Magneto - The self-styled master of magnetism and would-be mutant messiah - not your straight forward mustache-twiddling villain type, to be honest. He veers back and forth between misunderstood tortured anti-hero, reluctant good guy and genocidal megalomaniac. If you're going to have mood swings, they should be really sweeping ones. Long-standing arch-enemy of the X-Men (and occasional ally), Magneto started out as a friend to X-Men founder Charles Xavier but soon diverting down a different path when their opposing viewpoints about the betterment of mutants became apparent. Magneto's been killed, resurrected, de-powered and re-powered more times than I can count but he's still hanging in there.
Best evil moment - Ripping every shred of metal from Wolverine's bones in X-Men #25
Ernst Stavro Blofeld - The ever-changing criminal mastermind who made life difficult for James Bond and, without whom, there would be no Doctor Evil. He appears in six of the Bond films and differs each time depending on the actor playing him. For me, the definitive Blofeld is the version portrayed by Donald Pleasance in You Only Live Twice (I love the weirdly emphasised way he says "Goodbye, Mr Bond"). I know it may seem unusual for me to identify with the slapheaded version but I'm nothing if not immensely predictable.
Best evil moment - Setting the standard for world-conquering megalomaniacs everywhere with his hollowed out volcano base in "You Only Live Twice"
The Joker - The Clown Prince of Crime himself and another constantly changing villain whose personality shifts according to the writer. More so than Batman, it was the Joker (as drawn by Brian Bolland in "The Killing Joke") who was responsible for getting me into Batman comics. I used to eagerly await any appearance of the grinning maniac in the comic and, to be honest, still think he livens things up whenever he's in town
Best evil moment:- Shooting and permanently crippling Batgirl in "The Killing Joke"
Davros - Sure, The Master is a classic villain as well but, when it comes to villainy, you can't beat an evil ranting genius. Plus he's the man who inflicted the Daleks upon the universe so that has to bump him up a few points in the whole villainy league. His recent return to new Doctor Who was much anticipated and didn't disappoint.
Best evil moment - Making the Doctor realise that he turns his companions into people who murder on his behalf in "Journey's End". Nice!
Emperor Palpatine - Wizened old chief of the evil galactic Empire and Darth Vader's boss, Emperor Palpatine has to ride high in the evil charts. When I was seven years old and had freshly watched Return Of The Jedi, I really wanted to be able to shoot bolts of electricity out of my finger tips just like the Emperor does at the end. Now that I'm thirty two... I still wish I could do that. Go on, you know it would be cool. Brrrzzzakkkt! Yeah, take that!
Best evil moment - Well, shooting Luke Skywalker with his electric fingers, obviously.
But there is one man who stands shiny head and shoulders above the rest. He's spent nearly 70 years plotting and scheming against the most powerful man in the world and he's still going strong. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
Lex Luthor - Yes, it's another slaphead but we all know that bald head = evil (them's just the rules). Over the years, he's gone from scheming mad scientist to criminal businessman and back to mad scientist again. For me, he was a far more interesting character when he was the evil head of a multi-national company. Publicly, he was loved and respected but privately, he was a bitter man who resented Superman taking "his" Metropolis away from him. Sadly, the current rash of comics creators felt that made Superman too ineffectual and have returned Lex to being a mad inventor plotting up schemes in underground liars. Much like the Joker, a story is still enlivened by his presence though.
Best evil moment - Running for president... and winning! Stitch that, Superman! Evil wins!
Villains. We love to hate them so long may they plot and scheme whilst throwing their heads back and laughing in an evil fashion. Altogether now - mwuhahahahahahahahaha!
* Not real-life ones, obviously. They're just deeply unpleasant people.