The Three-Headed Mob
teletta, the pretty and ambitious, yet vein and spoiled leader. Bootsy, the clever yet weasel-like brains of the outfit. Heely, the brawny yet lack-witted muscle of the group. They believe themselves to be the finest criminals in all of London. They proclaim themselves the rulers of London’s underworld. But to The Scarlet Derby and Midnight Jay, they’re merely a trio of sad little nuisances, desperately grasping at straws in their pathetic attempt at a criminal career.
In an entire world made up entirely of pulp superhero cliches, The Three-Headed Mob stick out as the absolute most cliche of the cliche. Picking out the exact nature of villains they take after isn’t rocket science. In fact, there’s probably a big list of them floating around on the internet somewhere. I’ve always had a soft spot for villains of this nature though, so I knew at some point or another, I’d be including a trio of my own in this series.
Despite having their scheming repertoire down to a tee, they’re not considered especially threatening to our heroes. Even the overly-dramatic Scarlet Derby has their shtick labeled as a mere case of “Despicable Triplicate Syndrome.” Their desperate, and frequently improvised, attempts to get the better of The Derby and Jay do sometimes end up being reckless and dangerous enough to keep the heroes on their toes. More often, though, their schemes only go so far until they completely backfire on their own.
They are extremely loyal and kind to one another, having been childhood friends, and they’re always complimentary of each other’s tactics. Bootsy and Steletta grew up practically as siblings within the same orphanage, while Heely lives with his mother, a librarian, who is so far unaware of his criminal career. The respect that they have for themselves as a team is often their only redeeming quality.
They may be representative of an overly re-hashed villain trope, but the more we see of them, the more we learn about the subtleties that make them unique. In fact, the second story on this website featuring them, “The Home Of Wayward Idiots,” has fleshed out one of these guys into a vastly more three-dimensional character.
I’m a big fan of British sketch comedy. One thing I’ve always noticed about the sketches, though is the persistent idea of singling out of idiots as some sort-of societal other. Really, there are sketches like Monty Python’s “Upper class Twit of the Year,” The Two Ronnies’ “Village Idiot” sketches, and the entire premise of “Spitting Image,” which totally single out idiocy as either some sort of impairment, or some sort of minority. I wondered what a whole world where the stupid were treated constantly like children would be like.
So, when I got onto the subject of The Three-Headed Mob, a stereotypical evil trio that was destined to contain a single idiot, I put this concept into play. Heely is an idiot, make no mistake, he on occasion refers to himself as one as well. But the hook is that nobody is ever going to state that he’s “not that stupid” or “nearly average but slow.” He’s a part of that special group of hum-drums that society treats with kid gloves. Ignored or invisible if not for the fact that as the Mob’s heavy, idiocy is part of the job description.
Heely has two passions in life: reading and stacking things. The reason for that is he spent the entirety of his life living with his mother in a library. When he was done reading the books, he would put them into neat little piles, and that is all the talent he chooses to amass in his simple little life. It’s been suggested he’s read both The Canterbury Tales and Oliver Twist. Those books are considered high literature in our time, but in the turn of the century aren’t regarded more than droll reading for children. He has also spent summers in France where he went to idiot’s camp and learned fencing from the philanthropic Marquis de Saabe. His weapon of choice during fencing is a cricket bat, but his skills are way below those of Midnight Jay’s.
Though the team’s leader, Steletta, hates to admit it, it was Heely’s idea to form The Three-Headed Mob. He was in the middle of Oliver Twist when he first met Steletta and Bootsy, and they made their first heist of a cookie jar in his mother’s kitchen. His other teammate, Bootsy, remembers all this very well, though, and always treats Heely with gratitude, although he has a tendency to belittle Heely as well.