This city deserves a better class of criminal…’ exclaims Heath Ledger’s Joker so memorably in The Dark Knight and do you know what, he’s right. His clothing is custom, no labels we are told, a look so stylish fanboys and girls everywhere are desperate to smear on their white make up and don their purple suits.
But the Joker isn’t alone in the style stakes. Whilst heroes are tied to a pithy colour scheme, bold insignia, or practical titanium alloy with carbon mesh; villains have free reign to be the peacocks of the comic book world, strutting their stuff in ever more garish and indeed stylish threads.
So here we run our eyes over the criminal catwalk, the fiendish fashion parade, the…oh you get the idea.
10. Wilson Fisk The bullish businessman and kingpin of crime in New York City is not only a regular nemesis for both Spiderman and Daredevil he’s a pretty snazzy dresser as well, especially for a larger gentleman.
9. Dracula Recently doing his turn in the Buffy comics, Dracula is certainly no stranger to style and indeed with immortality on his side he can pull off anything, even a cape.
8. Sebastian Shaw The Black King of Marvel’s Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw is probably most recognisable for his role in corrupting the Phoenix entity, but he’s caught our eye for an entirely different reason. What goes around comes around and inevitably styles that we thought had died their death in decades past resurface again, ironically like a phoenix from the ashes.
So whilst this summer it’s all 80s T-shirts and colour rimmed glasses, next season is bound to see a return to the new romantic. So Shaw, with his neatly folded cravat and well buttoned tunic, cements his place in our top ten, if only for staying ahead of the curve.
7. Sinestro Green…Yellow…the fashionable colours come and go but facial hair will never go out of fashion, which is why, whatever colour he wears, Sinestro’s neatly waxed tash (supposedly modelled on British actor David Niven) will never go out of style.
6. Ming the Merciless Dastardly facial hair has already got a favourable mention in this countdown so it comes as no surprise that the evil emperor of Mongo also scores highly in our top ten. I’m not sure if it is the ridiculously ornate collar or those gilded shoulder pad,s but you’ve got to admit he looks the part. Warning – readers should not attempt to emulate Ming’s ‘look’: over-the-top dictator chic is strictly the reserve of fictional evil overlords, with perhaps the exception of Elton John.
5. Lex Luthor The man who picks his suit to er… suit every occasion. Whether he is addressing the nation as a captain of industry, giving a speech as a commander in chief or simply throwing down with Supes, he picks the right three-piece for the job. If it was based on the standard of his Italian tailoring and wingtips alone he’d be higher up the list but Lex what were you thinking? A purple suit with all that bling? I don’t care if you’re taking on the Man of Steel, that’s a look that even you can’t pull off.
4. Two Face Do you remember Vice Versas? They were like Minstrels that were dark chocolate on the outside and white chocolate on the inside or white chocolate on the outside and dark chocolate on the inside. So every time I see Harvey Dent I think of them, obviously not in his Dark Knight guise, that would just be wrong. But in his comic, animated or even Tommy Lee Jones form, Harvey is one of comicdom’s best dressed villains with an eye for contrasting colour.
3. Penguin Batman’s rogues gallery seems to be a treasure trove of well dressed villainy and this one’s no different. It appears you have to dress to impress to survive in Gotham’s underworld, but when you’re a little on the short side, a tad overweight and have a nose like a beak it’s an uphill challenge. But give a man a top hat, some tales a monocle and a trick umbrella and you get a transformation that even Trinny and Susannah (their first and only mentioned ever on this site) would be proud of.
2. Emma Frost Her loyalties are as vague as the decency of her costume but the Hellfire Club’s former white queen and Cyclops’ current squeeze certainly knows how to make an impact. So even if she isn’t a fully fledged supervillain, the blonde bombshell scores so highly if only for making stockings and corsets standard issue for supervixens – a move that probably explains her crown of Hottest Comicbook Babe 2005.
1. Joker Whether it’s Bob Kane’s original modelling, Brian Bolland’s iconic interpretation or modern cinematic recreations in the guise of Jack Nicholson or Heath Ledger, the Joker really is a better class of criminal. The Joker has transcended his position as Batman’s arch nemesis to become an iconic figure in his own right and whilst each artist or costume designer has bought their own interpretation the basics are all there: green hair, painted face, purple suit and maniacal grin an eerie recipe for stylistic success.
Agree? Disagree? Head to the comments!