“Nuclear, biological, chemical?” Negathrust said. “People have seen it all, and worse. You’ll be lucky to make the 9 o’clock news locally with that sort of thing. If you want to get taken seriously, you need to drop these old standbys.”

“And what, exactly, do you suggest replacing those ‘old standbys’ with?” said Spectrecide. The lair’s HVAC cycled, bringing his billowing cape to a standstill. “Causing mayhem and murder on a vast scale if one’s demands aren’t met is quite the feat with neither murder nor mayhem.”

“Old-fashioned is what it is. It’s all about marketing these days, Spectrecide, and your marketing is stuck in the Walter Cronkite era. Sure, back in the day, if you could get the old goon to take off his glasses emotionally you’d shock the world. But things are different now.”

The line’s on the old villain’s face deepened. “You’re just tearing me down now,””Not even offering any useful advice.”

“Marketing! Marketing is the name of the game these days, Spectrecide. Market well enough and you’re untouchable. Market well enough and crazy normals will do your dirty work for you!” Negathrust paced back and forth, accentuating key words with pumps of his omnithrust gloves.

“I don’t understand,” Spectrecide sighed, fiddling idly with his disintegrator pistol.

“Count Skullthorn has been quietly funding a multimedia blitz that’s made Nosferati the 90210 of this century’s 15-20 female demographic. The Deathjester had himself portrayed by an Aussie hunk in a major motion picture and now copycats are springing up all over the country!”