And villains like the above were typically defeated in comical fashion, rather than dramatic fashion. If there was drama involved with a villain, typically it was on a one-shot episode (or occasionally a 'to be continued' two-shot).
What's all this got to do with RPGs? Well, I think it's just another way of saying "if the PCs find a way to defeat your villain early, let them." There are tons of monsters, and NPCs are a dime a dozen. If your players end up offing your BBEG, it's not that hard to make up a new one.
Sure, there are times when letting a villain escape, comic-book or soap opera style, is appropriate. And a good recurring villain can be fun, if used properly. But if the PCs decide to actually put the hurt on the Green Goblin, Stephano or Skeletor rather than just capture, humiliate, and then put in an easily escaped prison/sanatorium, let them.
|Yeah, let them kill Bargle. He deserves it.|