6 Real Criminals (Who Put the Captain Planet Villains to Shame)

  • June 16, 2010
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Duke Nukem

Modus operandi:

After a vague accident rendered him legally distinct from a Marvel Comics character, Duke decided to go around irradiating stuff and convincing people solar and wind energy is totally gay. In his spare time he likes creating holes in the ozone that are probably already there, acquiring radioactive materials for his varying degrees of douchbagginess and engaging in legal battles with 3D Realms.

duke nukem01

The dude abides.

Enter the Challenger:

William J.A. Bailey, who made it his life’s mission to promote the curative properties of ingesting radium, a highly radioactive metal.

duke nukem02

The face that launched a thousand tumors.

What makes him more evil:

Thankfully, Bailey lacked the tough, scaly exoskeleton and ability to shoot radioactivity from his hands that Nukem processed. Still, Willy made up for his soft, vulnerable flesh by successfully destroying the soft, vulnerable bodies of the unsuspecting general public. After failing out of Harvard medical school he went ahead and just called himself a doctor anyway. Then, following an arrest for selling stolen cars in 1915, he straightened up and began selling radioactive water as medicine in 1918.

The good “doctor” patented and sold Radithor, a delightful combination of one microcurie of highly radioactive radium and water. Radium (and largely radiation) was discovered in 1898 by the Curie’s and was poorly understood. He marketed his drug as a cure for everything that people didn’t understand well, such as diabetes, migraines and anemia. He also went after the hypochondriac market segment, toting the vague ability to restore pep, vigor and as “a cure for the living dead” (a quaint reference to sexual inadequacy). Another of his products advertised “renewed happiness and youthful thrill into the lives of married peoples whose attractions to each other had weakened”, proving people will do pretty much anything for the promise of getting laid.

duke nukem03

If your radioactive boner juice isn’t triple distilled, it might not be safe!

Bailey sold hundreds of thousands of bottles of Radithor as well as other radioactive “cures”. His empire came crashing down in 1932, thanks to an industrialist and ladies man by the name of Eben Byers. For years Byers had enthusiastically taken Radithor, drinking over 1400 bottles and recommending it so highly he stopped just short of injecting people on the street. Unfortunately for him, in the body radium is treated like calcium and ends up in the bones. Even after stopping his “treatments” in 1930, Byers quickly (and literally) deteriorated. His radioactive bones rotted away, causing him to lose most of his upper and lower jaw as well as parts of his skull. When he died, 36 mg of radium were found in his body (radium is usually lethal at 10 mg).

duke nukem04

Not pictured: Agonizing pain, death.

Final Justice:

Bailey was forced to close shop, and like a true villain escaped any form of punishment. Having made a small fortune from his horror drink, he went on to retire comfortably. Eventually he died of bladder cancer in his 60’s, comforted by the sorrow he had brought on mankind. When both Bailey and Byers’ bodies were exhumed 30 years after Bailey’s death, they were both found to be radioactive.


Verminous Skumm

Modus operandi:

A huge, creepy rat who likes to spread crime, disease and “poor sanitation” and somehow turning out to be the most legitimate villain in the series. He's come close to causing a nuclear holocaust, turned people into rat monsters, invented new narcotics and teased kids about having AIDS (really).

verminous skumm01

Good thing he wears a shawl or he wouldn’t be weird at all.

Enter the Challenger:

Griselda Blanco, who built an empire and a city on nothing but cocaine money and ruthless insanity.

verminous skumm02

Still, her cocaine and chicken pot pie is to die for.

What makes her more evil:

She got her start early, kidnapping and later killing a child at age 11 in her native Columbia. Leaving home, she supported herself smuggling drugs, prostitution and the ol’ “get married, get divorced, kill your ex, get remarried” scheme. With her second husband, she got into the cocaine business and she moved to New York where they made millions in a few years before fleeing indictment.

After a layover in Columbia where she shot her hubby in the head, making her the de facto head of her criminal organization, she moved to Miami in the late 1970’s. Blanco pioneered the city’s shift from marijuana to cocaine and ruthlessly expanded her operations. She is believed to have ordered between two hundred and two hundred and fifty murders, with a standing order of “no survivors and no witnesses, not even women and children”.

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Better shoot the puppy too. He looks like a snitch.

In her prime, she ran so much they called her the Godmother. She actually named her youngest son Michael Corleone. She was living the high life and amassed a fortune of over half a billion dollars. This influx of drug money resulted in huge economic growth for Miami, with the downside of having drug lords owning a stake in virtually everything. The business of smuggling was huge, and the resulting epidemic of crime became of the stuff of legend. When the authorities finally cracked down on the drug lords in the late 1980’s, there was a wave of economic failure from businesses propped up by dirty money.

Final Justice:

Blanco was arrested on distribution charges after fleeing to California. While on the inside, she continued to run her empire, avenge the killings of her three eldest sons and orchestrate an attempted kidnapping on JFK Jr, putting her in the “kidnap a president’s child” level of supervillainy. Even with the crackdown on her empire, she was able to avoid any additional charges and was released in 2004, deported to Columbia, where she still lives, stomping on kittens and knitting itchy sweaters (maybe).


Dr. Blight

Modus operandi:

The token mad scientist/one with boobs, Blight shows us being a horrible person who makes terrifying scientific advances with no practical application is wrong. She's been known to steal frogs and hurt puppies, lust after a computer program, sell other villains technology offscreen for plot purposes, and invent a more toxic car fuel, just because she can.

dr blight01

Responsible for more than one Planeteer wet dream.

Enter the Challenger:

Thomas Midgley, an American inventor who actually did develop a more toxic car fuel. And almost destroyed the ozone layer. Seriously.

dr blight02

Look over there! A species I have not yet put at risk!

What makes him more evil:

It has been said that Midgley had more of an impact on the atmosphere than any other person in Earth’s history. This is, like most grandiose claims, a vast understatement. Factoring in the negative effects on agriculture and human health and contributions to global warming, one might argue Midgley has had more of a negative impact on the entire earth than any single organism in history.

dr blight03

Yeah, he wasn’t having any of that.

An engineer turned chemist, he came up with tetraethel lead (TEL) gasoline while working at GM as a way to eliminate engine knock and boost efficiency. This increase in engine efficiency was somewhat offset by some environmental and human concerns, namely widespread lead contamination in the environment and life shattering medical problems for workers making the additive. Dozens of workers at the plants died and many others were plagued with poisoning, madness and hallucinations. Midgley himself was forced to take large breaks from work due to accumulated lead poisoning, the second of which was caused by a publicity stunt where he breathed in and washed his hands with TEL to mislead the press.

dr blight04

Maybe he needs some Radithor.

Not content with poisoning land and sea with lead, Midgley unintentionally completed his trifecta of evil with the invention of Freon, the first chloroflurocarbon (CFC), as a refrigerant in 1930. Freon and other CFC’s have the ability when released into the atmosphere to diffuse upward and break down the ozone that filters out much of the dangerous UV light from the sun. Unlike his leaded gasoline, the negative consequence of Freon and other CFC’s were not known to Midgley and their ozone destroying powers were not discovered for another four decades, enough time to tear holes in the ozone layer bigger than Antarctica.

dr blight05

This is why you have to wear SPF 50 to the beach. Great.

Final Justice:

In his day, Midgley was well respected and received a number of awards. Thankfully the earth, fed up with his antics and fearing Midgley’s next invention would be the world’s last, struck him with polio. Ever the inventor, he developed a contraption to get in and out of bed using string and pullies. His final crime against nature backfired a year later however, when he got tangled in the ropes and died of irony (and also strangulation).

Want keep up with Kevin Mac as he fights for the earth, justice and single malt whiskey? Follow him on Twitter.

Written by Kevin Mack – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com Image Sources

Image sources:

  • - Hoggish Greedly : http://www.turner.com/planet/graphics/hoggish.gif http://www.viceland.com/blogs/en/files/2009/11/phobal.jpg http://thefagcasanova.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/captain_planet_costume1.jpg
  • - Looten Plunder: http://www.turner.com/planet/graphics/looten.gif http://image3.examiner.com/images/blog/wysiwyg/image/lee-iacocca.jpg http://www.cargurus.com/images/2008/04/12/15/21/pic-3373.jpeg http://cache3.asset-cache.net/xc/52804672.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF878921F7C3FC3F69D929FD44842E9990DFE1834CA46FD7645348A53E1310FCDDCD178DF06BF04B24B4128C
  • - Sly Sludge: http://www.turner.com/planet/graphics/sly.gif http://www.irregulartimes.com/feron.gif http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Travel/Pix/pictures/2006/12/11/skier460.jpg http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c8/Denis_L._Feron_WANTED.png
  • - Duke Nukem : http://www.turner.com/planet/graphics/duke.gif http://atomicsarchives.chez.com/photo_4_4_00/2_2.gif http://atomicsarchives.chez.com/photo_4_4_00/2.gif
  • - Verminous Skumm : http://www.turner.com/planet/graphics/vskumm.gif http://www.corpse.org/archives/issue_4/images/Griselda.jpg http://cutebabyboy.com/pictures/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/baby-boy-and-puppy.jpg
  • - Dr. Blight : http://www.turner.com/planet/graphics/blight.gif http://www.gustavlarsson.se/text/blog/081124/image.jpeg.jpg http://www.traveling-images.com/text_documents/patagonia/travel_log/torres-vues.jpg http://ginolosthismind.com/Assets/images/straight_jacket.jpg http://www.benbest.com/cryonics/freon.gif


  • Feron http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_L._Feron http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemetco http://www.epa.gov/fugitives/posters/feron-08-wanted-poster.pdf http://www.epa.gov/fugitives/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dioxin
  • Iacocca http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0628-07.htm,+petition,+light+truck,+emissions&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_truck http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Iacocca#Career_at_Chrysler http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Pinto#Safety_problems_and_scandal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minivan#History http://www.wheels.ca/article/477547: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2004/08/29/AR2005032405083.html http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/rollover/nixon/ http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20104371,00.html
  • Willaim Bailey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radithor http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,743525,00.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_J._A._Bailey http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Joseph_Muller#Personal_life
  • Midgley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozone_depletion http://www.invent.org/hall_of_fame/193.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Midgley
  • Blanco http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griselda_Blanco http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocaine_Cowboys http://www.charlescosby.com/rapsheet/pdf/Maxim.pdf http://www.askmen.com/top_10/entertainment_250/267_top_10_list.html
  • Anderson http://knowmore.org/wiki/index.php?title=The_Dow_Chemical_Company#Bhopal_Disaster http://socyberty.com/history/man-made-environmental-disasters/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Anderson_(chairman) http://www.greenpeace.org/international/news/justice-for-warren-anderson