Top 16 80s Kids’ Cartoon Villains

Did you know that the voice of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles baddie Shredder was actually voiced by Uncle Phil from The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air?

No? Neither did we – and we’re still recovering! Unless someone is playing a joke on us. Damn them! But it got us thinking: Why do we care so much about these characters? What is it about the cartoon baddies that we love so much?

Aren’t we supposed to hate them? Boo them when they come on the screen like some kind of pantomime villain? No, and the reason why is because they are usually the most interesting characters in the cartoon.

So we have decided to come up with 16 of the best 80s cartoon villains. They reason we went for the 80s is because, well, that was when we were all kids. Plus it was a golden era. Or is that what everyone says?

Enjoy, and feel free to tell us which ones we’ve missed…

16. Lotor- Prince of Doom from Voltron

Would have been higher, but how can you take a villain dressed in tights seriously.

15. Miles Mayhem from M.A.S.K

The leader of Venom was the best character in the show. Which, admittedly, isn’t saying all that much.

14. Baron von Greenback from Dangermouse
Dangermouse’s slimy arch-enemy was essentially what Bond nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld would look like if he was a toad. It isn’t easy being green.

13. Darkstorm from Visionaries

Never quite understood why he turned into a giant snail. You really would not be happy with that would you? Your opposite number turns into a lion and you turn in a slimy mollusc. Not exactly a fair fight.

12. Hugo A-Go-Go from Batfink
Gets in purely because of his name.

11. Starscream from Transformers

Megatron‘s power-hungry right-hand man was possibly the most realistic characters in the show. He moaned a lot with that annoying high-pitched voice of his, always thought he would do a better job if he was in charge, and wimped out when things turned tough. Sounds like someone you know at work? Plus he transformed into a cool plane. Bonus!

10. Venger from Dungeons and Dragons

Never quite understood why he only had one horn. Where was the other one? Plus, there was one episode where Dungeon Master called him his son. Nooooooooo!

9. Doctor Claw from Inspector Gadget
With such a cool voice and the fact you never saw his face, just a claw, he really should have been higher up the list. But how could any self-respecting villain been beaten by a dog and a little girl in every episode? If we had had our way, he would have sold Gadget for scrap, boiled Brain down into glue and sold Penny into slavery. That really would have been mean.

8. Zoltar from Battle of the Planets

There is something really quite sinister about this guy. We think it’s because he is wearing lipstick and dresses like a dog.

7. Mumm-ra from Thundercats

Who knew Mummies could be so cool?

6. Gargamel from The Smurfs

We can never remember: Did he want to catch the Smurfs to turn them into gold or because he wanted to eat them? They don’t look very tasty, to be honest.

5. Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Uncle Phil??!!!! Really. We are so disappointed.

4. Cobra Commander from GI Joe
We think he had some anger issues. Not sure about the hood either.

3. Serpentor from GI Joe

Just beats Cobra Commander to the coolest character in GI Joe.

2. Megatron from Transformers

Only just pipped to the top spot by Skeletor, Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons, was a worthy adversary for Optimus Prime. Plus he turned into a cool gun.

1. Skeletor

OK, we’ll admit it: we were scared of him too. Looking back now, he’s actually quite funny.


  1. Deano04 says

    Megatron should be number 1 by a landslide. Only one to my knowledge that successfully killed his enemy. A part of my soul died that day in the movie theater.
    (The cartoon version)

  2. Shooty* says

    It’s rare for their to be an 80s cartoon I’ve not seen, and I have never even heard of Voltron. Ever. Am I missing out on something?

    As regards Zoltar, I believe that depending on whether you were a BOTP, G-Force, Science Ninja Team Gatchaman or Eagle Riders fan, he is actually sometimes also a she, or always an it. It’s a bit confusing.

  3. sickdude says

    I always wanted Gargamel to catch the Smurfs and bite their f*cking head off Ozzy-Osbourne-Style. Come on, they had it coming!

  4. The Dread Pirate Sausage! says

    Did Man-At-Arms and Skeletor promise you a threesome in exchange for that #1 position?

    ZOLTAR is #1!! He’s the man- mainly because he was a woman! Awesome!! (or off-putting!!)

    #1. Zoltar (Intergalactic Bad-ass/Supermodel of the World)

    #2. MantaRay of the Legion Of Doom – Everytime he called Superman “Superfool” I wanted to pee myself.

  5. says

    Great list. Don’t think I could’ve come up with anything better. Maybe Eric Raymond from Jem. Oh, and Mon-Starr from Silverhawks.

  6. Meh says

    Atlas from Astroboy wasn’t on there, and no body mentioned him. Motherfucker had a diamond castle in space! That is about a billion times more pimpin’ than Gargamel. And what about Ming the Merciless from Defenders of the Earth? WEAK LIST

  7. Flu-Bird says

    How about ZOLTAR i mean his boss looked like some demon of somekind and SUPENTOR cloned from some of histories most evil men and his catch phrase was THIS I COMMAND or CY-KILL from GO-BOTS a sinister robot moter cycle and STAR SCREAM was always plotting to dispose of MEGATRON and lead the DECEPTICONS. And what about HORDAK from SHE-RA he was skeletors mentor

  8. says

    I think one of the best villains of the cartoons is Leader X from Gatchaman/Battle of the Planets because he betrays his henchmen like Berg Katse/Zoltar & other sub commanders under his command & also he plans to destroy,not conquer the earth.He also turned two twins a girl & a boy into one being who is Berg Katse/Zoltar and he turned a three year old girl into a man who replaces Berg Katse/Zoltar in the second serise of Gatchaman.He is truely a nasty villain.

  9. NateinPhoenix says

    Yes, you are missing something. Voltron was the precursor for Power Rangers. Voltron was the same concept, only earlier and all of the robotic machines that comprised the larger robot were all different colored tigers instead of being different.

  10. NateinPhoenix says

    Thank you! I don’t think anyone else in the world remembers Silverhawks but it was my favorite!

  11. Flu-Bird says

    The GREAT SPIRIT was ZOLTARS boss and all we saw of him was the red fire and the two evil eyes And GARGAMEL wasnt a real wizard but a alchemest and what about KRANG the evil brain from TMNT

  12. Flu-Bird says

    TEX HEX from BRAVESTAR he acuialy used to be a normal person until this evil entity STAMPEED got to him

  13. Dan says

    How is Serpantor even on the list, let alone ahead of Cobra Commander? Serpantor wasn’t a cool villian at all. He looked ridiculous in his outfit and was nothing but a spoiled crybaby always running around yelling “This I command.” Everyone who I know who’s ever watched GI Joe agrees that the cartoon jumped the shark when Serpantor took over Cobra. Long live Cobra Commander

  14. Leo says

    Zoltar is actually a hermaphrodite, also I believe that writers of Gatchamen had stolen the idea off Tranzor Z as that villian there too is a hermaphrodite and much more noticeable then the G-force Zoltar.