Some comic book characters are better than others. With the constant need to create new, original villains for superheroes to face off against, sometimes it’s not always possible for comic book writers to come up with the perfect new enemy for their protagonists to face off against.
Over the years, the rush to produce a wide array of new, exciting supervillains has led to the creation of some downright bizarre characters across the Marvel comics universe. Some of these might have been terrifying or relevant at one point but haven’t aged well, while others were clearly bad ideas from the start.
Here are The 17 Worst And Weirdest Marvel Supervillains Of All Time.
18 The Living Eraser
One of Hank Pym’s lesser known villains, The Living Eraser is an example of the kind of quick thinking that has to happen in a comics studio sometimes when a writer just has to grab inspiration from the things lying on an office desk. The villain’s power set exactly matches that of an actual eraser, in that he is able to make things disappear with his mind.
The Living Eraser doesn’t even have a redeeming alter-ego for readers to connect with – an alien from Dimension Z, the character is pure comic book cheese. After attempts to capture Giant Man and The Wasp fall flat, the character makes another appearance trying to kidnap She-Hulk, before falling into obscurity.
It’s probably mean to be too hard on creators Stan Lee and Jack Kirby for The Living Eraser – the character first debuted in 1963, during a period where Lee and Kirby were the main driving forces behind almost all Marvel comic books. Stan Lee has openly admitted to opening up the dictionary at random to find ideas for supervillains in this era of comics, and with The Living Eraser, it’s clear that not too much thought went into the character.
17 The Kangaroo
Australian supervillain The Kangaroo, better known as Frank Oliver, is not exactly an A-list Spider-Man villain. The first (but by no means last) villain on this list who’s powers revolve around being able to jump slightly higher than normal, The Kangaroo fits in with the main bulk of Spidey’s rogues gallery in that he’s an animal-based villain.
While characters like The Rhino and Doctor Octopus have some kind of super abilities to help them fight the Web Head, though, The Kangaroo is simply a man who spent a lot of time with Australian wildlife growing up, and who ate a lot of kangaroo feed. After coming to America, he takes on a life of crime, attempting to steal a scientific specimen from an armored car, without knowing exactly what he’s managed to get his hands on.
As it turns out, The Kangaroo is hardly a criminal mastermind – his stolen macguffin turns out to be a sample of a deadly bacteria, leading Spider-Man to have to stop The Kangaroo before he unleashes it on the population through sheer thick-headed stupidity.
16 Paste Pot Pete
Another Marvel supervillain to be named after office stationary, Paste Pot Pete is classic Marvel: he starts out as a successful scientist before turning to a life of crime. As part of his job working with polymer adhesives, Peter Petruski invents and patents an impressive form of powerful glue. Rather than getting rich off this the traditional way, however, he creates a glue gun and uses it to rob banks.
Upping the ante and deciding to steal a dangerous missile from a military base, Paste Pot Pete draws the attention of The Human Torch of the Fantastic Four. As a glue gun isn’t much of a weapon against a man who is literally on fire, Paste Pot Pete made a quick getaway and fled the country.
Peter Petruski still appears in comics fairly regularly, albeit under the far less ridiculous name The Trapster. In a run of comics in the late 90s, The Trapster used his glue-gun to frame Spider-Man for murder, which is an interesting use of the character – after all, both characters are named Peter and have invented impressive artificial glue-like substances.
15 Asbestos Lady
Asbestos Lady is a woman who wraps herself in asbestos. If Darwin awards were given out to comic book characters, she’d definitely be in for a prize.
Of course, the potential carcinogenic dangers of asbestos weren’t fully understood at the time of Asbestos Lady’s debut – the character predates the majority of the Marvel universe, dating back to the 40s, when Timely Comics (as it was then called) ran a series about the original Human Torch (no relation to Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four).
So, based on 1940s scientific logic, what kind of supervillain can beat a man that’s on fire? Well, asbestos is fire-proof, so that’ll do. Apart from having a gun and wearing an asbestos mask, Asbestos Lady didn’t have much going for her.
In a fitting tribute for the character, Asbestos Lady was later brought back to prominence within the Marvel comics universe for a brief but fitting epilogue to her story: the character dies of lung cancer at age 45. That should teach kids the dangers of breathing in asbestos while trying to fight a superhero.
Some Marvel supervillains want to blow up the planet or enslave entire countries. Others just have the misfortune of having an oddly shaped skull, and a thirst for knowledge.
It’s hard to feel too sorry for Elihas Starr, though: in addition to wanting to continue his scientific research, he also has a fondness for selling dangerous military secrets on the black market. It’s this that leads him to work for a series of crime lords, who get him to try and assassinate Ant Man.
As a fellow scientist, Elihas Starr is able to build a machine to communicate with ants, competing with Hank Pym for dominion over the minds of Ant Man’s favorite insect friends. A general rule, though, is that a scientist is known professionally as Ant Man is probably not going to give up on his insectoid friends so easily – Egghead’s device ultimately fails to keep control of the ant population, and the ants warn Pym of Egghead’s dastardly trap.
13 Sugar Man
Don’t be fooled by his name – Sugar Man doesn’t have some kind of power to control sugar, nor is he in any way sweet. An enormous ball of rage, with too many arms, and far too many teeth, Sugar Man’s powers are similar to Ant Man’s in that he can grow to an enormous size, or shrink down to the size of a single grain of sugar. He also kills people with his super sharp tongue, because at some point it gets hard to come up with unique supervillain powers that are actually scary.
In an alternate comic universe where Apocalypse reigns supreme, Sugar Man runs a prison camp for mutants. Despite looking like a rejected creature design for The Thing, Sugar Man is ultimately defeated, and survives his first encounter with Colossus by hiding in miniature form between the treads on his boot, getting transferred to the main Marvel comics dimension. There he appears every now and then, always looking ugly, always with a master plan that falls apart within minutes.
12 Turner D. Century
In the Marvel universe, supervillains get drawn to a life of crime for a variety of reasons. Some might want money, or power, while others, such as Turner D. Century, are frustrated by a modern lack of manners.
As a young man, Clifford Michaels was raised by a millionaire stepfather who refused to let him see much of the modern world, instead keeping him in a fantasy construct of the early 20th century, before World Wars had become a thing. Michaels therefore grows up thinking that he lived in the early 1900s, and his reaction to discovering that he’d been lied to for his entire life is to, naturally, become a supervillain, as is the standard reaction to troubling news in the Marvel universe.
With a handlebar moustache and a straw hat, Turner D. Century looks fairly harmless – and he is. Without super powers, he resorts to creating a scientific device called the Horn of Time, designed to kill anyone under the age of 65. Of course, being raised in a fictional version of the past means that Turner D. Century isn’t exactly a technological mastermind, and the device doesn’t actually work.
11 Flag Smasher
When coming up with villains for Captain America to face off against, it can be difficult to produce threatening characters that don’t offend someone – as a metaphor for America as a whole, Cap can’t face off against any other country-themed superhumans without it looking like the Marvel writers are advocating war or insulting a specific nationality. If Cap’s villains aren’t ideologically connected to global politics, though, it feels like a waste of him symbolism.
Enter the Flag Smasher, an attempt to pit Captain America against an enemy that’s just as passionate as he is about politics, but with no fixed patriotic origin. Flag Smasher simply hates all nationalities, and is an advocate of world peace through the abolition of country borders. And, of course, in order to achieve world peace, the Flag Smasher resorts to terrorism and violence.
Flag Smasher ultimate meets a less than noble end in the comics, as after being threatened by Deadpool, he decides not to attack the Merc with a Mouth. One of his subordinates gets annoyed at his cowardice, and shoots him in the back. That’s loyalty for you.
10 The Matador
In a world where The Lizard is a man who transforms into a horrible monster and Doctor Octopus is a man with giant robotic arms, it’s possible that a supervillain named The Matador could be fairly formidable – if such a villain had the powers of a bull or the ability to control bulls with his mind, he might be a force to be reckoned with.
Not so with The Matador of the Marvel comics universe. This character is, simply, an ordinary Spanish bullfighter to has turned to a life of crime. The Matador’s quest for an ancient piece of lost treasure leads him to run afoul of Captain America, with disastrous results – Cap’s super strength, speed, and agility are somewhat more than The Matador’s little red flag can handle, and the Star Spangled Man easily beats the Spaniard.
Not to be bested so easily, The Matador backs away, looking to make a hasty retreat – right into a fire that he had started earlier. There have been other Matadors in the Marvel universe since, but it’s hard to top the guy who picked a fight with a superhero and then set himself on fire.
9 Leap Frog
As part of a full set of powers, the ability to jump high can be fairly useful – although not as useful as the power of flight, as Superman writers learned early on. In isolation, though, the power of super jumping is fairly useless, especially when a villain is trying to face off against Iron Man.
When penniless inventor Vincent Patilio runs out of patience at his lack of success, he decides to turn to a life of crime. Using a set of coils that he’d been developing to create jumping springs, he brands himself as Leap Frog – and is almost instantly beaten up by Daredevil. After a few horribly unsuccessful attempts at a life of crime, Patilio ends up in prison.
This story has a relatively happy ending, though: Patilio’s son, Eugene, becomes a superhero using his father’s costume. The incredible Frog-Man isn’t as widely loved as other Marvel heroes, but he’s appeared in a few adventures over the years, working to save the day.
Wearing stilts is not a super power. No matter how tall your stilts, you’re still not going to be able to take heroes like Daredevil in a fight, and you’re always in trouble of being Empire Strikes Back-ed.
Before becoming Stilt-Man, scientist Wilbur Day is working on a special kind of hydraulic device. Stealing the designs from their inventor, Day decides that the best use for them is as a pair of giant mechanical stilts which he can use to commit crime – a plan which doesn’t go particularly well, especially when he hires lawyer Matt Murdock to sue his former employer. As part of building a case against the original inventor of the stilts, Day admits to Murdock that he’s Stilt-Man, and presently receives a beating from Daredevil. In an attempt to steal a shrinking device to make his power set at least a little bit useful, Stilt-Man accidentally turns it on himself, shrinking to microscopic size.
The Marvel villain-turned-vigilante Typeface is a good example of how design is key when coming up with a new comic book character – Typeface shares large chunks of his backstory with The Punisher, but gluing letters onto your face is nowhere near as terrifying as wearing a skull on your chest.
Gordon Thomas was once a soldier in the US army, during which time his brother Joey, also a soldier, is killed in battle. Returning to America, Thomas’ marriage breaks down and his wife leaves him, taking their son with her.
Thomas becomes a signsmith until being laid off and, in a fit of anger, the man starts gluing printing letters to his face. Taking on the identity of Typeface, he goes out seeking revenge against his former employer, while beating up local gangs in the process. After Spider-Man convinces him of his wrongdoing, he decides to become a crimefighter instead, albeit one who lacks any real superpowers and who looks utterly ridiculous.
6 Rocket Racer
Another villain-turned-hero, Rocket Racer’s sole claim to fame is that he has a really cool skateboard. Apparently, that’s all it takes to become a costumed supervillain in the Marvel universe. After finding himself unable to make ends meet for his family, Robert Farrell uses a rocket powered skateboard as a getaway vehicle while committing a robbery. At his first attempt, he finds himself being chased by Spider-Man, before crashing into a car and behind apprehended.
Spider-Man later convinces Farrell to give up crime and become a hero, and even gets him a place studying at Empire State University, which is a pretty nice thing to do considering Rocket Racer’s many attempts to kill Spidey. Rocket Racer pops up every now and again in comics, often in a heroic role, but also as a villain – it seems the skateboarder can’t quite keep his hands clean, despite his complete lack of useful supervillain skills and his rock-bottom track record for actually getting away with robberies.
5 Big Wheel
When Matt Murdock first takes to crimefighting, he names his superhero identity after the nickname that his bullies gave him when he was a child, becoming Daredevil, The Man Without Fear. Not all nicknames are equally deserving of a superhuman identity, though, as Axel Weele figures out the hard way.
After Rocket Racer nicknames Axel Weele ‘Big Weele’ as a joke, the name sticks, and Weele takes it personally. Weele goes to the Tinkerer, a well-known supervillain gadget creator, asking for a super-powered device befitting his name, and the Big Wheel is born – essentially, a large wheel that Weele rides around in.
The Big Wheel’s Big Wheel is not particularly threatening, and, as it turns out, it’s pretty difficult to steer – shortly after first getting his hands on the Big Wheel, Weele manages to drive it straight off a bridge and into the Hudson River.
4 Batroc the Leaper
Like many people in the Marvel universe, Georges Batroc is good at jumping. And, like many supervillains on this list, he thinks this is enough of a talent to turn him into a first-rate supervillain.
Batroc may have a leg up on some of his high-jumping competition among the supervillain circuit thanks to extensive training in French kickboxing, but whatever street cred this may have earned him is lost thanks to his incredibly ugly costume – bright magenta and yellow, with a big black domino mask and a thin French goatee. It’s hard to take anybody seriously in this getup, especially when they’re trying to take on Captain America by jumping and kicking him.
Batroc actually turns up at the start of the MCU movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the Russo Brothers actually make him feel like a half-decent threat, leaning on his abilities as a martial artist to create an impressive fight scene. At the end of the day, though, no matter how good at jumping someone might be, they’re out of their depth if they’re trying to take on Cap.
3 Ruby Thursday
Comic books have, over the years, gained something of a bad reputation for their representation of female characters as little more than sex objects, and with characters like Ruby Thursday, it’s difficult to argue against such claims. The character feels like she might have been part of a dare between Marvel creators to come up with a character that’s as sexy as possible without having a head.
Ruby Thursday has a computer instead of a brain. The computer can transform into different shapes, but for some reason never thinks to turn into a human head – instead, a big red ball sits atop her shoulders. Of course, in true comic book fashion, she wears an incredibly low-cut outfit, making it difficult to give her creators the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their intentions, especially as the first thing one of her supervillain teammates says to her is that she has a nice body in spite of not having a face. That particular line of dialogue is hardly the subtlest piece of writing in Marvel comics.
The identity of Chemistro must be cursed – there’s no other explanation for how quickly the villain’s key weapon literally blows up in the face of whoever uses it.
When Curtis Carr invents an ‘alchemy gun’ which can turn one element into another, his employer fires him to keep the secrets of the gun to himself. Inexplicably, in spite of still being in possession of an alchemy gun, Carr doesn’t abscond to the Bahamas with a machine that can literally turn lead into gold, and instead decides to use the gun to exact revenge on his employer.
In his first time out as Chemistro, Carr manages to shoot himself in the foot, instantly turning it to steel. Arrested and put into prison, Carr is forced by a cellmate, Arch Morton, to reveal the details of how to build an alchemy gun. Once freed from prison, Morton builds his own version of the device, only to have it explode in his face.
All of this just goes to show that maybe alchemy isn’t the best basis for a supervillain identity.
Not every supervillain can be a Magneto, and that’s okay. While many of the villains on this list are downright awful at their attempts to live a life of crime, they’re all hilariously entertaining in their own special way. In many cases, while originally these villains were intended as serious threats, subsequent writers have turned them into jokes, with Spider-Man actively mocking characters like Big Wheel for their idiotic attempts at villainy.
Comics are a space for wacky and wonderful ideas. While none of these villains are likely to be appearing as major threats in movies any time soon, there will always be a place for dumb bad guys within the pages of Marvel comic books.
Which is your favorite idiotic Marvel supervillain? What classic stupid bad guys are missing from this list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.