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Summary

  • Superman has faced bizarre and sometimes forgettable villains like the Hobby Robber and Mummer, who quickly faded into obscurity.
  • Characters like Amazing Grace and Microwave Man, while interesting, were ultimately short-lived and largely forgotten.
  • Sand Superman, Metallo, The Adversary, Titano the Super Ape, and Mother Goose are examples of strange villains Superman has encountered.

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Superman has existed for almost a hundred years, and over time, he’s gathered some absolutely fantastic villains. But the Man of Steel has also gathered some truly weird rogues over those same decades. While Superman fans will always recount Superman’s battles against Doomsday and Lex Luthor, not as many are familiar with once Superman’s arch-foe, the Hobby Robber.

While Superman has had some iconic villains, he also has a long list of completely forgettable villains, especially from the Golden and Silver Ages of comics. From a woman who commits crimes based on nursery rhymes to a man who steals people’s hobbies, Superman’s villains have changed wildly since his 1938 debut in Action Comics #1. Some of these characters were truly bizarre and quickly forgotten in history — but perhaps even these super-strange characters deserve a contemporary comeback.

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10 The Hobby Robber Hit Superman Where It Hurt

Action Comics #73 by Jerry Siegel, Sam Citron, and George Roussos

Having a hobby is great for relaxation and for refining skills, and everyone needs one. Superman’s Fortress of Solitude has a lot of interesting artifacts from around the DC Multiverse, but it’s not where Superman keeps his hobby. Superman’s hobby is actually collecting clocks, as revealed in Action Comics #73, which made him a target for the Hobby Robber: a thief who specifically targeted people’s hobbies so he could ransom them back, which proved to be surprisingly effective, as no one wanted to lose their hobby.

After nearly disrupting one of their heists, the Hobby Robber turns his attention to Clark Kent and tries to steal his prized clock collection. Thankfully, with the help of Lois Lane, Superman was able to keep his clock collection safe, and the Hobby Robber was sent to prison, where he presumably stayed, since he has since disappeared from Superman’s rogues gallery.

9 The Mummer Was an Ex-Performer Who Used Dolls of Himself

Action Comics #146 by Don C. Cameron and John Sikela

The Mummer Used An Army Of Dummies To Commit Crimes

Strangely, Mummer seems like a lesser version of the Superman villain Toyman, despite the fact that Toyman appeared seven years prior.

As revealed in Action Comics #146, the Mummer was an ex-vaudevillian performer who used increasingly small doll versions of himself to commit crimes. He also had a dummy of Superboy — then the alter ego of a young Clark Kent — that he’d use to frame Superboy for crimes or to just distract people. He once had a bank hold the Superboy dummy for him, and then had the dummy steal all the money once it was accepted into the vault.

Due to the Mummer mostly acting remotely, it was fairly difficult for Superboy to track Mummer down, but when he finally did, Mummer really didn’t put up much of a fight. Strangely, Mummer seems like a lesser version of the Superman villain Toyman, despite the fact that Toyman appeared seven years prior. This timeline likely explains why Toyman is still around and absolutely no one remembers the Mummer.

The Superboy name has been used by two other characters after Clark Kent — his clone, Conner Kent, and his biological son, Jon Kent.

8 Amazing Grace Was a Quickly-Forgotten Darkseid Crony

Superman #3 by John Byrne, Terry Austin, Tom Ziuko, and John Costanza

Amazing Grace, A Low Level Darkseid Agent

Darkseid’s family has some pretty powerful members, and his army has tons of members as well. While characters like DeSaad or G. Gordon Godfrey aren’t Darkseid’s family, they still serve him loyally and are formidable enemies. This isn’t really the case for Amazing Grace, though. Amazing Grace is the brother of G. Gordon Godfrey, and she has mind-control abilities like her brother. Amazing Grace’s role on Apokolips is to preach against Darkseid and inspire rebellion, so the resistance can be quickly put down, further breaking the hopes of the people — which is the greatest way to continue Darkseid’s tyranny.

Having 100% control of the population is good, but being able to crush the rebellion and destroy hope over and over is even better, and Darkseid uses Amazing Grace specifically for this purpose, which is why she wasn’t used much outside of that, though she still has a great deal of potential in Superman and New Gods lore.

7 Microwave Man Was a Bizarre Villain Who Defeated Superman

Action Comics #487 by Cary Bates, Curt Swan, Milt Snapinn, Gene D’Angelo and Francisco Chiaramonte

Lewis Padgett was a man who spent a great deal of his life in outer space, as explored in Action Comics #487. He was also a former super-criminal known as the Microwave Man. After being back in Metropolis from his space adventures, Lewis, for some reason, wanted to fight Superman. He begged his alien friends to return him to his youth, and they did, and he then went after Superman.

With the right kind of perspective, Microwave Man’s defeat of Superman puts him on par with the likes of Darkseid himself.

What followed was a surprisingly even fight, since, despite Superman’s absurd strength, Microwave Man was able to counter all of the Man of Steel’s moves. Eventually, Superman allowed Microwave Man to win, as he realized it was Lewis’ dying wish. With the right kind of perspective, Microwave Man’s defeat of Superman puts him on par with the likes of Darkseid himself.

6 Sand Superman Was Superman — But Made Entirely of Sand

Superman #233 by Dennis O’Neil, Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, and Ben Oda

Sand Superman Rises From The Desert

Superman is no stranger to dealing with copies of himself. Bizarro Superman is an iconic example of this infamous Superman trope, and there have been plenty of versions of Superman from the Dark Multiverse as well. But by far, the strangest Superman clone has to be Sand Superman: a version of Superman that came about due to a portal between Earth and the planet Quarrm who appears in Superman #233. Some sand ended up infused with psychic energy and took on the likeness of Superman.

This Sand Superman was originally a villain, seeking out Superman to drain his power and knowledge, but eventually tried to live up to Superman’s example — much like Bizarro and a number of other Superman clones and copies.

World’s Finest #6 by Jerry Siegel and John Sikela

One of Superman’s most iconic villains is Metallo, an android with a heart of kryptonite. This naturally makes him a major danger to Superman, which is why he’s continued showing up in comics for decades. Unfortunately, Metalo — note the change in spelling — isn’t as impressive. Metalo was a scientist who used a giant suit of armor to become the Man of Metal. Combining this suit with a serum for super strength, he tried to run Superman out of Metropolis.

Surprising no one, a suit of metal and some extra strength wasn’t enough to beat Superman, and Metalo was quickly defeated. Outside of one more appearance, the Man of Metal was never seen again. Metalo really has no place in Superman’s history, considering Metallo is a very similar idea with better execution — to the point that Metallo is a regular villain for Superman even today.

4 The Adversary Was Superman’s Next Door Neighbor — and a Supervillain

Adventures of Superman #579 by J.M. DeMatteis, Mike McKone, Mario Alquiza, Glenn Whitmore, Wildstorm FX, and Bill Oakley

Superman Faces Off Against The Adversary

The Adversary was an immensely physically powerful villain capable of knocking Superman clear into the river with a single punch. Every time the Adversary showed up, he served as a major physical threat to Superman, but eventually, the truth behind the Adversary was revealed: instead of being some ploy from Lex Luthor to kill Superman, or even some alien from space, the Adversary was actually a mental generation by Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s neighbor, Cary Richard.

Cary was a powerful meta-human with split personality disorder. While he normally appeared as a sweet old man, his Adversary persona was cruel and brutal — as Superman found out. After Superman and Lois realized the Adversary’s true identity, Cary was able to get help, and the Adversary was finally defeated.

3 Titano the Super Ape Was Superman’s Very Own King Kong

Superman #127 by Otto Binder, Wayne Boring, and Stan Kaye

Titano The Giant Ape Kidnaps Lois And Beats Up Superman

If there’s one thing that comic book fans absolutely love — especially fans of the Silver Age — it’s apes and gorillas. There are a number of DC villains based on this monkey-loving fact, such as Gorilla Grodd or the Ultra-Humanite. In fact, any number of Justice League heroes have faced off against a gorilla or two — or worked with any of DC’s monkey-based heroes.

One of the first examples of this trend was way back in Superman #127, in which Lois Lane befriended an ape named Toto, who was then sent into space and exposed to radiation. When Toto returned, he had grown gigantic due to the radiation — and he had gained kryptonite vision, becoming the massive “villain” Titano.

Fans of the DC Animated Universe will remember that Lois Lane also met Titano in the Superman: The Animated Series episode “Monkey Fun.”

2 Mother Goose Ran a Gang of Fairy Tale Criminals

Action Comics #110 by Ira Yarbrough

Superman Stops The Mother Goose Gang

While Batman is usually the one who deals with fairy tale-themed enemies, such as the villain Mad Hatter, Superman has fought similar villains. One of these villains was Mother Goose and his strange gang, who appear in Action Comics #110. Mother Goose was a criminal who dressed up like Mother Goose with the intent of robbing people who came to the theater. His gang was made up of other nursery rhyme-based characters, such as Humpty Dumpty, King Coal, and a few others. Naturally, this might have made for a great gimmick — as proved by Batman’s rogues gallery — but Superman took down Mother Goose with ease.

1 Funnyface Was One of Superman’s Earliest Villains

Superman #19 by Jerry Siegel, Ed Dobrotka, and John Sikela

Funnyface Reveals Himself To Superman

The weirdest villain Superman has ever faced is also one of his earliest: Funnyface. In 1942’s Superman #19, Superman went up against Funnyface. While Superman has become used to fighting enemies like Mr. Mxyzptlk, he originally wasn’t used to fighting reality-altering enemies. One of the first examples of this phenomenon was Funnyface, a failed comic artist who used science to bring villains from comic strips to life.

This villain was a surprising threat for Superman — until Lois Lane discovered the machine Funnyface was using and used it to bring forth heroes from the comics to help Superman. Overall, Funnyface was a very short-lived villain, but also an extremely bizarre one who certainly deserves to make a self-referential return.



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