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I was thinking the other day about how so many superheroes' Rogues Galleries contain mainly the bad guys they fought way back when they were first introduced. For a lot of older heroes, this means that the majority of their recurring villains showed up in the 60s, and fewer and fewer villains became big, recurring characters as time went on.
For example, the majority of Spider-Man villains were introduced in the 60s, and that includes all the big villains who are well-known and get to appear in movies. The notable exceptions to this would be Hobgoblin, Venom, and Carnage, who all debuted decades later. Since then, it's harder to think of new villains who have really stuck around as big Spidey villains. Only Morlun or maybe Mr. Negative would maybe count.
Same thing with Batman: most of his well-known baddies are super old-school, with the exception of... Bane, I guess? And Harley Quinn?
Now, I'm not saying this is true of every character, but for most of the ones that come to mind, they mainly fight the bad guys they've been fighting since their first decade of publication.
So, first of all, what do you think causes this? I personally think it's partially due to the writers liking the old villains and wanting to keep using them. That is, writer A will come onto Batman and decide he wants to do a Joker story, a Riddler story, and then a story with a new bad guy, and when writer B shows up, he wants to do a Poison Ivy story, a Joker story, and a story with a new bad guy. And the result of this is that each incoming writer is more likely to want to use the classic villains than some villain that some other recent writer came up with. So the classics stay in circulation while the newer bad guys fall by the wayside.
And secondly, what are some examples of villains who managed to become mainstays despite debuting decades after a character's creation?
His two biggest recent additions are Hank Henshaw/Cyborg-Superman and Doomsday who debuted in 1993 and 1992 respectively.
Henshaw actually predates Doomsday. He showed up in 1990; he became Cyborg-Superman in 1993.
Your overall point is substantially correct though. The Superman rogues gallery has seen steady growth since the 1940s—when in addition to Luthor and Mxyptlk, Prankster (1942) and Toyman (1943) were introduced—adding one or two major villains a decade.
Hush in 2003 would be the most recent "major" one IIRC. Professor Pyg, 2007 also comes to mind.
I mean, how are we talking here? Comic characters get new villains all the time. Those that prove popular often returns, and those that don't are never seen again. Does the villain need to show up in more than one Arc to count?
Obviously the older villains have more reknown due to just having been around longer and adapted more.
edited 5th Feb '18 5:00:02 PM by Ghilz
Apparently Wonder Woman got a proper archnemesis in the form of Veronica Cale in 2003.
Would the court of owls count? They're more of an organization and the Talons are basically glorified elite mooks who for the most part are completely interchangeable. I would say Lincoln March but he's basically just an earth one Owlman. I would say Dr Hurt and Barbados count though.
edited 7th Feb '18 6:25:42 PM by GraymanofBelka
The Court of Owls definitely count for new Batman villains. Organizations definitely count as being a part of a heroes Rogue Gallery; examples include Intergang for Superman, the 100 for Black Lightning, A.I.M. for Iron Man (technically they are also for Hulk and Captain America as well), The Hand for Daredevil, H.I.V.E. for Teen Titans, League of Assassins for Batman (and Green Arrow thanks to the show Arrow), etc..
x2 For that matter, a lot of Wonder Woman's rogue gallery during post Crisis counts as new villains since they debuted waaaaay after the Golden Age (which has most of the very iconic WW bad guys) and Silver/Bronze Age (which doesn't . . . ironically I like Doctor Cyber but acknowledge she is a well remembered villainess). And from the line up, I do say they are definitely more used than the classic villains:
The same can be said for Green Lantern whose Rogue Gallery is more defined during the Geoff Jones post crisis era than the classic Silver Age. Seriously, of the seven well known Green Lantern villains (Sinestro, Star Sapphire, Black Hand, Hector Hammond, Tattoo Man, Doctor Polaris, Evil Star and Sonar) the first four are not only used more often but also utilized in the whole color spectrum theme. And as far as modern rogue galleries go:
Prometheus would probably also count as a new member of both the Justice League and Batman rogues galleries (and also Green Arrow thanks to Cry For Justice and Arrow).
Oh and apparently Roulette was created in 2001.
edited 8th Feb '18 6:14:54 AM by GraymanofBelka
Wolfman didn't have any involvement in the Wonder Woman book. Perez wrote it.
Really? For the life of me I thought Wolfman have some involvement in the post Crisis Wonder Woman story.
x2 Same can be said for Queen of Fables, the White Martians (though they technically excisted back then as the Pole Dwellers) and Darkseid (who is basically now a Rogue Gallery Transplant for the group).
The funny thing about Perez's WW run is that he tried really hard to make every major villain a continuation/reinvention of an older one... but most of the time the end product was so different that they might as well have been all-new characters. Cheetah and Silver Swan were literally different people from their pre-Crisis selves, and had his run been allowed to reach its natural conclusion I would've been really curious to see how he would've remixed Dr. Psycho's origin.
Psycho's in Perez's run.
I know that, but he only shows up for a few issues as a lackey in Circe's scheme, and does a quick Exit Villain Stage Left as soon as War of the Gods proper got underway. Perez only barely hinted at his backstory before WOTG broke down entirely and he quit DC in disgust.
From what I can tell, none of Perez's successors have been really interesting in explaining who he is or even where he got his powers. Though, I understand he was a key player in Villains United - did Gail Simone do anything interesting with him there?
For that matter you also forgot Intergang, Silver Banshee (though she kind of became more of a Supergirl villain), Livewire, Imperiax, and Lobo (due to Rogue Gallery Transplant from The Omega Men . . . I should really check out that series one of these days).
You have to be C list or higher to qualify as a rogues regular. And none of those guys really are bar Imperiex in one event.
edited 8th Feb '18 10:08:39 PM by NogaiKhan
Not a DC or Marvel example but IDW's Transformers does this all the time. Obscure characters from the various Japanese G1 continuations are regularly present. Characters from finished shows are reused every now and then. To what extent? It usually varies on their role, sometimes prominently, other times it's just a cameo. Then there's the slew of original characters.
Mr. Negative is a fairly prominent modern Spider-Man villain who debuted in 2009.
x3 I’m pretty sure Intergang, Livewire and Lobo are C and above level villains; especially after the Superman cartoon made them vital villains to his lore.
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