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Obviously Evil

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Scott Lang: Who are these guys?
Tony Stark: They're S.H.I.E.L.D. Well, actually HYDRA, but we didn't know that yet.
Scott Lang: Seriously, you didn't? I mean, they look like bad guys!

A lot of fiction out there has a tendency to employ incredibly black and white perspectives to the characters and their actions. Due to the belief that its target demographic (usually children) can't understand subtler shades of evil, many works of fiction create a stark contrast between the heroes and villains. When this happens, the creators will bring in their Obviously Evil® Design Team. (Of course, another reason obvious villains are used in some fiction is simply because everyone loves a badass villain.)

If a work of fiction indulges in Obviously Evil®, every villain will be a Card-Carrying Villain, usually Colour-Coded for Your Convenience in shades of black and red. There won't be any Well-Intentioned Extremists, Knights Templar or pretty much anyone that doesn't accept and accentuate their evilness. If you see anybody that might seem to be a shade of grey on the side of the villains, it will usually basically be a hero with a slight bit of behavior modification to work with the villains (and an inevitable Heel–Face Turn coming up during Sweeps). If the villainous group is a governing body, it will always be an Evil Empire with a 0% Approval Rating. There aren't any Punch Clock minions that just accepted the job because it's work, but instead Always Chaotic Evil Faceless Goons that act like miniature versions of the main villain and provide no guilt whatsoever when they get killed by the truckload. The Dragon will either be fully loyal to their master and their evilness, or be The Starscream and never have any ulterior motive beyond a lust for more power. There will never be any Worthy Opponents or Tragic Villains or any kind of antagonist presented sympathetically as this doesn't accentuate the author's need to make the bad guys ALL bad.

The goals of the villains and their organization are always incredibly eeeeeevil, with one of five purposes: world domination, world destruction, corruption, genocide, or antagonizing the heroes. Nobody on the side of evil will ever Pet the Dog (except maybe the none-too-subtle Heel–Face Turn candidate). Even their imagery is blatantly made as a contrast to the heroes, with lots of skulls, Spikes of Villainy, and other assorted things. Imagine a villain whose entire body is made of Red Right Hands, stitched together with thread made from the skin of dead puppies and you're beginning to get the idea.

Fiction that relies on this is almost always Anvilicious to a fault, being the most extreme example of Black-and-White Morality. If the writers don't like X, they can just have someone Obviously Evil® doing X.

Note that it's possible to have Obviously Evil® figures in a normally more subtle setting; frequently, the justification is that the character is so far gone into their Card-Carrying Villainy (or some brutal variation of Blue-and-Orange Morality) that they don't care what other people think of them, or that the character is intentionally playing up a menacing persona in order to intimidate others into compliance. A character also doesn't have to gloat about how eeeeeevil they are to give off an Obviously Evil aura; all they need to do is look or, more importantly, act sinisterly enough that others are quick to suspect that they have no good intentions. Can go with Godwin's Law of Facial Hair, where the toothbrush mustache is associated with Hitler and evil authoritarians.

This trope actually has two aspects:

The first is Obviously Evil Behavior, where the characters act in extremely vicious and unnecessarily cruel fashion to heighten their evilness. This is almost always played straight. May overlap with Villain Ball and Stupid Evil. Extremely common in fan fiction were authors use this as a shortcut to establish the "Bad Guy" of the fic and often happens to the author's least favorite character. Prone to Rape as Drama. See Kick the Dog.

The second is Obviously Evil Appearance, where the characters merely look evil. Unlike behavior, the appearance tropes are just stereotypes that have been drilled into our head over the years and as such make for prime subversion fodder when they appear on heroes and anti-heroes. (After all, who would expect Skeletor's skull-faced mug up there to appear on a good guy?) Even when they appear on certain types of villains they can still be used for the subversion aspect as people who have grown up on "Spikey-armor = Irredeemable" can still get thrown for a loop when it appears on a character presented sympathetically. If the villain of the series is a Knight Templar and/or Villain with Good Publicity then having a hero with an “obviously evil” appearance can create an interesting commentary on the nature of good and evil as the "Evil"-looking hero battles the "Heroic"-looking villain. See Dark Is Not Evil.

Compare Black-and-White Morality, Black-and-Gray Morality, Evil Versus Evil, Dark Is Evil, and Villainous Fashion Sense. Not to Be Confused with Devil in Plain Sight or Obliviously Evil, though the former can overlap. Contrast Dark Is Not Evil, Grey-and-Gray Morality, White-and-Grey Morality, Morality Kitchen Sink, and Face of a Thug. If the revelation that this guy turns out to be evil is treated as a shocking twist, that's Obvious Judas.

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    Tropes invoked in the establishment of this style 


Example subpages:

Other examples:



    Comic Strips 
  • Exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness in Liō: everyone who's evil has bad teeth. It's almost a Red Right Hand, except there's nothing in-setting to explain why they would all have bad teeth and why "good" (sorta) characters all have nice teeth.

    Fan Works 
  • In X-Men fanfic Mutatis Mutandis by Artemis' Liege, Chapter Ten opens with the Pro-Regs going about their daily routine: Reed Richards is experimenting on Goliath's corpse, condoned by all others, while he and Tony Stark discuss how much of a traitor Spider-Man is for not helping them imprison rebel heroes in the Negative Zone with the regular supervillains.
  • Ace Combat: The Equestrian War gives us Red Cyclone, who, aside from having red eyes and body color, is also an A-class Smug Snake and seeks to obliterate the ponies.
  • All For Luz: Before Luz even exchanged words with All For One, he set off her "Warning: This man is clearly EVIL" alarm the moment she lays eyes on the scary-looking man with a Slasher Smile.
  • Titan from My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic is a hooded tyrant with red eyes. Also many Arc Villains, like the Dark King, a big black horned humanoid, Von Devilor, whose name alone says a lot really, and King Pinsar, a conqueror bug alien.
  • Fall of Starfleet, Rebirth of Friendship might deconstruct Starfleet Magic, but it has its own example in Dark Conquest, who is a black alicorn, has a Meaningful Name and is a rapist.
  • Yukari in Game of Touhou is basically a walking corpse and an immortal from Qarth but Reimu still trusts her (not that she has any other choice).
  • In Foxstar's Reign, the protagonist is shocked when a guy named Cruelheart turns out to be abusive.
  • Played for Laughs by Chapter 3 of Remnant's Bizarre Adventure Chibi. Enrico Pucci is obviously a bad guy, but because he keeps insisting that he is not evil, only Sun and Neptune realize it.
  • Peace of Mind, Piece of Heart: When Catra states that, while she figured it out pretty quickly, no one in the Horde really thought of themselves as "villains or anything", Steven points out that they literally lived in a place called the Fright Zone.
  • Please Stop Eating The Hell Butterflies: In the chapters set before the Soul Society Arc, Aizen really acts obviously evil and it makes you wonder why no one noticed. Then you read the rest of the madness that the good or morally neutral captains get up to and you realize why as Aizen's evil nonsense and everyone's insane nonsense is a bit hard to distinguish without hindsight.
  • Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K: One of the OC villains on the Imperium of Man's side is a Radical Inquisitor named Tahr Whyler. Said Inquisitor has pale skin, black eyes, shark-like teeth, no hair, clawed hands, and a serpent-like tongue. His favorite color seems to be black because he incorporates it in everything; he wears a black hooded cloak, wields a black rapier, wears digi-weapon rings that shoot black Death Rays, and can even summon black-colored flames while using the Warp. Oh, and he also speaks with an unnatural rasp and is constantly associated with the image of a Slasher Smile.
  • Parodied in None Piece during Captain Kuro's first appearance.
    Kuro: Well, do you know what I care about?
    Everyone: .......
    Luffy: You're evil, aren't you.
    Kuro: (after an immediate cut to the next scene) THEY ARE SO FUCKING ON TO US!
  • Lampshade, played with and parodied with the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series versions of the various villains. One of the most notable example is Paradox, who is actually an Anti-Villain, but, as pointed out by Jaden, dresses and acts so much like he was truly evil that no one can actually believe he is well-intentioned.

  • In Popeye Saves the Earth, this is invoked by the names of Bluto's polluting companies — Earth Pavers, Never Green Logging, Blutonium Waste, and Spill Oil Co.

  • Dice Funk: The headmaster of the Pickman Academy is so shady that the players wonder aloud if he will turn out to be the final boss somewhere down the road.
  • The crew of Mission to Zyxx find Kor Balevor on a lava planet in a castle bound by chains of pure Space. He has spent his imprisonment teaching the lava crows to screech as a chorus. Everyone is immediately aware that Kor is not the good Zima they expected except Pleck (who's being mind controlled) and AJ (who is dumb as a rock).
  • Sick Sad World: Charles Manson's actions during his trial (carving an X in his forehead he later turned into a swastika, attacking the judge and saying "I'm gonna kill you!") made it pretty clear he did it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Stefan Amaris from the background of Battletech takes this all the way to the point of Narm with his horrible Yellow Peril character design.
    • Slightly related to the man as their primary employer, but any unit that chooses to use a name like "The Greenhaven Gestapo" is probably not full of nice people. Notably, they were originally called that as a rebuke for their viciousness and fascistic behavior, but their commander found it funny and adopted it in earnest. It should come as no surprise that they were involved in numerous war crimes, including the unflinching massacre of more than 600 monks hunger striking to protest their mistreatment of the Pope...followed by them killing the Pope.
  • The Primal Vampires of Bleak World. They have pale white skin, pure black eyes, 3 rows of teeth, and are completely hairless. They are also a band of single minded beasts who only wish to devour more blood. However there is nothing stopping a PC from going against this image though, if they play as a primal vampire.
  • Most demons in Dungeons & Dragons. Consider Orcus, the Demon Prince of the Undead, who is a gigantic, bat-winged, goat-headed, grotesquely obese monstrosity who carries a wand with a skull on top. Yeah, trustworthy, that guy.
  • The Coalition States in Rifts is The Imperium of Man Lite version; a collection of xenophobic humans with aggressive intentions, a hatred of anything non-human or magic-using, with armies of fanatical soldiers, genetically engineered dog-men and robot soldiers for the purpose of reconquering North America. Oh, and all their armors, ships and robots have a "death's head" skull motif for decoration, earning them the nickname "Deadboys".
  • The Chaos Warriors of Warhammer Fantasy (much like their sci-fi counterparts listed below) look the part for villains. Legions of Tin Tyrants clad in Horns and Spikes of Villainy, usually with axes and human skulls accompanying them. Chaos in general fits this trope, with it's demons loving skulls and spikes as much as their followers. And oh boy do they live up to their appearance.
  • Played with in Warhammer 40,000 — that guy in the black armour with the skull mask screaming out litanies of hatred ("SUFFER NOT THE UNCLEAN TO LIVE!") against everybody else than him and everybody on his side? He's a Space Marine chaplain — and arguably one of the setting's ambiguously 'good' guys. Then there's the Space Marine chapters with names like Flesh Tearers and Soul Drinkers. That scar-faced woman with a cybernetic arm riding into combat against civilians on a tank adorned with spikes, crushing them under her wheels while incinerating them with hi-tec flame throwers? Also arguably relatively good.
    • The oddities of naming conventions are discussed hilariously here.
    • The Troperiffic setting has plenty of straight examples as well, such as giant all-consuming psychic insects and invincible undead robotic servants of star-eating Eldritch Abominations. Then there's Chaos Space Marines, the poster boys of this trope. Their armour tends to be covered with skulls (they like trophies) spikes, horns, and the occasional pieces of flayed human skin and they worship dark gods and summon daemons. While some (like the Khorne Berserkers) might leave helpless civilians alone (as they want a Worthy Opponent), most just tend to slaughter everybody in their way in order to raise their standing in the eyes of the Chaos Gods or just because they like to rape and murder.
      • A Khorne Berserker not killing people? KHORNE DOES NOT CARE FROM WHOM THE BLOOD FLOWS, ONLY THAT IT FLOWS
    • Worth pointing out this is not the case with some of Tzeentch's followers (as they tend to be subtle Manipulative Bastards) and the Alpha Legion (who may in fact still be loyal to the Imperium or even loyal to a third party ideal who seeks the destruction of Chaos at any cost - it's hard to say, really).
    • And then there's the Orks, who are big, green, brutish, warlike, loving-to-fight, lots of horns, guns, horrible to each other (and especially Gretchins)... who just want a good fight and will actually leave a planet if they don't put up a good enough fight, or they've killed everyone who can, so they can come back and fight again. As they say, Orkz wuz made for foitin' an' winnin'!. One could actually argue that the Orks are the least evil of all of the factions.
    • There are some heroes — look at Ibram Gaunt, a humane badass. Who dresses in a pseudo-Nazi uniform decorated with skulls.
      • What about Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!? Though it is noted that Cain has a large amount of disdain for the stereotypical Commissar behavior (in only because an executed subordinate, if they aren't a psyker suffering from the Perils of the Warp anyway, is one less body between him and the enemy).
    • It is very tricky applying this to the verse because of the sheer level of Alternative Character Interpretation and Unreliable Narrators. The three factions that can in no sense be considered even halfway sympathetic, however, fit this trope like above. Besides the bugs, robots and Super-Soldier destroyers and their wiping-planets-completely-free-of-life antics, we have the Dark Eldar, with black, spike-covered equipment and units named after demons. Torture and treachery are their favorite pastimes. They eat souls. Their actions created an Eldritch Abomination of Squick that wiped out most of their race, and they kept on with business as usual.
      • An argument can actually be made for the Tyranids not being Evil. They certainly aren't *good* but their Blue-and-Orange Morality combined with a natural need to feed makes them no more evil than a swarm of the space locusts they are, or ants. Nobody likes seeing an ant kill a butterfly, but the ant's lack of empathy being biological kindof prevents the action from being evil explicitly.
    • Black-and-Gray Morality doesn't help either. Many characters would be Obviously Evil if it weren't for their opponents being Eviler than Thou.

  • Starship:
    Bug: You're evil!
    Pincer: No duh!
  • William Shakespeare wasn't immune to this trope. In Twelfth Night, the major villain is a lying, deceitful servant named Malvolio—that's Mal, as in "malicious" or "malpractice," from the Latin "mala" for evil—volio.
  • This is an extremely common trope in nineteenth century melodrama, which birthed many of the examples on this list—that genre was among the first to introduce the mustache-twirling villain who loudly declares his plans to steal, lie, cheat, commit crimes, and generally be a total Jerkass.
  • The titular character in Moliere's Tartuffe is clearly a con artist and form of Sinister Minister, preaching about sacrifice while indulging in all sorts of debauchery. In this case it's an Invoked Trope, as it's plain as day to everyone who meets Tartuffe except the family patriarch and that patriarch's mother, who are the only people who have any influence in the matter.

    Visual Novels 
  • Josef Capek in Shikkoku no Sharnoth. However, he turns out to be more sympathetic than he appears. He's simply not entirely sane anymore and hasn't been sleeping for months. ...Somehow.
  • From Fate/stay night, Zouken Matou. He looks like some sort of deformed little troll man and has jetblack eyes. Plus he manages to talk in a sinister fashion all the time - despite not having any audible clues - even before you realize that he is not the world's friendliest, cheeriest grandfather. The rest of the cast averts (Casternote ) and subverts (Berserkernote , Ridernote ) this, though. The novel also makes it blatantly obvious that Kirei Kotomine is up to no good. Word of God even confirms this trope was what they were going for when they made him.
  • Ace Attorney has Manfred von Karma, a terrifying guy with a booming voice, who even Miles "Demon Prosecutor" Edgeworth considers ruthless. It's quickly made clear that he is not above forging evidence and using underhand tactics to get what he wants (like hiding incriminating evidence, and tasering Phoenix and Maya to steal the evidence they'd acquired), and values a flawless record over putting the truly guilty in prison. It probably doesn't come as a surprise to many when it's revealed that he was the one who killed Gregory Edgeworth, for proving he used false evidence and thus putting a mark on his perfect record. In the flashback case of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, a young Kay tells him that he's "scary," just from his appearance and demeanor, and she clearly has no idea who he is..
    • In what can probably be described as Early-Installment Weirdness, the villains in the first game all tended to be obviously not nice people. Frank Sawhit behaves very suspiciously and has a creepy-looking face, Redd White is a Corrupt Corporate Executive and dresses the part, Dee Vasquez wears dark clothing and smokes a pipe, Damon Gant always stares at a camera and has an Ominous Pipe Organ Theme. The two first ones are culprits in Reverse Whodunnit cases, meaning the game doesn't even bother to hide their guilt. The only exception is Yanni Yogi, who's only the first culprit in the final case, rather than the mastermind behind the plot (Manfred von Karma).
    • In Justice For All, the second case opens with a voice-over accusing a man named Dr. Turner Grey of a murder. When the players meet Grey, he's tense, irritable, and downright nasty; his name implies a moral gray area; he makes a big deal about how innocent he is; and other characters relate stories of an incident in which many patients died under his care. It's pretty obvious he's going to be bad news to someone. Except he's not. He's actually the victim of the murder, which was carried out by the cutesy-looking Ini Miney, and it's ultimately left up in the air how responsible he was for the malpractice incident- Ini accuses him of overworking his nurses to the point of sleep deprivation, but she isn't a reliable narrator. However, the true mastermind behind the murder, Morgan Fey, plays the trope straight by looking like and being a highly ambitious narcissist.
    • Also from Justice For All, the first case's culprit is Richard Wellington, an Upper-Class Twit and con artist with a really smug look on his face. And while we don't see him kill the victim, the case is still a Reverse Whodunnit since the opening cutscene shows him attacking Phoenix with a fire extinguisher.
    • In Trials and Tribulations, Phoenix and Maya meet Furio Tigre, who looks like Phoenix, except his skin is pure orange and he has scars over one eye and much spikier hair and a really bad attitude. It's no surprise that he's the murderer. In fact, he's also responsible for impersonating Phoenix and causing Maggey to get convicted of murder.
    • In Dual Destinies, there's Florent L'Belle from the second case. He looks like the Joker went to the opera, he sprays cologne in poor Apollo's face, and he makes no attempt to hide his disdain for everyone who's not him. Even if the game somehow glitched and didn't play the opening cutscene where he clearly drugs the victim, very few players would be surprised to find that he's the killer.
    • In Spirit of Justice, there's Ga'ran in her prosecutor outfit. Magenta and dark purple colors, a spider motif, giant shoulderpads, evil facepaint, and cleavage of doom. No wonder she doesn't wear this outfit in her daily life- people might think she was a Disney villain.
  • In Virtue's Last Reward, Dio is so repugnant that The Reveal that he's actually a terrorist leader who has planted bombs all over the warehouse, and effectively the true Big Bad of the game, is... actually very surprising since it's so unsurprising.
  • Korekiyo Shinguji, the Ultimate Anthropologist from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, is a tall, rail-thin man who always dresses in olive-green military garb and covers the bottom half of his face with a mask. His demeanor is as unsettling as they come, too, seeming coldly detached from the Deadly Game going on around him and constantly talking about the "beauty of humanity". He even praises the culprit's ingenuity and cruelty in a few Class Trials. Is it any surprise that he turns out to be an insane Serial Killer with a near-triple-digit body count and a Norman Bates-esque obsession with his sister? He even lampshades it when Kaede comes to talk to him about his alibi for the first case (where he's legitimately innocent), saying that he has the look of someone who'd commit murder.
  • Despite the fact that Hatoful Boyfriend displays everyone as birds (not counting the few second pseudo-human visual of their human appearance), it's easy to tell that Doctor Shuu is not a good guy. Not because everybody tells the player over and over that he is evil. But Shuu is a partridge bird, definitely a lot more on the chubby side than the rest of the cast. He even lampshades this if you choose to romance him. He talks about how he was very clearly both evil and insane, and yet you chose to try and fall in love with him anyway. Right before he kills you with a cleaver.
  • In Heart of the Woods, the first person Madison and Tara meet in Eysenfeld besides Morgan, the one who invited them there, is Morgan's mother Evelyn. Not only do Morgan and Evelyn clearly not get along, but Evelyn has a cold, imposing demeanor and the horses become terrified upon seeing her. Her leitmotif, "Daggersmile," is appropriately ominous. Sure enough, Evelyn's not just unfriendly, but downright evil, and ends up trying to kill the protagonists(temporarily succeeding with Madison).

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: If Killer Monster's name wasn't enough to tip you off, his appearance, voice, and mannerisms will.
  • Judas in Jesus' Betrayal: What Really Went Down is so obviously the rat, yet Jesus fails tor recognize it for a good bit of time. He's the one to name the Last Supper, and suspiciously asks Jesus for confirmation that he is the Son of God, asking him to restate it louder and slower into his microphone (read: a very obvious walkie-talkie sticking out from beneath his shirt) so the FBI can hear. Once Jesus realizes what's going on, he beats Judas down hard.
  • The AI O'Malley (sometimes Omega) from Red vs. Blue. Everything the guy says or does is to emphasize just how eeeeeevil he is. From calling himself "Doctor Baron von Evil-Satan", to the deep voice he uses when possessing people, to his Evil Laugh... the list goes on.
    • Later on, there's Sigma, another A.I., and the one who mind raped Agent Maine into becoming the Meta. When we see him in Season 10's flashbacks, he appears as a shadowy figure engulfed in flames with Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness, who often ignores protocol, speaks ominously, and has a very obvious interest in metastability. Really, Project Freelancer should not have been surprised when he went rogue...
  • RWBY: Salem's appearance alone makes it clear she isn't a good person. She dresses in a black robe decorated with red eyes, and has a Grimm-like appearance with white hair, white skin, highly visible purple veins and black sclera with red irises. She used to be a normal human woman until she was cursed by the gods with immortality. After failing to either kill the gods or incite them into destroying her to end her curse, she finally ends up at the Pools of Grimm. In a desperate attempt to end her curse, she dives into them. It doesn't destroy her curse, instead it spits her back out as a being of both infinite life and infinite destruction. As the pools create the Grimm, it changed her appearance, giving her white skin and hair, red eyes and black sclera. It did not give her tainted veins or the mark on her forehead. Those appear to have occurred at a later date. The God of Light believes the woman Salem once was is forever gone. Tyrian even lampshades it in Volume 8; when Emerald, Hazel, and Mercury discover that Salem plans to destroy Remnant outright rather than simply take it over, Tyrian remarks that it should have been obvious from the moment they met her.
  • Wolf Song: The Movie has its main antagonist be known simply as the Death Alpha, and if that doesn’t tip you off that he is evil, then perhaps his fearsome appearance, the fact he treats everyone around him as a tool and a body count that would rival many horror villains probably would. More so that he could just fulfil his own goal without incurring bloodshed, but he proceeds to do almost the exact opposite, and even if it’s not him causing trouble directly, he has his troublesome daughters and his sometimes laughably evil dragon Cobalt doing the dirty work for him, and with Cobalt, he is only barely more sympathetic because he is too scared of his superior to act out against him (as are his many lackeys)

  • In Alice and the Nightmare, it's mostly about behaviour. The way Rougina's acting towards Alice should raise red flags to anyone who's ever heard of manipulative parents. Her red and black color scheme and spiky crown don't help either.
  • In Champions of Far'aus, the shadow god Sarengal is this, with his skull-like face, red eyes, black & white color scheme, and long fingers. In case there was any doubt about him being evil at a glance, his text box, for when he speaks from a distance, is covered in spikes.
  • Darths & Droids: The player Jim, being Wrong Genre Savvy, stays convinced the entire Prelogie that Sio "Bubble", The Good Chancellor, is the Diabolical Mastermind behind everything, because of his goatee. While playing as Qui-Gon Jinn.
  • Dominic Deegan has a bit of Double Subversion going on with this trope. While some villains have always very specifically employed this (e.g., the blind Infernomancer), others start out as more grey entities that, provided they can't be reformed by the main cast, will eventually embrace this trope.
  • Sirleck of El Goonish Shive is introduced with his speech bubbles having wavy outlines and white on black lettering. Dan lampshades his Obvious Evilness in the commentary
  • In one Full Frontal Nerdity, the group plays an evil party and Lewis fully embraces this trope. Nelson points out the flaws: specifically that even evil characters have to be able to go into town to sell loot and buy supplies once in a while.
    Nelson: Yeah, I love how we have to spend every 10 minutes explaining away your cleverly innocent name of "Dark Lord Evisceratrix O'Kittensquisher" to the town guard ....
  • Take a look at Her Imperious Condescension and Lord English from Homestuck and tell me they're good guys.
  • Oscar from Kill Six Billion Demons. Most devils in that setting look fairly evil to begin with, but Oscar goes so far as to advertise, wearing a distinctive grinning Tengu mask, the word 'evil' printed all over his trousers and "BAD GUY" decals on the back of his jacket. He leads a street gang of devil delinquents called the "Badstars" even normal devils won't associate with, and his personal creed is "money and power through homicide". Even the author gets in on the fun, using Alt Text to suggest that Oscar's leitmotif is John Cena's "Bad, Bad Man" when Oscar inevitably backstabs the rest of the Caper Crew.
  • Alpha Prime, the Big Bad of M9 Girls! is horribly deformed as a result of being exposed to the same cosmic radiation that gives the M9 Girls their powers. Justified in that he is a result of early, not perfected, experimentation.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Xykon is a lich of the 'fully decayed to a skeleton state' variety, complete with evil red eyes and a badass crown.
    • Nale. He has a goatee.
    • Minister Malack: Albino, lizardfolk, "spiritual adviser" to an evil empire, rocking the all-black robes.
    • General Tarquin is the Grand Vizier to an empire of slavery, death and destruction, dresses in red and black with a cape, wears a face-concealing helmet whenever he can, and carries a very sharp axe. Oh, and he's the father of a young lad who seeks to eliminate fascism wherever he can, as befits a chaotic good character. Do we need to say more?
    • When the Order first meets the Linear Guild and is debating whether or not to join forces with them, Haley points out that Sabine is wearing red leather.
  • Inverted in the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip here, and subverted here. Another inversion comes in the form of a terrifying floating skull that apparently just wants to offer people free pancakes.
  • Sidekicks: Pluton. He's got the Villainous Widow's Peak, dark stony skin that looks like it's decaying, an almost permanent Slasher Smile and was introduced as a dangerous villain who mercilessly killed a child, destroyed a city, massacred its population and killed 4 heroes and 5 sidekicks before being subdued and put in prison. Just look at his face. If that doesn't scream evil, I don't know what will.
  • Evil Chancellor Magon from this Sluggy Freelance strip would set off plenty of evil alarms even if he didn't stab a friend in the back in his first appearance.
  • The Private Villa of Corrupted Citizens in Sonichu. Membership is completely voluntary.
  • Unsounded: Invoked by the Inak clans' tradition of scarring irredeemable members to mark them as pariahs, tearing off parts of their lips to always show a snarling sharp-toothed face. Unfortunately the "Red Pariah" is able to gain quite the following of desperate Inak in the face of a new genocide, even though in addition of his clear markings he keeps rambling about oblivion and is slavishly devoted to the Senet the Inak have long called The Betrayer. Unsurprisingly this does not work out, and their leader turns out to be central to the conspiracy that started the newest genocide.
  • Wizard School features a race of villains with spikes, tusks, horns, etc. Even the Genre Blind protagonist can work out that the faculty member who stole the priceless artifact is probably the one with fangs, cackling and muttering "You fools!"


    Web Videos 
  • Analyst Bronies React: Chinch's office gets a few comments about how the lighting makes it clear she's the antagonist. AnY then gushed about how Cinch herself is just shamelessly full of such tropes.
  • When Simon is transformed by the black ink in The Cartoon Man he becomes a Dastardly Whiplash type cartoon villain, complete with a top hat, cape, twirly mustache and Evil Laugh.
  • Dr Glaucomflecken: All the physicians who haven't been bribed clearly see that Corrupt Corporate Executive Bartholomew Banks is very bad news for them and their patients.
  • Deconstructed and then reconstructed in The Guards Themselves: The Justice claims to be able to identify evil at a glance, while really, he's just profiling people. Turns out the guy he's profiling is actually trying to steal a purse.
  • Considering Hero House features the likes of Skeletor, The Joker and Black Mask, this trope is rather abundant.
  • Similarly, the trope is invoked by Shunryu during his fight against Deathmask in Les Chevaliers du Zodiaque : La Série Abrégée:
    Shunryu: You monster! I can't believe someone like you could actually get your Cloths!
    Deathmask: Please, no morality lesson...
    Shunryu: No, seriously, why did they give you a gold cloth ? Your name is Deathmask, you decorate your house with corpses and your attack is called the Hades Wave ! Are those who give armors stupid or something ?
  • Subverted in this "Marvel What the!?" video where Doctor Strange tries to prove that Mephisto is evil.
  • Title Pending: Alyssa is a Goth who is pretty clear that the contract is effectively "give me everything and receive little" and involves some parts that are effectively illegal. The two think it's a good deal anyway.

  • Parodied in this Alan Wake Meme.
    Cho: Gee thanks creepy old lady with a creepy aura! See, Ami? We can totally trust her!


Video Example(s):


The Horned King

While never said to be one, the Horned King is a tall, skeletal and of course horned overlord, who seeks the Black Cauldron to reanimate an unstoppable army of the undead, so that he may used them to conqueror the world.

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / OurLichesAreDifferent

Media sources: