Saturday, 1 November 2014

BEST OF TOP X LISTS - The Top 10 Top X Comic Book Villains Lists.

I do way too many blogs to follow, so here's the posts best from them.

I did my first blog post a year ago today, here's a reformatted, tidied and corrected version of the original post (which still exists here on the Top X Topics blog.)  Top X Topics was a blog designed to look at all the Top X (Top 5, Top 10, Top 20) lists that exist online.  "The Top 10 Top X ... Lists" (later "Best of Top X Lists") was designed to look at those lists that everyone seems to do over and over and discover which is the best and what their combined result is.

Who are the Best (or is that Worst) Comic Book Villains?  You can find lists all over the place online, here are the Top 10 Top X Lists


Top.  Most Hardcore.  Deadliest.  Greatest.  Best.  Badass.  Who knows what any of these really mean?  The voters in the lists from polls probably have many different ideas.  The people commenting on the polls certainly do.  Commenters will even ignore the title of the list and invent their own “how are these ‘most dangerous’” on the … poll, when nowhere does “most dangerous” appear in the list title.  The best villains are the worst villains.  The best are the most interesting.

Comic Book.  Created from or originating in comics.  There are many lists that comic book super-villains appear in but are general super-villain lists, including Bond villains and other Science Fiction and action villains.  Those are fine, but they aren’t the lists being compared here.
Super-villain.  The definition of Super-hero is a tricky thing.  Many people say that a Super-Hero must have Super powers.  But that precludes Batman and can a definition of Superheroes that doesn’t include Batman really count?  However, expand the definition too much and what is the line between Hero and Superhero?  Super-villain is a lot easier, though.  It already exists as a more general definition outside super-powers.  As mentioned above, Bond has faced many Super-villains, few with Superpowers.

Villain.  The nature of villainy is for the lister or voters to decide.  Commenters in the list pages often discount Galactus as a “force of nature” rather than a true villain.  Some are heroes turned bad (like Pheonix) or anti-heroes or having good or sympathetic sides (Venom).  Of these things I care not.


Honorable Mentions

Some lists are good but do not meet the basic criteria.  These lists include:

An “Apirl” Fools’ Day prank.  Technically is it meets the definition and could be considered, but it’s clearly a joke list aimed to get a reaction.  Fun and worth a read anyway, though.

A poll of DC villains on DC’s own page.  Does not make this list because it’s restricted to DC characters and only listed the winning character, but worth a mention because the voting was for 9 distinct categories:  World Conqueror, Evil Genius, Crime Boss, Mad Scientist, Alien Overlord, Femme Fatale, Monster, Mercenary and Wild Card.

Dishonorable Mention

There are a lot of lists out there.  Comments sections of lists, forums and social networking are full of people making their own lists.  I’ve excluded these as not worth following-up.  But of the ones that make the grade there’s always a worst and I’ve decided to list the one I think is the worse.

Top 10 List

  • Proudly proclaims itself a Monster 10 exclusive. .. as if anyone else would want it.  It’s just a pretty standard list.  Horribly formatted and reads like the writer thinks it a more clever and more funny list than it in really is.  Brief and meaningless quotes that probably aren’t real quotes at all and are followed by “…!”  Avoid.

The Ten Best Lists...

David Pegg.
Top 25 List
[17 Jun 2013]
  • Nicely defines “Hardcore” on a brief introduction page before splitting the list into 2 pages (25 - 11 & 10 – 1.  Really good pictures and some concise text pieces.

Noel Thorne.
[26 Nov 2013]
  • One of those annoying “one item per page lists” with no more navigation than next and previous.  Some solid text pieces, although most are a touch too long.

Voteable list
  • A Top Tens list, ongoing list by Top Tens users.  No pictures, but high ranking quotes about the characters from users. 

John Waller. 
Top 10. 
[13 May 2011]
  • Nice pictures, concise text pieces and all on one page.  Functional.

Ranker's The Best Comic Book Villains
originated by George Sterling
132 votes, 20 reranks
Votable Top 108+ (ongoing)

  • A Ranker list.  Unfortunately it is just a name and picture and link.  But that’s Ranker for you.  However, it is an ongoing poll and the current results are clear (number of up and down votes shown).  While other lists and polls have appeared much lower because of brevity, the ability to participate and the raw data showing (mathematically) why an entry is where it is more than makes up for it.  There are a number of personal lists connected to this one, but I didn’t consider any of them.  However, I do recommend using this list to make your own list if you’re interested.

WhatCulture!'s 10 Most Powerful Super Villains Of All Time 
David Noriega 
Top 10 List 
[05 Aug 2013]

  • This list is very different from the others.  Formatting, etc, have the same strengths and weaknesses as the other WhatCulture! Entry (at #9), but the thing that sets this one apart is the word “Powerful.”  The rest are a nebulous “best” or “greatest” or “top”, but this one is about power.  It’s not a list that The Joker appears at the top of or even on and it’s the list that some commenters on other lists seem to assume the others are meant to be.  Nine of that type of lists are pretty repetitive.  If you only check out 2 lists, make this one one of them.

Top Tenz's Top 10 Comic Book Villains 
Shell Harris. 
Top 10 List. 
[22 May 2008]

  • This one is pretty standard stuff.  The picture and brief text are the like most others and this list is in danger of being as dull as the list.  It does, however, have some nice features.  The inclusion of “First Appearance” info and highlighting of the character’s “Most Heinous Crime” gives each entry context and a summary that even the laziest of readers can enjoy.

Comic Vine's CV’s Top 100 Comic Book Super-villains Poll 2011 
Compiled by “The Poet” from 104 voters. 
Top 100 Poll (closed). 

  • The page itself starts with a horribly mangled and badly spelt section explaining the nomination and voting process.  The list itself is good, though:  A single page with a good picture and brief (but solid) piece of text describing each and their career highlights. The process (outlined on the page) involved 20 contributors nominating 5 villains from a publisher that each were assigned to and 3 from any publisher.  The nomination process limited the voters (who got 5 votes each) options to 168 characters but it did open them to options from more than just DC and Marvel.  And despite the extra work and options… the Top 10 did end up just DC and Marvel just like most of the others. The poll does include 11 non-comic only book villains.  While the inclusion of these characters in other lists of super villains precluded those lists as being general super villain lists not just “from comics,” I’ve included this one because the nomination process meant that he was added to the poll from their appearances in comics.

IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time 
Top 100 Poll (closed)

  • This is a massive poll on a professional geek site.  It’s usually the go-to list on other sites and forums.  It’s well done, but has entry one per page. Given the size of each entry and the OK navigation system (jumps by 10 and to #1) it is almost forgivable.

ComicsTheory's Top 50 Supervillains of All Time!
Top 50.
21 Jun 2013

  • Does much the same as previous entries but does it pretty well.  The navigation system, 5 entries per page and a separate page for #1 puts it way above the IGN list.  A pretty standard list, with the exception of the surprise entry in the #1 position, a real world character important to comics from an number of companies, but one that failed to appear on any other top ten.

The Compiled Top Ten

The top ten, as compiled from the above lists.

Honorary mention:  Adolf Hitler who came in 14th despite only appearing in the top 10 of 1 chart (although he did appear as #1 on that list). 

10.  (17)  Red Skull
9.  (19)  Thanos
8.  (21)  Doomsday
7.  (22)  Apocalypse
6.  (23)  Darkseid
5.  (41)  Galactus
4.  (49)  Doctor Doom
3.  (65)  Lex Luthor
2.  (75)  Magneto
1.  (97)  The Joker

One commenter on a poll stated that the Joker “should be excluded from these lists, otherwise he’ll be number 1 every single time” which is close to the truth (that appears #1 nearly every time, not that he should be excluded because he’s the top villain – that sort of self-defeating (which is a popular super villain past time.))  The Joker is #1 by a long way coming in at #1 or in the top 3 of most lists.  That’s as close to an uncontested result as you can get; except it’s usually the most controversial.  Him and Lex Luthor are the two entries most attacked in the comments sections of these lists – usually due to their unpowered nature.  Galactus can eat planets, how is the Joker better than that?  But best can mean a lot of things.  The Joker is the nemesis of The Batman and a villain is rated by their enemies.  And he’s certainly the most interesting.  But this page isn’t about whether the Joker should be #1, but rather that he is according to most lists.  You want arguments for or against, try these: 

Summary As the amalgamated top ten shows the villains that appear most and highest on these lists have usually appeared in movies.  Are they most interesting/popular because they are known from movies, or are they put in movies because they are most popular/interesting, or does one feed on the other.  The higher entries are usually Marvel and DC, and in fact focus on certain Marvel and DC heroes/teams (Spider-Men, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Captain America or Thor and Superman or Batman) once again the most popular heroes and from popular films.  A commenter on the WhatCulture! List (#9) summed it up best when he said:
“I don’t think you can really judge candidates for a list like this based solely on the threat level they pose, but rather their characterization, persistence, evil, and power – power in relation to the hero they primarily antagonize.”
[Based on a list originally posted 1 Nov 2013]

Other "Top X Topic" Posts.
Other "Best of the Top X" Posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment