(Image credit: DC Comics)
If your hobby is writing your own comic books or superhero screenplays, or you just enjoy making up superhero stories to act out with your kids, chances are you’ll have run out of ideas for villain names at some point.
We’re super passionate about comic books here at Quality Comix, so to help you storytellers out, we’ve created this helpful guide to show you how to create villain names for your next story!
Let’s get to it!
Step 1: Let your favourite villains inspire you!
Head to the bottom section of this article. You’ll find an ENORMOUS list of 500 existing villains - you might think it’s not worth the effort, but reading through the list will ignite your inspiration for naming your next villain!
Step 2: Step into the dark side
Reading your favourite comics/books or watching movies with devilish villains can help to fuel your idea factory. If you don’t have much time, head to YouTube or IMDb and watch some of the latest movie trailers for villain ideas.
Step 3: Every villain has a backstory
It can be difficult to come up with a brand new villain name from scratch, so one exercise we recommend is writing your villain’s origin story. There’s always some (generally horrible) reason why they went down their villainous path, so fleshing out their story can help you come up with a suitable villain name.
You could ask yourself:
Where do they come from - Earth or some other planet?
What is their special weapon or power?
What’s their trauma or defining moment?
Who is their arch nemesis?
Have they been scorned, or are they simply trying to ‘fix’ the world?
Do they have a costume or mask?
The more detailed you can be in the backstory, the easier it will be to come up with a suitably wicked name for your villain.
Step 4: Take a trip to the Animal Kingdom!
You might have lots of ideas buzzing around in your head now, but don’t stop the inspiration train there! Writers have often visited the animal kingdom to come up with great names for their evil characters. Sea creatures and insects are a great way to start your search as they frequently have the creepiest of names!
You could also check out the Latin names for animals to find something completely different, then put them together with a recognizable animal or object to make it memorable for the reader or viewer.
Check out this great list of creepy animals to get your creative juices flowing - from vampire squid to ninja lantern sharks, there’s plenty to get your razor sharp teeth into! They might even help you brainstorm ideas for physical features or dark powers for your villain!
Step 5: Mash your favourite villain names together!
You might already have a great name idea by now, but if not, you could try taking the names of some of your favourite existing villains and smashing them together to make new ones!
Here’s some examples using the handy list of villains at the bottom of the page as inspiration:
Baron Van Doom
Step 6: Name your villain’s alter ego
Sometimes our villains lead normal, everyday lives when they’re not trying to take over the world, so you’ll need to choose a name for their secret identity if they have one! Some villains are genius scientists or inventors who’ve either gone rogue or had some kind of accident that’s left them with outrageous powers, so your alter ego might be a Doctor or Professor in this case. We’ve also seen villains from other planets, like Loki or Thanos, who don’t have a secret identity - they’re happy for the world (or galaxy!) to see them as they are! So you can skip this step if that’s the type of villain you’ve chosen.
Step 7: Narrow it down to your favourite 10 names
By this point, you’re likely to have countless amazing ideas for your next villain’s name. So it’s time to narrow it down!
Write down your favourite 10 villain names. Don’t forget to say them out loud to make sure they have the same impact when spoken. Think about what you want your readers or viewers to feel when they hear or say the name of your villain.
Next, choose your favourite from your top 10 list!
Villain Name Inspiration for Step 1
Read through this list of 500 villain names to spark your creativity!
Zombies (The Walking Dead)
Marko the Manhunter
Justice League of Earth
Eson the Searcher
Mako the Shark
Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad
Khan Noonien Singh
Ace of Clubs
Yucko the Clown
Ollerus the Unmerciful
Little Red Riding Hood
One Below All
Order of the Sith Lords
Alias the Blur
Magica De Spell
The Invisible Man
Zeeba Zeeba Eata
The Quantum Mechanics
Dr. Jamison Junkenstein
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker
Le Bete Noir
Terrax the Tamer
Hulk (Marvel Zombies)
Noah Adam Mahn
War Marshal "Mad Dog" Kazan
Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Number One Fan
Obnoxio the Clown
Queen Vulpecula Huntar
Ichnar the Wraith King
Jonas (Tales From the Crypt)
Zeke Midas Wolf
Very Bad Santa
Saya (Saya no Uta)
Elders of the Universe
Hugh the Miller
Legion of Super-Villains
Order of St. Dumas
Queen of Hearts
Wade Boddington III
Ahmed (The Sky Lighter)
Queen of Fables
Unus the Untouchable
Max and Zach
Yedida "Alter" Tse'elon
Kang and Kodos
Queen of Spades
Lucia Von Bardas
Xorr the God-Jewel
Catwoman (Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders)
Lord Death Man
B3 Ultra Battle Droid
Universal Church of Truth
The Beast (Doctor Who)
And there we have it - seven fun steps to help you create a suitably scary villain name for your next story, movie, or playtime with your kids!
For more villain inspiration, check out our list of the greatest female villains from Marvel comics for an insight into their powers and origin stories.