Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools = Niche Villains

Doug: Today's query is a pretty simple one -- name some of the lamest villains ever. They could generally have tied into some sort of fad, or may have had a specific niche that just adds to their lameness. Or, they might just be plain ol' dumb!

Karen: I'm voting for Paste-Pot Pete -really, a villain who shoots glue? He got better as the Trapster, but not by much.


Steve Does Comics said...

I have to go for Adam Orion, a cross between Kraven the Hunter, the maraca player from Dr Hook, and Dum Dum Dugan, who decided to prove what a great hunter he was by taking on Bouncing Boy.

And losing.

dbutler16 said...

Crazy Quilt, from the name to the costume, must be included in any discussion of lame villains. How Batman could fight this guy without laughing I'll never know.

david_b said...

As the illustration shows, ANY villain riding skates, whether they're battling Spidey or the 70s Teen Titans.


Rip Jagger said...

I have a hard time with this one, because I like even goofy colorful baddies. Trapster, Stilt-Man, Looter, The Orb, The Shocker they all work for me.

But I do think that Spider-Woman had an unusually weak rogues gallery. Turner D. Century was pretty lame, and Daddy Longlegs was stupid. The Needle was scary sometimes, but Gypsy Moth was blah.

Rip Off

david_b said...

I was alright with Gibbon, Kangaroo, even the Jackel but by '75 when the Grizzly and finally Will 'O The Wisp started coming around Spidey, whatever I liked when I started collecting had passed.

'Course, lest we not forget both the Racer and Spidey were in trouble in ish 183 by.. (ta-da)..

"The Big Wheel"

Really..? And I thought the Spider-Slayer was insipid.

Anonymous said...

the Joker is pretty lame despite all the hype he gets. he's just a dope who laughs a lot

Fred W. Hill said...

In both his regular mag and in PPTSSM, not to mention MTU, Spidey seemed to get a boatload of really bad villains in the '70s. Aside from those already mentioned, there was the Hypno Hustler, Razorback (well, not really a villain, but still ridiculous), and W.H.O. (source of one of the lamest mysteries ever!). I'm sure there are many others but I'd have to drag out the collection boxes to refresh my memory.

Garett said...

The Penguin is fantastic on the old Batman tv show, but I don't like him in comics.

Lemnoc said...

Given (nearly) every member of the Legion of Superheroes had, by definition and membership requirement, a niche power, I'd say nearly every member of their analogous equivalent, the Legion of Super-Villains, qualifies here.

Anonymous said...

all of wonder woman's villains are lame except the legion of doom cheetah

Dougie said...

My favourite lame villain at DC has to be bald, bearded and monocled Universo. I first discovered the Legion's hypnotist foe in the Bronze Age, bedecked in mighty Grell flares.

At Marvel, the first one to come to mind is the, er, Mindworm who looked like one of Star Trek's Talosians who'd moved to Frisco to be FABULOUS.

humanbelly said...

Rats, rats, rats--

You guys totally got precedent on my first four: Paste-Pot Pete; the Hypno Hustler; Turner D. Century; Big Wheel.

Now, early, early in Marvel's history there were a plethora of inane one-shot villains in those hopelessly over-rushed books that were being put out pretty much by about 4 people (Stan writing and editing all of them). Ant-Man and Thor and the Torch (in Strange Tales) had several jaw-droppers. There's a delightful thread on the Avengers Assemble site (unabashed cross-reference-- hope that's not out of line. . . !) that discusses a lot of them in depth.

Personally, I would add the "other" evil FF-type team to this list: The U-Foes. But geeze, they always kind of hang around. At a time when the Hulk was in kind of a perpetual shark-jump mode, they were an impressive leap all their own. . .


Edo Bosnar said...

Man, this is big field, so I'll just go with one that, even in the innocence of my youth before I became all jaded, I immediately thought was lame: Cluemaster, a knock-off of the Ridder, himself a rather lame villain (except in the TV show).

dbutler16 said...

Daredevil has had a lot of lame villains, such as Stilt Man, Frog-Man and the Owl.

The Porcupine has always struck me as being pretty lame, too.

Inkstained Wretch said...

The absolute lamest I can think of is the Fisherman, an Aquaman baddie whose gimmick was he had a high-tech ... fishing rod ... which extended from his belt buckle ... Seriously, I'm not making this up.

Honorable mentions:

Signalman - A Batman villian who committed "signal-themed crimes". He appeared in the classic JLA/JSA Secret Society of Super Villians battle and even alongside characters like "the Ragdoll" and "the Monocle," he looked bad.

During the Steve Englehart Captain America run there was a villian called Viper whose gimmick was he had a blowgun with poison darts. A blowgun. Darts. (He was then killed by Hydra's Viper.)

Also in Marvel, the whole Circus of Crime was pretty lame. A villian named the Clown who was a ... clown ... who rode a unicycle? Or a Princess Python, who had a trained python? Sheesh. And yet they got a lot of Silver Age exposure.

That was topped though in John Byrne's Alpha Flight when Northstar and Aurora faced off against Pink Pearl ... a circus fat lady. Somehow the two fastest Marvel heroes could not escape a 500 lb woman ...

Anonymous said...

kingpin is idiotic. my fat is all muscle too so i'm a match for spiderman. all his plans are morinic.

Mentor's Camper said...

I always thought Masked Marauder from Daredevil was pretty bad.

humanbelly said...

A few more. . . (Gotta give a big thumbs-up for the Circus of Crime, by the way-- really good call. They. HAVE. NO. SUPERPOWERS. And yet they've historically pitted themselves against guys like Thor, the Hulk and the Avengers. Well, and pretty much everyone else in the MU at some point. And they're so hopelessly low-brow and w/out even respectable criminal ambition. They just want to a) steal as much loot as they can, and b) always get back at every superhero who's ever foiled them.)

Anyhoo-- Miracle Man from FF #3 and an appearance or two later on. Wasn't group hypnosis his only appreciable ability?

The mohawked nut w/ the big ax in New Mutants #6 or #7. Again, I think he was just big and REALLY sociopathic-- and yet gave the early New Mutants a heck of a tough time.

Oh-- which makes me remember good ol' Man-Mountain Marko, around Spidey #50. Was he not just an unusually big, mean leather-jacketed thug? And yet he nearly took Spidey down??

And a couple of the younger JSA members awhile back also fought some sea-captain type of guy, whose power was that he had magic tatoos that he could summon to life to do his battles for him. However, it was made clear that he was someone else's retired villain from 'way, 'way back-- maybe also Aquaman's?

What Marvel has been pretty good at historically is taking even some of the most awful ones (Shocker, Impossible Man) and admit their absurdity right up front-- Spidey and DD have always been particularly good at that-- which turns them into flawed characters rather than stupid gimmicks. They become people, and then we don't mind seeing many of them again.

That's my theory at the moment, anyway--


Anthony said...

What humanbelly said about lame villains early in Marvel's history brought to mind the Living Eraser. I like some of the lame villains and I also agree with what humanbelly said about admitting their absurdity right up front and working that into the story. Sometimes lame villains get some respect. Does anyone remember Wolverine # 164. Wolverine and Beast are in The Cage. It's a prison with a dampening field that mentally prevents prisoners from using their powers. Villains like the Wrecking Crew stay away from the toughest S.O.B.s in the prison.
Guys like Batroc and the Kangeroo.
The reason being that, "... in a place where nobody's got any powers it's the cons with fighting skills that are the toughest in here - No matter how lame in the real world. "

Anonymous said...

The original Tattoo Man was a Green Lantern villain from the early 1960's. I think there was a story in Justice League Quarterly in 1993 where one of the heroes saw a guy with tattoos and assumed (erroneously) that it was the villain. And Batman #336 featured several loser villains: Cluemaster, Monarch of Menace, Bouncer, and Spellbinder. Commissioner Gordon referred to Cluemaster as a "poor man's Riddler."

Lemnoc said...

One I haven't seen mentioned: Kite-man.

Careful in those downdrafts, fella!

William Preston said...

How about "The Enforcers," those Spiderman villains whose one weapon was a lasso?

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go with White Rabbit; she fought Spider-Man a few times, but her "archenemy" ended up being wannabe superhero Frog Man, which says alot about how lame SHE was.

Vintage Bob said...

Oh lord, so many to list!

The Ox (Spidey/DD villain)
The Cockroach (Luke Cage villain)
Black Mariah (Luke Cage villain)
Big Ben (Luke Cage villain)
Mr. Fish (Luke Cage villain)

Luke Cage was cursed with the stupidest villains.

But then again there's:

Killgrave the Purple Man (DD villain)
The Slasher (perhaps the silliest DD villain ever)

And finally, the goofiest villain I can think of:

Tapping Tommy (a Defenders villain)

Just utterly ridiculous!

Of course, I love strange, obscure characters and actually like most of the ones other people listed. But the ones I presented here tested even my strange quirkiness!

Vintage Bob said...

I would of course be remiss if I didn't hit on the silly DC villains, who definitely trump Marvel's mistakes:

Tweedly Dee and Tweedly Dum (Batman villains)
Dr. Supernatural and his Execution Buzzard (I kid you not - see Action #330)
Capt. Strong (Popeye clone)(Superman villain)
Zanadu (All Star Comics) (Ok, I confess...I really secretly liked this freaks show of a villain!)
Calendar Man (Batman villain)
Ally Babble (Batman villain)
The Sheikh (Batman villain)
Kiteman (Batman villain)
Fatman (Batman villain)
Phantom General (Batman villain)
The Great White Whale (Black Lightning villain)
Kriss Kross (read DC Comics Presents #45 if you dare!)
Dr. No-Face (Batman villain)
Kolossal Kate (Flash villain)
Funky Flashman

DC can be painful! LOL!

ric doe said...

Kraven! i use to subscribe to several Spidey mags (i think Marvel had a running deal that if you ordered 5, the 6th one was free) and whenever the Freddy Mercuresque Kraven donned the covers i threw up a little inside. i think Tina Turner has that same outfit.

Dougie said...

I had forgotten that whacky Jim Mooney two-parter with Dr. Supernatural. Supergirl met a whole team of one-shot LSH wannabes like Lux and Multiple Man.

Dis-honourable mentions for Iron Man's commie foes from the Colan era: The Crusher and Half-Face.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Anonymous, I have a Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man and Frogman taking on the White Rabbit. Pretty silly stuff I agree, but I think the White Rabbit was intended to look ridiculous.

William said...

What about the Spider-Man villain Mind Worm?

Anonymous said...

mind worm was awesome. so much better than the tinkerer! i love weird-a** villains like mind worm.

i don't think white rabbit counts as she was written as comedy in the 1st place, just as the fabulous frog-man shouldn't make a list of goofy heroes.

here's a great lame villain duo: nekra and mandrill!

--matt alias anonymous

Anonymous said...

remember that in the Silver Age, these villains were simply the solution to getting X number of pages filled. Nobody dreamed that they were creating stories that would be remembered next month, much less decades later.

Someone mentioned the Living Eraser. I know that I read an interview with Stan Lee where he indicated that the origin of that character was a mechanical eraser that an artist had at their drawing table. He saw the eraser, thought "an eraser would be a real problem for characters drawn on a page" and then came up with a justification for the character (marvel-mumbo-jumbo science from another dimension, I believe). But that's where most of these characters came from - deadlines and a flash of the imagination.

and I have a hard time calling Killgrave a weak villain after what was done with him in Alias. Before that, yeah, but after Alias, he's got some psycho cred.

And i agree that Luke Cage probably has the worst overall rogue's gallery, mainly due to the lack of real purpose to his series over most of its first years.

Ray "!!" Tomczak said...

Wow.Over thirty comments and a long list of lame supervillains, but no one's mentioned one of the all time lamest: The Matador from Daredevil

Related Posts with Thumbnails