain probably just broke out of jail or is in the process of remodeling the new evil base of operations. If someone is willing to work for a vile and evil person, what does that say about their sense of honesty?

A well prepared supervillain considers all these qualities but there's still the question of where can they locate the henchmen? Organizations like AIM, Hydra and the Hand seem to have countless numbers of disposable...hired help. Do they offer really good health benefits? What makes them so loyal and where do they all come from? We know that Taskmaster did train villains in the past. Do these henchpeople strive to be underlings for the big villains? Are they hoping this is a stepping stone in their evil career? Maybe it's because girls always like the bad boys...
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Posted by NoMoreHeroes

they come from special henchmen unions with benefits

Posted by The Fastest Man Alive

ha

Posted by dewboy01

where else? the streets, prisions, and then some....
Posted by FoxxFireArt

The Kim Possible cartoon covered this issue. Henchmen come from Hench Co. "For all your Henching Needs".

Kim Possible was a pretty well written and entertaining cartoon.

Posted by leokearon

The Taskamaster, of course
Posted by SoA

craigslist

Posted by Soldier zero

In the MU they came from the Taskmaster's Academy for Aspiring Supervillains.

Edited by Emperor Gonzo Noir

Well if the Venture Bros. have taught us anything, it's that if you're a dropout, unemployed or horribly out of shape; if you can hold a gun, you can be a henchman.

Posted by TDK_1997
@NoMoreHeroes said:
" they come from special henchmen unions with benefits "
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir




  
  
Edited by JonesDeini
@FoxxFireArt: 
That it was, my man. 
I always assumed they came from broken homes...

As far as A.I.M., Hydra, and other such organizations they work just like an Al Queda works. Those who believe in their ideals and principles will join. As far as people like Penguin go, I'm sure he hires from the available pool of low lifes and thugs looking to make a buck. 
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

I also want to point out that Marvel has the best henchmen.

Posted by J1ml33

so what about ninjas ? (their relyable when the price is right )


Posted by Iron_Turtle

Feeble, Mindless, weak willed, antagonistic cannon fodder.

Clearly they recruit from the DMV.
Posted by Out_of_Space
@J1ml33 said:
" so what about ninjas ? (their relyable when the price is right )


"
Hmm.
Posted by Eyz

Ah, henchmen...where would superhero comics, or simply any Action story (in film, comics, etc..) be without ya guys!

One another note, the other day I was thinking about Batman, how many guys were vigilantes/superheroes there (Anarky, Misfit, Azrael(s), Spoiler, etc..) and the various themed henchmen the Penguin, the Joker, Two Face, etc.. have.
It seems like in Gotham City (more so than any other fictional or real city in comics) every living people is either a costumed vigilante or a thug for some crimelord.
Imagine Selina Kyle, living in the same building as henchmen for any of the dozen or so supercriminals of the block.

Edited by Billy Batson

hydrabob will love that pic -_-

Online
Posted by nick7913

2 places: Read anything by Brubaker i.e. Sleeper, Incognito, Criminal...

Read Astro City:   Tarnished Angel.
Henchmen are just people who will have no choice for how to make money. They were raised in a dirty, violent neighbourhood and that's where they'll die too. They're all those people who tried their best to not follow in their parents' footsteps, to get out of the life they were born into and failed. The world is filled with people like that, whether we like it or not...
Posted by The Lobster

I believe that joker said it best.

"when you do a favor, there are two types of people. Those who can't forgive you enough for it, and those who can't forget you for it."

My guess is, most villains get their henchmen by doing them favors. That way the henchmen owe him for doing the favor and they won't quit till that favor is paid off.

Posted by Darknom2

  

Posted by Herx

giant mitosis. They just get one henchman and split him into to 2 henchmen and continue splititing untill they have the right number. That or the villain have their own unemployment agency.

Posted by G-Man
@leokearon: 
@Soldier zero: 
After his mini series, that might be different.
Staff
Posted by xerox_kitty
@Soldier zero said:
" In the MU they came from the Taskmaster's Academy for Aspiring Supervillains. "
I'd enroll there... but then turn good upon graduation ;)
Moderator
Edited by Soldier zero
@G-Man said:

"@Soldier zero: 
After his mini series, that might be different."

I probably missed that one, but perhaps the Academy is still running even without its founder.

@xerox-kitty said:

" @Soldier zero said:

" In the MU they came from the Taskmaster's Academy for Aspiring Supervillains. "
I'd enroll there... but then turn good upon graduation ;) "

Good luck with that.
Posted by Jake Fury

Reese, Cole & Macon are the best henchmen ever. They returned as cyborgs.

Posted by RYU/BATMAN

Henchmen join evil, because of the low pay

Posted by sj_esposito

I think you need to split 'henchmen' up into different categories. For example, HYDRA is a terrorist organization; the 'henchmen' that work are members are likely to be driven by ideological purposes. A similar case can be made for groups like The Hand -- they're a band of ancient mystic ninja. It's most likely the life style that draws ninja to The Hand.

Now, if you're talking about common thugs, things get a bit more muddled. Firstly, it's very rare that we see a gang of thugs behind villains in the comics. Sure, in every cartoon and movie Joker has a posse of clown-faced thugs, but in the comics, he's rarely ever accompanied by anyone other than Harley Quinn. I've always wondered why that is and why he doesn't have a 'muscle'. Harley is great for supporting his plans and everything, but when it comes down to physical confrontations I think Joker could stand to have someone that he can trust to take on Batman.

Anyway... This type of 'henchmen', the thug, isn't recruited or hired. It's not a job. It's a lifestyle. Being a criminal is a way of life and they usual come across work by chance and because of their reputation and zeal. There's no certain skills that make you marketable as a criminal; no resumes either. There's reputation and what you're willing to do.

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

I do believe Cobra Commander had the correct idea when gathering his followers and henchmen together, and that is by using nanotechnology to control the consciences of those who served C.O.B.R.A.  The reason for this is the simple philosophical idea that there is no honor among thieves.  Villains realize that just like they cannot enter into alliances with other villains for too long should also be cognizant of the fact that they could not completely trust the henchmen that serve them.  After all, its just like you stated, if a henchman is too smart the villain runs the risk of being outdone by that person yet if they are dumber than a box of rocks then its possible that the villain's evil plans will all come to naught.  No, only through subconscious mind control of some kind (scientific or magical) can a villain's comfort with henchmen be made.

Posted by GhostPig

Florida.......

Posted by SupremoMaximo

I'm sure they come from the internet chatrooms and forums.


I'm sure that's how Cobra recruits.
Posted by Radread

 Well said JonesDeini
Posted by A_O_N

The henchman are either threatened/blackmailed to work for the villain, or they have fallen so far in the social ladder that they can't climb up by regular means.

Posted by InnerVenom123

Craigslist.

/thread.

Edited by PenguinDust

I believe you can rent them from Henchco. 

Posted by CrimsonInuTears

Really wishin I had that henchmen street recrutin scene from Venture Bros right now. ^_^

Posted by hrdwrkngXsoldier

Judging from their adeptness for deliquency, I would have to agree with most psychologists and suppose many henchmen come from a single parent home. They strive to have the father figure in their lives and want to gain their leader's approval.  The other large percentage of them were probably beaten as a child or bullied in school.  Becoming a henchmen just let them stay in the pain cycle while allowing them to lash out at others.

 

In severe circumstances, henchmen may bypass the survitudinal step and escalate straight to the levels of terrorist, villian, or hippie.

Posted by Ellocobruja


Wanted: Physically fit,  problem solvers and team players with 1 to 2 years of college for a private sercurity job.  Will  give on the job training and benifits. Military training a plus.

 

 

Posted by Trodorne

  

  now this is high quality henching
Posted by karrob
@NoMoreHeroes said:
" they come from special henchmen unions with benefits "
Thats what I always thought
Posted by Iridium

Mindless, seemingly endless, minions of an evil power, with no will of their own, who simply do what they are told, passionately fighting against what is right simply because they are so Pavlovian they are virtually indistinguishable from lower mammals?   Ah, Democrats ...

Posted by punisher1313

I really like how the IDW Gi Joe comic went in depth about how Cobra Commander built Cobra and were and how he found is minions..............

Posted by Video_Martian
@Trodorne said:
"  
  now this is high quality henching "

OMIGOD THIS IS SO FUNNY, LOL
Posted by GothamRed

Where do henchmen come from?

The come from JACK HENCH

 Jack Hench

Posted by Kairan1979

If we started talking about henchmen, I can't help but remember him.

Posted by CapFanboy
smart but not too smart? THAT'S where I wa going wrong. thanks for the tip! xD
Posted by sladewilson30

uh, they hire them

Posted by fbdarkangel

Golden Heart Escort Agency.

Posted by Full_Spectrum
@FoxxFireArt said:
" The Kim Possible cartoon covered this issue. Henchmen come from Hench Co. "For all your Henching Needs".

Kim Possible was a pretty well written and entertaining cartoon. "
that was my first thought. Hench Co.
Posted by Soldier zero
@RedheadedAtrocitus said:
" I do believe Cobra Commander had the correct idea when gathering his followers and henchmen together, and that is by using nanotechnology to control the consciences of those who served C.O.B.R.A.  The reason for this is the simple philosophical idea that there is no honor among thieves.  Villains realize that just like they cannot enter into alliances with other villains for too long should also be cognizant of the fact that they could not completely trust the henchmen that serve them.  After all, its just like you stated, if a henchman is too smart the villain runs the risk of being outdone by that person yet if they are dumber than a box of rocks then its possible that the villain's evil plans will all come to naught.  No, only through subconscious mind control of some kind (scientific or magical) can a villain's comfort with henchmen be made. "
Actually Cobra was originally a pyramid scheme built around a new ideology and some great benefits upon entering (I swear, go check some old G.I.Joe comics)
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus
@Soldier zero: Oh I know about the pyramid scheme, that was what I think made the whole concept back in the early 80s seem intriguing to me.  I just meant about how Cobra evolved into controlling his followers with nanotech.   But yes, the pyramid scheme was effective in gaining their trust early on, but I'm pretty sure we can all agree that he had to include the nanotech eventually since, lets be honest, pyramid schemes go absolutely nowhere for those involved and Cobra knew he had to gain their loyalty by other means.  Personally I think the whole pyramid scheme origin of COBRA was an allegory to the burgeoning pyramid schemes that were becoming more and more popular during the early 80s.  
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