Since Batman 2 has officially launched, the discussion of which villains the film should introduce has become a hot topic. The character has a historical selection of funny crooks, from standard organized criminals to the supervillains the world is most famous for.
But which villains did Batman fight the longest? In the early days of Batman, there was a lot of trial and error with his characters, and many of the first villains stood the test of time. However, some went beyond the pages and became part of the great legend of Batman, appearing in films, TV series and much more.
“Either you die a hero, or you live long enough to become a villain” — this phrase has become so iconic that it has firmly entered the American lexicon. But Two-Face goes far beyond The Dark Knight, first appearing back in 1942.
The character developed from the very beginning, exploring the concept of duality inside Harvey Dent’s body. Some adaptations remain on Harvey Dent’s good side, exploring the path to his origins, and “The Long Halloween” is a prime example.
Usually overshadowed by the newly created Carmine Falcone, Sal Maroni still has a predominant criminal organization throughout much of Batman’s mythology. The character was originally written in 1942 as a man who injured Harvey Dent’s face, causing him to become Two-faced.
Maroni can be seen in several organizations fighting with Carmine Falcone, which creates an interesting dynamic in Gotham City. Their conflict is the central storyline of the first season of “Gotham” and is often used to show the lack of power of the Gotham City Police Department.
Most recently, the Penguin played by Colin Farrell in Batman will have his own HBO Max show, which is in the early stages of development (according to Variety). Even with one of the most mannered villainous names, the character has existed since December 1941, when he first revealed himself as a thief of paintings.
Penguin is not too different from where he started as an economically minded criminal connected to the Gotham underworld in various violations. He was played by Danny DeVito, Robin Lord Taylor, as well as Colin Farrell, this character has had several film adaptations that capture various aspects of his comic personality. Different penguins can be represented by zodiac signs.
Originally portrayed in 1940 as a disgraced psychologist fired from his practice due to inhumane experiments, the Scarecrow quickly became an evil force in Gotham. Scarecrow is a villain, usually not motivated by money like many others, which makes him one of Batman’s most unpredictable villains.
The character was portrayed by Cillian Murphy in The Dark Knight trilogy, as well as Vincent Kartheiser in Titans. In the series, the Scarecrow is depicted in the manner of Hannibal Lecter, where he first helps Dick Grayson solve a crime. The character is extremely intelligent, but now he is often used to tell more psychological stories about Batman. This idea makes him the perfect character for Matt Reeves’ Batman universe.
A character that has changed a lot since its original design is Clay Face, whose initial release in 1940 portrayed him as a failed actor turned murderer. The character didn’t have the abilities he would have in modern comics, but the element that he was an actor at heart persisted throughout time.
The Silver Age of comics introduced a Clay Face capable of changing shape, and later these two characters combined, turning him into a werewolf actor. The character has a very popular interpretation in the animated series Harley Quinn and remains one of the most anticipated villains for the film adaptation.
Tony Zucco, usually associated with the Dick Grayson origin story, was introduced in 1940 as the criminal responsible for the death of Grayson’s parents. The story remained the same throughout the journey to The New 52 and beyond, with Zucco being the centerpiece of the Dick Grayson character arc.
In one of the most emotional episodes of the Batman animated series, Robin’s reckoning, consisting of two parts, summarized Robin’s obsession with the character and his growth in overcoming Zucco. Zucco’s origins and his own life apart from Robin have also been explored in more detail in recent years.
One of Batman’s most popular villains, partly due to the recent portrayal of Zoe Kravitz, Catwoman has been developed since the early Batman comics. The 1940 look originally depicted her relationship with Batman in the same way as it is today, with romantic chemistry constantly emphasizing the ruthless and criminal behavior of Catwoman.
Since then, Catwoman has evolved as a survivor of poor parenting, which has made her a more empathetic character, whom some consider an antihero.