Poll Position: The villain’s the thing

Last week we took a look at who your favorite comic book super-hero is, someone who may or may not be considered "the greatest" by some segment of fandom, but who nonetheless holds the premier spot in your heart. Shockingly, Batman won.

This week I want to ask you the same question, but about villains:


Remember, this isn't about who the baddest of the bad-asses is or who the greatest villain EVAR is -- it's about your personal favorite, the one who you maybe like against all odds and even knowing maybe it's kind of stupid. But that's your guy! Last week the ones you all added were mostly very good, so I'll once again leave that option open this week. I appreciate in advance your continued self-editing!

Discussion to follow ...

  • Catwoman: Catwoman always had a sexy, naughty, dark temptress kind of vibe, even in the original Golden Age iteration. As the less grim female counterpoint to Batman, Selena Kyle had a strong allure. Plus, it's always nice when your arch villain's name rhymes with your own. Which makes you wonder why we never had the nefarious "Duperwoman" trying to vamp on Superman. Although come to think of it, "wily female trying to get Superman to marry him through deceit and/or trickery" role was already pretty crowded.

    But I digress! Catwoman, yes, she's hot, strong, and the equal of Batman. There's a lot to recommend her as a favorite, particularly since the roster of awesome female villains is rather short.

  • Cobra Commander: If you love G.I. Joe, you have to love Cobra Commander. I could have gone with The Baroness here as well, of course, but while she's undoubtedly popular (both among fans and in proprietors of skin-tight leather stores), it was always Cobra Commander that provided the kind of insane, off-kilter, wild-eyed histrionics that made both the cartoon and the comics hum along. Let's face it, most of the actual Joes are fairly boring, so they needed a larger-than-life foil, and the Commander definitely provided that.
  • Deathstroke: He's not really one of the huge universal-power level bad guys, but I always liked how personal that kept most of his stories. He was the villain you could understand, the guy who sometimes did the right thing even if it cost him, and who made a well-matched and intriguing counter to the main hero characters. I loved his vaguely Broadway-inspired costume, too, and that forked white beard. Just a cool looking, well developed character.
  • Dr. Doom: I will leave the argument for the Overlord of Latveria to his designated ambassador to these boards.
  • Galactus: I don't think I could vote for Galactus. His whole thing is to be an inscrutable force of nature, and inscrutable forces of nature rarely engender much devotion. I mean, you don't see a lot of "Hug a Tornado" shirts out there, do you?
  • Green Goblin: I always liked the original Green Goblin because he seemed like the perfect counterpart to Spider-Man, a villain for whom nothing seems to go right to fight a hero for whom nothing seems to go right. As a kid, I thought his bat-jet-surfboard-thing was awesome, and the exploding pumpkins were both inane and frightening at the same time. He had just enough horror elements to make him interesting without being macabre like the Scarecrow.
  • The Joker: He'll probably win this poll because BATMAN, but ... I don't know, for me he always fell into the same "Implacable and Inscrutable Force of Nature" category as Galactus. I never really related to him all that much.
  • Lex Luthor: What's not to love about a genius multimillionaire guy who fights Superman to get revenge for making him go bald? Come on, that's awesome! Or maybe it's just awesome if you're a kid who knows he's destined to be bald by the time he's 20, like I was, I don't know.
  • Magneto: Another one likely to take this poll, and far more worthy than the Joker in my book. He has a history you can relate to, he's actually gone over to the good side from time to time, he is incredibly powerful, and can fight the entire X-Man roster to a standstill even while whipping their ass from time to time in the moral ambiguity department. Plus, again, white hair.
  • MODOK: How do you not love a ginormous head with itty-bitty limbs flying around in a chair powered by farts? Wait, I'm getting a note from the editor -- apparently that chair is not powered by farts. Well, that stinks! Or something. Still, the point is, he's a gigantic head! With tiny limbs! And the worst haircut this side of Justin Bieber!
  • The Red Skull: Mostly I have the Red Skull on here because he's such a good foil for Captain America, but who wants to love a Nazi?
  • Shredder: I was actually never much of a TMNT fan, but I know a lot of you are so I put Shredder on here to represent the rodent contingent.
  • Sinestro: Absolutely the best Green Lantern villain. Plus I love the whole idea that if you have a hero with a stupid weakness -- before it was explained away as a lack of will or whatever, it was just "I can't affect anything yellow!", which is one of the all-time lamest vulnerabilities since "He's invulnerable but not to brains!" -- then you just go create an anti-version of that guy whose whole power is based on that vulnerability. If he can't affect yellow, make a Yellow Lantern, ipso facto! Or e pluribus unum, whatever, I'm not a Latin scholar, people!
  • Toy Man: I always felt like Toy Man was a subversive comment on how ridiculously overpowered and ludicrous Golden Age Superman was. "Look," the writers seemed to be saying, "Superman is so ridiculously overpowered you might as well be throwing toys at him. And then you should go buy these toys."
  • Venom: I never found Venom all that appealing, but clearly people love him. I invite you to make the case for him in comments.

So looking over that list, I'm no question going to have to choose MODOK. I mean, just look at the guy!

Sound off in comments and tell us who your favorite is, and why.

29 Responses to Poll Position: The villain’s the thing

  1. BenK22 says:

    I like Venom, but I think it’s more Eddie Brock who makes the Venom character really great. That and the whole simbiot not liking that Spider-Man tossed it by the wayside.

    But for me, two villains stick out as my favorites: Two-Face and Harley Quinn. I’m a fan of most of Batman’s villains; but those two seem to stick out as my favorite. Harley’s just as crazy as Joker–if not a bit more deranged–and Two Face has such a good backstory. I just like his dual personality.

    Though Magneto is pretty tops, too. I think Juggernaught should get a bit of a shoutout, as well. I guess I’m just a sucker for the big, bruiser types.

  2. X-stacy says:

    I liked the Joker in the animated series, but in the comics he often kind of bores me. Harley Quinn makes me laugh in both, though, and kind of cheer for her even though I know it’s wrong. So thank you to whoever added her as an option!

  3. Frevoli says:

    I went for Joker just because while most villains get called insaine, he actually embreaces the fact that he is -entertainingly so

    I suppose you could argue that his popularity is as a result of The Dark Knight’s, with the Clown Prince of Crime having the rich history with him – killing Jason Todd, crippling Barbra Gorden.

    But I think that he’s such a rich character that he can stand out in any given scene. I enjoy eading the justice league or supervillian team up stories just to see him interact with characters outside the Batman universe

    Growing up with Bruce Timm’s DC animated universe, Mark Hamill’s Joker is my favourite. But you’ve also get to respect Heath Ledger’s portrayal

    I may also have a soft spot for Riddler and Doom, but Joker’s still number 1

  4. Me, Myself & I says:

    I narrowed my list down to these four rather quickly; Dr. Doom, The Joker; Magneto & Green Goblin

    I was as big on The Joker until Heath Ledger’s portrayal, which rocked! Pure chaos is really what I associate with him and I have trouble reconciling chaos for chaos’s sake.

    Dr. Doom certainly has the biggest ego and can certainly back it up. Really a pretty cool villain.

    As Spider-man is my favorite comic hero it was natural to include Green Goblin.

    I had to go with Magneto in the end mainly because he is easiest to relate to. You know his history and exactly where he is comming from.

  5. The Imp says:

    Hey Jeff, have you seen this?



    I’d have to say my favorite villain of all time is Arcane, from Swamp Thing. That guy was vile and awesome as far back as his original appearance in Wein/Wrightson’s ST. He started out as a creepy uncle with a Frankenstein vibe, went on to become a broken monstrosity building insect-men, then possessed his own niece’s husband (and slept with her!! eww!!) while reanimating serial killers as his personal servants and attempting to break open a door between hell and earth. And after all that, we got to have the fist-pump moment of seeing him suffer all the torments of hell after Swampy defeated him. What’s not to love?

  6. Dan says:

    So many great villians, but I had to add Mr. Sinister. He’s been one of my favorites since his first appearence, so much so that I named my son Nathaniel. Please don’t tell my wife. 😉

  7. Jeff Hebert says:

    That’s awesome, Imp, thanks!

  8. Frevoli says:

    @MMI (4) Ego-wise, I’m sure it’d be a pretty close contest between Doom, Magnito and Luthor

  9. Myro says:

    I kinda wanted to add Doctor Dinosaur from Atomic Robo. http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/240/e/e/atomic_robo_by_the_other_mike-d2xiki5.jpg Because, of course, he’s a hyper-intelligent, time-traveling Velociraptor that usually makes for the funniest issues of what is already a very funny series. But then I remembered that I have to vote for Doom, or I get subjected to unspeakable punishments by our future lord and master. Which, I’m sure, Joshua will inevitably let us all know about tonight. And Doom’s already pissed because I agreed to doing a Power User profile instead of telling Jeff that the only person that matters is Doom. So, maybe this will get me back into Doom’s good books.

    Also, Jeff, M.O.D.O.K. is a baby in a metal diaper. http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/566328

  10. Myro says:

    Stupid comment awaiting moderation. The blog filtering system is the real villain, people.

  11. Joshua says:

    *The silence of this moment is at once shattered at the bombastic refrains of what passes as an anthem; it intrudes upon our sensibilities, a melodic violence stomping itself across our ears, almost eerily akin to the Imperial March. A swell of Doombots, finely-dressed yes-men, and slaves cram themselves into the room, painfully distorting themselves into every available space. Only a pathway to the center remains empty. Then, four slaves come together, kneel down, and interlock their arms and legs into a throne of flesh. It’s then that DOCTOR DOOM— as if he were amongst us unseen this whole time– appears!*

    DOOM: HEBERT! You’d do well to amply warn your congregation of bottom-feeders to heed the words of Doom! Thus speaks your undisputed Master, Doom! Should Doom fail to achieve victory in this poll, then Doom himself shall present a poll to you. Doom, in his charity, will allow you to choose how you shall incur Doom’s wrath!

    A). Doom, through the arcane tomes of the deranged Arab, Alhazred, will summon a virus spawned from the malebolge itself. Upon infection, your flesh will remain perpetually necrotic as all the while your organs stew within your own blood. B). Each one of you shall be gathered from the basements and other dingy abodes you call a residence, and undergo extensive psychosurgeries until the very remnants of who you once were slowly drift into oblivion and your remains will serve as brain-cases for my new organic models of Doombots. But should you beg for Doom’s mercy? I’ll eradicate that scum-tinged infestation you call your gene-pool from the face of the Earth itself…and that’s if Doom feels up to benevolence!

    So decide! The clown, the devourer of worlds, or any of the other degenerates not fit to lick polish the very feet of Doom…and with them, mass hysteria and death by Doom’s hand. Or Doom.

    Doom has spoken!


  12. Kountkill says:

    I had to add The Monarch, because who else would break into the Hero’s lair, and then clog his toilet. Plus, he’s married to Doctor Girlfriend. Need I say more?

  13. Kountkill says:

    And yes, I know that The Monarch is not technically a comic book villain, rather he is a cartoon villain, but hey, if Cobra Commander can be on the list, The Monarch can own the list!

  14. TopHat says:

    Doom. He conquers Earth every second day of the week (The majoritry on the list never come close) has stolen the power of the gods on dozens of occasions, is one of the smartest men on Marvel’s earth, and the second most mystically powerful.


  15. zaheelee says:

    Joshua, I officially beg for Doom’s forgiveness. 🙂

  16. dblade says:

    The Monarch rules! Doom drools!

  17. Gero says:

    Deathstroke, hands down. He’s not just my favorite villain, he’s my favorite comics character period. He’s super smart, fast and strong enough to beat Batman in a one-on-one fight, and far more interesting and readable than any of the Titans he’s always matched against…

  18. Mr.MikeK says:

    I had to go with the Green Goblin on this one. Not only does ole Norman come out on top for his years as Spiderman’s most dangerous and menacing villain but for his recent years as the MU’s top dog. He even had something on His Greatness, Dr. Doom! Despite his recent downfall, he’s still rising back to the top from his prison cell. There’s something about him that has always been intriguing.

    Joker is my second choice because of his history. Some of it is silly just because Batman was made silly for a while. His murderous mania and deliberate chaos make him the perfect foil for the Bat who’s entire nature is order and logic. Like many of you, I think Hamil’s Joker is the best performance I’ve seen to date. I would love to see how he would have handled the character if he had been given the character in his darkest days. That would have been something to behold.

  19. ajw says:

    I know its guest added but killer croc is my all time favorite villain, he’s been everything, brute, and calculating crime boss, plus crocodilians are my favorite animals

  20. Vampyrist says:

    My favorite of the characters mentioned has to be Magneto. He has always been a great character, relatable and with a tragic past. However, I can’t pick him as my favorite villain, because to me he isn’t really a villain. He has always been a champion for mutantkind, even if his methods do differ from Xavier. He’s always been a hero with some extreme beliefs to me and therefore can’t be my choice.

    If I were to go with the most evil on the list, I’d go for Red Skull in a heartbeat. He was a Nazi who denied Nazism because it was too kind, that is pure evil. However, he is not my favorite for the same things that make him so evil.

    My choice would have to be Green Goblin. Spidey’s always been my favorite hero and I have the most connection to his rogue’s gallery. Also this is the man who killed Gwen Stacey (Please don’t go into a flame war over who was the one who actually did her in). He was always creepy and brilliantly evil. He’s got my vote.

  21. William A. Peterson says:

    Thank you for recognizing my ambassadorial status, Jeff! 😀
    Of course, DOOM is the only one who should be considered for this honor!

  22. Joshua says:

    DOOM: Doom is taking into account those who lovingly, yet shamelessly, grovel before him. As such, should Hebert’s sideshow followers choose a lesser stag in these polls, then let those who’ve pledged their all to Doom be assured that Doom will reward such unapologetic sycophancy.

    While the others are submerged in the bubbling excrement of the Gre’darbran (…an enormous beast found exclusively in the scorching anti-matter regions beyond the Negative Zone; a beast with a record setting six anuses and an appetite for rancid Nihil flesh.) and other horrid punishments, Doom shall see to it that his “minion-lings” will only have to endure a mere 341 days of running pustules.



  23. Added Kraven the Hunter. If you ever read “Kraven’s Last Hunt.” A defining moment in comic book history. Sealed him as my favorite villain of all time.

    Magnificent story, decent art and color, and a satisfying conclusion. I consider it a “modern classic.” Comics began to present more “mature” and (dare I say) “real” subject matter in the mid-1980s.

    A few years ago, I loaned the series to a friend. He didn’t steal them. I definitely misplaced them. Think I’ll dig through my stash this weekend.

    “Kraven’s Last Hunt” is a must for anyone who likes a good story.

  24. Bael says:

    Got to go with Thanos. He operates on a scale that none of the others can really touch. And, hey, who here hasn’t done something stupid for the girl (or boy) of their dreams?

  25. remy says:

    Who doesn’t love the joker? But I’m going with Magneto. I love him not as a world-conquering villain, but as someone with more extreme political views than Prof. X. I’m Jewish, so I can especially relate to him and where he’s coming from.

  26. Garrett25 says:

    Guys, same issue with the superhero poll, read the choices. Deadpool and Galactus are on there twice. Come on. I had a hard time choosing because I love Venom, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, Bane and the Joker. Seeing as how Bane and Venom are my top two, I have to admit that Venom holds a special place in my heart….even if Sam Raimi only gave him 3 minutes of screen time and then killed him.

  27. D says:

    I went with Catwoman, although I consider her to be more of an antihero than a villain.

  28. Vorpal Laugh says:

    Man this a tough choice. Magneto, Doom, Goblin, Darkseid and Luthor are all great villains. My vote must go to Magneto.
    I also really like the design for Toyman from the Superman cartoon, oh so creepy.

  29. Mark says:

    just have to say, deadpool and deathstroke aren’t villains. they’re mercenaries, deadpool was part of weapon X and deathstroke is essentially the DC version of deadpool