Whether you consider it short for villain credentials or villain credibility, it's a measure both of how much respect a villain gets among his fellow rogues and of how credible a threat the do-gooders and the authorities consider said villain to be. It's earned through successful completion of bold, daring and devious deeds; in other words, nothing so pedestrian as robbing bank or holding up a liquor store will suffice. It can also be lost in a heartbeat if one runs afoul of [[ScoobyDoo meddling kids and their talking dog]].

A specific villainous version of a KarmaMeter. Often a major motivation factor for a CardCarryingVillain or NobleDemon.

A supertrope to ArsonMurderAndAdmiration, a more comedic take on the concept. Contrast UnintentionallyNotoriousCrime, where a villain gets ''too much'' cred.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* One SilverAge ''ComicBook/TheFlash'' story has the Mirror Master get upset that he's only ranked as the third most successful criminal in the prison newspaper, so he breaks out to commit more crimes in the hope of raising his standing.
* A SilverAge ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' story has the Joker and Clayface commit crimes using each other's M.O.s so that each can claim the title of Public Enemy #1.
** The same basic gimmick was used in Poison Ivy's debut story in the 1960s, where she arranges the capture of three other female criminals -- Public Enemy numbers 1, 2, and 3 -- so that she can step forward and take credit for various previously unsolved crimes.
** And used again in a story in the 1970s where rumors of Batman's murder sweep through the underworld, prompting the villains to assemble a JokerJury of their own to evaluate the Villain Cred of the various supervillains (ranging from SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker to LexLuthor to Catwoman) claiming to be Batman's killer.
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[[folder:Film]]
* An anti-hero example comes from the StevenSeagal film ''Film/AboveTheLaw''. After being informed that he's now number four on the FBI's Most Wanted list, Nico quips that he wanted to be number one.
* In the third ''Film/{{Riddick}}'' movie, the mercs are impressed with Riddick's balls when he suddenly appears out in the open, walking toward their camp for a pow-wow. The trope is lampshaded by Riddick to Vaako in the Directors Cut.
-->'''Riddick:''' They say you lost your nerve, Vaako, [[TheStarscream after that big swing and a miss]].
-->'''Vaako:''' Is that what they say?
-->'''Riddick:''' Now what are you gonna do to get that cred back? What's the big play? Something splashy.
* In ''Film/DemolitionMan'', the BigBad Simon Phoenix tries to unfreeze a cryo-prison full of psychotic murderers. When he hears that [[SerialKiller Jeffrey Dahmer]] is among the convicts, he joyfully expresses admiration for the guy.
* ''Film/DeathWarrant'': The killer known only as "the Sandman" is a renowned figure in the prison due to his love for killing cops. When he's first brought to the prison, the other cons give him a huge ovation.
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[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* A consistent element through ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' and ''Series/{{Angel}}''. The Watcher's Council records the exploits of demons and vampires, and the underworld community in general seems to have pretty good word of mouth. Angelus had particularly good cred, something Angel occasionally traded off of. Even the Master held Angelus in high regard, intending to appoint him as TheDragon. The Mayor was keen to have Angelus on his team, as well. At one point Darla and Drusilla managed to attract a group of demons to serve them simply by introducing themselves (and de-earing one person who'd never heard of them). Spike had a particularly good reputation for having killed two slayers despite being barely two hundred - [[WritersCannotDoMath or 126, or a vampire for 120 years]]. Several enemies come to town specifically because killing a Slayer would be good for their reputation. Wolfram & Hart is another example. Even Sahjhan is familiar with the firm's reputation, being as it exists in other dimensions, as well.
--> '''Nostoyev:''' Used to be quite the terror back in the day. Haven't heard much of you lately, though.
--> '''Angel:''' Haven't heard much of you, ''ever''.
* In the ''Series/MastersOfHorror'' episode "Pick Me Up", [[EvilVersusEvil two rival serial killers]] called Walker and Wheeler pick off the passengers of a bus crew that they come across in the northwest. They both despise each other for their respective {{kill steal}}s and treading on the other's "territory", but are also quite impressed by the other's ingenuity and brutality. Walker in particular prizes Wheeler on decapitating one of his victims [[ImprovisedWeapon with a baggage compartment door]].
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[[folder:Videogames]]
* In the ''VideoGame/EvilGenius'' game, this is your genius' Notoriety, which increases as you sucessfully complete Acts of Infamy.
* If your karma rating is 'very evil' in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', other evil characters will make impressed comments, give you supplies and caps to appease you, and give you special quest and dialogue options.
* In the [[InNameOnly videogame adaptation]] of ''VideoGame/TheGodfather'', you get "respect" points that make you more powerful. Acts that earn you respect range from [[NeighbourhoodFriendlyGangsters helping shopkeepers]] and [[CorruptCop bribing police officers]] to murdering enemy gangsters and blowing up their safehouses.
* In the ''SaintsRow'' series, you get "respect" which can be used to go on missions.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Overlord}}'' series: Not only are you explicitly a villain, but you get ranked on how evil you are via KarmaMeter.
* ''LiberalCrimeSquad'' has Juice, which represents your street cred as a member of LaResistance and goes up as you slaughter hordes of [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking soldiers, cops, and workers who refuse to join labor unions]].
* Occurs in ''[[CityOfHeroes City of Villains]]''. You can even give it to other people, [[FridgeBrilliance because you're increasing their reputation at the cost of your own due to "selling out"]]
* Demons from the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' series tend to be rather concerned about their reputation for "evilness," but most of them aren't very good at it beyond things like [[PokeThePoodle not washing their hands or cutting class.]] This is probably for the best, since demons who are good at bad (e.g. [[BonusBoss Baal]] and [[VideoGame/Disgaea2CursedMemories Zenon]]) are kind of scary.
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[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'', Dr. Horrible's primary goal through Act I and Act II is to earn enough cred to get into the Evil League of Evil. He eventually succeeds...but at a ''horrible'' price.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' learns that her EvilCounterpart Shego [[{{Backstory}} used to be]] part of a superhero team, and uses that [[SlaveToPR to blackmail her]] into helping her defeat this week's villain:
-->'''Kim''': Because if you don't help, I'll tell the the world you used to be a good guy.\\
'''Shego''': You wouldn't!\\
'''Kim''': I've got a website, and I'm not afraid to use it.\\
'''Shego''': Ugh, [[CardCarryingVillain my evil reputation]] would be ''shot!''
** One recurring gag is that [[ButtMonkey Dr. Drakken's]] VillainCred is so weak that people haven't heard of him -- worse, they sometimes mistake him for [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter Professor Dementor]].
* After much evil perpetrated around the Tri-State Area, [[WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb Dr. Doofenschmirtz]] rescues [[PetTheDog one kitten]] from a tree, and risks the complete loss of his evil-genius status.
** His worst Christmas is also his ''best'' because it was the first Christmas bad enough to make him hate the holiday. Before that he was unable to summon up more than a passionate, burning indifference -- not enough motivation to try to ruin it, as a good villain should.
* One ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'' episode is all about [[EvilTwin Nega Duck]] learning he lost his Public Enemy #1 spot to [[TheGhost Dr. Slug.]] This prompts him to start a massive crime spree to reclaim his throne.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'', a MonsterOfTheWeek claims that many of the monsters who attack Townsville go there just for a chance to fight the girls, because it's a good way to build up villain cred.
* Sportsmaster is obsessed with this in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' to the point where he's willing to betray his former bosses and ally with his hated daughter just to restore it [[spoiler: because Aqualad killed his heroine daughter Artemis without him being involved. When it turns out she's alive and it was all a trick to help Aqualad in his deep cover mission, Sportsmaster accepts the cred loss to help keep their cover, because he'd rather see his former bosses punished for allowing it to happen in the first place.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' "The Man Who Killed Batman" provides us with one-time character Sid 'The Squid', a small time crook who wished to gain some cred as a big shot... And succeeded when he got in a scuffle with Batman and, completely by accident, ''apparently killed him''. Then it's brutally {{Deconstructed}}: he's not finished celebrating with friends that a huge guy tries to beat him up to earn some cred, then he's kidnapped by TheJoker who, after verifying that Batman ''really'' is dead (he was actually hiding to track down the guy who set up the drug ring Sid was part of), [[http://youtube.com/watch?v=Ld0uIhst3TA tries and avenges Batman]] (Batman saves Sid), and when he goes to his boss [[TheDon Rupert Thorne]] for help in getting away, Thorne replies that nobody is that lucky or stupid to accidentally kill Batman and make a fool of the Joker and is about to murder him for trying to usurp him when Batman shows up. At least he ''did'' get some cred, as the man who nearly killed Batman and then proceeded to make a fool of the Joker...
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