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Evil Overlooker

"Composition wise this cover is actually more interesting than the ones we're used to seeing. We actually have something that catches the readers attention, with the menacing villain holding the symbols of the heroes by knives."

Box art or advertisement that features the villain's head "watching" the hero.

This trope is related to Floating Head Syndrome, though the latter is not typically viewed as fondly. For when a villain is overlooking a scene in-story, see I Have the High Ground.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • Marvel Comics has been known to do this: for starters, the one-shot Daredevil villain The Surgeon General and Spider-Man villain Jackal.
  • Batman did this twice in his early years. The first saw him looking down upon an evil vampire named "the Monk" as he dragged a damsel in distress away from the castle. The second time had him looking down in approval as his new sidekick, Robin, fought off some gangsters.
  • Combined with Floating Head Syndrome in the artwork for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's early short story, "Reign of the Super-Man." (As a side note, the "Super-Man" here—a bald villain—inspired Superman foes the "Ultra-Humanite" and Lex Luthor.)

    Films — Animated 
Many posters and video boxes for Western animated films have these, especially if they are from The Nineties. Sometimes, the villain looks like they are trying to grab the main characters or the MacGuffin.

    Films — Live-Action 


    Live-Action TV 
  • In Heroes, the Season 1 graphic novel collection has 2 different front covers, both of which feature Sylar's head looming over the main cast of Heroes.
    • On the cover for the Season 2 DVD, the main cast of Heroes stands in the foreground at Times Square while Sylar's head grins down at them from an overhead billboard.
  • The Troll King is doing this on the DVD cover for The 10th Kingdom — which is a subversion, as he is neither the real BigBad of the miniseries nor even impinges very much on the plot, particularly since he only briefly menaces the heroes in Parts 1 and 2. (He's actually much more of The Rival for the Big Bad.) This might be a borderline case of Billing Displacement, since while Dianne Wiest is greatly respected and a well-known actress, Ed O'Neill is probably more popular. Or it could be a bit of canny advertising to misdirect the audience.
  • Every Angel DVD case has Angelus looking over Angel's shoulder.
  • An inversion: Upon opening it, the House: Season One box set features the main cast looking down at you in a circle with a surgical light over all of their heads, as if you were a patient.


  • Downplayed in Street Fighter II - M. Bison's floating head is rather small and easy to overlook.



    Web Animation 
  • A widely circulated fan poster of Red vs. Blue Season 3 features the head of Big Bad O'Malley doing some Evil Overlooking of the main cast. A similar fan poster of Season 4 featured the Alien in a similar position, although it was revealed rather early in the season that the Alien was actually not the new villain (it was still O'Malley).

  • The third Penny Arcade book, The Warsun Prophecies, has Tycho's eyes looming over Gabe.

    Western Animation 
  • The interior art for The Venture Bros. season two DVD features the Monarch looming over portraits of the main characters.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender : the poster for Season One depicts the Gaang down the front, with Zuko looming over them evilly. This is also shown prominently in one of the last episodes "The Ember Island Players", when the in-universe poster showing the Show Within a Show is pretty much exactly the same as the poster for Season one.
    • Also the poster for Season 3, which has Ozai looming behind Aang in the Avatar State.
    • The SDCC poster for The Legend of Korra featured Amon looming over Korra, Mako, and Bolin.
  • The American cover of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron's DVD case features the Colonel's ethereal head looking over his shoulder at the heroes. Thing is, his expression and the semi-transparency makes him look downright benevolent...
  • The cover of Operation Z.E.R.O features Grandfather looking down on the KND, who as the cover implies are standing between him and the world.

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