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The Rules of Supervillainy

(The Supervillainy Saga #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,122 ratings  ·  220 reviews
Gary Karkofsky is an ordinary guy with an ordinary life living in an extraordinary world. Supervillains, heroes, and monsters are a common part of the world he inhabits. Yet, after the death of his hometown's resident superhero, he gains the amazing gift of the late champion's magical cloak. Deciding he prefers to be rich rather than good, Gary embarks on a career as Merci ...more
Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published June 8th 2015 by Amber Cove Publishing
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,122 ratings  ·  220 reviews

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Nov 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This superhero/supervillain novel turned out to be just the sort of fun romp it promised from its synopsis.

Gary Karkofsky is just a normal guy living in a world filled with all sorts of people with superpowers. He lives with his wife in the suburbs and used to work as a bank teller before he lost his job. Opportunity knocks for Gary when the magical cloak of his home towns greatest superhero gets delivered to him in the mail. Rather than take up the selfless mantle of the heroic Nightwalker Gar
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
When C.T. Phipps first offered me a review copy of The Rules of Supervillainy, I was hesitant - despite having previously enjoyed his Esoterrorism. Not only did Amazon have it listed in their dreaded Teen & Young Adult category, but I've found superhero novels to be more miss than hit. Fortunately, we've gotten to know one another fairly well over social media, so I trusted his judgement in offering me a copy.

I'm exceptionally glad he did.

This is a novel written for those of us who grew up o
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, fiction, scifi, kindle
With great power comes great responsibility. Unless you’re Gary Karkofsky. Then, great power is merely the first step in the path to unrivaled supervillainy.

I have mixed feelings about this book. There were a couple passages that had me laughing out loud, but the frequent pop culture references were distracting to me. I think that fans of Christopher Moore will enjoy this book more than I did. It has that same irreverent, grim tone.
TL;DR Review

3 stars. This gif sums the whole thing up.

Longer Review

Gary Karkofsky is an ordinary citizen living in a city filled with heroes and villains. After receiving a magical cloak that once belonged to the city’s most beloved hero, Gary does what any self-respecting ordinary person would do when gifted such power. He becomes a supervillain. Except he’s not very good at it. However, that doesn’t stop Gary. He has his ambitions set to becoming the city’s most notorious villain as long as i
Coyora Dokusho
Read 2 times


It was fantastic!! Zany and exciting but with great emotional connection to the characters as well. Hoping a sequel comes along some day!!!


Frenetic and high-energy slapstick still amuses me!!! Noticed typos and edit-y... stuff more this time though, mostly unclear antecedents?

Yay, now I'm get to read the next one!!!
Assaph Mehr
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've heard a lot about this series, and have sampled CT Phipps works before. Besides, who doesn't like superheroes?
This was a quick, fun read with lots of situational humour and fast paced action. Recommended to fans of the genre - if you've enjoyed Deadpool, The Boys, and the like, you should add this to your reading list.

What to Expect

A superhero story like the comics, with mind-bending twists and hilarious humour. As Phipps says in the introduction, this is born out of love for the genre, wit
ijeoma Agbaje
Aug 05, 2017 rated it it was ok

it's almost like i'm on a losing streak with books these days.
I'm not completely sure what i was expecting when i picked up this novel, no scratch that, i expected humour i guess and something kinda serious. This just felt like i was reading a novel with Looney Tunes characters. So not for me. Not a bad book really but for me it was soooo meh. Heck if this book was marketed as some sort of parody of the whole superheroes, supervillians thing i'd probably have enjoyed it more.
As it is i have re

Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
One-sentence summary: it ain’t deep, but it sure is fun.

The book has all the spices a Superhero book needs, fun names (Tom Terror, Psychoslinger, Merciless etc), breakneck pace, twists, and secrets intricately woven into the story. CT Phipps has done a superb job of mixing pop-culture references, clever plot, and relatable villains.

Gary Karkofsky is an ordinary guy living in a world full of Supervillains and Superheroes. One day Gary gets a deceased hero‘s magical cloak in the mail. After a shor
Steven Naylor
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: could-not-finish
Rating 2.0 stars - DNF

I am having a little bit of bad luck recently with my audio books. I have had quite a few DNF books recently. This book was just too ..... simple for me. There wasn't really a story here. It was like watching a cartoon. A lot of silliness, a lot of zoinks, and a ton of sarcastic humor. It felt like Scooby doo of supervillainy. Some people like stories like this and I'll admit that so do I at times but about 1/2 way through I just felt like I was wasting my time. No matter
Nichole ~Bookaholic~
I loved this, it was an extremely entertaining and fun listen, I can’t wait for more to come out in audio. So I’m not sure where to start. Merciless is a supervillain but is not truly evil, really just your every day average guy who happened to get the Reapers Cloak…..he is a bit clueless at times (Ultra Girl) but it helps make him a more likable character. Along the way he gets a mentor and a “Hench Wench” or more politically correct “Hench Person” and ends up doing quite a bit of good while tr ...more
Review originally posted at

4.5 stars

This book came on my radar when I posted my review of Villain's Rule by M.K. Gibson read by Jeffrey Kafer. Melissa @ My words and pages, who saw that review on Twitter, pointed out this book to me. I'm so glad that she did. It was another really fun listen for me.

So, The Rules of Supervillainy is an interesting story. It focuses on Gary Karkofsky. Gary is just a guy, until he finds a package. It turns out to be the cloak of the newly
Dec 11, 2015 rated it did not like it
Hot mess. I understand the author was going for campy, but this was just making it up as it went along. Nothing is set up properly. The book starts something like the day after the main character gets a magic cloak making him a super villain. Not the day he gets the cloak. Not the day before, to set up who he was before getting the cloak. The day after. Um, ok. Every chapter, we meet a new super hero or villain, as is convenient for the story. In the last third, we find out about the world's bes ...more
Montzalee Wittmann
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Rules of Supervillainy by C.T.Phipps is an unusual superhero book. The supervillain is not super bad and married to someone who wants to be a superhero. Come to find out, the cape was suppose to go to her and not him. There are lots of crazy drama of trying to cause crime but stopping crime in the process. Having to decide to give his wife the cape or not. He has 'teachers' to teach him how to be a villain. It is all good silly fun. The dialogue is clever and plot fun. Characters unique and ...more
David Stegora
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit, I was a little unsure about this book going in. Over the years, I've tried reading novels about some of my favorite comic book characters but could never really get into them. I was of the opinion supers didn't really translate well to a purely written word form. That went out the window pretty much right away with this book.

The Rules of Supervillainy is as much comedy as anything else. The protagonist, who calls himself Merciless, cracks wise about as much as the likes of Deadpool o
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
OK, I finished this a while ago but have only gotten around to writing my thoughts now, and that's simply because on finishing this the only thought in my head was phenomenal. I couldn't think of anything else to say about this!! Trying to write the review after finishing would of been like this: Plot - phenomenal, characters - phenomenal, overall - phenomenal! Doesn't make for a detailed review, but it's all I could think of! Let's hope after a few weeks of simmering that I can come up with som ...more
Jun 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Gary Karkofsky is a happily married man living an ordinary life in world populated by heroes and villains with least he's ordinary till a mystical cloak gets delivered to his doorstep. Gary then does the last thing expected of him and embarks on his life-long dream of supervillainy.

This is a fun book that had me laughing out load a few times along the way. Its probably most enjoyable anti-hero book I've read since Confessions of a D-List Supervillain. Gary is a mixed up, compl
Kenny Soward
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A solid 4*. Let me preface by saying this book took me longer to get through than it should have. It is genuinely funny, and comedy is incredibly hard to write. Mainly, I'm just not a superhero buff. Aside from the occasional superhero movie, I'm just not into them. But the author does a great job turning the genre upside down and making light of many of the tropes associated with superheroes and supervillainy. It was kind of like a novel version of Spaceballs only with superheroes.

I found myse
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this audiobook free of charge in exchange for my honest feedback.

The book compares favorably to books like Soon I Will Be Invincible and the D-List Supervillain series, but is arguably the weaker of that group. It was entertaining if you are now or ever were a fan of super hero comics and/or movies.

The main character, Merciless, isn't too likable, but he is evil after all. However, he is the most likable character in the book which is why I didn't rate the book higher. Whil
A. Giacomi
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have had this book sitting on my Kindle for quite some time now. Why did it take me so long to read it? It was so much fun and absolutely hilarious! I burst out laughing quite a few times. Anyone who's a fan of comics and the Superhero genre will love this book. My favourite thing about the book is how real life drama is woven into Gary's quest to become a Supervillian, therein lies the humour, even with powers you still have to deal with human issues. I can't wait to read the next book in the ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audiobook

Why this book?
I love books about heroes and villains

What I thought

I didn't like this book as much as I thought I would. Sure there was a couple of laughs. It had a great premise and the world building was fantastic. I just loved the thought of world full of super heroes and villains. With that said I couldn't connect with the characters and it barely held my attention. I'm not saying it was bad i'm sure a lot of people will love it, it just wasn't for me.
The Nerd Book Review
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I will be giving a full review up on the podcast The Nerd Book Review.
These books aren’t going to win a Pulitzer for literature but they are all kinds of entertaining and a quick fun read.
Martin Owton
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A story of superheroes and super villians? You expect a tale of a titanic struggles for huge stakes against crazed opponents wielding enormously powerful weapons. Check - that's all there.
What you get in addition is a surprisingly human tale with a side order of debate about the role of superheroes in society and the morality of vigilante justice in a corrupt world.
Melissa Hayden
Corny names, costumes, and characters. I loved it! I was smiling at the names and costumes that corresponded to them. lol. And I enjoyed Gary's (Merciless's) view on things. The fun comic corks that go with the way Superheroes and Supervillains are and react. Wow. Gary, Merciless's, first day as a supervillain has gone further than he ever imagined, bringing him to experience and see so much of the 'super' world.

I am looking forward to future stories with these characters and world, as there are
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The start of the SuperVillainy Saga. Yes. Who says Supervillains have to be completely evil? You have to draw the line somewhere. For Gary Karkofsky, it's a family business and you are in business to... be in business. Superheroes allegedly don't take money for their good deeds. The good part is that Gary isn't a hero, he's a businessman. The bad part, it was supposed to be his wife who got the 'powers,' not him, but when you are linked for life with a Reapers Cloak for the rest of your life (an ...more
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rules of Supervilliany surprised me by how good it is. I started it on 3 July and finished it the same day. It was so good that I immediately spent a hard-earned Audible credit that I had been hoarding for another book and bought the sequel, Games of Supervilliany, and started/finished it 4 July… Darn you, Mr Phipps, for your insidious but ingenious plan to steal my credits!

“Rules” follows Gary Karkofsky who has just been mysteriously gifted with a cloak that bestows powers to its wearer. The cl
Gareth Otton
Unfortunately, my impression of this book suffers from the fact that I have already read a number of books in this same sub-genre that have done the job much better. If this was the first book about a quasi-supervillain then I might have enjoyed it more. I couldn't help but compare it to the brilliant Forging Hephaestus by Drew Hayes, the slightly less impressive Origins of a D-List Supervillain by Jim Bernheimer, and even the animated film Despicable me; and against all of them this book falls ...more
Tara Ellis
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 rounded up to 5

Writing: 4.5
Story: 4.25
Character development: 4.5
Edit: 4.50
Cover: 5.0

Gary Karkofsky isn't your typical villain, or hero, or superhero, or even supervillain. However, he calls himself a supervillain, as this is what he has wanted to be his whole life. When the Cloak of Invisibility literally lands on his doorstep, he thinks he has now been given the opportunity to fulfill his evil destiny and Merciless is born...but things don't quite go according to plan. Or do they?

In The Rul
Seth Skorkowsky
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
If I was to compare this book to anything else I’m experienced with, I’d have to go with The Tick. Set in a world where superheroes are common, Gary Karkofsky acquires a magical cloak that once belonged to a legendary superhero. Now armed with fantastic powers and zero experience with them, Gary transforms himself into a supervillain named Merciless: The Supervillain Without Mercy.

The story is a fun romp through many of the superhero tropes, as we follow Gary along on his journey. Gary is a self
Rain Oxford
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is honestly one of the best books I have ever read/listened to in my entire life, and I have read a lot of books. The cover and blurb did not catch my attention. I passed over it the first time I saw it, but a friend mentioned it, so I listened to the audiobook. Within a few minutes, I downloaded it on Kindle Unlimited to enjoy it twice. I will reread and re-listen to it many, many times.

The humor is very unique and exactly in my taste. I could not ask for anything better than this book. T
Giles Batchelor
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Gary is a bit of a nobody, but he has dreams... he has aspirations to make his brother proud. When the mystical cloak of the famous super hero the Nightwalker is left upon his doorstep he can finally realize those dreams, follow in his brothers footsteps and become a Supervillain.

This is story is Gary's journey through every cliché going in the comic book world of super heroes and super villains, it is so tongue in cheek that you will laugh the whole way through, Gary battles superheroes, superv
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C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles" (

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Esoterrorism, I Was A Teenaged Weredeer, Lucifer's Star, Straight Outta Fa

Other books in the series

The Supervillainy Saga (6 books)
  • The Games of Supervillainy (The Supervillainy Saga, #2)
  • The Secrets of Supervillainy (The Supervillainy Saga, #3)
  • The Science of Supervillainy (The Supervillainy Saga, #4)
  • The Tournament of Supervillainy  (The Supervillainy Saga, #5)
  • The Future of Supervillainy (The Supervillainy Saga, #6)
“As the Dark Lord spoke when he saw the Archangel Michael descending upon him: We are in some serious shit.” 9 likes
“Hey, killing people doesn't count if they're bad! Hollywood taught us that.” 8 likes
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