Supervillains have always been a part of comic books, and we learn a lot about them in books and on TV or movie screens, We can see what supervillains look like, sound like and where they came from. One thing we can’t tell from the printed page or the big screen is how they smell.
Of course, commenting on how supervillains smell isn’t something a lot of comics spend time on. Unless someone specifically comments on it (“Doctor Doom is poisoning New York’s water supply! And he has kind of a fruity odor today!”), we probably can’t know for sure, but we can guess.
Some supervillains like Lex Luthor – who’s vain, always dressed fashionably and can afford the finest colognes – probably smells pretty good. Others, we can guess from their appearance or background, stink to high heaven. Here are 15 supervillains who probably smell as bad as their crimes, if not worse.
In “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” there are masters of everything. There’s Man-at-Arms, the master of weapons. There’s Beast Man, the master of animals. There’s even Extendar, the master of, uh, extending things. Of course, that means there’s also a master of odors, and his name is Stinkor.
Stinkor began as an action figure in 1985. He looks like a skunk for a reason, because his power is to send out foul odors. His stench was so bad that he could injure his enemies by stink alone. We don’t know too much more about the original Stinkor, because he never made it onto the TV show: the show’s writers refused to write him in, because they thought he was a “walking fart joke.” Only in the 2002 remake could they reveal Stinkor in all his glory, as well as the backstory of a thief who went through a chemical accident to become Stinkor. He’s the only villain on this list whose smell is his primary weapon.
Mojo is foul, disgusting, repulsive and immoral. He’s also a network television executive.
First appearing as the archenemy of Longshot in “Longshot” #3 in 1985, Mojo is a member of the alien race known as the Spineless Ones. Spineless Ones are forced to use cybernetic technology to enhance their typically useless bodies, and Mojo went to town on that. Not only does he ride on a platform of spidery metal legs, but he’s covered in tubes and wires to control it. Mojo is the dictator of an alternate dimension called the Mojoverse, where he runs brutal TV shows of gladiatorial combat.
Just Mojo’s sociopathic love of killing people for the sake of ratings would be nauseating, but if you look closely at him, you’ll see there are some things that must smell pretty bad. Let’s take a look at the open wounds and stitching that are visible where his real body meets his mechanical parts. That’s a prime source for infection. He’s also not too concerned about his terrifying appearance, which means cologne and deodorant probably aren’t high on his list.
The sworn enemy of Wonder Woman is Cheetah, although there have been quite a few women who’ve used the persona. The first Cheetah appeared in 1943 in “Wonder Woman” #6, where she was just a wealthy socialite who put on a cheetah costume. But in 1987”s “Wonder Woman” #7 after the “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Cheetah was recreated as an archaeologist who went through an African ritual that allowed her to change into a half-human, half-cheetah warrior. Later on, Cheetah drank a potion that locked her into the feline persona permanently.
While Cheetah gained the superhuman speed, strength, and claws of a wild animal, she also has the body of one, too. While most cats are very clean, they still don’t smell springtime fresh. Couple that with the fact that Cheetah lives in the humid jungle and you get a supervillain that you wouldn’t want to be locked in a room with. Besides, does she even have a litter box?
12. Killer Croc
Making his first full appearance (after some teases) in “Batman” #358 in 1983, Waylon Jones was born with a rare genetic disorder that gives him the appearance of a crocodile. He grew up in a circus as a sideshow wrestler until he turned to a life of crime. With his superhuman strength and thick bulletproof skin, he rose in the ranks to become a powerful figure in the underworld of Gotham as Killer Croc. Killer Croc started out as just a human with scaly skin. Over time, he’s regressed to become more and more reptilian, until he’s become essentially a humanoid crocodile with a snout and tail.
Killer Croc isn’t the brightest of Batman’s villains, and has even resorted to cannibalism. No longer caring what others think, his hygiene also falls by the wayside, so he’s got to smell pretty ripe. There’s also the fact that Killer Croc has a tendency to make his home in the Gotham City sewers, meaning he’s got to be carrying the lingering smell of raw sewage around him whenever he goes above ground.
11. Gorilla Grodd
One of the Flash’s greatest and definitely smelliest enemies is Gorilla Grodd. The superfast hero first met the super-intelligent gorilla in “Flash” #106 (1959). Grodd was gifted with telepathic powers and a genius intellect from a crashed spaceship. Grodd uses his psychic powers and advanced technology to try to take over the hidden Gorilla City, and the world at large. He can control people’s minds, create force beams and move objects without touching them. He’s even tried to wipe out humanity multiple times.
Even though he’s very intelligent, Grodd is still a gorilla. He’s covered with fur and parasites like to live in all that hair, especially in the jungle. While we would hope Grodd would have evolved beyond some of the nastier habits of his ape brethren, he probably hasn’t. In the wild, gorillas increase their natural body odor to establish dominance, and Grodd probably cranks up the stink during fights. Grodd also likes to eat human brains, which increases his intelligence. That’s got to be some nasty breath.
In “The Amazing Spider-Man” #41 (1966), the supervillain Rhino first charged onto the comics page. Aleksei Sytsevich was just a dim-witted thug until Eastern Bloc scientists bombarded him with gamma radiation that boosted his speed and strength, and gave him a suit that made him extremely resistant to damage. He became a human Rhino. Over the years, Rhino has been a deadly enemy of both Spider-Man and the Hulk.
Originally, Rhino couldn’t remove his costume, which must have made it stink to high heaven. Imagine wearing the same clothes for days at a time. Later, he got another costume that he could remove, but it probably doesn’t smell too good, either. Rhino runs a lot, which means he sweats a lot, which means major body odor. Plus, how does he go to the bathroom in that thing? The point is, his suit is made of a special indestructible polymer, so it’s not exactly machine-washable, and we doubt that Rhino makes regular trips to the dry cleaners.
The Man-Bull is not one of Daredevil’s major enemies, but will feature high on this list. He made his debut in “Daredevil” #78 (1971). William Taurens, better known as Bull Taurus, worked for a mad scientist doing experiments on kidnapped victims. When Daredevil stopped Taurus from kidnapping a new batch of subjects, the scientist performed the experiment on Taurus instead. The mutagenic serum he was injected with turned him into a half-man, half-bull: the Man-Bull. At first, he returned to human form, but has since become Man-Bull permanently. Over time, he’s become more and more bull and less and less human.
Let’s get right down to it. Man-Bull may look human, but he’s still a bull. That means he smells like a bull. Anyone who’s been on a farm knows the odor of cows and cow manure, and Man-Bull is six hundred and fifty pounds of it. That’s a lot of body odor for one man.
Krang (also spelled Kraang) started out as a villain on the 1987 TV show, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” In his first TV appearances, he explained he was a ruthless warlord from the alternate Dimension X. For his crimes against the people, Krang was punished by being stripped of his body, reduced to just a brain and exiled. Forced to ride around in a mechanical body, Krang wreaked havoc against the Turtles with his advanced technology and huge, armored battle station, the Technodrome. Krang has been re-imagined in various forms, most recently in 2016’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.”
Krang is just plain nasty. He’s a huge brain with eyes, a mouth and tentacles. He’s covered in slime, which over time has to breed mold and bacteria. He also huddles inside a robot’s stomach all day, which isn’t exactly sanitary. It’s not even sealed up, so it’s got to smell pretty funky in there.
7. King Shark
His real name is Nanaue, but he’s better known as King Shark. Making his full debut in 1994’s “Superboy” #9, King Shark is a humanoid shark from Hawaii. There were a lot of rumors as to where he came from, including that he was a mutation or that he was a highly evolved shark. But “Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis” set the record straight, establishing him as the son of the Hawaiian shark god, the “King of all Sharks.” He’s super-strong, has sharp claws and teeth, and can survive under the crushing pressure and cold temperatures of the ocean’s depths. He’s been a member of various groups, including the Secret Society of Supervillains, Secret Six and was forced into joining the Suicide Squad.
If you thought a humanoid bull would smell bad, imagine what a humanoid shark smells like. He’s seven feet of fish, and we’ve all experienced the stench of raw fish. It would be like a fish market at high noon running at you, and the smell probably lingers long after he’s gone.
6. Fin Fang Foom
In 1961’s “Strange Tales” #89, an ancient Chinese dragon was awakened from a secret tomb under the Great Wall of China. The dragon, known as Fin Fang Foom, has been a part of the Marvel Universe ever since. It’s actually an alien who took could change shape and took on the dragon’s form, becoming one of Iron Man’s worst enemies.
We can’t say for sure what a giant dragon smells like, but we’re guessing it’s not good. We can also throw in the fact that, when he’s not terrorizing cities, Fin Fang Foom lives in an old and damp cave. The smell of mildew and bat guano must be saturating him.
Plus, since his first appearance, Foom has been seen wearing huge shorts. We doubt he wears a diaper under there, so we’re talking thousands of years of going in those things. Giant dragons don’t exactly wash laundry. Unless he wades around in the ocean every day, those shorts have gotta be ripe.
5. That Yellow Bastard
In 1996, Frank Miller wrote a six-issue follow up to his popular “Sin City” series called “That Yellow Bastard.” In the story, set six years before the original, police officer John Hartigan is tracking down a vicious rapist and child murderer. Unfortunately, the murderer is John Roark Jr., the son of Senator Roark, a powerful political figure in the city. Hartigan shot off Roark Jr.’s ear, hand, and genitals, but ended up in jail. Later, a mysterious yellow man began attacking him and his allies. It turned out the senator used experimental techniques to re-grow his son’s missing body parts. As a result, Roark Jr. has yellow skin, no hair and a rotting odor. He’s “that yellow bastard.”
Throughout the book, That Yellow Bastard is specifically described as smelling like garbage. His odor is even a plot point, where Hartigan smells him before he sees him. It’s not just sweat or skin, either. Even his blood stinks of rotten meat, so if it touched you, you’d probably never get that smell off.
4. The Joker
Batman’s greatest enemy is the criminal clown psychopath known only as the Joker. Joker’s first appearance was in 1940’s “Batman” #1, when he unleashed his psychotic crimes onto the world. Joker loves to play deadly jokes, and he’s usually the only one laughing.
While it’s debatable whether the Joker smells nice in general, there was a time when he absolutely smelled his worst. In 2011, the Joker let the Dollmaker cut off his face and nail it to the wall. The police confiscated it, and the peeled flesh didn’t fare too well in storage over the next few months, especially since various villains like Harley Quinn kept stealing it from custody.
In 2012’s “Death of the Family” storyline, the Joker stole his face back and it didn’t get any better. He took his own decomposing face and literally strapped it onto his head like a mask with hooks and wires. Throughout the story, we were treated to the sight of the Joker wearing his rotting face, while flies and maggots crawled over it. In that story, his sense of humor wasn’t the only thing that stank.
One of Batman’s oldest villains is the dapper Penguin. “Detective Comics” #58 (1941) introduced him, and he’s been a part of the rogues gallery ever since. Traditionally, the Penguin has been a very clean and noble figure who wears a suit, monocle and top hat. He even called himself the “gentleman of crime” and acted like one. In short, the classic Penguin probably smelled okay, if not downright pleasant. That all changed in the 1992 movie, “Batman Returns.”
In “Batman Returns,” the Penguin is portrayed as a circus freak born with genetic mutations that make him look like a penguin. He’s a foul individual with nasty habits like eating raw fish, and spitting green bile when he talks. But as if that weren’t enough, in many scenes he’s seen wearing nothing but disgustingly dirty long-johns that look like they haven’t been washed in decades. Besides all that, he runs around in the sewers under Gotham City. Like Killer Croc before him, having that stench follow you around is not going to mask his odor problems.
In 2003, the Mark Millar mini-series “Wanted” showed a world where supervillains have killed all the superheroes and taken over the world. One of the most brutal villains is known only as Shithead, a parody of Clayface. He’s nothing but a giant roaming pile of crap, made from the feces of 666 of the most evil men who ever lived, including psycho killers like Ed Gein, Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolf Hitler. He can change shape to imitate other people, turn soft or hard, and loves to kill. He works for the sociopath Mister Rictus, who murders anyone who crosses them with impunity.
His rank on this list is kind of self-explanatory. Imagine seven feet of walking, talking excrement. Now imagine that excrement rotting for years as it carries out its ugly crimes. Shithead can kill by drowning his victims or beating them to death. But with that much of a stench, the smell alone must hurt worse than his fists.
1. Solomon Grundy
“Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday.”
In “All-American Comics” #61 in 1944, we met Cyrus Gold, a wealthy industrialist killed and buried in the swamps near Gotham City. 50 years later, he rose up as a zombie, nicknamed “Solomon Grundy” from an old nursery rhyme. Grundy is inhumanly strong, driven by mindless rage. He doesn’t hesitate to kill anyone he meets. He’s fought superheroes like the original Green Lantern, Hourman, Doctor Fate, Batman, Superman and Swamp Thing. He can never die, and roams the Earth causing chaos and destruction wherever he goes.
He also must really and truly reek. Grundy has been dead for decades. Even though he’s partially composed of plant matter which maintains his body shape, the stench of rotting flesh coming off him must be nauseating. Plus those plants are compost in the making. As if that weren’t enough, Grundy likes to make his home in sewers and swamps, giving him the added bonuses of those scents as well. The next time you read a Grundy story, be glad they don’t have scratch-and-sniff comics.
Who do you think is the stinkiest supervillain? What other villains are probably known for their stench? Let us know in the comments!
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