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Top 10 Comic Book Villains Outside Marvel and DC

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Michael Wynands
They might not belong to the big two, but these characters are icons in their own right. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Comic Book Villains Outside Marvel and DC. For this list, we’ll be looking at most memorable, menacing and prolific comic book villains found outside of Marvel or DC. Since Watchmen characters have joined the primary DC universe, Ozymandias is ineligible, but other Vertigo characters who have remained within their own isolated narrative universes will be considered.
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They might not belong to the big two, but these characters are icons in their own right. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Comic Book Villains Outside Marvel and DC.

For this list, we’ll be looking at most memorable, menacing and prolific comic book villains found outside of Marvel or DC. Since Watchmen characters have joined the primary DC universe, Ozymandias is ineligible, but other Vertigo characters who have remained within their own isolated narrative universes will be considered.

#10: Grendel


This Dark Horse villain has slowly but surely established a name for himself in the world of comics since making his debut in 1983. Created and written by award-winning comic book jack of all trades Matt Wagner, Grendel began as the alter ego of Hunter Rose, an author by day and assassin by night. Rose feels like a villainous Bruce Wayne - he’s brilliant, cultured, gifted and affluent. But unlike Bruce Wayne, he’s driven by boredom and the need for a challenge, which has led him to establish an entire criminal empire. Grendel is a fascinating, stylish and dynamic villain, whose legacy has only grown over the years as the mantle has been adopted by others.

#9: Widowmaker


It’s tough to launch a superhero team without a Marvel or DC logo on the cover, but Dynamo 5 was a success in its 25 issue run, and that’s in no small part thanks to this supervillain. First appearing in Noble Causes #18, Widowmaker killed the Superman-like Captain Dynamo, and in doing so, created the catalyst that would bring together the Dynamo 5 in their own series - who she was similarly charged with eliminating. Widowmaker has only appeared in a handful of comic book issues, but her brilliance, clandestine methods, and lethality make her an Image Comics icon in her own right - a character with massive untapped potential who we’d love to see more of.

#8: Jack Rafferty


As this character proves, you don’t need the “super” prefix to leave a lasting impression as a villain. Appearing in the third Sin City story “The Big Fat Kill”, Jack Rafferty, aka “Jackie-Boy” or “Iron Jack” is downright despicable. A violent misogynist with a short temper and far too much confidence and entitlement, Rafferty wasn’t long the world when we met him, but in his time on page, he really made us love to hate him.

#7: The Adversary


This long-running Vertigo series took classic fairy tale and folklore characters and gave them an unforgettable modern spin. Across its roughly 13 year run, Fables delivered a lot of captivating stories and unique twists, but no surprise was greater than when we learned the true identity of the comic’s primary antagonist, the Adversary. A ruthless authoritarian leader, the Adversary conquered the various Homelands of the Fables, ruling with an iron fist and driving the characters into exile in the land of humans. Years into the series, we finally discovered that he was none other than Pinocchio's aging father, Gepetto. And you know what? It didn’t make him any less fearsome of a villain.

#6: Violator


Within the dark and gritty world of Spawn, Malebolgia might have been the big baddie pulling the strings, but his servant, Violator, was the villain who really kept us up at night. As Spawn’s earthly minder but also his arch nemesis, Violator occupied a rather unique place in comics, and his complex relationship with Spawn meant that we got to know him far more intimately than comfortable. Whether he’s in his demonic form or his equally upsetting earthly disguise as a clown, he’s horrifying... but add to that his powerset, self-interest, and violent nature and you get a villain you can’t ignore or forget.

#5: The Governor


When Negan and his Saviors came into the picture, he made Rick and company hurt like they’d never hurt before. But long before we met that bat-wielding potty mouth, it was this twisted megalomaniac who taught readers of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead that humans are the real threat in this post-apocalyptic world. The Governor provided safety to the people living within the walls of Woodbury. That’s all well and good... but he leads through fear and violence and is utterly incapable of allowing another group to co-exist. A rapist, murderer and deranged sadist, the Governor is the very worst of humanity brought to life by the collapse of civilization.

#4: Grigori Rasputin


This larger-than-life figure got brought back from the dead by Mike Mignola to serve as the very first antagonist in the Hellboy series, and he proved himself to be quite the villain. The titular heroic demon has faced all manner of evil in his years working to protect earth from things that go bump in the night, but the magic man who helped bring him into our world remains, for many readers, the most memorable adversary in Hellboy’s history. Proving that you can’t keep a quality villain down, even after his death in the first Hellboy miniseries, Rasputin would return as a ghost on multiple occasions, continuing to loom large over the series.

#3: Saint of Killers


With all due respect to Herr Starr and his impressive villain status, we had to go with the Saint of Killers. Why? Because he’s just so freaking cool. Herr Starr is the sort of antagonist that you love to hate. But the Saint of Killers? He’s the sort of compelling, grim villain that leaves readers clamoring for more. The Patron Saint of Murderers and Assassination, this man went from bloodthirsty Confederate soldier to bounty hunter, to reformed family man - only to have it ripped away from him. As an uncooperative undead agent of death, he rebelled and killed Satan himself before turning his pistols towards God. What. a. Legend.

#2: Omni-Man


When you leave the worlds of Marvel and DC, villains often become a complex breed. Whereas The Saint of Killers blurs the line between villain and anti-hero, Robert Kirkman’s Omni-Man dissects the Superman archetype by giving us a villain disguised as a hero, who has to go full villain to eventually become a real hero. Imagine if Superman was sent to earth with the goal of gaining its trust only to then conquer it in the name of Krypton. That’s basically Omni-Man, a nearly invulnerable, godlike superhero. His character development, villainous reveal, and the dynamic between him and his heroic son, Invincible, make him one of the most remarkable villains in modern comics.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Judge Cal

Overlord

Evil Ernie

#1: Shredder


The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are arguably the greatest and most successful non-Marvel or DC comic book heroes to ever grace the page. We wouldn’t dare diminish the value of their success by attributing it to their villains, but their Rogue’s gallery certainly is a memorable one - Krang, in particular, being a standout. With that being said, there is no villain outside of Marvel or DC who can hold a candle to the fearsome Shredder. The archenemy of our heroes in a half-shell, the leader of the Foot Clan, and a man who shares history with the turtles’ mentor, Splinter, Shredder checks all the boxes - he’s a pop culture icon.
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