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Comic Villains You Forgot (Or Didn’t Know) Existed

Mara Franzen

Staff Writer

Mara (They/Them) has accidentally on purpose made their entire life about books and stories. Mara graduated with a B.A in creative writing and theatre and is halfway through an MFA in Creative writing. In addition to writing for Book Riot, Mara also has written for The Independent Book Review, Wargamer, and The Other Half, to name a few. They also work as a fiction editor with The Minison Project. Nearly all of their published articles can be found here.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase villain or monster of the week, you probably know where this is headed. For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, it became popular in the 1960s as a way to describe villains who would only appear in one episode of a TV show. It was quickly adapted as a term used by comics as well. The idea was that this new villain or monster would appear to fight the heroes, lose, and then never show up again. There are a few exceptions — the most popular one being The Joker. He was supposed to be killed off in the same comic he was introduced in, but the plan was changed last minute. Now he’s one of the most well-known comic villains of all time.

But what about the other villains who were doomed by the narrative to always lose to the hero? Some of them may have been lucky enough to have a two or three-part arc and got a little more of a spotlight, but then they faded into obscurity — nothing more than a fandom quiz answer.

The thing is, some of these villains were actually really cool. It’s true that some are gimmicky and have the same powers as many others, but not all of them. So I’ve decided to do my best to find some of the best comic villains that were forgotten about. Who knows, maybe one day they might come back for vengeance.

Now, most of these villains are white men created by white men. Unfortunately, in the ’60s and ’70s, there was not a whole lot of diversity in the comics world, which we can clearly see from the list below. The comics industry has made huge strides and still has a long way to go. At least now we have much better villains who are not only written by white men.

Funniest Villain Names

These villains should be in your comic repertoire just so you can make fun of them!

Jackson Weele AKA Big Wheel: Yes, this villain is exactly what you would expect. He’s a disgraced businessman who drives around a giant monowheel that’s equipped with various weaponry. He’s mostly a Spiderman baddie, and has 15 total appearances across the ’70s. And sure, I am making fun of him a little bit, but if I had a last name like Weele I would never stop with the puns, so like, I get it.

Art of a man in a green suit driving a giant yellow wheel from the inside
created by Marv Wolfman, Ross Andru

Weather Wizard: This guy lives in a world where the Justice League exists. There are super people everywhere, and the best name you can come up with is Weather Wizard? It’s not very subtle, is it? Now this guy has been in some recent DC productions like the Flash TV show, but they don’t really comment on the name at all. Imagine having to say “I’m the Weather Wizard” on television while keeping a straight face and a shred of dignity. It’s not much better in the comic either.

Man surrounded by smoke and lightning with a text bubble that reads "Quite the weather we're having"
Art by Scott Kolins and Doug Hazlewood

Turner D. Century: Great name! Terrible guy! He made six appearances and fought hard hitters like Spider-Woman, Deadpool, and the Punisher. His whole deal was he thought things were better in the “good old days.” For him, this meant before World War I. He had no powers, just a lot of money and the inability to handle change. Huh, I feel like I’ve heard of some people like that around today! Weird.

Image of a man with a mustache and a woman with no face riding a tandem bicycle through the air.
Art by Stephen Leialoha and Bruce D. Patterson

Radiation Roy: is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. His name is Roy and he’s radioactive. He’s also very much in the girl boss, gaslight, gatekeep, crew of villains. He inherits money and uses it to give himself powers, joins The Legion of Super-Villains, and is quickly kicked out because he can’t control his powers. He then makes his own villain league who try to convince everyone that Superman is actually from Earth, not Krypton. He is probably one of the more well-known villains on this list, but I think he’s just obscure enough to make the cut.

Man in giant red metal suit that covers his entire body.
Created by Jerry Siegel and John Forte

Half Person, Half ???

There are about a million and a half villains that are named Man [any noun you can think of]. Here are just a few!

Plant Man: This guy loves plants more than anything else and is for sure going to make that your problem. In some versions of the character, he invents devices that can control plants, while in others he just…is a plant himself. And while I too sometimes like plants more than people, I’m not gonna try to fight Iron Man about it, y’know? He was also once defeated by Wolverine who was wielding a mirror. That’s not really important. I just think it’s a great fun fact.

Close up picture of a man with pointy ears, and vines instead of hair
Art by Stan Woch

Ten-Eyed Man: This guy is a Batman villain who, after going blind, had a surgeon put an “eye” on all of his fingers — hence the name. His superpower is that because of the brand new optic nerves on his fingertips, he has a 360 view. The bonus sight also makes him a really good marksman. I feel it’s also important to note, that there have been not one, but two Ten-Eyed Mans. They have very different origins, but they both want to fight Batman so bad!

a panel of the Ten-Eyed Man spinning circles around Batman, pointing his fingers towards him, saying "You can't lay a glove on me, Batman! Not with ten eyes to cover me in all directions at once! But I can hit you anytime! And I will...until your eyes are as sightless as mine!"

Tally Man: Very similar to the Ten-Eyed Man, there are two different versions of this villain. The first Tally Man really hates Batman, while the second Tally Man likes to make trouble for other villains. When he was younger, he watched his mother struggle to pay the tallyman who came to collect for the mob. Now his whole deal is collecting debts from heroes and villains alike, and not really in a nice and friendly way either.

an image of Tally Man shooting a gun and saying "You leave my mother out of this!" He's wearing a purple mask and hat and very long teeth
Art by Vincent Giarrano

I could go on and on about forgotten or niche villains, even though I would rather most of these villains did not make a comeback. If you want to learn about even more comic villains, be sure to check out this A-Z villain deep dive.