Do women prefer “tortured” villains to “boring” heroes?

Recently I received a message from my fellow blogger/friend, Teanna (find her online here or here), and she had this to say:

You, honored Pirate Blogger, need to write a blog about why women swoon over Dark Heroes (Wolverine, Batman, Hawkeye, Sherlock, Thorin) and Tortured Villains (Loki, Loki, Loki, Bucky, Loki) and find Nice Golden Hero types (Cap, Coulson, Superman… OK, that’s a weird set right there, but…) boring.

As a guy, I don’t feel like I have the right to speculate over what women find attractive or the characters they’re interested in, and the last thing I want to do is say something that comes off as judgmental or sexist, so I thought I’d open this question up to you.  If I get enough feedback, I’ll post some of the most interesting things I heard.  If not, I might write my own article from the perspective of whether these types of characters are more popular in society on a more general level.

You can of course leave me a comment right here on my blog, or if you don’t want to post something publicly you can send me a message via my feedback page.  You can tweet me @lovepirate77 or find me on tumblr or send me a message there.

So I’ll leave you with some possible questions, not intending to make any judgments about the question, but just to get the conversation flowing.  Do women really prefer tortured heroes to boring villains?  If not, why is there a perception that they do?  If true, why is that?  Is it simply a reflection of the popularity of these characters generally, regardless of the fan’s gender?  Is it because of they types of actors who generally play tortured villains?  Are those characters simply better written?  Is the mere question offensive?  Is there any danger in being attracted to villainous characters when it translates into real life relationships?  Is it a reflection of living in a more forgiving or less black-and-white time period?

I look forward to hearing from you, as I’m sure there are a wide range of opinions about this topic.