Tuesday, January 1, 2013




“Is evil something you are, or something you do?” 
― Bret Easton EllisAmerican Psycho

While we read comics every month to follow the adventures of our favorite heroes, we know that they wouldn't be as interesting to us if it wasn't for their villains. It's the villains that test our heroes on all levels and make them who they are... who we dream to be. There are many all-powerful, notorious villains in the comic world that battle with the good guys to gain ultimate power. But there is also a select few that really do inspire fear deep within us and sometimes even creep us out. They are the ones that are the most insanely twisted, the ones our heroes can't seem to understand what their motivations are. They hurt, mutilate and kill all walks of life and take a haunting sick pleasure in their atrocious acts of violence. These are the villains that scare on a more psychological level. And what seems to terrify us the most, is that some of these villains could actually exist in real life.

For this write up, I vigilantly researched thousands of comics and reread some of the most entertaining and yet, heart-wrenching stories in the medium to come up with a list of villains that are truly sadistically evil. These are the categories I based each character on: brutality, wickedness, insanity, morality, motivation, creepiness, perversion and most importantly, how I personally felt after reading the stories. I know that comic creators are very fond of making new villains that are heinously evil, but are basically just carbon copies of the originals so reputation and popularity were also considered. Absolutely no villains who carry an honor system or want to rule the world to make it a better place were ranked. While these are popular traits and motivations from most power-hungry villains of the world, they hold no place here. So don't expect to see the popular Dr. Doom, Magneto, Darkseid, Lex Luthor, Sinestro, Loki, Ra's Al Ghul, Ozymandias, Mandarin and the like on this list. I just ranked the nastiest of the nasty, the ones who want to watch the world and life burn... with no exceptions.

Ranking only 10 of the most evil villains was a difficult task indeed, which is why I included an Honorable Mentions list at the bottom. While the characters listed here are a motley crew of despicable disciples and should be given their props, they fail to crack the top 10 because the ones I ranked, I feel just do it better... and I'm usually right. So sit back and enjoy the 10 most evil scumbags to ever come out of a comic book. And let's all be glad that these monsters don't really exist... well, if you've watched the news lately, maybe they do...


Bullseye has never been about subtlety, nuance or emotion. He's a brutal, cold-hearted killer, plain and simple. There are very few characters as enthusiastic about creatively killing a victim than this hired assassinBullseye gained his notoriety by killing Elektra in an infamous and horrific scene. He quickly became one of Daredevil's archenemies, and has even returned to kill another one of Matt Murdock's lovers, Karen Page. Bullseye is a mutant who has the uncanny ability of marksmanship. He has amassed a huge body-count with this ability over the years. And as the Kingpin's best and most efficient mercenary, the killing will continue for this relentless psychopath.


The history between Sabertooth and Wolverine goes back for decades. It is not truly known if they actually are related and if their rivalry began during their youth in the 1800s? Or it may have begun early in the 20th century, in a horrific event, during which Sabretooth raped and seemingly murdered Wolverine's lover, Silver Fox? Thanks to the Weapon X program distorting Sabretooth's memories, it's impossible to say, but regardless, his hatred for Wolverine is constant. Sabertooth continues to be Logan's most notorious and dangerous adversary. Possessing a healing factor with cat-like claws and fangs, Sabretooth is often considered even more dangerous than Wolverine, due to the fact that he allows himself to completely give in to his animalistic impulses. So, when it comes to savagely killing and mutilating prey, not many can do it better than this mutant.


Jason Wyngarde, better known as Mastermind is the first of the truly "creepy" villains on this list. He has the power to cast illusions causing people to psionically see, hear and even touch things that don't really exist. He can make people believe that he is another person or even invisible for that matter. He can even do this to mutants as strong as Professor Xavier. Despite using his powers for petty thievery, Mastermind being somewhat older and ugly with graying hair, uses his powers to appear younger and better looking so that he can sexually assault his helpless female victims. His most infamous incident was when he was part of the Hellfire Club and he manipulated Jean Grey into believing she was a Victorian aristocrat, married to Jason Wyngarde, and that she was the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. They had many sexual escapades until she broke free from his control and then turned him catatonic. When he eventually came back to his senses, Mastermind went back to his sleazy, promiscuous ways.


Dr. Jonathan Crane is one of the most formidable and thematically intriguing Batman villains of all time. As a child, he was bullied and tormented, so he decided to research the human psyche and how people dealt with fear. After being fired from a teaching position where he used unwilling students in his experiments, Crane decided to use his knowledge for a life of crime. As a deranged genius, he uses a variety of drugs (such as his fear-toxin) and psychological tactics to exploit the fears and phobias of his adversaries. He wants nothing less than everyone in Gotham to be as afraid as he once was. There are not many villains around that are as truly sick and twisted as the Scarecrow.


Victor Zsasz was the head of his own international company and had amassed a large personal fortune in addition to his family's wealth. At the age of 25 his parents died in a boating accident, sending him into a deep depression. He turned to gambling, gradually squandering his entire fortune. Then, while he was attempting to commit suicide, a homeless man tried to assault him with a knife after he refused to give him money. Instinctively grabbing the knife, Zsasz proceeded to stab the man to death. From then on, he dedicated himself to "liberating" others from their pointless existence (he often refers to victims as "zombies"). Zsasz began a tally on his body that would grow to include more than a hundred scars. He usually preys on young women, but has no qualms over whom he murders. He slits his victims' throats and leaves them in lifelike poses, adding a tally mark to his body each time. He has been diagnosed as insane and is regularly incarcerated in Arkham Asylum. In The Batman Chronicles #3, a psychiatrist found herself unable to understand why Victor did what he did. "You don't exhibit the usual signs of mental illness. No voices, no hallucinations, no dementia. Why do you kill?" she asked him. Victor responded, "I have no dysfunctional family background. I suffered neither childhood abuse or trauma. I kill for ONE reason only, doctor -- because I CHOOSE to." Now that's freaking evil...


Zebediah Killgrave, The Purple Man is easily the most "creepy" character in comics, by far. As good as Mastermind is at using his powers to fulfill his sexual perversions, Zebediah does it more frequently and with much more narcissistic creativity. His body has been altered to produce chemical pheromones which, when inhaled or absorbed through the skin, allow Killgrave to control their actions by verbal suggestions. The effects only last as long as he is physically present and are somehow keyed to his personal voice and speech-pattern. When he departs, the level of chemicals is reduced within his victims at various rates (dependent upon their metabolisms), and then the victims regain full cognizance of self. Killgrave can influence hundreds of people at one time, and his victims can be controlled to perform actions against their will. He also seems to have some control over the release of his pheromones into the atmosphere, as he is able to walk hidden among crowds without influencing everybody. With a power like this, Zebediah constantly goes out into the world to manipulate, rape and murder whoever he wants just to feel better about his constant defeats at the hands of other superheroes. All I have to say is read Alias, Part: 5 The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones TPB and be prepared for the "creepiest" comic book ever written...mature readers only.


They don't come any more evil than this guy. Mephisto is the ruler of Hell and is the Marvel Universe version of Satan. He can shape shift, change time and has superhuman strength. You can try to kill him, but he will regenerate and always come back sooner or later. His pact with Mistress Death allows him to keep the souls of the dead. He can also keep the souls of the living, but only with their permission. While Mephisto is incredibly formidable on all levels, his strongest and most powerful ability is his power of manipulation. No one can do it better. He has caused so much havoc throughout the years with this power that countless souls have been forever lost or corrupted by him. As long as there is peace and love in the world, he simply will not stop. Clearly, the Lord of Hell is not one with whom to mess with.


Thanos, has only one goal, to extinguish all life in the universe to gain favor of the woman he desires, Mistress Death. How romantic. But despite his attempts, he has failed time and time again and with each failure, she dumps him. He has disappointed her so much that he is barred from her realm of the dead and this makes him unable to truly die, which is just great for mankind. So what does Thanos do about this? He tries to find another way to get the job done (they don't call him the "Mad Titan" for nothing). Whether it be with the Cosmic Cube, the Infinity Gauntlet or some other item of mass destruction, all life must cease to exist! With his power of telekinesis, matter manipulation, superhuman strength and durability, Thanos is a fearsome foe. But it's his keen superhuman intellect mixed in with his madness that is his greatest weapon. Thanos can master any technology, time travel, teleport and find a way to cause mass genocide all in one easy stroke. Let's just say they don't come any more dangerous or insane than the Mad Titan.


There was never any doubt in my mind that the enigmatic, psychopathic Clown Prince of Crime would come in amongst the top when ranking the most evil villains ever. The Joker is the definition of a scene-stealing, deliciously wicked character, one that is quite possibly more complex and interesting than just about any other in the comic world. There are countless of Joker capers that remind us why he is the quintessential DC comic book villain. He exists because of his enemy, and without creatures like the Joker, there would be no Batman. More importantly, this villain is capable of reinventing himself in various incarnations, whether it's being savage and sadistic or even light-hearted and funny, there is just so much depth within the character. And despite being a "street-level" villain, he is so much more terrifying than even the cosmic, all-powerful fiends on this list because his interactions and motivations are ones that readers can truly relate to. Fear, chaos, murder and all done with a smile... no one can do it better than the Joker.


At the top of the list is not only the most evil villain ever created in comics, but also the most truly despised. There are some big components to what makes the Red Skull "the baddest of the bad" when it comes to pure evil in the comics world. First thing, the Skull is a Nazi, and, throughout history there has never been a more villainous group than the Nazi party. It's a simple way to categorize and create a villain, but it's effective, particularly set in opposition to Captain America. Another point is that the Red Skull truly hits home. People like him do exist and believe in his perfect "Aryan-race" philosophies and frighteningly, if Adolf Hitler had his way back in WWII, everyone might even be somewhat like the Red Skull today... and that is horrifying to think about! Everything a sane, rational, and educated person would hate about others resides within this character. For the Skull is not only a brutal and heartless killer, he is also bigoted on a level  that no other villain can match. He wants to conquer the world and those underneath him must be extinguished

Unlike the Joker, their is no humor in what the Skull does. Readers sometimes laugh along with the Joker and surprisingly, the Clown Prince of Crime can be written as a likable character. The Red Skull is simply too despicable to be likable in any way... still have any doubts that this guy should be number 1?? How about I give you one more example. When you think about it, arch-nemeses rarely succeed. The Joker never killed Batman. Sabertooth never killed Wolverine. Mephisto has yet to kill or corrupt Thor or the Silver Surfer. But the Skull managed to outwit and outplay Captain America, and in the end, he watched from afar as his master plan came to fruition. Steve Rogers was assassinated and the Marvel Universe lost its only true beacon of hope. Sure, the Sentinel of Liberty came back (like all comic characters do), but the Skull succeeded... and we hated it. So, be warned, the Red Skull will succeed at something evil and atrocious again, and we will continue to despise him for it.




Lady Deathstrike

Nightmare, Green Goblin, Hate-Monger, Dormammu, Baron Blood, Kingpin, Carnage, Parallax, Dr. Light, M.O.D.O.K., Foolkiller, Bushwacker, Mastermold, Sentinels, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, Ultron, Braniac, Lizard, Sebastian Shaw, Cheshire, Abomination, Deadshot, Mongul, Baron Zemo, Dark Phoenix and Sin-Eater

Agree? Disagree?? Let's hear it fanboys!

Check out other Hero Envy "Top" Lists:

Top 10 Superhero Capes of All Time

Top 10 Greatest Captain America Moments

John Cimino
John Cimino is a Silver and Bronze Age comic, cartoon and memorabilia expert that runs a business called "Saturday Morning Collectibles." He buys, sells, appraises and gives seminars on everything pop culture, so if you got something special, let him know about it. He contributes articles to ALTER EGO, RETROFAN, BACK ISSUE and THE JACK KIRBY COLLECTOR from TwoMorrows Publishing, runs the Roy Thomas Appreciation Board on Facebook and has appeared on the AMC reality show Comic Book Men. He also represents some of comicdoms biggest stars and brings them to a Comic Con near you. John likes to think he's the real Captain Marvel, people just don't have the heart to tell him he's just an obsessed fanboy that loves to play superheroes with his daughter Bryn. Contact him at johnstretch@live.com or follow him on Instagram at megostretchhulk.



  1. I think your list should've been split up a bit. "The Most Evil Villians" and "The Most Insane Villians." I wonder how much that might change your current list? :)

  2. Nice message sent to me by DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio...

    "This year is all about the great villains of the DCU. Happy New Year."


  3. Why wasn't Foolkiller on your list? He's pretty insane and evil. He thinks that all people are fools and that they must be eliminated from the face of the earth. He's a pretty scary guy himself.

    1. Did you read the Honorable Mentions list?

    2. Bullseye is a mutant so he has superpowers.

  4. Nobody is more purely evil that the Red Skull.

  5. I think darkseid at lest deserve an honorable mention.

  6. joker is number 1

  7. i just think that Bloodrage from animal man should be number 1

  8. Bullseye is not a mutant. Only highly skilled

  9. I agree. Joker should be number 1.

  10. But think about it, Joker should be number one. Nobody knows what he is truly after, and if he kills Batman then he will lose most of his fun and the what might be the only person in existence who can keep up with him. Batman can't kill the Joker without becoming like him and the Joker can't kill Batman without losing the only human who can keep up with him.

    1. joker is overrated, and overexposed like superman.

    2. No superhero can kill Darkseid, if you do he possess you. The augment for joker as greatest villain is kind of stupid. The user proved Red Skull is number 1. Grant Morrison made Darkseid lose in plot induced stupidity. If you read the silver age. Darkseid made PC superman his b#@tch.

    3. Darkseid may be powerful but his ass was whipped, not by a hero but by a villain, which is embarrassing. It was Doomsday who round about killed him. The Marvel Universe is largely consisted on over-powered people.

  11. I'm not a fan of comicbooks, but putting joker or lex luthor on top is kind of stupid.I'm giving you an example.
    Top 13 Greatest Villains in Comics
    1.Lucifer Morningstar
    2.Gah Lak Tus
    3. Shadow King the version were he possessed Xavier and killed all the superheroes.
    3. Judge Death
    4. Shimrra Jamaane
    5. Darth Nihilus
    6.Jason Stryker
    7. Thrawn
    8. Purifiers
    9. Master Mold
    .10. Isolationist (x factor)

  12. This list isn't about greatest Villain, it's about being EVIL (period). All it takes to be most evil are the opportunities to prove it. To be greatest villain you need power, accomplishment, influence, etc. That would change the list significantly. I do think some of the villains made it on this list more from notoriety than merit, I do agree with alot of the thought that went into the rankings. However, for me there are only three people that truly strike me as evil (in no particular order) (1) Mephisto - as stated above (2) Carnage - insane, insatiable, sociopathic, psychopathic, unreasonable, and motivated by death and pain. That equals evil in my book. Marvel just overused the venom caricature which makes carnage look less than he is (3) Joker - seriously, I shouldn't need to explain this (wager with the devil for his soul results in hell on earth - his prize for winning.........a cigar, Cuban of course). For me out of all of the super villains if any of these three were to come to town none of us would be beneath their notice. I wouldn't just be scared for my life, but for my sanity and even my soul. A brave man may stand in the face of death, but who could stand the torture of mind body and soul. Now that's evil.

  13. The best about all these threads is that the joker has high mention but everyone forgets he is just a man and has accomplished so much as an evil villain. The title is about evil villains. Some of these shouldn't be ranking over the ones I thought of, not that I'm the authority on this but as a fan. There have been men who are more evil than some listed here who should have been high up. I agree about the red skull but not for number one. I feel like the person who made this list was not bias n showed his true love for marvel than any other . That's just what I feel. Good list tho.

  14. I like to watch comic villains every time!! you know why because they are so entertaining, especially when they come with their most terrible face. I like that moment.”THANOS” is my favorite one character among this list of best villains.

  15. I have never watched comic movies. But I have seen many thriller movies and action movies where villains were there but don’t know about the comic villains. Is this so, in comic movies also villains are there?

  16. The whole "Nazis are the most evil thing ever!!!!! OMG!!!" thing is all propaganda started by Russians in the 1930's... The Holohoax is plagued with holes and utter bullshit. I would say the Redskull comic is probably made by Jews as an extension of their need for everyone to feel bad for Jews.

    1. Actually just a normal american that bought it all hook, line, and sinker JCatland_Art . I don't know if blogspot is as fancy as disqus and you'll even receive this, but his creator is the kind of bad foreign stereotype most rational countries have about America, the blundering idiotic patriot hero. You've probably met the kind. The ex-marines down at the local bar, blathering about the "greatest country to ever exist" and that "we shoulda won vietnam" and their parents being "the greatest generation" and the only books they've ever read are "Men's adventure stories" that have the same blinkered badgery white guy on the cover "doing it for muurrrrka!" I honestly wish it WAS who you say it was because it would make a decent psychological exercise to wonder about his actions, and why so often they actually WOULDN'T help him get to his endgoal. But no, he only married one. I guess you could get some mileage about how utterly beholden one man can be to propaganda however, while at the same time lambasting the use of such as an evil act itself.
      This is probably why there's few jews actually even opposing Red Skull. It's only when he randomly teams up with a villain that's one by birth (like Magneto) that any mention of them arises.
      The real mentality can be glimpsed FROM reading those little pocketbooks, actually. YAAR ME NAZI, ME EBIL BIGBAD. That's all part of the same swill gestating since the victorian pulp adventure times. Just shifted to a more 'liberally pleasing outlet.' It's what some might call the 'mighty whitey' syndrome. Where the big buff brave white hero rides to the rescue of an oppressed or otherwise incapable minority, saves the day, and takes off with their hottest wom(e)n and is implied in some fashion to repopulate the entire goddamn race overnight.

      This writing style is not a 'jewish disease' but a COLONIALIST disease. The soldier must get his spy-girl. The secret agent must get the evil scientist's hot daughter. The cowboy must get his squaw. The massa must get his slave girl. The spartan must get his Greek. The explorer must get his milk-engorged shirtless tribal African queen. It's an old timey tradition, and it's completely moronic and just as aggravating every effin' time. I imagine if your sole interests in life are punching things and procreating you might find it the height of electrifying literature, however.
      The only jewish influence here is "every nazi must be bad to the bone (har haar)" and so Cap never knocks up Red Skull's daughter to leave him shamed after finding the supersoldier serum doesn't pass on through your genes to the next generation.
      I can't really recall a time from the TPBs I've randomly picked up here and there when Red Skull even sounded German, much less like a Nazi. To my ear he sounds more like a southern-fried corndog chawing Mississippi Knight with a major in wacky superscience batting for the wrong team. Which is probably the only kind of racist Mr Kirby ever encountered.

  17. Read The Crossed, they're definitely more evil

  18. I think that on number 1 there will be LORD VOLDEMORT,Because no other villain is never hesitate to kill anyone,but this Dark Lord can kill anyone who stands up in front of him or either just say some words to him even he is his father,uncle,relative,headmaster,or
    any follower.His most speaking words are CRUCIO AND AVADA KEDAVRA,now you can think what can he do.....