One of the most persistent themes of the superhero genre is that, just by virtue of superheroes existing, super criminals will rise up to challenge them. This month, life imitated art as bowler-hatted, mustachioed super villain Rex Velvet blasted onto the scene in his home city of Seattle, which also serves as hub for the Rain City Superhero Movement, a real-life crime fighting group led by Phoenix Jones.
In his two videos, the first of which has racked up going on 400,000 YouTube views, Velvet has railed against Jones, requesting a public confrontation with him. So, of course, we just had to talk to the self-styled super villain.
In case you haven't been keeping up with any of this stuff, here's what's been happening: Early last year, the masked and costumed Jones, real name Ben Fodor, started popping up around Seattle stopping car thefts and making use of pepper spray. Jones is the leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement, a group of like-minded superheroes around the city, all of whom, he says, have a background in the military or professional fighting.
Rex Velvet is a little bit tougher to figure out, speaking mainly through his YouTube videos and occasional public appearances on radio shows and in a few other places. How real is any of this? Hard to say. But it certainly is fun, isn't it? We here at ComicsAlliance wanted to see what makes this real-life super villain tick, so we contacted him at the email address visible at the end of his videos, and Velvet gave us a call.
ComicsAlliance: Let's start with the big question. Your videos have really taken Phoenix Jones to task. What exactly is your problem with Phoenix Jones?
Rex Velvet: Well, for starters, I'm a super villain. Why I would ever, ever divulge any of my information or secret plans to a media hound like yourself, I don't know. But I can tell you that, in the recent history of super villains, there really isn't a rhyme or reason for why a super villain dislikes their nemesis, the superhero. I believe that if Mr. Phoenix Jones wishes to play comic books, he ought to play by the right rules. And the rules are you can't be a superhero without a super villain.
CA:One of your complaints about Jones is that he is a "silly, vigilante nerd."
RV: That is, in fact, true. There are thousands and thousands that agree with me, several of which have been accosted by him, but I will spare their names.
CA: What do you think is particularly silly and nerdy about him?
RV: Are you really having this conversation with me? You don't think there's something wrong with a full-grown man gallivanting around with his treehouse buddies in spandex and tights, claiming the uphold the law, as if they're beyond the law?
CA: I don't make judgments, but I know you have.
RV: I think it's about time that this madness ends. Sanity within Seattle must return. This charade has gone on long enough, and I won't have it.
Rex Velvet on Phoenix Jones
CA: You say you want to have a conversation with Phoenix Jones. You say you want to sit down and talk with him.
RV: I do.
CA: If he approaches you and says, "All right, let's talk," what happens then?
RV: That's just something the public will have to wait for, as I do anticipate it will happen once he mans-up and builds up the courage to speak. I know I can be an intimidating presence, but I can assure you as a man who can separate fact from fiction and playtime, that I have an agenda. He is out just to cause a ruckus. If you wish to uphold the law, earn the badge, but you are not above the law. Nor are your helping the community by escalating certain situations, which is really all he does.
CA: You have a notable scar on your face and an eyepatch. Is the incident that led you to lose your eye the same one that led you to super villainy?
RV: I suppose we'll all have to wait and see as the story unfolds and the plot thickens. Wouldn't want to disappoint the viewer, now would we?
CA: You don't want to tell us anything about how you lost your eye?
RV: When I was young, I fell out of a treehouse. But that's not how I got the scar. Next question.
CA: In your videos, you drink a red beverage that has sparks coming out of it. How does that beverage taste? Is it an acquired taste?
RV: I don't believe it's an acquired taste. I believe that it is something that everyone can enjoy immediately and without hesitation, However, I'm not going to divulge the ingredients of it, but I can assure you that in time, I believe the public should be allowed to have this concoction that the SVA and I have whipped up.
CA: Is there a burning sensation, because the sparks--
RV: There is a burning in the esophagus when one consumes it, but I assure you that liquid courage is not a bad thing.
CA: You mentioned that people can possibly purchase this concoction. One thing that I've seen a lot of people mention about your videos is that they'd like to purchase lots of things they see in your videos, the Space Needle tchotchke you hold in your hand, the mustache bottle. Are people going to be able to buy Rex Velvet merchandise in the near future?
CA:Any further details?
RV: Further details can be found on the wall of the SVA super villain Facebook page, or I'm sure you've found the Easter egg, that the SocialVillainsAlliance.com has been leaked. Soon enough, there will be room for all to speak their voice in volumes beyond a Facebook page and beyond a Twitter device, to take actual action to rid our streets of these superhero scum.
CA: I saw another video that wasn't actually posted by you, but that was posted by a bystander at an appearance you made at a local movie theater. What kind of appearance schedule do you have going right now, and what kind of reaction are you getting? There was an audience chant against Phoenix Jones at that appearance.
RV: Just like any individual, I do enjoy the films. The cinema. Upon that night, I saw an individual showing my films without my consent. We have handled him, and he has been disposed of properly. He's not hurt, but he has definitely been disposed of, and had a stern talking-to. I think you'll find soon that I deal with people on a very different level behind closed doors.
CA: So you're not a complete scofflaw. You have some concerns about copyright, at the very least.
RV: I wouldn't be a proper businessman if I wasn't astute in the ways of business, now would I? I am to protect my name, and at the same time, I am to raise concern about this social issue, known as the real Rain City Superhero Movement. In order to get my voice out there, there needs to be a proper platform, where that platform is the community. If they side with me, then so be it. People can think what they want and choose sides as they wish.
CA: A big part of a super villain's persona is his or her headquarters. We've seen your headquarters in both of your videos. It appears to be an abandoned warehouse somewhere in the Seattle area. Why go with that headquarters rather than, say, an undersea fortress or a volcano?
RV: It is underground. Part of it. The bad part, really. It's rather expansive, and I've yet to show the entire public the rest of it, which I hope to in time. I'm a fan of hosting and giving a good tour.
CA: In your last video, it appeared that a large portion of it actually burned, it seems, for dramatic effect. I take it that was not even the smallest part of your actual lair.
RV: One can sacrifice a wing when he's an illustrious super villain. I barely even need to pay for it. It just mends itself with a horde of minions. The Death Star was rebuilt. A lair can be rebuilt even quicker.
CA: We haven't seen a lot of your minions in the videos. Do they have a special name? Are they the Velveteens or something like that?
RV: The Social Villains Alliance is compromised of individuals that take part in villainry and delight in its entertaining values. If people, again, side with my opinion, in regards to the Rain City Superheroes, which I hope they do, those sane individuals that realize what chaos they're craving, I do collaborate with individuals with a solid sense of villainry, as you'll see soon.
CA: You've spoken often about things that we will see in the future. I assume there are more videos coming. Anything else you can tell us about what's coming down the line in the next few weeks?
RV: Long gone are the days of soon and next week. People are impatient and want instant gratification. The socialites, the people in the real world, need to understand and practice patients. As a villain, I must sit back and examine what is going on around me before I make my next move. Of course, I realize that the Legion and the Alliance want to be satisfied in certain ways, and I aim to do that. But all in good time. All will be revealed. Justice shall be brought again, on a villain's terms, to Seattle.
CA: Would you say that you're biding your time, and while saying that, are you tenting your fingers?
RV: Oh, I'm quite giddy with what will be revealed soon enough. The message will only grow stronger, and I believe that the Seattle superheroes will cripple in time.
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