Marvel and DC have dominated the cultural zeitgeist for a long time now. From the comic books to the blockbusters, these two companies are the faces of comic books in the west. However, it’s important to note that there are many more comics out there besides what these two giants have to offer.
From the over-the-top violence of Image Comics to the occult weirdness of Mignola, there are a lot of other great stories out there, and they have given the world some of the most iconic villains.
The Adversary – Fables
Vertigo’s long-running comic series, fairy, has had a host of villains from classic fairy tales go up against Bigby, but the biggest threat of them all has always been The Adversary — so named because he is the self-proclaimed adversary against all the Fables, and drove them out of their homeland.
The revelations regarding this character shocked fans of the series, and if given the chance, shocked new fans in adaptations of the story. The Adversary is a seemingly standard “dark lord” type, but fans know better. The Adversary is a great villain whose motivations are deeply regarded in classic folklore.
Violator – Spawn
The demon assigned to “guide” Spawn, Violator usually takes on the form of a huge, disgusting clown wearing a mockery of Spawn’s outfit. He acts as the world’s most annoying, grossest, and most evil version of Navi from Legend of Zelda. His sole purpose of him is to ensure that Spawn fulfills Malebolgia’s purpose for him: to become a worthy general of his armies of him.
Of course, the Violator has his own plans. Despite being a crass and violent demon, he’s also shrewd and often enjoys it when so-called ”superiors” like Malebolgia underestimate him. His incredibly loud design and absurdly evil personality make him Spawn’s most memorable foe, even more than any of his demonic masters.
Prince Robot – Saga
The snarky and absurdly human-acting robot known as Prince Robot IV is the first major villain encountered by Alana and Marko in Saga. Prince Robot is a snarky, punch clock villain who, at the end of the day, just wants to go back home to his wife and kid. Unfortunately, his impatience means his mission to track down the two heroes is very violent.
Prince Robot IV is a very fun character, but fans can’t overlook his design. It’s such a fun design for a villain, incorporating an old-timey TV as the head of a very tackily dressed nobleman was a genius way to ensure readers don’t forget him anytime soon. His character development of him throughout the story is also great, and he’s easily one of saga’s most likeable characters, let alone villains.
Judge Death – Judge Dredd
Judge Dredd’s most iconic foe is the most shamelessly blatant case of “what if the main character was evil” in comic book history. They practically have the same initials too and considering Dredd’s reputation, both are equally feared by criminals. Where they differ though, is that even by Judge Dredd’s standards, Judge Death is incredibly ruthless.
Deeming life itself “illegal,” Judge Death scours worlds to “redeem” everybody of their sin of living by un-living them. Permanently. Plus, his design by him is a ghoulish mockery of judges, bone-thin and with the rotten color palette of a corpse. Judge Death’s insane quest to end all life everywhere makes him a terrifyingly memorable villain.
The 7 Evil Exes – Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
These are seven different and equally fascinating characters, but they’re all iconic due to their united quest to make Ramona’s love life a living hell. Varying from reasonably pissed off at Ramona’s “Ramona-ness” to complete and utter sociopaths, the seven evil exes have made their mark in comic history, despite not being the typical supervillains.
The unique designs and wacky personalities of the seven evil exes make them so likable, despite their blatant jerkiness. A flamboyant goth, an affable movie star, a pretentious vegan, a bi-furious ninja, dubstep dragon twins, and a super incel are a hilariously diverse roster of villains for Scott to face. They might just be quirky individually, but it’s as a unit that they become iconic.
The Plutonian – Irredeemable
The main character of irredeemable, The Plutonian is one of the best “evil Superman” characters in comic book history, along with a certain omnicidal maniac from Invincible. The Plutonian is an unhinged narcissist who never truly matured emotionally. For years, his persona was all a facade as he desperately tried to figure out what his purpose in life was.
The stress of his own failings, the unbearable weight of his powers, as well as the building frustration of his status as the “perfect hero” cause him to become the absolute opposite. The atrocities he commits on the people of Earth who once called him savior are terrible to behold, but that contrast is what made his story so memorable for comic book fans.
Grigori Rasputin – Hellboy
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin is Hellboy’s most iconic adversary, arguably more than Ogdru Jahad itself. Hellboy’s version of the mad monk reimagines the priest as the leader of a cult hellbent on jumpstarting the apocalypse. He is responsible for bringing Hellboy into the world, and the overarching conflict of the series is Rasputin’s attempts to make Hellboy fulfill his destiny.
When comic book fans think of occult folklore in comics, Rasputin is the first character to come to mind. His Lovecraftian aesthetic and ghastly powers of him evoke the feeling of being dragged into a void. No matter how many times he is “killed,” he always manages to find a way back. His role as the devil on Hellboy’s shoulder, pushing him to fulfill his destiny, is a role that comic fans wo n’t soon forget.
Negan – The Walking Dead
Despite other villains like The Governor already making waves in the story, it was Negan’s appearance that truly shocked fans of The Walking Dead to their very core. Negan manages to be a terrifying villain not because of any superpowers, but because’s he’s all too real. As the leader of the “Saviors,” Negan is fascinating because he truly believes in his group’s name. His violent ways of him are all in the name of “the greater good,” and it makes him all the more terrifying.
However, behind the violence is a surprisingly reasonable and downright charming man. While he would no sooner end you with Lucille if you disobey him, he’s more than willing to be fair to those who don’t rock the boat. His morality of him is more “blue and orange” than “black and white,” as he follows a code that’s only understandable to him.
Shredder – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
It’s a well-known fact at this point that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were not always a kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoon. TMNT had its humble beginnings as a surprisingly dark and violent comic book. Shredder is TMNT‘s most iconic villain for good reason, which makes it even more shocking that he dies in the first issue of the comics.
Of course, in typical comic book fashion, that doesn’t stick, and Shredder continues to be the most dangerous foe of the TMNT. His angular design of him-all blades and edges-radiates the aura of a man who does not want to be trifled with. Combine that with the ability to match all four turtles in martial skill at once, and Shredder deserves the title of being their greatest foe (sorry, Krang).
Omni Man – Invincible
the Evil Superman to end all Evil Supermen is Invincible’s Omni-Man. While The Plutonian is a fascinating look at what the unhinged man-child of a Superman would be like, Omni-Man is a completely different beast altogether. Omni-Man is a seemingly stoic man, not showing his true colors for so long out of a strong sense of duty to his people. Paired with the fact that Omni-Man’s the de facto most powerful being on Earth, quite literally nobody could hope to stand in his way when he revealed his true nature.
To him, it’s a privilege to be under his race’s protection. Although his role is dominance, he does not seek it for his own sake. Omni-Man, before Injustice even tackled the idea fully, is the perfect example of what happens when a “superior” race decides that their way is the only way to achieve utopia — a utopia built on the bones of those who dare disagree with them.
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