[[quoteright:325:[[Film/TheLordOfTheRings http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Sauron5.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:325:A lot of them [[TinTyrant look like this]]. Face is [[TheFaceless optional]], [[SpikesOfVillainy incredibly spikey crown]] is not.]]

-> ''"People of Earth! I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips! Here is [[Franchise/{{Superman}} your savior]], cowed and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the Cosmos. I am power unlike any you have known: absolute, infinite, and unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare for a long dark future as my subjects--and my slaves."''
-->-- '''ComicBook/{{Darkseid}}''', ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'', "Apokolips... Now! (Part 2)"

The [[ArchetypalCharacter archetypal]] HighFantasy and ScienceFantasy (and sometimes HeroicFantasy) [[{{Villains}} villain]].

He [[OrcusOnHisThrone usually lurks]] in an [[SupervillainLair intimidating fortress]] in a [[{{Mordor}} near-uninhabitable landscape]], plotting to TakeOverTheWorld (if he [[CrapsackWorld doesn't already rule it]]), with [[WeHaveReserves hordes upon hordes]] of FacelessGoons (who are usually [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy none too bright]]) and a [[FearMySquad fearful]] [[TheDragon sinister second-in-command]] at his beck and call. Additional options include a QuirkyMinibossSquad, a [[BlackCloak black wardrobe]] with [[TinTyrant plate armor]], an OminousOperaCape, and [[HellBentForLeather lots of leather]], and command over [[BlackMagic dark magic]] or some powerful but vulnerable MacGuffin.

He probably has a ZeroPercentApprovalRating in his dark realm, [[IControlMyMinionsThrough controlling his minions through]] terror, mind control, or threats of [[YouHaveFailedMe what he'll do them should they fail him]]. Usually thinks nothing of [[BadBoss mistreating them]], except maybe his [[UndyingLoyalty most loyal]] and useful lieutenants. Will be a dangerous opponent, even in a straight fight, since AuthorityEqualsAsskicking.

Prone to [[DarkIsEvil black]], and [[AlwaysMale generally male]]: hence, Dark Lord. Even more prone to being [[RuleOfSymbolism symbolically associated]] with death, [[EvilIsDeathlyCold cold]], [[EvilIsBurningHot fire]], destruction, pain, and other bad things: Creator/CSLewis' White Witch was associated with [[LightIsNotGood white]], symbolic of snow, cold, ice, and endless winter, and his Lady of the Green Kirtle with green, symbolic of [[ReptilesAreAbhorrent snakes]] and [[PoisonIsEvil poison]]. When the FisherKing trope is in play, he is bound to live in a {{Mordor}}. And it usually is, because the Evil Overlord is often not even human, or [[WasOnceAMan no longer human]], but a force of evil.

He seldom enjoys RoyalBlood, just to make taking him down proper. Nebulous lords of evil tend to work best as a SorcerousOverlord which often makes a righteous physical butt kicking all the more satisfying. May have a kid, [[OverlordJr male]] or [[DaddysLittleVillain female]].

Generally he has an EvilPlan which he pursues with StockEvilOverlordTactics, typically to [[DespotismJustifiesTheMeans put the world under his booted heel]] or to [[DystopiaJustifiesTheMeans turn it into a place of suffering]]. There's not much else to say that's not covered in the EvilOverlordList ([[JackButlersOriginalEvilOverlordList Either of them]], for that matter).

If [[TheBadGuyWins he wins]], he'll probably establish TheEmpire. In fact, TheEmperor is at about the same rank or higher in tropes on authority, and a single character is likely to be both. See also DiabolicalMastermind for the step below and GalacticConqueror, DimensionLord, MultiversalConqueror, GodOfEvil and EldritchAbomination for the steps above.

BonusPoints if his offical character name is "[[NamesToRunAwayFrom/{{Titles}} Lord X]]".

Not to be confused with the video game ''{{Overlord}}'' and its sequels, which feature these characters as {{Villain Protagonist}}s. Or an [[DrunkOnTheDarkside Evil Overload]], although he will likely have one at some point. ''Pray'' he doesn't read [[EvilOverlordList the List]], lest he become DangerouslyGenreSavvy and actually ''beat'' the heroes.

[[noreallife]]
----
!!I demand examples!! So speaks [[SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom DOOM]]!!:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Many of the {{Big Bad}}s from the ''Franchise/DragonBall'' series fall into this category, including Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army and Frieza.
* Il Palazzo from ''Manga/ExcelSaga'' is a notable parody as well a deconstruction. [[spoiler: When his dark side takes over him, he's a frighteningly capable Evil Overlord.]]
* Various ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' villains, including most of the ''[[Anime/DigimonAdventure Adventure]]'' bad guys and the [[Anime/DigimonAdventure02 Digimon Kaiser]].
** Bagramon tops this for conquering all of the digital world, as well as nearly conquering Earth as well.
* Emperor Beld and Wagnard from ''RecordOfLodossWar''.
* Gakuto/Gackto/Gaito ([[SpellMyNameWithAnS and those are just the official spellings]]) from ''MermaidMelodyPichiPichiPitch''.
* OnePiece has Kaido "of the Beasts", who lords over battalions of underlings and territories under his command [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority purely for his combat ability]]. He hasn't made an on-screen debut yet, but [[KillEmAll from what]] [[TheDreaded we know]] [[HairTriggerTemper so far]], he's ''not'' a good guy.
* Sosuke Aizen from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' is a sociopath manipulator who betrays everyone who trusts him and doesn't hesitate to leave even his closest associates NotQuiteDead on the floor. Fittingly, he rules his army of Arrancar from his palace of Las Noches.
* ''Manga/InuYasha'' subverts the trope. Naraku does take over a castle but that's because he wants control over the people who serve the young lord whose body he's possessed. He kills everyone in the castle soon enough and focuses on building up enemies and destroying the bonds between people at every opportunity. He has absolutely no interest in taking over the world, however. He simply wants to [[TheCorrupter twist all bonds]].
* Talpa from ''RoninWarriors''.
* Lelouch and Schneizel from ''Anime/CodeGeass R2'' are fighting for this position. Slightly subverted in that [[spoiler:Lelouch appears to be one but pulls a Milliardo Peacecraft maneuver like in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'' by dying a villain but uniting the world]], while Schneizel acts all nice when it's been indicated he's the real deal. Having a father who promoted Social Darwinism means they may need something more to overshoot him...or not.
* Judai Yuki of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' fits almost all of this trope's requirements (up to and including SpikesOfVillainy) during his time as [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Haou]], a merciless tyrant obsessed with the completion of a powerful card and with the elimination of all evil in the world -- even if he must use heinous methods in order to do so. Brron, Mad King of Dark World, whom Judai displaced, counts as well.
* Light Yagami or Kira becomes this in the second half of ''Manga/DeathNote''.
* Queen Esmerelda of ''DaiMahouTouge'' is the queen of the supposed MarySuetopia Magical Land. She's also an massively evil being who issues slave labor for public transportation, ruthlessly dispatches with protesters and gained her position via slander and mudslinging against the previous rulers. The main character Punie is a MagicalGirl Evil Overlord in training.
* [[TheEmperor Emperor Ganishka]] of Kushan in ''{{Berserk}}''. He [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty kidnaps]] Queen Charlotte and creates a demonic army by dropping pregnant women into an EldritchAbomination, after which their corrupted children rip themselves out of their mothers' wombs and devour them. Playing this trope straight is probably the only reason that ''{{Berserk}}'' isn't a complete [[DeconstructorFleet deconstruction]] of HeroicFantasy.
* [[BigBad Great Demon King Chestra]] from ''ViolinistOfHameln''. You can guess this from his title, really. Though ''ViolinistOfHameln'' is an action/comedy series that parodies a lot of shonen and fantasy tropes, this particular trope is played straight.
* Claw from ''KimbaTheWhiteLion''.
* Moo from Anime/MonsterRancher.
* ''Anime/ScienceNinjaTeamGatchaman'' has [[TheManBehindTheMan Sosai X]] and Berg Katse.[[note]]Battle of the Planets has them as the Luminous One, [[ItMakesSenseInContext Zoltar and Mala]], while G-Force: Guardians of Space has them as Computor and Galactor.[[/note]] Katse wants to rule the world; X starts out that way, [[spoiler:but midway through switches to wanting to [[EarthShatteringKaboom destroy it.]]]] Katse goes for purple and a pointy-eared cowl and once fought Gatchaman to a standstill, while X is a blue flame with glowing eyes [[spoiler:ensconced in a secret base in the Himalayas]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Lord Void of ''{{Dreamkeepers}}''. [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Seriously, look at his name.]]
* SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom, king of Latveria, holds a lock on this position in the MarvelUniverse.
* ''Comicbook/{{Superman}}'''s LexLuthor, in some incarnations, resembles a modern Evil Overlord. However, he keeps up his VillainWithGoodPublicity status meticulously.
* TheDCU villain {{Darkseid}} embodies[[note]] and yes, literally "embodies"; he's the AnthropomorphicPersonification of Tyranny[[/note]] virtually every aspect of this trope, on a cosmic scale. There's a reason he's the one quoted at the top of the page.
* The MarvelUniverse has the interdimensional entity [[DimensionLord Dormammu]], who has less of a street cred than Darkseid, but is so ridiculously more powerful that he [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu routinely beats up various cosmic entities through his own power]], by far outranks all Marvel's known rulers of hell, and is worshipped as god in thousands of magical universes. His pleasant ambition is to slaughter and usurp all higher entities, conquer all life and afterlife, and turn all of existence into an eternal torture camp dedicated to his personal glory... He's essentially Marvel's most terrifying villain when you think about it, more akin to an EldritchAbomination really, except being even more powerful... But then you remember that his head is on fire, and that he's usually severely downscaled to let anyone even have a shot at surviving.
** Several Marvel villains fit this trope. Shuma-Gorath is an even more powerful demon than Dormammu, and all the Hel Lords those two are above are still this in their home turf, as is virtually any demon or evil Death God with their own realm. DoctorDoom qualifies for this trope, as does Loki and other arch-villains whenever they gain territory, or world domination as they often do for a time.
* A standard type of of foe for Comicbook/ConanTheBarbarian and Comicbook/RedSonja. Major evil overlords included Thulsa Doom and Kulan Gath.
* One of the more common types of foe in ''TheWarlord''. Deimos was the most dangerous and most persistant.
* Emperor Golgoth of ''ComicBook/{{Empire}}''.
* The mummified, sinister King Yod of ''ComicBook/{{Megalex}}''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:FanFiction]]
* Emperor Vakudos from [[http://alaxr274.deviantart.com/gallery/37280372 Hottie 3: The Best Fan Fic in the World]]. His daughter, Princess Lotora, counts too after she replaces him as the current BigBad.
* Everyone believes Ami to be one of these in Fanfic/DungeonKeeperAmi despite her best efforts to convince them otherwise.
* ''FanFic/ABriefHistoryOfEquestria'': [[GeneralRipper Commander]] [[TheCaligula Sullamander]] was the military dictator version of this trope, ruling the Celestine Junta with an iron hoof, going so far as to indoctrinate the younger generations of troops to view her as [[AGodAmI a god]].
* Discord was already established as one in [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic canon]], but the ''FanFic/PonyPOVSeries'' shows just how ''horrid'' a ruler he would be. Especially in [[BadFuture Dark World]] [[spoiler: until it turns out he's long since been reduced to a tormented puppet of [[TheVoice the Nameless Passenger]]/[[KnightTemplar Nightmare Paradox]].]]
** There's also [[FromNobodyToNightmare Film Critique]] and several other ponies who got their hooves on one of the [[DismantledMacGuffin Shards of the Rainbow of Light]] from Patch's 7 Dreams/Nightmares Side Story, though the former is the only one we see in detail. He used the Shard to take over a city and rule it as one of these, complete with turning mares [[RapeAsDrama into his brainwashed harem]]. Incidentally, since the Shards are the source of their powers, most of these, including Film Critique, meet a KarmicDeath shortly after Patch steals them.
* The Psyche Master from ''FanFic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'', although it's played with as the only evil thing he ever did was take Empath away from Papa Smurf and raise him as a Psyche. (He's basically the series' {{Expy}} of the MCP from ''Film/{{Tron}}''.)
* ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/series/37557 The Charming Universe]]'': in which Franchise/HarryPotter becomes a "[[DarkIsNotEvil Benevolently]] [[DeadpanSnarker Snarky]] Dark Lord."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Mandrake in ''{{WesternAnimation/Epic}}'' who wants to overthrow the Leafmen and take over the forest.
* Emperor Zurg, from ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'', ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory2'' and the SpinOff series ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'', is a {{Parody}} of this trope.
* Lord Shen in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Tim Curry's Lord of Darkness in Riddley Scott's ''Film/{{Legend}}'' fits this to a T.
* Emperor Palpatine from ''StarWars'' (as opposed to his alter ego Senator/Chancellor Palpatine, a VillainWithGoodPublicity). A Dark Lord of the Sith who doubles as ruler of a galactic empire, and well versed in manipulating TheDarkSide.
** Most other Sith Lords in the ''StarWars'' universe with a position of command of some sort fit this trope as well, notably Darth Vader and Count Dooku (two of Palpatine's [[TheDragon apprentices]]). In the ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'', we have Darth Revan, Darth Nihilus, Darth Malak, Darth Krayt, and many, many others.
* Persian King Xerxes [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade is portrayed as this]] in ''Film/ThreeHundred'', becoming the evil GodEmperor of an invading empire trying to bring the "[[HistoricalHeroUpgrade freedom-loving Greeks]]" to [[KneelBeforeZod bow down to him]]. The Immortals are outright stated to have served the "dark will" of Persian Kings for centuries. He rules his subjects [[ATasteOfTheLash through the lash]] and [[AGodAmI his divine power]], and the fact that half of his warriors are monsters and dark sorcerors leaves no doubt about how evil his empire is.
* The Lord Marshal of the Necromongers in ''Film/TheChroniclesOfRiddick''. The supreme ruler of a tyrannical [[ReligionOfEvil death cult]] / conquering civilization of superhuman warriors, his goal is to subjugate and destroy every world in the cosmos and lead them to a promised land of darkness they call the Underverse, which he has visited in his pilgrimage. Outright supernatural himself, and [[http://www.legionxxiv.org/riddicklord03.jpg he's got the look down pat]].
* In ''Film/QueenOfTheDamned'', vampire Queen Akasha's reign over Ancient Egypt with her consort King Enkil is inferred to have been insanely tyrannical. Marius notes that she nearly drank the world dry to satiate her bloodlust and she shows several visions to Lestat of random massacres of her subjects. Later on she feeds on hundreds of people and declares the resulting graveyard her new kingdom to a disturbed Lestat. In the climax she announces to the other Ancients that she wants to return the world to the way things were and reduce humanity to cattle.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Sauron from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''. In ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'', Sauron was merely TheDragon to Morgoth, the BigBad. Morgoth himself fits a lot of criteria of the Evil Overlord mixed with a [[PhysicalGod Physical]] GodOfEvil, but supplemental material paints a picture of someone less interested in power in the here and now and more in [[SuicidalCosmicTemperTantrum destroying the world because it's not his creation]].
* ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia'': Although the Evil Overlord is usually both male and associated with black (hence, Dark Lord), C. S. Lewis' ''The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe'' presented a female [[WinterRoyalLady associated with whiteness]], the White Witch, as Narnia's evil ruler. ''The Magician's Nephew'' revealed that she had been Empress of Charn and destroyed all the life in her original world rather than lose. And in ''The Silver Chair'', [[spoiler: the Lady of the Green Kirtle is queen of Underland and out to conquer Narnia.]] Human Evil Overlords include the Tisroc of Calormen in ''The Horse and his Boy'' and Caspian's Uncle Miraz in ''Prince Caspian''.
* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''. Two words: Visser Three. The first Visser One might also qualify, as things she does are undeniably ruthlessly evil, but they're more motivated by her military goals than an inherently malicious personality.
* As always, ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' provides examples.
** The Evil Lord Harry Dread from ''Discworld/TheLastHero'' parodies many tropes of the Evil Overlord: He got started with a Shed of Evil, hires [[TheGuardsMustBeCrazy guards so stupid]] they have trouble remembering their names, and ends up briefly allying with the Silver Horde, but then betrays them because, hey, Harry's the ''bad guy'', [[ItsWhatIDo it's what he does]]. Also, he hires his guards to be stupid so that the heroes can escape from his dungeons, and leaves chests full of armour and weapons about his Lairs because ''that's how the game is played.'' The heroes, in return, refrain from killing Harry out of hand and don't look too hard for the inevitable secret escape routes. Both he and the Silver Horde are rather unhappy about this new generation of heroes and villains who make an effort to be competent and thorough at their respective alignments. Heroes who actually capture and kill villains, villains who actually rule with an iron fist, etc.
** Lord Vetinari from the same series has all the trappings of an Evil Overlord, except that he happens to be a ReasonableAuthorityFigure who is GenreSavvy enough to know that evil doesn't pay. His only act of public villainy was having all mime artists tortured to death via scorpion pit. That only made him more popular.
* Lord Voldemort from the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series. He was deposed before the start of the series and only eventually regains Overlord status, but people still recognize him as one, including his followers using the term Dark Lord.
* Ardavan of ''TheAssassinsOfTamurin'' is one Evil Overlord who is ''not'' the BigBad. Indeed, TheChessmaster had it in for him [[spoiler:had the heroine not killed him first]].
* The Shadow Lord from Emily Rodda's series ''Literature/DeltoraQuest''.
* Arawn the Death Lord of Annuvin from the ''PrydainChronicles''. He actually started out in the series backstory as the [[TheDragon right-hand man]] to the previous Dark Lord, Queen Achren, but [[TheStarscream deposed her.]] It is worth noting that Arawn subverts certain aspects of this trope. Rather than being an unfathomably powerful opponent, he is portrayed as a [[TheChessmaster cunning trickster]] who corrupts mortals through illusion and deceit. In combat, he proves to actually be [[AntiClimaxBoss quite weak,]] relying on his army of NighInvulnerable undead minions to protect him.
* Capricorn from ''Literature/TheInkworldTrilogy'' is a cookie-cutter example of this trope. He's also something of a capricious ganglord punk. Depends what you take from it.
** The Adderhead, BigBad of the [[ShowWithinAShow Book within a Book]] and [[RefugeeFromTvLand Capricorn's]] former boss, is a much clearer example.
* The Internet story ''[[http://forum.tip.it/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=750856 Tales of Lokaria]]'' has the Black Master: a man who has lived nearly a thousand years and rules over much of the known world. And there's his hidden MindRape powers. His castle is constantly upgraded with the latest technology. He then purposefully leaves openings to let rebels and heroes in to kill them. He does have a ZeroPercentApprovalRating, but his [[{{Mooks}} Legion of Terror]] is very well trained and loyal. And he's kinder than the elfin Kingdom, led by Tidal, despite what people say. He also is extremely DangerouslyGenreSavvy.
** His team is as follows. His [[TheDragon Dragon]], Dracon (no less!) is an ancient half-elf who is [[{{Immortality}} immortal]] and extremely powerful, and his best friend. TheDarkChick was mind-raped into submission. TheBrute (the {{Mook}} Captain) is entirely loyal and very intelligent. The MadScientist has yet to be introduced, but can produce technology to warp reality and use magic.
* Rugaard from E. E. Knight's ''Age of Fire'' series is a partial subversion of this trope. While he's an Evil Overlord, he's a dragon, carries a good approval rating from most of his underlings, even his personal slaves Rayg, Rhea and Fourfang with him intervening to save them more than once, practices Equal Opportunity Evil, shows most of the traits we'd expect of a fantasy hero, and oh, plans to subjugate all the hominids in the world. But it's all justified, you see, because not a single free homonid he's encountered has ever been vaguely nice to him.
* The usurper Waldo in ''Literature/OneForTheMorningGlory'': he conquered the kingdom of Overhill and personally murdered two infant members of the royal family when it was massacred; [[FisherKing turned Overhill]] into a [[{{Mordor}} wasteland]]; and set out to conquer the next kingdom with evil magic, undead, and goblin allies.
* Brandon Sanderson plays with this one in all his works:
** Wyrn in Literature/{{Elantris}} is a straight example (so far as the audience can tell- his only onscreen appearance is a cameo).
** His ''Literature/MistbornTheOriginalTrilogy'' deconstructs the idea of the Evil Overlord pretty nicely; the Dark Lord in the first novel really [[WellIntentionedExtremist wasn't that bad of a guy, and was only as evil as he was thanks to being psychically tormented by an evil god]].
** Susebron the God-King in Literature/{{Warbreaker}} is built up as a terrible, possibly insane Evil Overlord [[spoiler: but is actually a very nice (and very naive) guy who is controlled by his WellIntentionedExtremist priests and his NotSoHarmlessVillain secretary.]]
** From the same book's backstory, Kalad was a legendary [[FunctionalMagic Awakener]] and warlord who was responsible for a cataclysmic conflict called the Manywar that was only ended thanks to the efforts of [[TheMessiah Peacegiver]]. [[spoiler: Except, that's not quite true- Kalad and Peacegiver were the same man. [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone Kalad became sickened by what he'd unleashed]], made peace, hid his undead army away, and abdicated his throne. He currently wanders the world calling himself Vasher, trying to keep anyone else from making the mistakes he did- while safeguarding his ArtifactOfDoom, Nightblood, from the wrong hands]].
* Belial from ''TheSalvationWar'': [[http://bbs.stardestroyer.net/viewtopic.php?t=118769&highlight= Armageddon]]. Interesting subversion: He's not the guy in charge, in fact he's a nobody in Old Nick's court. So much so that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were considered highly amusing party tricks - and he's just there as the ''court jester''. Turns out, however, that they're not quite [[SuperWeaponSurprise "party tricks" after all]]...
* Darken Rahl and Emperor Jagang in ''TheSwordOfTruth'' series by Terry Goodkind. Rahl is more archetypal since his minions ''know'' he's evil but still follow him out of loyalty, while Jagang and his empire think they're right.
* Lord Foul in ''The ChroniclesOfThomasCovenant.'' He wears black, has [[RedEyesTakeWarning glowing red eyes]], lives in {{Mordor}}, wants to [[EndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt destroy the world]], is a master of ThePlan and commands several [[LegionOfDoom armies of evil mutants]]- at least in the first trilogy. In the second trilogy, he has more or less obtained domination of the Land but sticks to the shadows, ruling it indirectly through his proxies [[PathOfInspiration the Clave]]. In the final quadrilogy, he's given up on ''rulership'' entirely and is just focused on destroying the Land outright.
** The Gadhi from the same series, however, is a {{Deconstruction}} of the trope.
* Paul Atreides of ''{{Dune}} Messiah'' is somewhat of a deconstruction/subversion of the trope. He is worshiped as a god by his Fremen legions whose jihad has spread their religion across the universe at the expense of billions of people, the once ProudWarriorRace is now rich and corrupt, and in comparison the Shaddam IV who he overthrew seems like a saint. However, none of this was Paul's intention. A group of overzealous Fremen started the religion and jihad and after 12 years it escalated to the point of Paul being a figurehead without any power to stop it, leading to the irony of being a powerful emperor who commands his subjects yet a powerless god who can't stop his worshipers. He also still manages to be the hero of the story because almost all of his enemies want to overthrow him for their own selfish purposes rather than stop the jihad. Paul was on top of this to begin with mostly because as enough of a prophet to see the big war is coming (back in the first book), he tried to somewhat limit the inevitable destruction by taking control.
** His son, Leto II, the GodEmperor, is another deconstructive example. He rules over [[TheEmpire territories from several galaxies with an iron fist]], [[AGodAmI demands that his subjects worship him]], [[AmazonBrigade commands an army of savage female fanatics]], and [[{{Unobtanium}} uses his monopoly over the spice]] to prevent any challenge to his authority. What only he knows, however, is that he is using his reign as a means to free humanity from prescient rulers like himself and to ensure that humanity follows his "Golden Path" - the path away from extinction. His contemporaries think he is simply a power hungry despot.
* In the ''NewJediOrder'', the absolute ruler of the [[ScaryDogmaticAliens Yuuzhan Vong]] actually has "Supreme Overlord" as his main title. [[spoiler: It turns out he's just a mindless shell [[TheManBehindTheMan Onimi]] uses to act as his public face]].
* Lord Sparr in ''Literature/TheSecretsOfDroon''. [[spoiler: At least until he pulls a HeelFaceTurn.]]
* Big Brother from ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' is very much the ''idea'' of the Evil Overlord regardless of whether there's an actual human being behind it or not, or whether or not that person is the "original" if they ''do'' exist.
* Parodied in ''[[MythAdventures Something M.Y.T.H. Inc.]]'', in which the common people of Possiltom ''think'' Skeeve is an example of this trope because he consorts with (friendly and likeable) demons, keeps a (goofy pet) dragon, and has (out of dire necessity) raised their taxes.
* The ''Literature/{{Shannara}}'' series is littered with them:
** Brona, an undead lord who manipulates various races at various times in his bid for GlobalDomination.
** The Ildatch, a sentient book of pure evil that served as TheManBehindTheMan (or the sentient object behind the man) for Brona, being destroyed some three generations after him.
** The Dagda Mor and his eventual heir, Tael Riverine, who lord over an EvilDimension of creatures sealed away long ago who merely seek freedom, though freedom entails overrunning the world with monsters.
* Completely subverted in Jacqueline Carey's duology ''Literature/TheSundering'' which is told from the viewpoint of the Evil Overlord. Although he suffers from chronically bad press it turns out that he and his subjects just want to be left alone and it is the god of the Elves who is trying to throw down.
* The ''BlackCompany'' novels by Glen Cook has a SorcerousOverlord collection, sometimes subverting this back and forth. The main Evil Overlord of the books is an Overlady. She's the wife of the former Evil Overlord, the Dominator, but after their time together as SealedEvilInACan she left and made sure he's kept in. Because he's ''too'' evil, too powerful and hey, it was only a political marriage. This gets twisted in more and more ways from there.
* ''TheToughGuideToFantasyland'' naturally has a whole piece about Dark Lords, including the rarity of Dark Ladies.
* ''Literature/{{Gone}}'': Caine Soren aspires to be one, but is deposed soon into book one. [[spoiler: In book four, he succeeds.]]
* Used frequently in ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars''. In the first three books alone we get several distinct flavors of this one- [[VillainousGlutton Tal Hajus]], [[PriestKing Matai Shang]], [[GodGuise Issus]] and [[TheCaligula Salensus Oll]].
* [[spoiler: Freddy Johnson as]] Osiris in ''Literature/TheTumbleweedDossier''.
* Giles becomes this in the ''Buffy'' tie-in serial novel ''The Lost Slayer'' after getting vamped. He's king of Sunnydale and some of the rest of southern California.
* ''Literature/TrappedOnDraconica'': Gothon tried to avert this trope (because his dad was evil) but his single-minded focus on his EvilPlan turned him into one.
* ''Literature/MaoyuuMaouYuusha'' averts this trope, and revolves around the [[DeconReconSwitch deconstruction and reconstruction]] of the high fantasy world setting. The "Maou" (demon king) is actually a CuteBookworm who is in no way evil ([[SamusIsAGirl or male]]), and secretly allies with the [[TheChosenOne destined "Yuusha" (hero)]] to stop the war between humans and monsters via economical and political means.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* TheMaster from ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''
* Darken Rahl in ''LegendOfTheSeeker''
* Chancellor Dongalor is a parody of this in ''Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire''
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' has TheMaster. And Davros.
* Lord Zedd of ''Series/MightyMorphinPowerRangers'' is introduced as this. Even after his [[JadedWashout slide into has-been territory]], it was still a very real, very frightening moment when he appeared in the Command Center after capturing Kimberly and forcing the Rangers to pilot his evil zords. His subsequent hand-to-hand fight with Tommy later confirmed his status in this category.
* The Gorma Emperor from ''Series/GoseiSentaiDairanger''.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'': Khan Noonien Singh once ruled a quarter of Earth back in the day. He was even called "The best of Tyrants" in some circles.
** An example from ''DeepSpaceNine'' would be the Founders, a cabal of scientists who use genetically-engineered troops and designer viruses to keep their subjects in line. The Founders, renowned for their xenophobia, were later unmasked as hermits who reside on a featureless, arid border planet. Since the Founders were persecuted throughout history, they made it a rule never to venture from home (unless on a reconnaissance or sabotage mission). When the Klingons managed to locate their planet and destroy it, it turned out that they had vacated without leaving any trace.
* His Divine Shadow from ''Series/{{Lexx}}''. He ruled over a theocracy of 20,000 worlds with an iron fist for millenia. All for the purpose of [[spoiler:using humans to defeat themselves by reducing them to willing slaves and livestock.]]
* The ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'' episode "My Princess" parodies this, where Dr. Cox tells his 4-year-old son Jack a fairy tale starring his colleagues from Sacred Heart Hospital in the various archetypes. The irritable Dean of Medicine Dr. Kelso becomes the Dark Lord [[SdrawkcabName Oslek]], an AffablyEvil overlord of the land. He has a cowed, hunchbacked assistant (Ted) and punishes all those who enter his forbidden forest.
* The Goa'uld of ''Series/StargateSG1'' are an ''[[AlwaysChaoticEvil entire race]]'' of this with an accompanying [[AGodAmI god complex]]. However, only the highest ranking ones (the so-called 'System Lords') have enough territory and forces to back the claim up, with the rest of the lesser Goa'uld serving one or another of the System Lords and usually [[TheStarscream plotting their downfall]]. They collectively control most of the Milky Way Galaxy at the start of the series, but are deeply fractioned and [[EvilVersusEvil fighting each other]] more often than outside threats.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The subject of "Tyrant" by Music/JudasPriest.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Ming the Merciless in ''ComicStrip/FlashGordon'', and the associated serials and TV shows, though in the [[Film/FlashGordon 1980s film version]] he has been elevated to ''GalacticConqueror'' status what with threatening entire solar systems on a whim and such.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Innumerable examples from ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' settings and fiction, including the evil gods [[Literature/{{Dragonlance}} Takhisis]], [[TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms Bane]], and [[{{Greyhawk}} Hextor]]. Possibly the ultimate example from the RPG is Asmodeus, the King of Nine Hells -- the game's equivalent to {{Satan}}.
** In TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms, the god of tyranny Bane is the clearest example, and his church works with mortal overlords here and there, including [[SorcerousOverlord Manshoon]] with his Black Network. The conqueror Yamun Khahan, a pastiche of GenghisKhan (not only rumours about him are quoted almost verbatim, but the other names are used as is). But is more of a subversion: a ravenous warlord bent on conquering the known world through endless war, yet turning westward was a change of course forced on him in the [[AssholeVictim Thayvian]] campaign's dead end, and he was a BenevolentBoss [[VillainWithGoodPublicity adored]] by his people (not unlike the real-world Khan).
** GreyHawk has Vecna and Iuz.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' boasts a wide variety of very powerful villainous types, but the closest to the Evil Overlord archetype would definitely be the Deathlords, leaders of the Abyssal Exalted and servants of the [[EldritchAbomination Neverborn.]] In a minor variation, they're not out to conquer the world so much as they want to [[OmnicidalManiac kill everything that lives and destroy everything that's not alive, consigning all of existence to Oblivion.]]
** And then there are the Infernal Exalted, who ''must'' play this trope to the fullest, since it's their way of working off [[VillainousBreakdown Torment]]. As per usual, this also has a DarkIsNotEvil aspect, as Acts of Villainy aren't actually inherently evil (The one drafted by [[EvilMatriarch Kimbery]], for example, asks that you give your opponents CruelMercy...but doesn't actually have provisions for making it so that living is a FateWorseThanDeath).
* Likewise ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', including Volrath, Crovax, and TheManBehindTheMan for both of these, Yawgmoth. Various other examples from ''M:TG'' include Baron Sengir, Lim-Dul the Necromancer, and Memnarch.
** Don't forget Nicol Bolas for InstantAwesomeJustAddDragons.
* Commonplace in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'', with every Chaos Lord, Dark Eldar Archon and Ork warboss, and half or more of the Imperium's governors.
** The Fantasy version of Warhammer as well with the Dark Elves, Beastmen, Warriors of Chaos, Vampire Counts, Skaven, Some of the Tomb Kings, Orcs and Goblins. And Ogre kings are not called Tyrants for nothing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* Makuta Teridax in ''{{Bionicle}}'', [[spoiler: especially when he takes over the universe.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* You are one of these in ''VideoGame/DungeonKeeper''.
* Dr. Robotnik of ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' in some incarnations.
* ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda.''
** [[BigBad Ganondorf/Ganon]]. His trying to and/or conquering of Hyrule drive the plot of several games.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaFourSwordsAdventures'' and ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheMinishCap'' Vaati the Wind Mage.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'': [[spoiler:[[HijackedByGanon initially]]]] Zant as well.
** ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'': Now, Ghirahim [[spoiler: and Demise.]]
* The main characters in the ''VideoGame/{{Overlord}}'' series are archetypical Evil Overlords who wields hordes of gremlin-like creatures known as Minions, have mistress(es) and generally look like {{Tin Tyrant}}s with GlowingEyesOfDoom being the only visible part of the character. The first game lets you decide just how evil the Overlord can be, either a destructive tyrant to a [[AntiVillain leader]] [[VillainWithGoodPublicity beloved by the peasants]]. Although at the end it turns out that [[spoiler: you're just [[TheDragon a patsy]] for the real one]].
** While canonically the Overlord of the first game was apparently a NobleDemon who saved the Elves from extinction and kept Rose as his Mistress, his son in the sequel is much more evil, being either an AxCrazy butcher or a Dominator who enslaved entire populaces to his whim. Lord Gromgard of Overlord: Dark Legend is portrayed as more an AntiVillain who while still an Evil Overlord is a benevolent tyrant [[VillainWithGoodPublicity better-liked by his subjects]] more than his {{Jerkass}} siblings.
* Bowser from the ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'' series fits this to a T in almost every game (sometimes even ones where you're just GoKartingWithBowser), from ominous castles/lairs, plans for world/universe domination, and infinite hordes of largely incompetent goons.
** Sir Grodus from ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' also fits. He's essentialy what Bowser would be if he weren't PlayedForLaughs, weren't a moron, and actually [[KickTheDog Kicked The Dog]] as opposed to [[PokeThePoodle Poking The Poodle]]. [[spoiler:Then there's the Shadow Queen, who gives Grodus a nasty taste of MakeWayForTheNewVillains.]]
** Fawful in ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigi Mario & Luigi]]'', who goes on to call himself 'Lord Fawful' in [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]] and has one overly long ego trip through the game. He plots to TakeOverTheWorld, lives in... two hijacked [[EvilTowerOfOminousness Evil Tower of Ominousnesses]], has hoardes of... goons which have a copy of his face as their head, starts wearing dark clothing as soon as he turns into Dark Fawful and originally had a ZeroPercentApprovalRating until brainwashing the population.
* In ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic 3'', the Warlocks and Overlords of Nighon fit this trope perfectly.
* Zetta, ''MakaiKingdom'''s BadAss Freakin' Overlord of the Netherworld...until he blew it up. [[EarthAllAlong Damn you, Zetta! Damn you to]]...oh, wait.
** ''MakaiKingdom'' reveals that Overlords are a dime a dozen in the NipponIchi [[TheVerse 'verse]], as anybody with enough mana can rule over their own collection of vassals and worlds.
* Laharl, ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea|HourOfDarkness}}'''s resident Overlord -- though the first half or so of the game consists of you making the role legit (he's been asleep for two years [[spoiler: thanks to Etna poisoning him]]). Other overlords in the series include [[BonusBoss Baal]] and [[spoiler: [[HeWhoFightsMonsters Priere]]]].
* In ''LaPucelle'', [[spoiler: Priere]] can become an Overlord if [[spoiler: she]] [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt kills too many demons in the Dark World]], leading to a NonstandardGameOver. [[spoiler: Oddly enough, this is actually the canon ending.]] The remake incorporates this into the storyline, making it [[spoiler: a requirement for the good ending.]]
* The titular character from the ''LegacyOfKain'' series spends a lot of time as this. He does take breaks to save the world, but he actually just wants to keep it alive so he can keep lording over it.
** Ultimately averted though, Kain wants to purify the corruption of the world and make it a vampire utopia because vampires came first and the world rightfully belongs to them. [[spoiler: (He succeeds in getting it on the right track, but judging by blood omen 2, which results from the paradox he makes, there's a long way to go).]]
* In the ''CityOfVillains'', Lord Recluse is king. Well more like [[PresidentEvil dictator]], but he has all the features- FiveBadBand, RedshirtArmy, island domains that vary between ViceCity and urbanised {{Mordor}}.
* Shao Kahn in ''VideoGame/MortalKombat''. And before him, [[spoiler: Onaga.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Warcraft}}'' series all the demon lords of [[LegionsOfHell The Burning Legion]] ([[OmnicidalManiac Sargeras]], [[{{Pride}} Archimonde]] and [[TheChessmaster Kil'jaeden]]) count, as well as the Lich King in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''.
** Also, Deathwing. Although he is arguably the (literal) Dragon to N'zoth, we never see N'zoth, therefore, Deathwing. Complete with SpikesOfVillainy in human form. He is also DangerouslyGenreSavvy. The person prophesied to destroy was the victim of an assassination attempt, and Deathy REFUSED to the point of punishing his idiot minion [[spoiler: Archbishop Benedictus]] into making ABSOLUTELY SURE Thrall was dead before Deathy made any more moves. [[spoiler: Benedictus either lied or made a mistake, because Thrall was perfectly healthy and alive. Screw you to Deathwing, maybe?]]
** Azshara to the Naga. Though she is of course more of a Dark Queen than a Dark Lord.
* ''FinalFantasy'' villains often fall into the Evil Overlord bin: but curiously, very seldom the actual BigBad.
** Golbez of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'' [[spoiler: before being revealed to be BrainwashedAndCrazy.]]
** Gestahl of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' is an evil overlord, but sadly also TheUnfought. Kefka is also an example, and is one of the few that actually is an Evil Overlord at the end of the game when you fight him.
** Garland of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' is a tenuous example.
** Rufus Shinra and his father in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'', since the [=ShinRa=] company essentially rules the world.
** Ultimecia of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' rules all in the future. And she is a rare female example.
** Exdeath of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV'' is another good example. He also has the distinction of being the most [[WhenTreesAttack evil tree]] to ever appear in any form of media, and certainly the only one who is also the BigBad.
** Quite possibly the best example is the Emperor from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII''. He's a major military power throughout most of the game [[spoiler:and when he dies, he becomes the freakin' ruler of hell]]. He also seeks to overthrow Chaos in DissidiaFinalFantasy. Quite possibly the only thing keeping him from being more popular is ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyII'' being the most overlooked game of the series.
** Borderline example, Maester Mika in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'', who is the Pope of a ReligionOfEvil. Effectively commits suicide near the end of the game.
* Jie Revorse in ''[[StarOcean1 Star Ocean]]''.
* The ''FireEmblem'' series likes this trope.
** In ''FireEmblem: The Sacred Stones'', Emperor Vigarde suddenly attacks the peaceful allied kingdom of Renais. He does not actually reveal himself to the heroes, only to the player appointing new generals who are just pawns in a greater plan by [[spoiler: The Demon King, Lyon, and Riev]]. In another cliche, he was in fact not the BigBad [[spoiler: or even in control of his actions, since he has been dead for months prior to the game's introduction and was being animated by Lyon's magic.]]
** Nergal in ''Fire Emblem 7'' has this to some extent, but not as much as others like Zephiel and Alvis.
** Alvis in ''Fire Emblem 4'' is practically a textbook example, except he actually has some motives.
** As is Zephiel in ''Fire Emblem 6'', though he is ultimately not the BigBad.
** King Desmond in ''Fire Emblem 7'' can be seen as a similar way, but he does not actually try to hinder the heroes. He in fact wants his favourite child to be the heir, not Zephiel.
** Ashnard in ''Fire Emblem 9''.
* Varesh Ossa in ''Guild Wars: Nightfall'' is a very good example, although unlike other cliched evil overlords, she is in fact control of her actions and knows fully well what she is doing.
* The Valuan Empire in ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'' has both the Queen and her general Galcian.
* ''Final Fantasy Adventure''/''Mystic Quest'' and its remake ''Sword of Mana'' has an overlord as a villain, they even blatantly name him "Dark Lord". He is not actually the BigBad, to no one's surprise after years of similar storylines.
* ''ShinMegamiTenseiII'' portrays the Almighty (named YHVH) as an Evil Overlord.
* Grigori Rasputin attempts to become this in ''ShadowHearts: Covenant''.
* Magus the Fiendlord from ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' fits this trope rather well: he has an ominous castle, leads an army of fiends and wages war on humanity. [[spoiler:However, his motives make him more of an AntiHero, who [[IDidWhatIHadToDo does what he has to do]] in order to destroy [[EldritchAbomination Lavos]] and find his sister. He can even join the player's party later in the game.]]
* OdaNobunaga in any Capcom game, including the ''{{Onimusha}}'' and ''SengokuBasara'' series (and the latter's {{anime}} adaptation).
* In ''ImperiumNova'', TheEmperor of each galaxy is inevetibally labeled an evil overlord by his or her opponents. Whether or not the labeling is true is a matter of discussion.
* ''ManaKhemiaAlchemistsOfAlRevis'' presents us with a humorous, LargeHam version: The "'''Flay'''vor of Evil".
* The title character of ''HolyInvasionOfPrivacyBadman What Did I Do To Deserve This?'' mixes this trope with the DistressedDude, being utterly helpless from abduction by heroes without the help of his God (the player character) and the creatures that inhabit his underground lair.
%%* Lord Bane from the old TBS ''Warlords III''
* Dagoth Ur in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind.''
* Dracula of ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}''. Besides the obvious hints, the "Dark Lord" is his official title, and after he's killed off for good in 1999, said title is still up for grabs. Nobody's actually succeeded in taking it proper. [[spoiler:Or wanted to, for that matter, in one case - Soma Cruz from ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaChroniclesOfSorrow'', being Drac's reincarnation, came close accidentally, and he had to fight to not turn evil. Dmitrii Blinov nearly became the Dark Lord intentionally in ''Dawn of Sorrow''. ''Nearly''.]]
%%* Gruntilda from ''BanjoKazooie''.
%%* Nightmare from the ''SoulSeries'' fits this trope perfectly in his appearance in ''Soulcalibur IV''.
* In ''Eiyuu X Maou''; VillainProtagonist Felser has this ambition, and goes successfully fast-tracking on his way. The closer he gets to [[TakeOverTheWorld Total World Domination]], the more it's revealed that his {{Motive Rant}}s are right, and that the current leaders really do deserve to be overthrown and punished.
* Dark Warlord Zanshin from ''ThroneOfDarkness''. [[spoiler: The player's lord becomes one after taking his place.]]
* The Devourlord from [[spoiler: the Demon Path of]] ''SoulNomadAndTheWorldEaters'' [[spoiler: aka [[VillainProtagonist you.]]]] Combines this with OmnicidalManiac for a terrifying result.
* Caesar of of Caesar's Legion in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' rules an empire of slavers based upon TheRomanEmpire dedicated to restoring order to the wastelands through RapePillageAndBurn and enslavement. However, he's [[FauxAffablyEvil surprisingly intelligent with a twisted sense of humor]], as well as possessing [[WickedCultured a love of political/philosophical debates]] when the Courier chats with him.
* Draygon in ''VideoGame/{{Crystalis}}''.
* Mordekaiser in "Videogame/LeagueOfLegends" might qualify. It's unclear whether he really rules over a Dark Kingdom (not much is known about his exact position in the Shadow Isles' hierarchy), but he has the stereotypical looks of a TinTyrant.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* [[spoiler:Sparklelord]] in ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja''. Also, Ronald [=McDonald=]. Yes, the hamburger selling clown. It's more awesome than it sounds.
* [[http://www.thebeastlegion.com/issue-01-page-21-enter-dragos/ Lord Dragos]] from ''Webcomic/TheBeastLegion'' is the perfect example of tyrannical Evil despot who rules the land with an iron fist.
* ''Webcomic/DarkWings'' has Veslin, the mysterious leader of TheEmpire. Believed to be an evil [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragon]], but she might be anything, even a [[OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness whole group of people]]. All we really know is that there's ''something'' powerful and intelligent driving the Veslians.
* Lord Tedd in ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', but his [[http://www.egscomics.com/?date=2004-05-17 self-proclaimed]] "[[SubordinateExcuse voluntary servant]]" (it's not entirely clear what position she holds, but it's important) thinks he's a good guy under "[[PoisonousFriend corrupting influence]]".
* Stanley the Plaid/Stanley the Tool of ''{{Erfworld}}'' is described as an Evil Overlord by [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0031.html Parson]] because of his use of [[AlwaysChaoticEvil generic evil creatures]] and because he has united everybody else into an alliance against him. Stanley is [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/erf0032.html highly offended]] by this, believing himself to be [[MissionFromGod divinely favored]]. A divine artifact backs him up on this point. Or not, since croakamancer Wanda Firebaugh has one too, and apparently so does Charlie of Charlescomm.
* The Editor of ''Webcomic/EvilOverlordsUnited''.
* Baron Klaus Wulfenbach of ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' is something of a subversion. For one thing, he doesn't want to be Overlord -- he's there mainly to stop less reasonable {{mad scientist}}s who ran rampant laying waste to everything. For another, he's not actually an evil ruler -- the main rules of his empire boil down to 'don't start fights' and 'turn over all SealedEvilInACan for proper disposal'. However, he's ruthless in dealing with anyone (or anything) that threatens the stability of his domain, and he's willing to employ at least one homicidal psychopath (Bangladesh [=DuPree=]). Although his willingness to use [=DuPree=] is entirely based on the fact that she can be relied on to do the least pleasant jobs Klaus requires without hesitation, and keeping her around means that she's one less problem he has to deal with.
** It says something about his empire that their motto is "Don't Make Me Come Over There". Part threat, part BadassBoast, if you break his rules, he will come over there, and he will make you regret it.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' has fun with this.
** Xykon from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is in many ways a parody of the Evil Overlord stereotype, though he's as genuinely evil as any other. It might be better to say that Xykon ''started out'' as a parody Evil Overlord, but it gradually became apparent that goofy as he can be, when you get down to it he's the real deal and every bit as dangerous as you'd expect an Evil Overlord to be.
** [[MagnificentBastard General Tarquin]] is one of the [[TheManBehindTheMan Men behind the Dragon]] to the Empress of Blood. He's found his chances of survival are improved by acting as a mercenary commander for other Evil Overlord wannabes rather than sitting on the throne himself, but he still runs the show along with his NonHumanSidekick. He's also so AffablyEvil that it is approaching DracoInLeatherPants levels of sympathy among a portion of the fandom. Others, it seems, like him less with every strip.
* Parodied in ''Webcomic/OverlordofRavenfell''.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'':
** Lord Horribus, at least during the "That Which Redeems" arc. Oddly enough, Horribus is really only second-in-command of the demon armies. The actual Demon King spends the entire [[DemonicInvaders Demonic Invasion]] on the toilet.
** A wonderfully CrazyAwesome version is found in the "Holiday Wars" storyline where [[spoiler: Bun-bun]] realises he can become one and TakeOverTheWorld by becoming the AnthropomorphicPersonification of all the holidays. (Being the embodiment of Halloween gives the right "dark" flavour among what would otherwise mostly be too cheerful portfolios.)
* ''Webcomic/{{Terra}}'': Northazul Kalar, Sovereign of the Asurian Empire. Leader of a powerful empire with his own personal army in addition to the official one, dressed all in black armor [[FurAndLoathing with fur trim]], is known to have ordered at least one [[ThePurge political purge]], et cetera.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/TheGamersAlliance'', various evil overlords have appeared in the three ages, for example Arawn Losstarot and Distreyd Thanadar XII.
* The aptly-named Dark Overlords from the web fiction series ''DimensionHeroes''.
* ''WhateleyUniverse'' example: supervillain Gizmatic, the King of Karedonia. Which he conquered and then enlarged.
* AgamemnonTiberiusVacuum, the Inarguable Eternal Leader of the glorious and superior Planet 3.
* The Sunflower Emperor in the ''ProtectorsOfThePlotContinuum'' [[MirrorUniverse Mirror Multiverse]]. The Mysterious Somebody had a similar role in the prime multiverse, as the PPC's former ruler.
* Lord Doom and The Emperor hold this position in the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse''.
* Baron O'Brien is set up to look like one in ''WebVideo/WormtoothNation'', but it's later subverted: he's just trying to hold the dying city together. Not that he's a nice guy, but he's far from evil. This makes since, since he was based on the character of Oberon from ''AMidsummerNightsDream.''
* Discord from the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' parody ''WebAnimation/PonyDotMov'' destroys Ponyville and proclaims himself their god.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaChick gets called a dictator by her SexBot, gives Disney villains helpful advice and enjoys playing in God's domain just a bit too much.
* WebVideo/DiamandaHagan actually ''admits'' to being this, having minions [[BadBoss who she regularly orders to execute themselves]].
* Umbra from Roleplay/WeAreAllPokemonTrainers was an Evil Overlord in his [[VideoGame.PokemonConquest Ransei]] days. Since then, [[OldShame he's grown to regret that phase of his life.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Fire Lord Ozai from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. Ozai's grandfather, Sozin, started the trend of Fire Lords being Evil Overlords. Then [[spoiler:Zuko broke it when he interrupted Azula's coronation before she could continue the trend. Cue AwesomeMomentOfCrowning.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' Megatron becomes one in ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines''.
* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' has ''several''. First there was Wuya. She was soon followed by Chase Young, Mala Mala Jong, the Sapphire Dragon, Hannibal Roy Bean, Robo-Jack, Panda Bubba, Gigi the killer (French) plant...
* Prince Phobos of ''WesternAnimation/{{WITCH}}''.
* Master Cyclonis from ''WesternAnimation/StormHawks''.
* Aku from ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack''.
* The Dark Lord [[FluffyTheTerrible Chuckles the Silly Piggy]] from ''WesternAnimation/DaveTheBarbarian''.
* [[TheDragon Shego]] from ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' during ''[[TheMovie A Sitch in Time]]''. She even got the cool name The Supreme One.
* Pariah Dark from ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' who, despite appearing in one hour-long special, managed to take over one world and one entire dimension.
* Maximus of ''AtomicBetty'' actually calls himself "Supreme Evil Overlord Maximus I.Q."
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'': Both [[EvilTeacher Crocker]] and [[AxCrazy Vicky]] have become evil overlords thanks to magic.
* Trigon the Terrible from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''.
* The BigBad of ''{{Blackstar}}'' is called the Overlord.
* Lucius Henious VII on ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes''.
* Queen Dark took over the world in ''ArgaiTheProphecy''.
* Megabyte of ''ReBoot''.
* [[VileVillainSaccharineShow Discord]] from ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''. Over one thousand years ago, he ruled Equestria in a state of [[WorldGoneMad eternal chaos and suffering]], with everypony reduced to being his personal playthings. Eventually, the Princesses discovered [[EmpathicWeapon the Elements Of Harmony]] and rose up against him, [[TakenForGranite turning him to stone]] and [[SealedEvilInACan sealing him away]]. When he eventually escapes his prison, he takes over Equestria again and goes right back to being this trope.
** In "The Crystal Empire," King [[TheDreaded Sombra]] shares many features with Discord: A millenium prior, he was sealed away by Celestia and Luna for being [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating a monstrous tyrant]] who [[SorcerousOverlord maintained his position through the use of immensely powerful]] BlackMagic. However, the evil overlord aspects are even more emphasized in his case, thanks to his [[EvilTowerOfOminousness huge, trap-laden castle]] settled in the center of a domain that (at least while under his influence) is more [[{{Mordor}} outright hellish]] than [[RealityIsOutToLunch insane]], and his portrayal as [[AdvancingWallOfDoom a huge, cascading force]] [[MadeOfEvil of pure malevolence]] in the events of the episode. In spite of Discord being an [[GodOfEvil evil]] AnthropomorphicPersonification [[OrderVersusChaos of chaos]] - Sombra, by contrast, is a normal pony who simply managed to gain and misuse great power - whose reign eclipsed Sombra's in scope thanks to his rule over all of Equestria, Discord's character is far less nebulous (or [[BewareTheSillyOnes serious]]).
* Earl of Lemongrab of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' appears to be a parody of this trope. He's definitely a tyrannical overlord, but he isn't actually evil. Rather, he's [[WhatAnIdiot really really stupid]], [[{{Jerkass}} mean]], and [[NoSocialSkills obnoxious]]. While his intentions are good and he harbors no malice towards anyone, he ''does'' succeed in sending everyone in the kingdom to the dungeon for their whole lives. He comes across as a stupid, mildly autistic teenager who was given a position of power that he ''really'' should never have had in the first place.
** Ice King is another example of the show playing with this trope. He has pretty much every trait of your standard Evil Wizard Overlord: spiky headgear, rules over his own kingdom, is [[AndNowYouMustMarryMe obsessed with kidnapping princesses]], and has [[AnIcePerson powers]] [[EvilIsDeathlyCold usually associated with evil]]... so of course his actual personality is as far from the trope as you can get. [[BrainwashedAndCrazy Evil]] [[LossOfIdentity is]] [[WhatHaveIBecome pushing]] [[BackstoryHorror it]], [[JerkassWoobie for starters]], and even before his FreudianExcuse was revealed he was mostly a [[IneffectualSympatheticVillain pathetic, crazy old man]] and often [[DesignatedVillain didn't even start the fights]] that the heroes would have with him. After a few seasons of CharacterDevelopment he isn't even really a villain anymore, almost being the TokenEvilTeammate to the heroes.
* Lord Darkar of ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' has a castle, plenty of minions, and is very powerful, though he never controls anything beyond his fortress.
* The ''{{Ben 10}}'' franchise has good ol' Vilgax, the series' first BigBad. As the show has more of a RoguesGallery approach than all evil coming from one guy, he's got plenty of competition:
** Milleous, aka "Lord Emperor Milleous, Light of the Incursion Empire, Destroyer of Galaxies, Keeper of the Conquest Ray, all beings tremble-" (that's the farthest anyone's ever gotten when trying to say the title.) At first the Incursions were played for comedy, but have recently come in force to become the series' new BigBad.
** His daughter counts too. Attea [[SheIsAllGrownUp is all grown up]], TookALevelInBadass, was (provisionally) forgiven for her original betrayal, and is TheHeavy. So, we add to the list "General Attea, Princess, Scion and Teen Supreme of the deathless Incursion Empire, Highest Commander of the celebrated Calaveras Legion..." and so on.
** Adwaita rules the magical realm of Ledgerdomain with an iron fist. IKnowYourTrueName is in effect, so the Alpha Rune with the true name of magic itself makes him practically a god. Recurring villainess Charmcaster sought to free her world from him, actually departed on friendly terms with the heroes, and went back. [[spoiler: Next time we see Ledgerdomain, it's still under the control of an ironfisted dictator - namely, ''Charmcaster.'' She gets better, but not before [[{{Understatement}} a few people die...like the heroes.]]]]
** One of ''Ben's transformations'' is this. Turns out any small part of an Ectonurite contains his consciousness - including the Omnitrix sample. Ghostfreak breaks free of the Omnitrix, restores himself, and proves to have been the evil overlord of his ''own'' world who sought to be the evil overlord of ''everything.'' He even manages to take over Vilgax's homeworld... for one episode.
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-->'''Statler''': You know what I would do if ''I'' were an Evil Overlord?\\
'''Waldorf''': Oh? What's that?\\
'''Statler''': Quit. They always try to rule over everything. Would ''you'' want to rule this world?\\
'''Waldorf''': Nah. It's more fun to make fun of it!\\
'''[[StatlerAndWaldorf Both]]''': Doh-ho-ho-ho-ho-hoh!
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