As a culture, we love our super heroes, but it’s possible we love our super villains even more.
That isn’t to say that we root for them to succeed with whatever schemes they dream up. It’s simply an acknowledgement that without worthy foes, it’s difficult to get the true measure of a hero.
On top of that, they have a much wider range of motivations overall, and the truth is that some of them are more relatable. Not many of us (hopefully) have sworn to frighten criminals after seeing our parents murdered in front of us, but haven’t we all had little pangs of jealousy, greed or xenophobia?
There’s also simply more of them than there are heroes, because any established crimefighter ends up with a whole stable of enemies. That made it arguably trickier for the FanSided comics and super hero squad to finalize our top 50 list. Like we did for our 50 Greatest Super Heroes piece, we had the staff of Bam Smack Pow plus the editors of Caped Crusades and Whatever a Spider Can vote for their personal top 30, assigning 30 points to the top villain down to a single point for no. 30.
We also enlisted some friends of BSP in the voting, including Max Parker, the video games writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Dale Plummer, a longtime contributor to SLAM! Wrestling. Both of them are fans who were only bitten by the comic book bug as adults, giving us a slightly different perspective.
The voters were asked to consider popularity, longevity and overall cultural impact in making their selections, but ultimately they were left to define villain “greatness” for themselves. The only explicit guidelines were no votes for villain teams or groups (as in the Legion of Doom or Frightful Four, though we made a lone exception, as you’ll see) and no Catwoman, since she made our heroes list.
It’s a process that seems like it worked, because we feel like the resulting consensus list is a solid one. We hope you’ll agree, and are sure you’ll let us know if you don’t! With that said, bring on the bad guys and girls!