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You Decide ’11 – Who is the Greatest Villain Created/Co-Created by Jack Kirby?

Each day this month, I’ll be posting a different poll question – each poll will last five days, and I’ll reveal the results of the finished polls every Tuesday.

This way, for this month, we can see what our readers feel about various comic book questions. For a month, you folks will decide! Click here to see the other questions that you can answer as well as checking out the latest poll results!

Read on for the latest poll question!


Let me just note that Kirby created a ton of awesome villains. I know any one of them might be your personal favorite. MODOK is awesome, Pycho-Man is great, Puppet Master is a great idea, the Kree and the Skrulls are tremendous. There are lots of cool villains created/co-created by Kirby over the years. But this is the greatest villains, so the list of options already probably has about two choices too many on it, so while I like Baron Strucker as much as the next guy, he is not comparable to Doctor Doom, Red Skull, Magneto, etc.

73 Comments

Darkseid. Even if I feel that Kirby is way over-rated as a writer, and his New Gods stories don’t really show the best of Darkseid. What make Darkseid for me was Paul Levitz use of the character in LSH.

Hm, let’s see.

Red Skulls sucks.
Loki is not exactly an original character.
The original Magneto was ridiculous.
Galactus is not really a villain.

So it’s between Doctor Doom and Darkseid.

Think I’ll go with Darkseid. He’s just more in every way than Doom, basically the ultimate villain.

I’m heartbroken for having to choose between Darkseid, Magneto, Doom and Galactus.

@Luis Dantas LSH Darkseid is just a “Big Bad Villain”, I don’t really care for it.

Darkseid is.

Darth Vader.

This is the hardest question yet. But I have to go with Dr. Doom. Everyone in the Marvel Universe eventually goes against Doom. Doom is three dimensional and has been in dozens of epic stories. arth Vader was based on him.

Oh come on. Galactus EATS PLANETS. Inhabited planets. Case closed.

This is the hardest question yet.

Wait until you see Sunday’s question!

It’s funny, my head says “Darkseid” because he’s so visually striking and imposing, but my heart says “Dr. Doom”. And I’m going to go with my heart on this one. Darkseid is imposing, but Dr. Doom is a character born of hubris and tragedy and is just so versatile.

Calling Loki a Kirby creation/co-creation is a bit much. DOOM!

funkygreenjerusalem

February 11, 2011 at 5:28 am

I went with Darkseid, but I kinda regret it now.
He is such an enduring villain, who even still inspires great stories, which is why I gave it to him… but really, I feel like I did one guy a disservice.

Galactus.

That’s the most bat-shit crazy design in the history of the medium.

A planet-eating giant dude in a skirt wearing a ginormous purple helmet?

Yet who is still so awesome, and such an intense threat, so powerful an icon, that Lee and Kirby had to result to
a complete deus ex machina to defeat him in his FIRST appearance?

A dude who many assume, even though it’s incorrect it persists, to be Jack Kirby’s version of god – coming to eat us all?

That’s a villain.

They’re all great villains, but I vote Dr. Doom. When handled right, Doom is unmatched. Closely followed by Galactus. If you could call Galactus a villain.

Magneto is perhaps the most complex of them all, but all that complexity comes from Claremont, not Kirby.

I like Darkseid, but he is one-dimensional next to the others.

Red Skull is the kind of abhorrent villain that even the other villains hate. That counts for something.

Loki is a weird villain for me, in that he comes across as (mostly unintentionally) sympathetic. He is a almost effeminate magician in a macho warrior society, the least favorite (and adopted) son of his father (that killed his real father). I think he would be despised by the Asgardians even if he weren’t such a traitorous viper.

It was easy to get it down to Doom and Darkseid.

Loki, Magneto and the Red Skull are not that great as originally created. Much of what we love about them came later. Galactus is a dire threat, but all he really does is show up.

Darkseid is essentially Space Satan.

So it’s got to be Doctor Doom.

But what about Batroc ze Leaper?

This is such a great list of villains, but I think Darkseid is Kirby’s greatest child.

Loki is a creation because he only tangentially resembles the Loki of myth.

Having said that, he isn’t even close to being the best ont his list.

Magneto is great. Red Skull is great.

Dr. Doom, however, is better than great.

Red Skull.
Doom, Loki, and Magneto flip flop all the time…and Galactus is basically a force of nature in the Marvel U and Darkseid, as The Mutt pointed out is Space Satan…so Red Skull it is.

He is a straight up villain. Plus…NAZI.

Darkseid just edges out Galactus for me, with Doom taking a third place. Magneto’s great, but Kirby’s Magneto was just a generic supervillain. And as cool as Loki and the Skull are, they don’t really hold a candle to the other guys.

hard to pick but had to go with Darkseid for one he was so bad that he was kept a mystery for his first appearance in Legion of super hero’s. plus he was the main bad of one of Krby’s greatest projects. not to mention had the power to make it look like batman was dead.

Darkseid was the first to pop in my head when I read the question.

But I love all those villains. The thing is, I love most of them as interpreted by other writers (Simonson Loki, Claremont Magneto, DeMatteis Red Skull, although I like Stan and Jack’s stories with him too…)

While I really grew to love Dr. Doom under John Byrne’s watch, I think all his essential elements have been pretty consistent since his first appearances in FF, and he’s been such a great iconic bad guy that I’ve read a lot more of than Darkseid, so I went with Doom.

Great Darkness Saga notwithstanding (and I love Byrne’s interpretation of Darkseid, too…)

And Galactus too! Man, what a great selection…

It looks like I’m in the minority with the Red Skull. The Joker to Captain America’s Batman.

Wow, this one’s really, really hard, because even the least of these (Loki, by my estimation) is a fantastic character. It’s unfathomable to me to vote against Doom or Darkseid, because they’re both epic characters, but Galactus is pretty much my favorite anything in the history of anything, so I have to go with him.

Even though all of the villians on this list are great, one one of them captures the essence of the true tragic villiany: Doom. Who else, powered only by his intellect and hubris, would (in effect) challenge God (in the form of the Beyonder)? Who else would exhibit such brazen audacity?

Nobody beats Doom. Not only is an awesome villain, he is a very strong and interesting character.

I voted darksied Doom is great but DC really needed a villian of darkseids stature
Doom is easily turned into self parody but darksiekd is pretty much always a badass

This is one where there are few if any write-in alternatives than The Deviants, and they wouldn’t even match these guys.

It’s all good . . . err, I mean bad.

I had already voted for Magneto before I realized that he didn’t actually get good until long after Kirby. Still, when used well, Magneto remains one of the greatest antagonists of all time.

Tough choice, I’ll take Dr. Doom with Darkseid, Galactus and Red Skull sharing second.

Guys. C’mon. There is only one answer, and that is Darkseid.

I voted darksied Doom is great but DC really needed a villian of darkseids stature
Doom is easily turned into self parody but darksiekd is pretty much always a badass

I don’t know, I’ve read quite a few stories where Darkseid was depicted as a total tool, especially in Superman books and any book written by Jeph Loeb. Darkseid goes through a lot of cycles where he undergoes Villain Decay, gets a really badass storyline or two, then gets Villain Decay again.

I made my choice based on how they were used specifically by Kirby rather than how they’ve been treated in their overall existence. Thus I chose Darkseid. If I was choosing based on the characters whole existence including uses by other non-Kirby writers I’d have chosen Doom.

Greatest villain? Darkseid is the greatest character in literature.

Leslie Fontenelle

February 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

DOOM.

You KNOW this to be true, deep in your hearts.

DOOM is what ALL supervillains aspire to be.

Galactus would come second if he were a villain, which I’m not sure is the case. So Darkseid comes in 2nd.

Objectively I feel like this is down to either Darkseid or Doom. But Galactus is the Kirby-est looking villain on this list, plus he’s a god that eats planets. That’s just too cool to top, in my opinion.

@jazzbo one coworker voted on Galactus for that reason only.

The Infant Terrible! The Mad Thinker! The Puppet Master! Skrulls! Armin Zola! Paste Pot Pete!

And Batroc!!!

Doom by a metal nose over Darkseid. The good doctor is just too good a character, involving science, magic, gypsy roots, nobility, his own country, etc.

You left out so many great ones. The Mole Man, the Mad Thinker, even Arnim Zola is better than the Red Skull, who somehow made it onto this list.
I had to go with Doom, despite all the horrible stories that have been written about him over the years. He has still managed to remain a great villain despite all that (unlike say, Magneto).
I’m another one who says Galactus isn’t really a villain. He does bad things only because he has to, and he is necessary for the continuing existence of the Universe.

Darkseid wants to obliterate all free will in the universe. He’d rather destroy everything than not rule reality. To me, he’s the ultimate villain.

Dr. Doom is a great character in his own right (and has suffered at least as much badass decay as Darkseid; hell, Dazzler even beat him), and a close second.

I’ve never liked Red Skull, although he’s a great visual. I buy into the idea that Galactus is a force of nature above morality, not a villain per se. Magneto is a good character, but has been badly misused since Claremont stopped writing him. Loki can be fun, but he’s not as memorable as the other characters on the list.

I was torn initially, but the only real choice for me here is Dr. Doom. Doom is such a complex yet concrete character. He is capable of flexibility, but within a very severe set of prescribed moral, ethical and personal rules. He’s one of those literally characters that seems nearly alive; he at times seems to be not just evading the protagonists or other antagonists in his decisions, motivations and actions but the reader as well.

DOOM!

Who but Doom is worthy of that honor?!?

@Darkseid the greatest character in literature? No but he is the best villain in that list.

Definitely Dr. Doom. Darkseid isn’t a character, he’s a concept. Galactus too. Doom is a fine character and whats more, unlike Magneto and the Skull, he was a fine character while Kirby was still in control of him. Loki might be my second choice.

None of those guys even come close to the insanity/awesomeness that is Galactus.

Doom…Darkseid…Doom…Darkseid… This is a really tough call. I’d give Galactus a very close third, and the Red Skull, Loki and Magneto have never impressed me.

DOOM IS ALL. Man, I love Doom when he’s written well, I put him right up there at the very top of the villain heap, alongside the Joker, Lex Luthor and the Green Goblin.

I have to go with Doom, arguably the most enduring and versatile of the choices given. As others have mentioned, Magneto never really was developed by Kirby & Lee to the extent that he wasn’t given much of an origin. By contrast Doom was given practically the entire FF annual #2 as a spotlight along with a surprisingly sympathetic touch to the origin. I would have to think that is quite a rare thing for those times. Much later, Byrne would have the temerity to kick the FF out of their own title for an issue to chronicle a sort of day in the life of one Victor Von Doom, monarch of Latveria.

Loki on the other had did catch my attention mostly from his appearances in the Tales of Asgard back up series more so than in the main Thor series. He comes second in my rankings with the great Lee/Kirby stuff they did with the Red Skull following close behind. I really don’t consider Galactus a villain so I rank him a bit lower by virtue of the fact that he is so far above that categorization. Darkseid, I’ve not read very much of so I can’t make a judgment call on that. But of that grouping, I think Doom is the most human of them all and at least the most self aware if one were to real the main story of the FF annual previously mentioned. It’s common today for writers to have Doom blaming just about everything about the accident on Reed but that was never so with the Kirby/Lee Doom. He knows all to well that in addition to the earlier tragedies, he is very much the architect of his some of his own.

Anyone who wants to eat me is a villain.

My personal favourite, Annihilus The Living Death That Walks wasn’t there so went for Doom. Page 15 of Fantastic Four #57 sealed the deal IMO.

That’s what she said.

The Red Skull gets my vote. Doom is creature of wounded pride and vanity to me more than a being of true evil. Darkseid would definitely qualify for the “true evil” title, but I always saw him more as an avatar of anti-hope and the slavery of utter, unquestioning conformity as much as he is a seeker of “Anti-Life”. Loki is the classic malicious trickster, which can make for some really great stories. Magneto is more the ultimate “victim becoming the tormentor” case.

The Red Skull is the living symbol of man’s hatred for other men based off of a sense of imagined superiority. He is the symbol for mankind’s utter inhumanity to itself. There is no villain more abominable and potent. Yeah… To me, it’s the Skull with a bullet.

How did Paste Pot Pete not make it. The list is a sham!

Tough choice. Skimming the comments, it looks like I went with the popular choice of Dr. Doom. Galactus, Magneto, and Darkseid were tough to eliminate from contention, though. Loki and Red Skull? Not so much.

Ooooh, really tough choice! My favorite would be the Red Skull, but I have to admit that both Doctor Doom and Darkseid have had a much greater impact on Marvel and DC, respectively. I have to pick Darkseid over Doom, though. Victor Von Doom, as grandly villainous as he is, is only human, and his deep-rooted insecurity, his need to prove that he is better than Reed Richards, is usually his downfall. Darkseid, in contrast is a god, a figure of epic, operatic, proportions. He is a master manipulator whose actions directly or indirectly shape nearly all the events of the Fourth World books.

I’d like to say that the villains were a big reason why I liked Marvel more than DC growing up.

Marvel villains seemed grander, more dangerous, and more human. Not only the ones listed here, but also the Kingpin, Bullseye, the Juggernaut, Norman Osborn, the Mandarin, Octopus, Baron Zemo II, Mystique, Mephisto. Plus, for a long while Marvel had both Dracula and Fu Manchu to bulk up the list of grand, noble villains. You knew it was going to be big when one of them was involved in a story. Even the more physical bad guys like the Absorbing Man put up a good fight.

By contrast, at DC you had the pre-Crisis Lex Luthor, that I was more inclined to pity. The Flash and GL had lots of gimmick villains, many of them with a very gentlemanly attitude toward the heroes. It seemed too bloodless. Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and the Atom had very pitiful rogues’ galleries. Very little sense of danger.

The exceptions were Batman’s villains post-Adams, Darkseid (of course), and a few of the Titans’s villains, like Deathstroke and Baron Blood.

Of course, Marvel has not used well their awesome villains very well in the last 15 years or so (with a few exceptions), and DC has fleshed them out considerably, so I suppose things are more equal now.

Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and the Atom had very pitiful rogues’ galleries. Very little sense of danger.

Well, I’d be the last person to argue that Aquaman’s villains are all that impressive, but Black Manta did murder his infant son, so they weren’t quite harmless. Professor Zoom also (seemingly) murdered Flash’s wife, which freaked me out when I was a kid. I’m ultimately more of a DC guy, but I agree that Marvel had a lot of better villains.

My vote goes to Doom. He defeated the Beyonder!

Although Marshal Kafka and Skuba should be there, too. :)

Darkseid.

reasoning:

vil·lain?/?v?l?n/ [vil-uhn]
–noun
a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel.

Doom? not a villain.
Galactus? not a villain.
Magneto? not a villain.

that leaves Loki, Red Skull and Darkseid.

Red Skull’s just a Nazi. i mean, he’d probably win on a simple comparison of amount of evil-ness. but it’s such a petty sort of evil.

Loki is hard to pigeonhole, primarily due to incoherent motivations. that, and he’s pretty ineffective most of the time.

but Darkseid? cruel? malicious? oh yeah. in spades. devoted to wickedness?

murdered his brother, mother, his first wife… well, and a lot of others. banished his second wife. engaged in eternal conflict with his closest neighbor.

AND still has time to engage in common organized crime activities on a primitive, far-off planet.

so he’s more than a little bit of a tool.

definitely greatest villain from DC, maybe even the big two. Kirby’s best solo creation.

@jhota: by that reasoning, you automatically choose the one dimensional mustache twirlers as the best villains? That’s ridiculous.

Buttler –

I sort of like how they upgraded Professor Zoom to a real threat, while admiting that I haven’t read more than a couple of comics with Black Manta in it (even thought I always thought it interesting to have at least one case of a black man as the archenemy of a white hero).

But ultimately I see those stories as DC’s desperate attempts to “marvelize” their universe, and not very sucessful attempts either, seeing as both Aquaman and Flash remained unpopular in the late-70s and early-80s.

I hunger…

@ Mary Warner,

If you don’t think Red Skull is one of the greatest villains that Kirby created, read his early stories. Doom is a 3 dimentional creation, & so is the Red Skull. Also, he’s the exact opposite of Captain America in almost every way. i can’t give him my vote, but he belongs in the top 5 and maybe the top 3 [although he hasn’t had as many great stories as someone like Doom].

Give the old red guy a chance! :-)

DFTBA

@ jhota:

“Red Skull’s just a Nazi. i mean, he’d probably win on a simple comparison of amount of evil-ness. but it’s such a petty sort of evil.”

Someone else said it above, but the Red Skull is the type of evil that happens when one group/person believes in their core that another group/person is sub-human. When you say “just a Nazi”, i don’t think you are truly understanding what depths of evil they could sink to, due to their beliefs. It is anything but a petty evil, & if you want to understand it better, check out Auschwitz concentration camp. i’ve been there & could never call this kind of evil petty.

i understand that this is a poll about comic characters, but even if we are just talking about that [& not the real world], Red Skull fits the definition of
“a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness or crime; scoundrel”
better than anyone on the list. He is devoted to wickedness & is totally cruel. He would outcruel Doom any day. Darkseid isn’t even as cruel as he’s more a force of nature or an icon of villainy. Dr. Doom has recognized the honor or worthiness of his opponents from time to time, The Skull [in his prime] would never see goodness or give honor to those who he seeks to oppose.

The Skull is the ultimate representation of man’s evil against man, where Darkseid is the representation of evil/death vs. good/life.
DFTBA

Well, during Acts Of Vengeance, Loki ended up manipulating Doom, Red Skull and Magneto, so I guess he’s smarter. Plus I like him better anyway.

(And yes, the Marvel Loki is SO different from the mythical version as to be considered his own character.)

Jhota – Except Cronin’s fairly transparently using definition number 2.

– a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot.

Which isn’t absolutely true for every appearance of all of these, but it’s generally true and it was what they were all created to do.

@The Mutt — Batroc ZE LEPAIRRRRRRRR is non villain, non? He is, how you say, live by hiz own code of honair! He would challenge you to ze duel, but Batroc ZE LEPAIRRRRRRR has no need to prove himself, non?

It has to be either Doom or Darkseid for me, with Red Skull (due to the vicious nature of the character so well described by previous posts) a distant third. As noted, Magneto was a shallow character in his early appearances, and Loki has never really shown the sense of menace the others exude.

Doom, is the least predictable, the most versitile and the most sympathetic of the list. He is a man determined to be more than a man, arrogant enough to ignore the morality of others and brilliant enought to self-justify dismissing the POV of others. He’s the best.

A point on Galactus, I agree that he’s not a villain. I don’t see him as a tragic figure, caged by what he must do (even though he’s been written that way often). As originally written (and best handled), Galactus’ actions and morality, like his power and perceptions, are simply beyond our understanding.

No one else comes close to Dr. Doom. He’s got great back story. More back story than the others combined. In another world he could have been a good guy. You can’t say that about the others.

Doom.

He’s anti-Iron Man, anti-Fantastic Four, anti-Black Panther, and over prepared like Batman all in one guy. Luthor cries himself to sleep at night wishing he could be Doom. He’s already got his own country and I hear he’s making a bid for presidency of he US in 2099.

Galactus is freaking sweet though.

I don’t get the “Galactus isn’t really a villain” logic. I mean, sure, he’s not mugging your grandma, but he’s a guy who wants to eat your planet and doesn’t give a crap who it hurts. Sure, he’s not going it out of malice, but “he has his reasons” isn’t a good reason to disqualify someone as a villain. Because if you were judge villainy by who actually considers himself to be evil, the only option you’d be left with here is maybe Darkseid, and I’d argue that he too considers himself to be totally justified in his actions. So by that logic really there are no villains here at all.

It’s not that what Galactus does isn’t not-nice He’s so far beyond the bounds of human perceptions and intellect that there’s no more of a parallel between what he does and the way our needs routinely require the slaughter herd-beasts for sustenance or the destruction of insect colonies (with populations of thousands) for the development of our structures. Given the relative points of view, it’s like trying to declare a economic collapse, a plague, or an erupting volcano “evil”.

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