Comic book villains have always been as important as heroes. Their acts and roles do not make it an easy feat to like them or understand them. But their major purpose is to bring out the best in our favorite superheroes, and they do that job perfectly.
Without these supervillains, there would be no one for our heroes to conquer, create chaotic situations to calm, and create dangerous scenarios for them to save people. While the greatness of their conquests measures heroes, the strength and chaos of their acts measures villains.
Here are our ten greatest comic book villains of all time.
10. Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne)
Featuring first in The Flash (no 139) in September 1963, Eobard Thawne, just like most comic book villains, was not born evil. He was a brilliant scientist from the 25th century. During Eobard’s time, the Flash (Barry Allen) was a legend he adored and loved. To follow his idol’s footsteps, Eobard tried to recreate the accident that made Barry a speedster with the cosmic treadmill. The experiment was successful, but it had injured Eobard. He spent his entire wealth trying to model his countenance after Barry Allen. Eobard decided to travel back in time to meet his hero, Barry Allen.
To his shock, he realized that he did not travel back enough. At that timeline, the Flash had died. He also discovered a newsletter depicting how the Flash defeated a supervillain by the name of Eobard Thawne. He realized his destiny was to be Barry Allen’s archenemy, Reverse-Flash. With this realization, Thawne traveled farther back in time to kill the Flash.
However, this attempt met him with another failure. Instead, he killed Barry Allen’s mother, hoping the trauma of her death will stop him from becoming the Flash. This event cut Eobard Thawne off from the speed force. This forced him to live in the current timeline, to be what he was destined to be, the Flash’s greatest adversary. John Broome and Carmine Infantino created Eobard Thawne for the DC Universe.
Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby created Loki for the Marvel Universe. Loki is the son of Laufey, the king of Jotunnheim. Fatefully, Odin adopted him after the defeat of Laufey, who died in battle. Having to live in Thor’s shadow, Loki learned the science and magic of Asgard, which he later used to torment Thor, Asgardians, and even the whole universe. Loki has always envied all that belonged to Thor, including the love and affection his parents gave him. This jealousy quickly grew into hatred, and from an early age, Loki had made himself the archenemy of Thor. Marvel first introduced Loki in no 85, Journey into Mastery, October 1962.
8. Doctor Doom
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created and designed Doctor Doom for the Marvel Universe. Victor Von Doom was a child when he lost his mother while she was trying to invoke a demon’s spirit. The tragedy continued as he later lost his father. Now an orphan, his father’s best friend raised him. Victor discovered his mother’s magic books and relics, and he tried to rescue his mother’s soul from the demon. It was his obsession to bring back his mother’s soul that turned him into evil. Victor became successful with science and attended the same school as Reed Richards – Mr. Fantastic. Thus, Victor consequently became Reed’s enemy. To free his mother’s soul from the demon again, Victor invented the machine with flawed calculations that resulted in an explosion. This explosion scarred his face and led to his expulsion from the school. Victor later studied the order of the monks, where they made him his suit of armor, and he became Doctor Doom. He was the major antagonist of Mr. Fantastic and his Fantastic Four. As you may know, Doctor Doom first showed up in July 1962, in The Fantastic Four, no 5.
Sinestro first appeared in August 1961, in Green Lantern (no 7, vol 2). John Broome and Gil Kane created and designed him for the DC Universe. For a time, Sinestro of Korugar was the best Green Lantern before his banishment to the planet Qward because of his beliefs. During his exile In Qward, Sinestro made the first yellow ring empowered by fear. He also created his super squad of villains. With that, he was ready. Sinestro unleashed his wrath on the Green Lantern Corp and the entire universe. Sinestro became the ultimate villain for Hal Jordan, who was his former student and protege.
Jack Kirby created Darkseid for the DC Multiverse. In his famous origin tale, Darkseid was previously known as Uxas. He was a prince who witnessed the disappearance of his father. He killed his mother in retaliation for murdering his wife. His drive for power led to the killing of his brother, who was supposed to be the next king so that he can be the king of Apokolips. These two events were portrayed as the reason behind Uxas’ refusal to love, and his becoming the evil god Darkseid.
Darkseid grew to become one of the most powerful beings in the DC Multiverse, and he was a constant threat to the Justice League and all of DC Multiverse. His first appearance was in November 1970, in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (no 134).
5. Green Goblin (Norman Osborn)
Stan Lee created the Green Goblin with significant adjustment from Steve Ditko while Marvel Comics published it. Norman Osborn was born to rich parents before his father lost all the family wealth. He became a drunk and an abusive father and husband. This cruel upbringing made Norman decide to pursue power and wealth. Norman founded a company, OsCorp, with his former teacher. He later had him arrested for embezzlement so he could have total control of the company. With his partner in jail, Norman starts experimenting with some of his partner’s work until it exploded to his face. Norman noticed how fast his body healed and how he had grown more intelligent. The Green Goblin became Spiderman’s archenemy by killing his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. In the Goblin’s quest for ultimate power, he constantly met Spiderman. He debuted in July 1964, in The Amazing Spider-Man, no 14.
4. Lex Luthor
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Lex Luthor for the DC Universe. Lex Luthor is the son of wealthy philanthropist Lionel Luthor. As a kid, Lex grew up in Smallville and attended the same high school as Clark Kent. Lex became obsessed with Superman. What started as watchfulness soon escalated into envy and then hatred for any and every extraterrestrial. Lex became an evil genius with unlimited access to his father’s wealth. He became an adversary to Superman and caused him a lot of heartaches. Lex made his first appearance in April 1940, Action Comics (no 23).
Jim Starlin created Thanos for the Marvel Multiverse. Thanos of Titan, who debuted in February 1973 in The Invincible Iron Man (no55), was born by Mentor and Sui-San – two powerful Eternals. His birth made him even more powerful than any other Titan, and many feared him even from an incredibly young age. Thanos cultivated a relationship with Mistress Death, which caused his exile from his home planet. In retaliation, Thanos attacked Titans, but he only killed his mother in the attack. In a bid to impress the Mistress Death, Thanos set out to gather all the infinity gem (time, soul, space, power, reality, and mind) in a Gauntlet. Successful in his quest, Thanos wiped out half of all living things in the world to impress his mistress Death.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created Magneto for the Marvel Universe. And he first appeared in The X-Men (no 1), in September 1963. Originally, his name was Max Eisenhardt. Magneto suffered a tough childhood through the holocaust and watched his parents and sister executed. Max grew into a hardworking young man supporting his wife and daughter until an attack from the locals forced him to use his powers. That night his house was set ablaze with his daughter inside. Magneto killed all those that burnt his house and, in the process, killed his daughter.
After some time, Magneto had his name changed to Erik Magnus Lehnsherr. He later met Charles Xavier. The two men became friends and even fought together for the same cause. Soon enough, Xavier began to frown on some of Erik’s ideology, especially his war on mutants’ supremacy. Charles Xavier wants a world where humans and mutants live together in peace, but Erik would rather let humans worship mutants. This difference was the beginning of what became an arch-rivalry between Magneto’s league of supervillains and the X-Men.
Jerry Robinson, Bob Kane, and Bill Finger created the Joker for the DC Universe. The Joker is an unnamed Engineer who quits his job to become a standup comedian, where he failed miserably. With a pregnant wife and no job, this young man joined an armed robbery gang to support his family.
Just before the robbery, he became aware of the death of his wife and their unborn child. The leader of the gang refused him to leave. Their plan plaid out wrongly and caused the deaths of his accomplices. While he was trying to escape, he jumped into the drainage system of chemical waste. Coming out of the other end, he noticed that his skin had been bleached to chalk white, his hair dyed to green, and his lips turned red.
The deformation of his body and the loss of his wife and their unborn child made this young man insane. And the Joker was born. Seeing Batman as a worthy adversary and a life-purpose, Joker makes it his duty to torment the masked superhero. Believing anyone can lose their sanity if faced with a very bad day, the Joker sets off to give Batman a bad day every day! His first appearance was in April 1940, in Batman (no 1).
Villains may not often end up as fans’ favorite, but their impact determines how fans celebrate the superhero’s victory. Remarkable villains like Joker and Lex Luthor made the superheroes they faced better because of their intelligence and outstanding knowledge of their art.
Author: Chris Ingledue
Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!