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Evil Overlooker

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


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics has been known to do this: for starters, the one-shot Daredevil villain The Surgeon General and Spider-Man villain Jackal.
    • Marvel did it again when they adapted the Disney animated film, The Lion King into a two-part comic series. The first issue has Adult Simba and Nala in the foreground, while Scar sneers at them from the background.
  • 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.)
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    Fan Works 
  • The original cover of The Ultimate Evil features Shendu overlooking through flames Valerie Payne.
  • The cover of Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox shows Gaara overlooking Naruto.
  • Some promotional artworks for Mega Man Unlimited have Bass doing this (looking away from the heroes in one case). One has him near the bottom instead, with the 9 Robot Masters looming above everyone. Unsurprisingly, neither of them are the actual main villains, Dr. Wily is.

    Films — Animated 
Many posters and video boxes for Western animated films have these, especially if they are from The '90s. Sometimes, the villain looks like they are trying to grab the main characters or the MacGuffin.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 

    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.
  • Storm of the Century: Some covers show Andre Linoge ominously hovering over the small town he is menacing throughout the miniseries.
  • The Prisoner (2009): An indirect example, with the top half of the poster being occupied by a menacing close-up of 2's eyes stacked on top an image of 6 with Rover rising behind him, posed to suggest he is facing insurmountable odds.
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    Music 

    Pinball 
  • Downplayed in Street Fighter II - M. Bison's floating head is rather small and easy to overlook.
  • The Beast watches Prince Colwyn and Princess Lyssa on the backglass of Krull.

    Toys 

    Video Games 

    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).
  • This Filk Song for The Frollo Show features Wilford Brimley as an Evil Overlooker in a fairly crowded shot. He's flanked by Batiatus and Marco Antonio Regil (although by the time Wilford becomes the true Big Bad, Marco has teamed up with Frollo to stop him).

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

    Web Original 
  • The image that plays the role of the official poster for the web-movie Noob: La Quête Légendaire has the antagonist's eyes and forehead over a smaller scale line-up of the protagonists.

    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 cover of the Codename: Kids Next Door TV Movie Operation: Z.E.R.O. features Grandfather looking down on the KND, who as the cover implies are standing between him and the world.
  • The VHS cover of the Madballs episode "Escape from Orb" shows the main villain Wolf Breath as a giant face menacingly watching over the Madballs.
  • The title sequence of Butt-Ugly Martians ends with Emperor Bog looming over the show's heroes.


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