In another edition of BOF’s “Mt. Rushmore of Batman” series, I’ve put together the four most “Mt. Rushmore-y,” if you will, Batman villains.
And yes, this one was both easy and very hard at the same time — I’ll explain later.
Make sure to check out BOF’s previous installments in this series…
The Mt. Rushmore of Batman Characters
The Mt. Rushmore of Batman in Comics
The Mt. Rushmore of Batman on Film
Often viewed as a Joker ripoff/wannabe, The Riddler — AKA Edward Nashton and Edward Nigma — is one of Batman’s oldest adversaries from the comic books.
Debuting in DETECTIVE COMICS #140 in 1948 (9 years after the first appearance of “The Bat-Man” in DETECTIVE COMICS #27 in 1939), The Riddler is usually depicted as a criminal mastermind who is obsessed with teasing the authorities — and Batman — with a series of puzzles and, yes, riddles.
The Riddler was the very first villain featured on the 1960s BATMAN television series — played by Frank Gorshin (and later by John Astin) and was one of Batman’s rogues’ gallery in the 1966 feature film, BATMAN.
The Riddler was also the featured villain of 1995’s BATMAN FOREVER (portrayed by Jim Carrey doing his very best “Frank Gorshin”), was a significant character on FOX’s GOTHAM TV series, and will be featured in director Matt Reeves’ upcoming major motion picture from Warner Bros., THE BATMAN (played by Paul Dano).
While I don’t personally rank The Riddler as one of my top four Batman villains, I’ve got to acknowledge that the character is very well known amongst the mainstream when it comes to Batman bad guys.
Debuting in DETECTIVE COMICS #58 in 1941, The Penguin — AKA Oswald Cobblepott — is one of the oldest members of Batman’s rogue’s gallery.
The character has appeared in live-action TV and film starting with the 1960s BATMAN TV series, BATMAN RETURNS movie in 1992, the GOTHAM TV series, and will be one of the main villains in director Matt Reeves’ upcoming film, THE BATMAN.
Actors who have played The Penguin include Burgess Merideth, Danny DeVito, and Colin Farrel — who will portray the character in the upcoming THE BATMAN movie.
The Penguin has been depicted as a thief over the years, but more recently as a Gotham mob boss who conducts business at his club, The Iceberg Lounge.
Now this one was a tough choice.
Well, is Selina Kyle — who first appeared in 1940’s BATMAN #1 as “The Cat” — really a villain? An anti-hero? Or both?
Historically, I’d say both with the anti-hero aspect of the character being a more recent depiction of Catwoman in comics, film, TV, and video games.
But when it comes right down to it in terms of Batman history, Catwoman certainly must be included on the Mt. Rushmore of Batman villains — and I can (and tried) to make a case for her to be on the Mt. Rushmore of Batman Characters.
Selina Kyle/Catwoman has appeared in live-action TV and film starting with the 1960s BATMAN TV series, BATMAN RETURNS movie in 1992, the GOTHAM TV series, and will be one of the main characters in director Matt Reeves’ upcoming film, THE BATMAN.
Actors who have played Catwoman include Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether, Michelle Pfeiffer, Anne Hathaway, and Zoë Kravitz — who will portray the character in the upcoming THE BATMAN movie.
Making his first appearance in BATMAN #1 in 1940 (“The Joker” and “The Joker Returns”), The Joker is not only Batman’s greatest villain, but one of the greatest villains in literature and film as well (thanks to Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as the character in THE DARK KNIGHT).
The character has appeared in live-action TV and film starting with the 1960s BATMAN TV series, 1989s BATMAN, the GOTHAM TV series (kinda), THE DARK KNIGHT film in 2008, and even was the main character in the 2019 theatrically-released JOKER starring Joaquin Phoenix — who won a “Best Actor” Oscar for his performance as Arthur Fleck.
Other actors who have played The Joker include Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero.
THE RUNNERS UP
Two-Face – If there were 5 spots on a Mt. Rushmore, Harvey Dent would be on it and I was really tempted to put him on it over either The Riddler or The Penguin. In fact, if I went with my personal feelings/beliefs, Two-Face would be in over one of those 2. But I’ll stick with the four I picked. Two-Face is also in a tier of his own right after the four above. The following are in the 3rd tier…
Ra’s Al Ghul
To me, all the other Bat-rogues fall into the forth and lower tier of Batman bad guys — and there are several tiers.
So there you go. Post your take on this “Mt. Rushmore of Batman on Film” in the comments section below! – Bill “Jett” Ramey