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Old Time Supervillains Who Were the Stuff of Nightmares

Nowadays, villains have back stories. You can even identify with some of them. It wasn't always that way, though. In the old days, villains weren't aliens or lab accident victims. They were mostly just crazed serial killers who earned their money by killing, because that was more fun. Imagine a world full of Faceless Jokers, where each one was determined to be more scary and psychotic than the rest. That was what villains used to be.

Those things pictured above are Deaglos, the Black Dragon's hideous half-bird/half-man servants who you just want to brain with a shovel and put out of their misery. They were horrible, but still tame by comparison to some:

The Black Clown

Harry Parrish was a circus owner who ran his business into the red with his own greed. When he was deinied a loan to save the circus, he vowed revenge and became the Black Clown. He was aided by several circus performers, a python trained to squeeze people to death and an ape named Garganta. He also carried conventional weapons such as guns and knives.

The Death Battalion

The Death Battalion was a team of supervillains who followed an insane Nazi around. They were all awful, but none moreso than the Laughing Skull. Just showing up as a skull and laughing at people would've been terrifying enough, but this guy burried his enemies alive with mocking tombstones, set in rhyme.

The Checker

The Checker was a master of... well, just checkers. Still, anyone who shows up looking like that and threatens to play you to the death in a game of checkers is just wrong.

Little Miss Murder

Little Miss Murder rose to prominence after marrying a criminal mastermind, poisoning him for the fun of it, then taking over his criminal gang. She behaved very politely, wore the anachronistic trappings of a southern belle and feigned a dainty disposition, but in reality, she was a tough and cold hearted monster. She used a number of disguised weapons to kill, including a parasol that concealed a rifle in the shaft, and a powder compact, with poisoned powder. She also knew how to kill by plunging one of her hat pins into a victim's eye, and favored such other weapons as handguns and tarantulas.

The Gimp

The Gimp was a crime boss who lost his right leg, at the knee, and had it replaced with a metal prosthetic with a knife on the end. He could stab a man in the chest with a kicking motion. He also used a Tommy Gun, but his attack of choice was always a swift kickstab to the heart.

The Iron Terror

The Iron Terror was originally built to work like Robocop, except more like Robocriminalzombie. It was supposed to be run by the brain of a man who'd died from electrocution, but its creator figured he could have more fun by using it as a suit of powered armor and just stomping around, smashing and killing wherever he went. It was made even more terrifying by its toy-like appearance, complete with a friendly, inviting, murderous cartoon face.

King Killer

King Killer was the result of a forced medical experiment, in which his creators wanted to test their theory that splicing 50 of the most evil, unbalanced brains of all time together in one head would be a hoot. He had a scar down the middle of his face from the procedure, and rose from the operating table bigger, stronger, smarter and possessed of uncontrolable aggression. He stood 7 feet tall and possessed superhuman strength, sufficient to bend mine tracks around Uncle Sam, to rip trees, fire hydrants and lamposts out of the ground and use them as weapons, and even to lift the corner of a house. He also seemed to posses superhuman durability, sufficient to get up after being punched through a steel wall, and several comic book panel borders.

The Undertaker

The Undertaker was just a guy who used a hand gun. He didn't have any special powers or notably sadistic ways of killing. He might not have made the list, except look at him.

Queen Zora

Queen Zora mostly just wanted to be worshipped, and stopped at nothing to get her way. If you were lucky, she just sent her army of space ninjas to subdue your entire planet. If you weren't, she destroyed your planet and everyone on it as a demonstration of her power, hopefully while some other planet full of would-be worshippers was watching nearby. Even if you already worshipped her, even if you were the best worshippers she'd ever had, she still might blow your planet up just to prove she could.

Saturnia and her sidekick, the Gloat

Saturnia and The Gloat were both criminals who came to Earth after being exhiled from their home planet of Saturn. They could possess others' bodies, and did so all the time, usually for no apparent reason. Saturnia also commanded a zombie army, and the Gloat could morph into anything he wished, including an octopus and a flaming sword.


Fantômas was a psychotic genius who got off on getting away with impossible crimes. Despite his audacity, he covered his tracks well enough that most people didn't believe he existed. He didn't just kill, though. He was constantly thinking newer, more interesting ways to kill people so he wouldn't get bored. Some of his favorite methods were burying victims alive, slowly, by locking them in a room and filling it with sand, feeding them to giant snakes or using plague-infested rats on them. He always operated under an assumed name, typically killing someone just to assume their name, and then he'd make gloves out of his victims' hands so he could leave their fingerprints at his crime scenes.