In case you haven’t noticed over the last four years, 80s cartoon villains are kinda my thing. Soundwave and Beast Man were both in my wedding (not true), and Destro is my favorite G.I. Joe character of all time (true).
One of the greatest things about 80s cartoon villains was their visual design. By and large they were designed to invoke fear and intimidation into our youthful hearts, and sometimes it worked. Sometimes it was overkill.
Some 80s cartoon villains like Shredder got into weekly physical altercations with their enemies. These baddies needed to be in peak physical shape to have any hope of besting their opponents in combat. Some others had absolutely no business being jacked. Here are the 10 most unnecessarily jacked 80s cartoon villains:
Destro – G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Besides fitness club franchisees and smoothie shop owners, Destro was the most ripped business owner you’d ever see. As proprietor of M.A.R.S. Industries, I’m sure it helps your clout as a weapons dealer when you’re somewhat physically imposing. Destro was stupid jacked though.
Based on his wardrobe, it appeared Destro let his pecs do the talking in all critical business meetings. His arms were absolutely bursting out of his black sleeves, and those tight pants made it painfully clear that he never skipped leg day at the secret Cobra fitness center. The Baroness (the Eastern European hellcat that she was) would probably disagree, but for the purposes of his role as a Cobra supplier, Destro was way over-built.
Mon*Star – Silverhawks
The big bad of the Silverhawks galaxy, Mon*Star ruled his Limbo minions with fear and a mutual desire for power and chaos. One thing he rarely did was square off one-on-one (or one-on-five for that matter) with ANY of the Silverhawks.
Fans of the show never got that climactic Optimus vs. Megatron/mano a mano/”one shall stand, one shall fall”/all the marbles type one on one battle between Quicksilver and Mon*Star. He may have spent his time in space prison working on his physique, but he put it to no use once he was free.
Cliff Dagger – M.A.S.K.
Cliff Dagger was the token strongman on Miles Mayhem’s V.E.N.O.M. squad, but perhaps more than any other evil team in all of 80s cartoons, they had no need for someone with muscle.
I do dig the belt that looks like a fanny pack though
The gimmick that set M.A.S.K. apart from every other 80s cartoon (besides Transformers and GoBots maybe) was that the vehicles did all the work. There were rarely any hand-to-hand combat scenes or human battle situations. Everything was car vs. motorcycle, semi vs. helicopter, segue vs. affordable stair lift (that was the later seasons, when Miles got up there in age). Cliff Dagger’s Jackhammer and his Torch mask did all of the heavy lifting- besides aesthetics, there was no need for him to be wicked ripped.
Mumm-Ra – Thundercats
Mumm-Ra was the best (or worst) of both worlds when it came to the classic 80s cartoon villain. As the living embodiment of evil, I guess it doesn’t much matter how muscular your physical form is, which is why Mumm-Ra was still legitimately terrifying in his decayed mummy form.
Mumm-Ra also had a super-jacked side. I don’t remember seeing him do much with it though, it’s not like he ever single-handedly laid waste to the Thundercats with his Ultimate Warrior-sized biceps. Hell, he never even smacked Wilykit and Wilykat around (missed opportunities).
I always wondered why he didn’t just stay this way. Did it wear off eventually like the Hulk?
Dr. Mindbender – G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
Just because Dr. Mindbender was a scientist and rarely saw physical combat didn’t mean he was going to let himself go. Mindbender was one of the most jacked physical specimens in all of the G.I. Joe universe.
There’s no better motivation to hit the gym than a shirtless look at the workplace, but whether his uniform was his own choice or Cobra Commander-mandated, Dr. Mindbender was still one of the most unnecessarily jacked 80s cartooon villains.
Lex Luthor – Challenge of the Superfriends
Brainiac, The Riddler, Sinestro, Toyman, Captain Cold- all slender. Their respective havocs were wrought via their brains, weapons, sheer insanity. Lex Luthor was different though. For some reason, Lex was as buff as Bizarro.
Lex Luthor rarely got into fisticuffs with his opposition, because quite frankly, he knew he couldn’t win that way. But for some reason, this version of Lex had pecs for days. Seriously, if you fantasy cast Lex Luthor in a live action film purely based on the image above, you couldn’t go wrong with The Rock. Bald and jacked. When describing Lex Luthor only 50% of those adjectives should apply.
Skeletor – He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Sure, all of the Masters of the Universe characters were pretty much jacked, but Skeletor had some serious show muscles. Skeletor was straight up yolked, but he never once showed any form of strength or physical ability. I wasn’t exactly expecting him to power slam He-Man through the front door of Castle Grayskull, but any justification of his insane physique would have been nice.
For all of his failures as a would-be tyrant and his lack of physical inclination, Skeletor might has well have been built more like pre-transformation Mumm-ra, or post-Speed Keanu Reeves.