Batman Villains and Anti-Heroes

Batman villains like Bane, the Joker, Scarecrow or Ra’s al Ghul were the main attraction of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, allowing us to take a peak inside the criminal minds of Gotham. With actions that made no sense or following personal vendettas, the villains added an amazing depth to the story, transforming many people into loyal fans of the comics.

The Dark Knight became a symbol for DC Comics many years ago, not only because of the amazing drawings, but also thanks his complexity and the variety of his villains. In this article we will admire some of the most notorious anti-heroes of Gotham City as they were portrayed by internationally renown artists like Dan LuVisi and Stanley Lau or official DC Comics illustrators like Ray McCarthy..

Anarky – Lonnie Machin – Batman Villain

anarky - batman villainAnarky is a fictional character from DC Universe created by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. On his real name Lonnie Machin and presumed to be the Joker’s biological son, Anarky is a villain with knowledge of radical philosophy, driven to overthrow governments to improve social conditions. He is an adept of martial artist, a really creative inventor and a skillful strategist..

Despite his criminal activity and his aversion with Batman, Machin finds himself fighting alongside heroes like Robin, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, facing enemies like Ra’s al Ghul, The Demon or Darkseid.

Penciled by Marcus To, inked by Ray McCarthy and colored by Brian Buccellato the illustration appeared on the cover of Red Robin #16.

Bane – The Villain Who Broke the Bat

bane - batman villain painted by dan luvisiFirst appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1, Bane is an orphan boy imprisoned by tyrants and used as a lab rat for risky experiments. Braking free from his shackles, the boy grew to become one of the most powerful super-villains in Gotham.

With an extraordinary intelligence and a supernatural strength, Bane is a master planner and strategist, one of the greatest challenges the Bat has ever faced. Despite his hatred towards the Dark Knight, the villain has a great respect for Batman, considering him his only real equal. Fueled by a steroid serum named Venom, Bane develops a severe addiction to it, the source of his power proving to be his greatest weakness as well..

Illustration painted by digital artist Dan LuVisi for the cover of Secret Six #14..

Black Mask – Crime Lord of Gotham City

black mask batman villainBlack Mask, on his real name Roman Sionis is a former business man with a bitter hatred for Bruce Wayne. After inheriting a fortune from his parents he went on to bankrupt their company, but it was saved with a buyout by Wayne Enterprises! With a fixation for masks, Roman carves himself a black wooden mask from his father’s coffin.. His ensuing battle with Batman made it to be burned into his skin, transforming him into Black Mask.

Considered to be the greatest criminal strategist and organizer in all of Gotham, Roman Sionis has taken complete control of the entire Gotham underworld on at least two occasions. In the end, Black Mask was killed by Catwoman after he threatened important people in her life.

Penciled by Tony S. Daniel and inked by Sandu Florea, the illustration appeared on the cover of Batman #697.

Catman – Thomas Blake – Batman Villain

catman batman villain - thomas blakeCatman is a world-famous trapper of jungle cats who became a burglar. Wearing a cat suit made of an ancient African cloth, he believed he inherited the cat’s nine lives. After years of constant defeat at the hands of Batman and Catwoman, Thomas Blake (on his real name) became a joke in the super-villain community.

He wears razor-tipped gauntlets and uses a sharp-edged Catarang, modeled after Batman’s Batarang, and a utility belt similar to Batman’s. The belt frequently has a smiley face button, a trophy he claimed from a misleading pilot on a mission with the Secret Six. Catman has claimed several times, both in his early appearances and modern ones, that his cape is mystical and able to restore mortal wounds.

Illustration painted by digital artist Dan LuVisi for the cover of Secret Six: Cat’s in the Craddle.

Catwoman – Selina Kyle – Batman Villain

catwoman with a wip painted by stanley lauCreated by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Catwoman ( Selina Kyle ) is an orphan girl who learned how to survive on the dangerous streets of Gotham by stealing from gangsters and mobsters. Her criminal activities are only limited to theft, making her not only a villain, but also an occasional ally to the Dark Knight. Flirty and romantic, The Cat maintains a complicated relationship with Batman, antagonizing and attracting him at the same time.

Regarding her skills, Catwoman is a trained gymnast and athlete, as well as an expert on hand-to-hand combatant. She has good skills on whip combat and can be very stealthy when required.

Illustration painted by digital artist Stanley Lau..

Clayface – Batman Villain

clayface batman villain painted by james zapataClayface is an alias used by several DC Comics fictional characters, most of them possessing claylike bodies and shape-shifting abilities.┬áBasil Karlo, The original Clayface, was an actor who was driven mad when he heard of a re-make of the classic horror film he had starred in. Adopting the persona of the film’s villain, he became a serial killer targeting the cast and crew. He was eventually stopped by Batman and Robin. Later, Karlo would be imbued with the powers of Clayfaces Preston Payne and Sondra Fuller.

Being chemically altered, Clayface has the ability to regenerate body mass, change shape, size, density and shapeshift into any form he could think of. ( Illustration painted by digital artist James Zapata )

Cluemaster – Batman Villain

cluemaster batman villainsCluemaster ( Arthur Brown ) is a DC Comics supervillain who started his criminal activity by trying to find the true identity of Batman. As a young child, Arthur earned many awards, but he turned rogue when he was defeated on a game show called Think, Thank, Thunk.

Like other villains, Cluemaster became a member of the Injustice League, a team of unsuccessful supervillains who tried to become better as a team (without much luck)..

Deadshot – Batman Villain

deadshot batman villain on the cover of secret six 15Deadshot – Considered to be the second most lethal assassin from DC Universe after Deathstroke, Deadshot is a hired gun known to never miss a target. Initially revealed as a new crime fighter in Gotham City, he proved to be a new villain when he tried to eliminate Batman, becoming the king of Gotham’s Underworld.

Wearing a very durable suit able to withstand large explosions, gunfire at close range and electric shocks, Deadshot is a master at wielding a pair of compact and silent wrist rifles with interchangeable barrels. His helmet is strengthened to be able to resist almost all physical attacks, the display has night vision, infrared, binoculars and thermal anemometer. The helmet also has hearing sensors, which enhance his senses to the point that he can hear a humming bird’s wings flapping.

The illustration was painted by digital artist Dan LuVisi for the cover of Secret Six #15

Harley Quinn – Batman Villain

harley quinn by stanley lauDr. Harleen Frances Quinzel, also known as Harley Quinn, is one of the few female villains from Gotham City that is not only dangerous but likeable.. Her first appearance portrayed her as a humorous female sidekick to the Joker. She is obsessed with his psychotic nature, always trying to gain his attention.

In the graphic novel The Batman Adventures: Mad Love, Harley Quinn is revealed as an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who fell in love with the Joker. The story was widely praised and won the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best Single Issue Comic of the Year. ( Illustration painted by digital artist Stanley Lau )

Professor Hugo Strange – Batman Villain

hugo strange cover for arkham cityA fierce adversary of the Dark Knight, Hugo Strange is the first villain to find the true identity of Batman. He has a bald misshapen head, bushy eyebrows, coke-bottle glasses and a thick beard accenting his jaw. As an insane psychologist and chemical genius, Hugo Strange proves to be a real challenge for Batman.. Driven by respect, the villain never reveals the identity of the Dark Knight, even when facing death – “To learn The Batman’s secrets you must triumph over him, not me. I was a fool to ever think of selling them. The Batman is too good for such as you, Thorne! He and I, we are two of a kind! I will never betray”

Illustration painted by digital artist Carlos Danda for a cover variant of the Batman: Arkham City video game.

The Joker – Batman Villain

joker batman villainPerhaps the most notorious of Batman villains, the Joker is a master criminal, an intelligent psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor. Responsible with numerous tragedies in Batman’s life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd (the second Robin), the Joker became one of the most recognized villains in popular media.

His crimes are usually committed with comedic weapons such as exploding cigars, bladed playing cards, harpoon guns or electric joy buzzer and almost every time without any explanation or logic..

Killer Croc – Batman Villain

killer croc batman villainKiller Croc is a former crocodile wrestler turned into a criminal deformed by a birth defect. He has low intelligence but great strength, as well as crocodilian abilities, such as a keen sense of smell and the ability to hold his breath underwater for long periods of time.

Driven by vengeance, Croc is a ruthless criminal who wants to become the crime kingpin of Gotham City. He possesses superhuman strength and he is stronger than Batman, whose strength is at the human level peak. A side effect of this condition seems to be that over time the primal reptilian part of his brain gains more control of his psyche. His speed, agility, and reflexes are also superhuman. He can also heal at a much faster rate than normal humans, similar to the healing rate of an actual reptile.

Mr Freeze – Batman Villain

mr freeze cover from dc comicsMr Freeze is another Batman villain created by Bob Kane in 1959. He is a scientist who must wear a cryogenic suit in order to survive, and bases his crimes around a “cold” or “ice” theme, complete with a “freeze gun” that freezes its targets solid. In the most common variation of his origin story, he is a former cryogenics expert who suffered an industrial accident while attempting to cure his terminally ill wife, Nora.

The Penguin – Batman Villain

the penguin batman villain caricatureBorn Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, the Penguin was bullied as a child for his short stature, weight and beak-like nose. In some media, his fingers are fused, resulting in flipper-like hands. Several stories relate that he was forced as a child to always carry an umbrella by his overprotective mother, due to his father’s death from pneumonia after a drenching. His mother owns pet birds that Cobblepot lavishes with attention, his only friends. In some versions, Cobblepot turns to crime after his mother dies and the birds are repossessed to pay his mother’s debts; in others, he is an outcast in his high society family and their rejection drives him to become a criminal. In keeping with his origins, the Penguin pursues his criminal career with class. He prefers formal wear such as a top hat, monocle, and tuxedo while he steals.

Poison Ivy – Batman Villain

poison ivy painted by stanley lauPoison Ivy is depicted as one of the world’s most prominent eco-terrorists. She is obsessed with plants, botany, and environmentalism. She uses toxins from plants and mind controlling pheromones for her criminal activities, which are usually aimed at protecting the natural environment. Fellow villain Harley Quinn is her recurring partner-in-crime and possibly her only human friend.

She is best known as a villain of Batman and plays an important role in his rogues gallery and has proven to be one of his more powerful foes, being one of the few Batman villains to display anything close to superpowers. Pamela Isley a.k.a. Poison Ivy has been portrayed as a love interest for Batman in some comics. In one comic, Ivy was robbing a charity gala Bruce Wayne was attending. Ivy’s first kiss was poison, the second its antidote. When they first meet, Ivy’s toxic lips planted a seed of toxic rapture in Bruce. But when she later kissed a dying Dark Knight, Ivy unknowingly cured her intended victim and established a budding romantic tension between them.

Ra’s al Ghul – Batman Villain

ra's al ghul dc comics villainRa’s al Ghul is an international criminal mastermind whose ultimate goal is a world in perfect environmental balance. He believes that the best way to achieve this balance is to eliminate most of humanity. Ra’s usually tries to assault the world’s human populace with a biological weapon, such as a genetically-engineered virus. He is aided in this quest by the Lazarus Pits, reservoirs of rejuvenating chemicals that restore the dying to life; these pits have granted him a lifespan of several centuries.

He regards Batman as his worthiest opponent, addressing him as “Detective” out of respect for his intellectual brilliance, and has frequently sought to make the Dark Knight his successor. He is one of the few criminals in Batman’s rogues gallery to have deduced his secret identity as Bruce Wayne. For his own part, Batman’s opposition to Ra’s is complicated by his attraction to the villain’s daughter, Talia, which she reciprocates.

Scarecrow – Batman Villain

scarecrow batman villain by Greg HornDr. Jonathan Crane, also known as The Scarecrow, is a DC Comics supervillain, and an enemy of Batman. Created by Batman creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane, he first appeared in World’s Finest Comics #3. His scarecrow costume, lanky appearance and surname were inspired by Ichabod Crane of the horror fable The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

The Scarecrow is an insane ex-psychiatrist who uses a variety of drugs and psychological tactics to use the fears and phobias of his adversaries. He does not commit his crimes for wealth, but rather as a form of “research” to further study the effects of fear on humans (later, he does it to satisfy his own psychopathic desires), making the innocent citizens of Gotham his unwilling guinea pigs.

Two Face – Batman Villain

two face batman villain painted by dan luvisiTwo-Face is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics, and is an enemy of Batman. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66, and was created by Bob Kane. Two Face was once Harvey Dent, the clean-cut district attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman. However, Dent goes insane after mob boss Sal Maroni throws acid at him during a trial, hideously scarring the left side of his face. Dent adopts the Two Face persona and becomes a criminal, choosing to bring about good or evil based upon the outcome of a coin flip. Originally, Two Face was one of many gimmick-focused comic book villains, plotting crimes based around the number two, such as robbing Gotham Second National Bank at 2:00 on February 2.

Eusebiu Oprinoiu

Hello! My name is Eusebiu and I have been fascinated for years by graphic design and digital art. I am the founder of Gods of Art and sharing things that inspire me from the graphic design community is now more than a simple hobby!

Free Email Updates

Subscribe to our newsletter and gain instant access to an exclusive digital painting tutorial with step-by-step instructions, from sketch to final concept!

2 comments on Batman Villains and Anti-Heroes

Leave a Reply

We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment.. Do NOT use keywords in the Name field. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

CAPTCHA: Prove that you are human by writing godsofart in the box below..