Comic books have produced criminals who have become almost as well known as the superheroes who have battled to counter the dastardly acts these characters have been producing. Some of these villains are never quite vanquished, often reappearing in later story lines with new ways and methods of terrorizing ordinary citizens. A character that has been featured for years sending shivers of fear through Batman fans has been the Joker. Created in 1940 by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson for DC Comics, the permanently grinning criminal was in the first issue of Batman the comic.
The character is psychopath with a warped and sadistic sense of humor. Over the years he has developed into the archenemy of Batman. At times he has appeared as a goofy prankster yet on other occasions he has evolved into an evil murderer. He was responsible for the murder of Batman’s ally Jason Ward who was the “second Robin” and as well as fighting Batman he has also challenged Superman and Wonder Woman.
There have been times when the Joker has worked alongside other villains and one of these is the Penguin. The Penguin, also created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, first appeared in DC comics in 1941 and has been part of Batman’s rogue’s gallery for a good number of years. The Penguin regards himself as the gentleman of all criminals and dresses in a tuxedo with a monocle, walking stick and an umbrella, which can be used as a weapon. He has a short stocky figure with a pointed nose. In the film Batman Returns he was perfectly portrayed by actor “Danny Devito”.
He is a spiv type figure surviving in the underworld as the owner of a night club. From this position he is able to organize all of his criminal activities as many of his cohorts frequent his club. He is one of the few sane criminals in the comic books and is quite methodical in his activities. Superman also encounters certain villains that frequently reappear, and one of the most infamous is Lex Luthor who first appeared in Action Comics in 1941. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster the villainous character has been an archenemy of Superman for years.
He is a wealthy super magnate and is reputed to being one of the most intelligent people in the world. He is able to use his influence to keep building his wealth through illegal activities. He sees Superman as an obstacle in the way of his plans and it has been his intention to get rid of the superhero.
He has been played on screen by many actors such as Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey, who have attempted to portray the villain as a charismatic yet villainous character. As well as crossing Superman he has also battled other superheroes in the DC Universe. One of the most powerful villains in the world is Magneto. The mutant type monster was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1963. As his name suggests the monster is able create magnetic fields as a weapon and has been in constant battle with the X-Men who have tried to Magneto in his quest to conquer the world.
He has a strange relationship with the X-Men as he is friends with the leader Professor X. Over the years he has been both super villain and super hero and his role has appeared many times in the X-Men films with the actor Sir Ian Mckellen playing the role on five occasions.
The Fantastic Four have had to deal with many villains, since being created in 1961, and none have given them more problems than Dr Doom. The son of a Romani Witch as well as coming into contact with the Fantastic Four, has also been challenged by Spider Man, Iron Man and the Black Panther.
He is the leader of the fictional nation Latveria and there have been times when he has become a super hero himself. However, these occasions have been rare, and he has been more recognized as one of the most dangerous comic book heroes in his quest to achieving world-wide power. Comic books have created a wide variety of popular, but dangerous criminals.