I finally got around to reading that Neil Gaiman book I was given: Neverwhere, and I was struck by a very simple realisation. While reading, I found myself much more interested in the activities of the bad guys, compared to the activities of the heroes. I do love a good heel.
There are two main villains in the piece, who I will refer to as Mr. C. and Mr. V. Being as big a fan of the bad guy as I am, I likely analysed them more than I would typically analyse. This is usual practice for any writer reading a book. Every phrase or interaction potentially holds a lesson of large import. With the bad guys, this is essential because a poor connection between villains is something that can bring a good tale to an abrupt end.
You see, heroes usually have their connection with their friends as their particular strength that puts them above the bad guys. By comparison, your evil, vile henchman or genius is either on their own or working for someone who is intentionally on their own. It's all very obvious and formulaic. A good bad guy has to be unique in the way in which they threaten. Intelligence, such as Smith from The Matrix, connections, such as Blofeld from the Bond films, or wealth and fame, such as Gideon of Scott Pilgrim, can keep things interesting.
The job for any writer is just to keep things interesting, and to thus try and be unique. In this, Gaiman does even better than expected, though his secondary heroes suffer slightly for it. Mr. C. and Mr. V. are masterful. Of these, I would love to read so much more.
I've spent a lot of time developing my villains, trying to make them unique and engaging. To be honest, I've worked harder on them than I have my good guys. I can only hope that Victor, Robin Harris or Charles Crowe can be the same.