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The Top 7 Real-life Super Villains of All-time

Feb 16 08, 05:27 PM

What differentiates a super villain from a garden variety villain? Well, if Hollywood and the comic book industry have taught us anything it’s that a super villain has a flair for the dramatic and does things simply because he or she is evil. A lot of super villains were born out of tragedy, but to avoid the rank and file of ordinary villainy, they take their schemes to the next level. Some super villains are just plum crazy, yet they manage to devise and implement brilliant schemes of unprecedented scope they deserve to be considered ‘criminal geniuses’. Unfortunately for us, super villains haven’t confined themselves to the world of fiction. Here is a list of the top 7 greatest real life super villains and their fictitious equivalents.

#7 Conrad Black: I’ll take flack for this one (if not for the others as well) but when I suggested this topic to dining companions Black’s name was at the top of their list. His disregard for absolutely everyone other than himself is astounding, add to that his wealth and influence, he ranks up their with ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ maniacal media mogul Eliot Carver and maybe even possesses a hint of Lex Luthor.

   

Super Villain Criteria: Breaks laws just because he can, because he is so wealthy he thinks they do not apply to him Most people commit crimes out of desperation, not ol’ Conrad (he probably doesn‘t even wash his hands after visiting the men‘s room).

#6 Doctor Josef Mengele: The quintessential mad scientist, the real-life Dr. Frankenstein, or as I prefer to think, the real-life Dr. Doom. Like Dr. Doom he’s a European scientist of certain political standing that alloys him to do all sorts of evil deeds in the name of science. Using Auschwitz as his laboratory, Mengele experimented heavily on innocent human beings while studying things like heredity. There are few people who deserve an extended stay in Hell more.

   

Super Villain Criteria:

-Extraordinarily mad scientist (need I say more).

#5 The Zodiac Killer. I really don’t need to justify his super villain status, he sent cryptograms to the police, practically begging them to catch him. Frank Gorshin, eat your heart out! If anything gives the Riddler any sense of realism it’s knowing that crazy geniuses like that really exist. He is responsible for the deaths of 5 people, not as remarkable as Gace, but the difference is really that between the Joker and the Riddler, one is much more heinous while the other much more puzzling.

   

Super Villain Criteria:

-Sends clues to the police as only a comic book character would.

-Secret identity and codename.

#4 Jack the Ripper: It’s not the fact that he killed 5 prostitutes in London’s Whitechapel area that makes him a legend, it was how he did it. He brutalized the bodies and wrote letters to the police and press (some are almost assuredly hoaxes however). The mystery surrounding his crimes and the fear they spread have not been forgotten in over a hundred years. I can’t think of a fitting fictitious counterpart to Jack since he’s the icon for super-villainy.

Super Villain Criteria:

-Secret Identity

-Sent letters/clues to the authorities

-Surgical knowledge applied to his murders

#3 Osama Bin Laden: I was in high school during the attacks of 9/11, when Osama’s name reached ‘household’ status. Oddly, what struck me the most was the James Bond-villain quality of Osama. Like Alec Trevelyan, he was once trained and used by the West then turned against us, as all monsters usually do. His considerable wealth and networks take him beyond Trevelyan however, and put him up their right next to Ernst Stavro Blofeld, leader of Spectre. It was suggested to me by theneilman upon discussion of this blog that the authorities should send Roger Moore into the Middle East with a helicopter to find Bin Laden, then drop him into a smoke stack. Though I can sympathize with a man doing his best to protect his way of life from the onslaught of the West, I can’t think of anyone I’d like to see get dropped into a smoke stack more.

   

Super Villain Criteria:

-Secret hideouts, I mean, when news outlets say he’s hiding out in caves and mountains, I don’t picture squatting in a hole in the rock like a caveman, I’m thinking he lives in a dormant volcano just like ‘You Only Live Twice.’

#2 John Wayne Gacy, A.K.A The Killer Clown. He’s first on the list since Batman: Dark Night is due in theatres later this year. Shortly after being left by his wife, Gacy embarked on a killing spree that resulted in the rape and murder of 33 boys. His alter ego, a clown, inspired the Todd MacFarlane character known as The Clown. However, I liken him much more to the Joker. Not only is their the clown aspect, but Gacy was also an artist, and who doesn’t remember the scene in the 1989 Batman film of the Joker having a ball in the art gallery, giving masterpieces his own unique touch. Also, there is the Batman: The Animated Series episode where the Joker poses as a less-harmful clown at the mayor’s son’s birthday party, later abducting the young man in his party supply cube van. It’s hard to get more Gacy than that.

                    

Super Villain Criteria:

-Gacy had an alter ego, a flair for the dramatic and according to the psychiatrist who treated him, he did not fit any psychological profile associated with serial killers.

-The mystery of that alone puts him above the average criminal.

#1 Spring Heeled Jack: Here’s a super villain that deserves more recognition. He’s the second ‘Jack’ to terrorize Victorian England but he’s far more crucial to this list than Jack the Ripper. Spring Heeled Jack leaped over walls and atop buildings begging in 1837 and was last seen in England in 1904. There was a reported sighting of a similar being in Texas in the fifties. Jack’s crimes consisted of assault mostly, though he sometimes just frightened and mocked people. A wacky style, manner and gimmicks put him right up their with Spiderman’s nemesis, the Green Goblin, who bears a striking resemblance to the drawings of Spring Heeled Jack. He may not have the death toll behind him, but he has the powers and the costume, that puts him in the top spot.

             

Super Villain Criteria:

-Codename, secret identity, costume: cape, boots, skin-tight black clothes.

-He also seemingly possessed the ability to jump superhumanly high, he had claws and one report says his eyes glowed and he could spit fire.

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