History's Crime Wave is when historical criminals are used in a work of fiction. This may involve Historical Villain Upgrade
. The villains don't have to be on Earth; they just have to be historical, though this can also extend to mythological villains.
See also Jury of the Damned
- Leading Comics #3 has the Seven Soldiers of Victory working against Dr Doome (not Victor) who has used a time machine to summon up the Time Tyrants, Alexander the Great, Emperor Nero, Napoleon, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.
- The Trope Namer is in All-Star Comics #38 where the Justice Society of America investigate Gotham City murders claimed to be performed by historical villains. Though they turn out to be the disguises of an insane wax museum guard, he succeeds in killing every member in the issue except Wonder Woman, who has to use the purple ray to bring them back to life. The villains are Nero, Goliath, Captain Kidd, Caesare Borgia, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun.
- The Captain Marvel villain Ibac could be considered a type of this trope. Lucifer gave a crook the ability to turn into Ibac, with the powers of Ivan the Terrible, Borgia, Attila the Hun and Caligula. This doesn't explain how he gains enormous strength and durability.
- In one The Mighty Thor comic he goes to the demon Mephisto's realm and encounters a group of villains.
- One version of the Lethal Legion, fought by the Avengers West Coast, was made by the Demon Satannish ressurecting four dead criminals and giving them powers. They were
- Axe of Violence - A demonically-enhanced Lizzie Borden with an axe replacing one hand.
- Coldsteel - A demonically enhanced Josef Stalin now an 8 ft. giant with superhuman strength.
- Cyana - A demonically enhanced Lucrezia Borgia with poisoned claws.
- Zyklon - A demonically enhanced Heinrich Himmler who can belch deadly gas fumes from his mouth.
- In a way Vandal Savage as he has been many historical characters, like Caesar, Genghis Khan and Jack the Ripper.
- Inverted in Supreme; as a boy, Supreme was a member of the League of Infinity, which is comprised of heroes from history (some folkloric, some real, some made up by the comic). Uh, and they're all teenagers. Its eclectic membership includes Kid Achilles, a young Wild Bill Hickok, famed strategist Chu-Ko Liang, Mata Hari, mad scientist Wilhelm Reich, Aladdin, mutant caveman Giganthro, Witch Wench, the Germanic swordsman Siegfried, and team leader Zayla "Future Girl" Zarn.
- Legion of Super Heroes: In Adventure Comics #314, a villain called Alaktor recruits history's three greatest villains (Nero, John Dillinger and Adolf Hitler) to take on the Legion.
- In All-Select Comics #7, the sorcerer Terdu summons a group of villains from the past, whom he dubs the 'Men of Evil', to battle Captain America and Bucky. The Men of Evil were Captain Kidd, Jack the Ripper, Frank and Jesse James, Bluebeard, Gyp-the-Blood, and three gangsters (names unrevealed) who had died in the electric chair decades earlier.
- There is a comic by the Finnish comic artist Petri Hiltunen where a man brings a supply of weaponry to a group of outlaws who turn out to be the immortal revenants of various historical villains. Their leader plans to kill the man instead of paying, but the man tells him that's not going to work because he is Judas Iscariot, the man who betrayed Jesus, and thus also immortal. As the man is leaving, one of the revenants runs up to his leader to inform him that the man was lying. How does he know? Because ''he'' is Judas Iscariot.
- Possibly the oldest example is in The Odyssey as Odysseus goes to the Underworld and sees mythological villains being punished for their crimes, like the trickster Sisyphus, the husband-murdering daughters of DanaŽ, and the cannibalistic Tantalus.
- The Divine Comedy has a much larger number in the Inferno section, some known to us only through the poem. Oddly, it also includes some scattered mythological villains, like Antaeus.
- Return to Groosham Grange has the waxworks of Hitler, a French Revolutionary and others brought to life from Madame Tussaud.
- In the 1960s Spider-Man series, a villain from an earlier episode, the Waxmaster Parafino, makes Wax Robots (?) of 'History's Greatest Villains. Blackbeard, Jesse James and 'the Executioner of Paris' (?) are used, though waxworks of a masked man with a dagger, and a rich-looking man are seen.
- Futurama has a Holodeck malfunction causing Amy and Kif to get attacked by Jack the Ripper, Attila the Hun, the fictional Professor Moriarty, and Evil Lincoln.
- An episode of Time Squad featured a team of historical bad guys, including Black Bart and Lizzie Borden.
- The Simpsons: One Treehouse of Horror had Billy the Kid leading a gang of historical villains, including the most evil German in history ó Kaiser Wilhelm!