Growing up in the eighties and early nineties, I genuinely believe that my generation and the generations before me had some of the best cartoons the world will ever see. Kids growing up today probably don’t even know what ‘Saturday morning cartoons’ are. Much of the current lineup for youngsters consists of CG, reboots of shows from years past, and straight-up nonsense. I used to spend all week looking forward to Saturday; even the commercials were amusing. As young horror fans, many of us found ourselves rooting as much for the villain as we were for the good guy. In some cases, the villain was much more debonair, interesting, and relatable than the hero, so it wasn’t all that unreasonable to cheer for them. So with that said, we've prepared a list of memorable villains from those beloved cartoons... villains we sometimes liked just as much, or even more, than the protagonists.
We ran the first installment of this piece in July. It proved popular, so we are embarking on part two! Check out part one of this feature here.
MegaTron from Transformers
MegaTron originates from the planet Cybertron. He is a pretty serious badass and is capable of shifting in to various forms – including weapons and vehicles. If you like to cheer for the bad guy, chances are that you grew up rooting for MegaTron when watching Transformers. Interestingly enough, there were reportedly complaints about the name ‘MegaTron’ being too scary for children, but the counterargument that a villain is supposed to be scary was lobbed back and the name stayed the same.
Miles Mayhem from M.A.S.K
M.A.S.K. was part of my Saturday morning routine as a lad. In revisiting the show all these years later, I can say that Miles Mayhem is still a worthy villain. As the leader of the criminal organization V.E.N.O.M., Mayhem was constantly using his array of disguises and fiendish tricks to make trouble for Matt Trakker and the M.A.S.K. team. Miles Mayhem was originally part of Matt Trakker’s M.A.S.K. squad, but he turned against Trakker and made off with half of his awesome masks, later forming his own acronymic organization.
Dick Dastardly of Wacky Races
Richard Millhouse Dastardly, Dick for short, has a cool name, a rad mustache, and a penchant for evil. Dastardly is known for his trademark colorful catchphrases. He popped up as a villain on more than one Hannah-Barbera cartoon. He first appeared in Wacky Races and then, based on his propensity for awesome, he was offered a spin-off series called Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines. Later on, Dastardly and his sidekick Muttley popped up in the 1980s Yogi’s Treasure Hunt, Fender Bender 500, and Yo, Yogi. Dastardly and Muttley have gone on to appear in various other television projects in the years since.
The Stingers from Jem and the Holograms
The Stingers are comprised of Roxy, Minx, and Riot. They moved to the states from Germany to play music and raise hell. Jem and The Holograms just wanted to perform and help orphan children. The Stingers, however, had other plans for The Holograms. What made The Stingers unique was that, unlike The Misfits, they weren’t just trying to upstage The Holograms; they also specialized in con artistry and always had a trail of hijinks in their wake.
Mumm-Ra from Thundercats
Anyone that watched Thundercats in their youth likely has fond memories of the devious Mumm-Ra. Mumm-Ra is a sworn enemy of the Thundercats and he is awesome not only because he is a curious looking mummy-like character, but also because he is a demon-priest and a sorcerer. Mumm-Ra is virtually invincible and seems to also be immortal; if Mumm-Ra is conquered in battle, he only needs to returns to his sarcophagus for regeneration. I regard him as one of the most complex and compelling characters of children’s cartoons. He has an intricate and thought-provoking back-story and is a character that I was always curious to learn more about.
The BreadMaster from The Tick
The satirical superhero franchise, The Tick went to great lengths to create something both funny and entertaining; The BreadMaster is no exception. The BreadMaster is a bizarre and unique villain but that is much of his appeal. He uses baked goods to thwart The Tick and his sidekick Arthur. He most definitely gets points for originality! Because he is awesome, The BreadMaster created his evil sidekick, Buttery Pat, out of butter, of course. The Breadmaster’s primary objective is to condemn and punish the purveyors of American baked goods for their substandard offerings.
Catwoman from Batman: The Animated Series
Catwoman doesn’t always necessarily get the recognition she deserves. Sure, she was not the primary villain on the show, but she is most certainly memorable and she has a unique set of capabilities. She climbs all over the city like it is her jungle gym and she has sharp claws that serve her criminal misconduct quite nicely. And as a completely awesome bonus, Adrienne Barbeau voiced her on the animated series!