Is the popularity of Batman's villains overrated?

#1 Edited by Jack Donaghy (879 posts) - - Show Bio

I always hear people say that part of the appeal of Batman is his villains which I agree with because I think he has the best rogues gallery in all of comics. But some people seem to think that they have more appeal than they actually do, some people even make it seem like his villains are more popular than he is. That idea is laughable, outside of The Joker which Bat villain is even remotely close to Batman in popularity? It's usually people who hate Batman that I hear say things like this "Oh people only read Batman because of his villains!" sure that may be the case with a small section of the fans but not for the vast majority. It's like yeah maybe a small group of people only read Superman comics for Lois Lane but the majority buy Superman comics for Superman. Lets look at Batman's most famous villains and their popularity among comic and non comic fans. I'm leaving out Catwoman because she is more of a anti hero.

The Joker: Extremely popular, the only one of Batman's villains with big mainstream appeal imho.

The Penguin: Considered a joke among most non comic fans and even a lot of comic book fans.

The Riddler: Same as Penguin.

Two-Face: Popular among comic book fans, most non comic fans seem pretty indifferent towards him tbh.

Ra's al Ghul: Popular among comic book fans, most non fans either don't care about him or don't even know who he is.

Bane: Popular among comic fans, decently popular among non fans ever since The Dark Knight Rises.

Mr. Freeze: Decently popular among comic fans, non fans think of Arnold and his corny puns.

I'm not trying to bash his villains or anything I just think that sometimes people overrate the popularity they bring to the Bat universe.

#2 Posted by entropicage (10 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, Batman has some awesome villains. He also has some ridiculously dumb ones. If your villain is ripped out of Alice in Wonderland, you have some work to do. (I will admit that there have been a few well done Mad Hatter stories, but for the most part I just can't take it seriously)

#3 Posted by Eternal19 (2076 posts) - - Show Bio

batman has some good villians, but i dont see how his rogues gallery is better than anyone else's. Its just that his villians have been more exposed in mainstream media than others, which is why some people think he has the best villians

#4 Posted by entropy_aegis (14123 posts) - - Show Bio

It's the general perception,and it starts from all the way back to Burtons Batman.Fans of that era mostly enjoy Nicholson,Pfeiffer and possibly even Devito & Carrey over Keaton and Kilmer.Currently Ledger is the one who won the Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker,even Hathaway and Hardy have garnered more love for their performances than Bale,Echart was very praised too.

Fortunately this is not true in the comics.

@Eternal19 said:

batman has some good villians, but i dont see how his rogues gallery is better than anyone else's. Its just that his villians have been more exposed in mainstream media than others, which is why some people think he has the best villians

True,but to be fair his villains even at face value have more dimensions to them than most comic book villains.I dont like the Riddler but I can definitely see the appeal of the character.There is just so much variety in personality and gimmick as opposed to most other Rogues galleries where the same idea is rehashed again and again.

#5 Posted by Nightwing4 (360 posts) - - Show Bio

Nearly all of Batman's villains started out as corny "scooby doo" villains. Writers have evolved them into extremely multidimensional characters. With characters like Freeze and Riddler, their backstories and psychosis tie directly into their motivation, making them that much more interesting. There's only so much you can do with Brainiac trying to absorb and destroy earth for the fifth time, or yet another of Captain America's WW2 foes coming back for their revenge.

#6 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

They are very popular.Joker won't stay dead and he can even hold an on-going if DC wanted to give him one.Batman's villian's always get mini's which proves their popularity.

#7 Posted by entropy_aegis (14123 posts) - - Show Bio

@Nightwing4 said:

Nearly all of Batman's villains started out as corny "scooby doo" villains. Writers have evolved them into extremely multidimensional characters. With characters like Freeze and Riddler, their backstories and psychosis tie directly into their motivation, making them that much more interesting. There's only so much you can do with Brainiac trying to absorb and destroy earth for the fifth time, or yet another of Captain America's WW2 foes coming back for their revenge.

Sorry but Freeze isn't exactly a good example.I find Brainiac one note but he's been in better stories overall than Victor who frankly needs to be put away once and for all.

#8 Posted by Skewer (325 posts) - - Show Bio

They are the best, but DC doesn't realise that themselves and as a result of that a lot of them have suffered over the years especially bane, twoface, Harley Quinn, black mask and most notably killer croc who IMO has suffered the most. It's not that the batman's villains popularity are overated because its far from it, it's really that most of them aren't as good as they used to be because of bad writing.

#9 Posted by entropy_aegis (14123 posts) - - Show Bio

@Skewer said:

They are the best, but DC doesn't realise that themselves and as a result of that a lot of them have suffered over the years especially bane, twoface, Harley Quinn, black mask and most notably killer croc who IMO has suffered the most. It's not that the batman's villains popularity are overated because its far from it, it's really that most of them aren't as good as they used to be because of bad writing.

Bane has been fine in the comics,Black Mask is just bleh they've tried many times to make him worthwhile but the character sucks too much,agree on Croc,Harley should've stayed in TAS.Two-Face is a mixed bag(rather fitting).

#10 Posted by ngroove (321 posts) - - Show Bio

100% Seriously: Never underestimate:

#11 Posted by wimble23 (149 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually feel that most of his rouges are underrated. It all stems from the fact they are all either desperate or there is psychologically wrong with them which makes them unpredictable. Even the newer one introduced over the last five years fit this mold, it'w what makes them great. There are so many great villains that no one as named yet here too showing just how deep they are.

#12 Posted by SoA (4673 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker: Extremely popular, the only one of Batman's villains with big mainstream appeal imho.-- true

The Penguin: Considered a joke among most non comic fans and even a lot of comic book fans.--true myself included

The Riddler: Same as Penguin.-- not true, riddler is cool in his own right penguin is still lame.

Two-Face: Popular among comic book fans, most non comic fans seem pretty indifferent towards him tbh.--true

Ra's al Ghul: Popular among comic book fans, most non fans either don't care about him or don't even know who he is.--true

Bane: Popular among comic fans, decently popular among non fans ever since The Dark Knight Rises.--true (sigh)

Mr. Freeze: Decently popular among comic fans, non fans think of Arnold and his corny puns.-- the only person that quotes from that movie is my dad i do not think anyone tries to remember it lol

#13 Posted by SupBatz (1671 posts) - - Show Bio

@entropy_aegis said:

@Skewer said:

They are the best, but DC doesn't realise that themselves and as a result of that a lot of them have suffered over the years especially bane, twoface, Harley Quinn, black mask and most notably killer croc who IMO has suffered the most. It's not that the batman's villains popularity are overated because its far from it, it's really that most of them aren't as good as they used to be because of bad writing.

Bane has been fine in the comics,Black Mask is just bleh they've tried many times to make him worthwhile but the character sucks too much,agree on Croc,Harley should've stayed in TAS.Two-Face is a mixed bag(rather fitting).

XD You gave me a good laugh there.

#14 Posted by batshrine (969 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman's villains tend to have better motivation than other villains. And the thing you forget is that in main stream culture i can go up to random people and ask who is a Batman villain and they will name me the Joker, Two-Face, Riddler, Bane, Catwoman, and the Penguin. And if they really watched the movies then they can mention Ras, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, and Scarecrow (but thats if they really paid attention or remember).

Now if you do the same thing but with a different hero, like Iron Man and ask who is an Iron Man villain. They will be speechless. Even with Superman or Spiderman, who in my opinion rival Batman in his rogues gallery, you don't get as many names. You'd be lucky if you got Brainiac, or Luthor for Superman or Green Goblin or Doc Oc for Spiderman.

My overall point is that Batman's villains are memorable. Many of the stories are focused around the villains and not Batman. So yes part of Batman's appeal are his villains.

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.