Ever since DC started shelling out comics in 1934 (as National Allied Publications), we’ve seen a plethora of super-villains who’ve either fallen to the wayside or managed to stay on board long enough to make a lasting impression. The best of these “ultra criminals” have gone head to head with heroes frequently, so much so that they’ve not only created a unique identity for themselves, but even molded their opponent.
But due to the sheer numbers of comics DC has made over the decades, their writers have, in turn, generated a great deal of baddies, so many that there are bound to be some… special villains.
As you’ll notice, many of the characters on this list are “older,” like pre-1990s, or they only appeared in one-shots (for perfectly good reason).
Others on this list are just so profoundly stupid that they had to have been a joke. Power Posse is a great example of this, seeing as the “announcer language” in the issues they appeared in even poked fun at them.
At the end of JLA Classified #8 (where Power Posse appears), the book reads “Concluded next issue (thank god!).” In the opening to issue #9, they include the words “Lo! There shall come an ending… and none too soon!” And at the end of said issue, we get this little gem: “And they all lived Bwa-ha-happily ever after.”
Here are some of the many, many super-villains DC doesn’t want you to know about.
15. Big Top
Many, many insanely weird characters make up Professor Pyg’s Circus of Strange, hence why it’s designated as “strange” (even though the name’s holistically redundant, seeing as circuses are inherently strange). But we think it’s safe to say that the strangest out of all of the myriad of freaks that Pyg employs in his circus is Big Top.
The picture we provided basically says it all. He’s not just a man in a tutu (which is already hilariously stupid), but said man’s manliness is exemplified by him sporting a beard, and the oddness of him wearing said tutu is embellished by the fact that he’s overtly obese. Big Top is just wrong on so many levels. And DC undoubtedly knows this.
14. Power Posse
Many supervillain “clubs” in DC are the crème a la crème of villainy (or maybe we should say the worst of the worst?). Others consist of criminals who started their own little group because they all shared a common goal, a similar method of killing or, more importantly, have a common enemy.
Then there’s Power Posse, a group with a ridiculous theme that only makes its name all the more ambivalent… unless the word “Power” is meant to signify “power heels.”
Power Posse is based out of a strip club, and most of its members look as though they fit right in, all except the gigantic monstrous G’nort. We have a dominatrix (Mistress Mary) whose “identity” is complete with her submissive counterpart, an unfortunate pairing, due to the fact that the one who’s ostensibly doing the submitting is her brother (Ice). And what would a strip-club-themed group be without a stripper? A lame one. That’s why DC’s writers included Tiffany (at least she’s a stripper sociopath). Heck, the strip club’s bartender is also in Power Posse (Booster Gold), so is the ticket taker (Oberon) and the bouncer (Metamorpho).
13. Tar Pit
To be honest, Tar Pit is kinda badass. He’s literally what his name suggests—a giant agglomeration of molten asphalt—meaning he can not only burn you, but hurl flaming chunks of tar at you.
Okay. So why does DC want you to forget about him? Because Tar Pit’s story about how he became a pit of tar is… weird. This molten mass was originally a human named Joey Monteleone (a criminal, of course) who realized he had a special ability: inhabiting inanimate objects and making them… animate. In light of this revelation, Joey did what any other living person would do in his situation: transfer his mind out of his boring human shell to anything and everything, one of which included a fire hydrant.
But he did it a little too much.
After switching from one random thing to another, he soon found himself trapped inside a hot tar pit. He tried getting out, but he couldn’t. And there he’s stayed.
Oh! What happens to Joey’s real body when he’s out making things that shouldn’t move, move. It’s left unconscious as though he were sleeping. And guess where Joey was when he first started leaping from one object to the other? In jail. So as Joey’s mind manifests inside a pit of piping hot asphalt, his body is abused by his padded-cellmate.
If there’s one thing science-fiction teaches us, it’s that any form of duplication (usually by way of cloning) never turns out the way the duplicator planned for his duplicate.
Bizarro, as the name implies, is a bizarre “clone” (or, as creator Alvin Schwarz said of them, a mirror-image inspired by C.G. Jung’s archetype of “the shadow”) of various characters, the first one created when Superboy was exposed to a “duplicating ray” and, a year later, when Kal-El’s exposure to the same type of ray created yet another bizarre freak, who then made his own Bizarro Lois, a process that later proliferated into a whole species.
Without even having to go into too much detail, these guys are bizarre because they’re weird-looking. Plus, their English is… bad. Like, ridiculously so. Embarrassingly so.
Bizarro even have their own world called Htrae (which is Earth spelled backwards, by the way) full of ridiculous, embarrassing freaks. Heck, even the planet is shaped like a cube, the complete opposite of Earth (Htrae spelled backwards). There, doing bad things is good and good things is bad.
11. Count Vertigo
What’s odd about this “villain” is the way in which he became endowed with superpowers. In what only makes his situation all the stranger, this particular villain’s last name is actually Vertigo (his full name being Count Werner Vertigo) as though he were meant to become the overtly ridiculous meta-human criminal he would one day become.
Before Count Vertigo became the Count Vertigo, a count named Vertigo unfortunately suffered from a severe case of vertigo due to an inner ear defect. To remedy his suffering, he was later outfitted with an electric device that would allow him to live a normal life. But the abilities said device bestowed upon him would make living a normal life impossible.
10. Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man
This “villain” is basically the bad guy equivalency of the Wonder Twin Zan (you know, the one who, when compared to his twin sister Jayna, got the insanely short end of the “meta-human” straw by only having the ability to transform into any form of water, all of which is exacerbated by the fact that he still has to participate in the overtly weird ritual of “fist-pumping” his sis and saying “Wonder Twin powers activate,” after which is followed by him saying whatever form of water he wants to take). It’s no surprise that by the final seasons of Super Friends, these twins were marginalized to accommodate superheroes like Firestorm before being completely eliminated to make way for Cyborg.
Anyway, we’re talking about Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, not the Wonder Twins.
This villain at least had more of a choice of what he could transform into. It’s just so oddly specific.
Back before he would add “Animal, Vegetable and Mineral” to his identity as a man, he was just a… man… named Dr. Sven Larsen. But one day, like every other amazing scientist in comics, Dr. Larsen had an accident; he fell into a vat simulating the organic soup of the primordial Earth. Doing this somehow endowed him with the ability to transform into the form of any animal, vegetable or mineral. Hm.
9. The Condiment King
Seeing as The Lego Batman Movie did a superb job of directing a very large, seemingly all-comic-encompassing spotlight on the many completely random supervillains in DC, we thought we’d share with you one of its many “Easter Eggs.”
Meet the Condiment King.
Like Harley Quinn, Condiment King was first introduced in Batman: The Animated Series. He, however, entered the comic realm in Batgirl: Year One. As you’d probably surmised, his character was meant to be a complete and utter joke (which is appropriate, seeing as Condiment King was manipulated by the Joker).
Like all the greatest dumb characters, Condiment King takes advantage of puns whenever he can, all of which are condiment-based, saying things like “I knew you’d ketchup to me,” and “How I relished this meeting.”
Heck, even though Condiment King utilizes condiments into his various escapades (including weaponry), this king ended up nearly getting killed by one his “subjects,” accidentally slipping on ketchup and almost falling to his death in the process.
8. The Human Dynamo
This guy is a lot like Cyclops from Marvel’s X-Men, except rather than getting a rad visor, he basically became a liquidized condom. Well, not really. Condoms are (usually) made out of latex. This villain covered himself in liquidized rubber to control his power (at least the slang for condom… rubber… works here).
Why would anyone cover themselves in liquidized rubber? Well, this “rubber man” was originally a chemist named Danford March. After a lab accident (surprise, surprise), he became a living electric power generator. (That’s cool at least.) Unable to control the electricity he could now generate, he began to worry about harming others, so he covered himself in liquidized rubber, which prevented him from zapping everyone out of existence. However, he being the resourceful scientist, made it so he could still channel his power through his hands… not eyes…
We don’t know what’s weirder. The fact that scientist Ramsey Norton nicknamed a plastic vessel he used to contain the chemical byproducts from his failed experiments Chemo, the fact that the vessel named Chemo was man-shaped, or the fact that the plastic vessel itself is the supervillain. Okay, we admit, the latter is incandescently stranger. But still.
So, yah, Chemo is a chemical container that comes to life after Norton placed the remnants of a failed growth formula into it.
Again, the villain is a plastic vessel.
Sure, Chemo can basically not only produce, but expel almost any kind of hazardous liquid waste. That’s cool. But, again, he’s a chemical container.
6. Kor, the Conqueror
There’s a reason why people use the word “Neanderthal” to make fun of idiots, a derogatory term that ironically, like the Neanderthals themselves, is now extinct. (It’s no secret why German biologist Ernst Haeckel proposed calling the original Neanderthal Homo stupidus in 1866.) Neanderthals were dumb.
Yes, Kor, the Conqueror, is a Neanderthal. He wasn’t always a Neanderthal, though. Kor was originally a Homo sapien named Prof. Anton Koravyk. Or, to mirror Anton’s future identity, he was Prof. Anton Koravyk, the specialist.
With comic writers having an insatiable appetite for irony, it’s no surprise that Koravyk was originally non-violent (seeing as Neanderthals and, most especially, Kor, are extremely volatile), trying to escape the government’s attempt to use his talents for the military, accidentally de-evolving himself into a Neanderthal warrior in the process.
We have a question for you. If you were suddenly given telekinetic powers, what would you use them for? Thought so. You would probably do a crap load of things. Why? Because you are going to want to take full advantage of your powers. If you have telekinesis, you’re going to control as many things as you can. If you don’t, you’re an idiot.
Well, Johnny Burns is therefore an idiot. Why? He only used his power to control toys, hence the name Toyboy.
He’s controlled teddy bears (not grizzly bears that can actually maul you to death), rocking horses (rather than telekinetically controlling the minds of actual horses to ride them), little toy soldiers (rather than ordering already-living military men with real weapons to do his bidding) and plastic tanks (again, not the metal war machines, but plastic ones).
In what only cements Toyboy as a complete joke, he dresses up in an absurd-looking jester outfit.
4. The Ape Archer
Yes, you read that correctly. And, yes, it’s both a literal designation and not one. What’s even better, the name refers to two—extremely different—villains, making their story twice as fun and doubly ridiculous.
One of the Ape Archers, a thief named Bart Rockland, is not an actual ape. However, he does dress up in a ridiculous ape-like costume. But he has a good “reason” for doing this. Well, two reasons, actually. One is that he’s an ape trainer. The second is that Bart thought his monkey outfit would be so convincing that he would be able to execute various crimes in it and then later frame everything on his actual pet ape, Bonzo—who just so happens to be ridiculously skilled in archery—and people would fall for it.
This isn’t as ludicrous as you might think. This comic is undoubtedly inspired by a rather hilarious story written by Edgar Allan Poe (yes, he was also a prolific humorist in addition to a remarkable master of horror) called “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” the first modern detective story that ironically revolved around an ape that commits the perfect crime.
Guess who this guy’s unique power is? That’s right. Weeping. In what is the epitome of every signification of the word “irony,” Weeper enjoys executing the most inhumane, grotesquely disturbing murders due to his profound hatred of happiness and those who experience it. And yet, every time he hurts someone, he becomes overwhelmed with feelings of sorrow, so much so that he can’t do anything but weep and weep and weep.
If that weren’t enough, Weeper sometimes wears a blue opera cape, top hat and a walking stick (as though he were some elaborate method actor). Oh, and he drives a hearse. (As you can see, in this particular comic, he wears a crazy bow-tie.)
2. Auntie Gravity
First, this bad guy… lady… is an elderly woman. Second, she’s an elderly woman who developed powers that are incredibly ironic (given the fact that many elders do not have control over what this villain can manipulate): gravity. Oh, and she got them after being exposed to pollutants. Third, this elderly woman who can manipulate anti-gravity thought it would be a great idea to call herself Auntie Gravity.
How can you take someone seriously with a name like that?
Besides the incongruous juxtaposed elements—an old lady villain with pretty impressive powers—she’s incredibly badass. One time, she was able to pull Green Arrow off the ground telekinetically and spinning him around like a top (so much so that he could no longer breathe).
1. The Hen
It’s safe to say that the majority of villains created in any comic involving the Marvel Family (Shazam) is ridiculous. (And, yes, we know that this character originally appeared in Fawcett Comics before DC acquired the company. The name is still owned by DC, so deal with it. You can also say that DC wants us to forget this character because they didn’t create her.)
Out of the bunch of stupid criminals (again, we can’t stress how many there are), one of the most insanely weird baddie is a very thin, elderly woman (we are sensing a pattern here) who has a tendency to cackle: we introduce the (clucking) Hen.
In what only makes her more random, the Hen is somehow a genius with gases. (What do hens have to do with gas?)
Plus, what makes her even more ludicrous is that she fits right in with the many other bad guys Marvel Family fought against (and not in a good way), seeing as the Hen’s evil schemes all revolved around money and, at some point, culminated to someone getting bound and gagged (again, like every other Marvel Family criminal mastermind).
Yah, she’s a ruthless wench, going so far as killing her subordinates because she doesn’t want to share the loot with them. But she’s so random!