Rex cover 150x120.jpg
Our cover story this week profiles Seattle's satirical supervillain Rex Velvet, "a bowler-wearing, samurai sword-wielding, DeLorean-driving scoundrel with some serious video-editing skills."

Velvet's raison d'ĂȘtre

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Velvet Goldmine: Rex Velvet's Greatest YouTube Hits

Rex cover 150x120.jpg
Our cover story this week profiles Seattle's satirical supervillain Rex Velvet, "a bowler-wearing, samurai sword-wielding, DeLorean-driving scoundrel with some serious video-editing skills."

Velvet's raison d'ĂȘtre is mocking Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superheroes via viral videos released on YouTube. He made his debut May 1, the same day anarchists smashed up the city for May Day. Here's that clip, which has already racked up more than 378,000 views:

See, we weren't kidding about the video editing skills. Predictably, Phoenix Jones did not take kindly to the taunting. The costumed crusader did some snooping around online and came to the conclusion that real-life Rex Velvet makes a living as a wedding photographer, which is, allegedly, how he learned to produce Hollywood-caliber video. Velvet, however, denies the allegation. From our story:

Velvet arrives late, cursing downtown's parking squeeze. He looks nothing like the dastardly devil depicted on the Internet. The cartoonish handlebar mustache is missing from his upper lip, and the gnarly scar that runs down his cheek has vanished. He wears a hoodie, and looks like any other fresh-faced 26-year-old Seattleite. He orders a coffee and a beer, and talks about himself in the third person.

"Briefly, I'll let you into the world that is Rex Velvet," he says. "Mind you, I don't share this info with many, but since you're going to give me a front-page story in your silly little blog paper, I'll make an exception."

Asked about his altered appearance, Velvet mumbles something about being incognito. He bears a conspicuous resemblance to the actor who stars in a series of spoof videos on YouTube uploaded by the same "dirtyc34" account that added Velvet's missives. But he's carrying Velvet's signature silver Space Needle-shaped shank, and his voice--vaguely British and over-the-top sinister--is unmistakable. Velvet, however, is in no mood to discuss the origins of his peculiar accent.

Velvet made it a condition of our interview that his true identity would remain off-limits, though he did dispute Jones' claim that the real-life Rex is a wedding photographer. Typically sharp-witted, with a mischievous smile, Velvet's demeanor briefly turns serious, and he actually seems somewhat offended by Jones' mischaracterization of his profession, which he vaguely describes as "videography." Some basic Internet sleuthing reveals connections to a company called Rocket Launch Productions and a background in media.

Jones got so miffed by the Velvet mockery that he eventually took the airwaves, challenging his new nemesis to a debate/fight during an appearance on KISS 106.1. Velvet, of course, was delighted that Jones even acknowledged his existence. Here's Velvet's second video, in which he also kinda sorta takes credit for the May Day mayhem. And here's the third and (thus far) final clip. In this one, his henchmen kidnap a superhero and subject him to torture by housecat:Velvet emphasized during our interviews that he is opposed to actual, physical violence:
On this point, Velvet strives to make himself clear: He is opposed to physical violence and illegal acts. There is, as he puts it, a fine line between evil and illegal. Waging a propaganda campaign to taunt harebrained do-gooders like Jones is evil; blowing up a building is illegal. "You do that and you look like an asshole terrorist," Velvet says. "There's no class, no tact. Rex has charisma. It takes a great man of distinguished character to cripple you psychologically."

It's an odd paradox. Velvet purports to promote all manner of nefarious deeds, yet when push comes to shove, he is anti-shoving and pro-hugging. To rephrase the immortal question posed by Rodney King: Why can't Phoenix and Rex just get along?

"There's no rhyme or reason why Rex doesn't like good guys," Velvet says. "He just doesn't. He's only a villain because he dislikes superheroes. He's an opposing voice, a devil's advocate. Rex isn't necessarily doing anything bad, he's just stirring the pot."

Go read the whole story: Rex Velvet's Goldmine: Like the "hero" he loathes, an insurgent supervillain hopes to cash in on his persona.

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