"People of Earth! I am Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips! Here is your savior, cowed and broken. I have crushed him as easily as I have crushed all who have dared to oppose me throughout the Cosmos. I am power unlike any you have known: absolute, infinite, and unrelenting. You have no choice but to prepare for a long dark future as my subjects--and my slaves."
Usually lurks in an intimidating fortress in a near-uninhabitable landscape, plotting to Take Over the World (if he doesn't already rule it), with hordes of Faceless Goons (who are usually none too bright) and a fearful sinister second-in-command at his beck and call. Additional options include a Quirky Miniboss Squad, a black wardrobe with lots of leather, and command over dark magic or some powerful but vulnerable MacGuffin. He probably has a 0% Approval Rating. Will be a dangerous opponent, even in a straight fight, since Authority Equals Asskicking.
Prone to black, and generally male: hence, Dark Lord. Even more prone to being symbolically associated with death, cold, destruction, pain, and other bad things: CS Lewis' White Witch was associated with white, symbolic of snow, cold, ice, and endless winter, and his Lady of the Green Kirtle with green, symbolic of snakes and poison. When the Fisher King trope is in play, he is bound to live in a Mordor. And it usually is, because the Evil Overlord is often not even human, or no longer human, but a force of evil.
Seldom enjoys Royal Blood, just to make taking him down proper. Nebulous lords of evil tend to work best as a Sorcerous Overlord which often makes a righteous physical butt kicking all the more satisfying. May have a kid.
If he wins, he'll probably establish The Empire. In fact, The Emperor is at about the same rank or higher in tropes on authority, and a single character is likely to be both. See also Diabolical Mastermind for the step below and Galactic Conqueror, Dimension Lord, Multiversal Conqueror, God of Evil and Eldritch Abomination for the steps above.
Anime & Manga
- Many of the Big Bads from Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball GT fall into this category, including Commander Red of the Red Ribbon Army and Frieza.
- Il Palazzo from Excel Saga is a notable parody as well a deconstruction. When his dark side takes over him, he's a frighteningly capable Evil Overlord.
- Various Digimon villains, including most of the Adventure bad guys and the Digimon Kaiser.
- Bagramon tops this for conquering all of the digital world, as well as nearly conquering Earth as well.
- Emperor Beld and Wagnard from Record of Lodoss War.
- Gakuto/Gackto/Gaito (and those are just the official spellings) from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
- Sosuke Aizen from Bleach is a sociopath manipulator who betrays everyone who trusts him and doesn't hesitate to leave even his closest associates Not Quite Dead on the floor.
- Inuyasha subverts the trope. Naraku does take over a castle but that's because he wants control over the people who serve the young lord whose body he's possessed. He kills everyone in the castle soon enough and focuses on building up enemies and destroying the bonds between people at every opportunity. He has absolutely no interest in taking over the world, however. He simply wants to twist all bonds.
- Talpa from Ronin Warriors.
- Lelouch and Schneizel from Code Geass R2 are fighting for this position. Slightly subverted in that Lelouch appears to be one but pulls a Milliardo Peacecraft maneuver like in Gundam Wing by dying a villain but uniting the world, while Schneizel acts all nice when it's been indicated he's the real deal. Having a father who promoted Social Darwinism means they may need something more to overshoot him...or not.
- Judai Yuki of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX fits almost all of this trope's requirements (up to and including Spikes of Villainy) during his time as Haou, a merciless tyrant obsessed with the completion of a powerful card and with the elimination of all evil in the world—even if he must use heinous methods in order to do so. Brron, Mad King of Dark World, whom Judai displaced, counts as well.
- Kira or Light Yagami from Death Note.
- Queen Esmerelda of Dai Mahou Touge is the queen of the supposed Mary Suetopia Magical Land. She's also an massively evil being who issues slave labor for public transportation, ruthlessly dispatches with protesters and gained her position via slander and mudslinging against the previous rulers. The main character Punie is a Magical Girl Evil Overlord in training.
- Emperor Ganishka of Kushan in Berserk. He kidnaps Queen Charlotte and creates a demonic army by dropping pregnant women into an Eldritch Abomination, after which their corrupted children rip themselves out of their mothers' wombs and devour them. Playing this trope straight is probably the only reason that Berserk isn't a complete deconstruction of Heroic Fantasy.
- Great Demon King Chestra from Violinist of Hameln. You can guess this from his title, really. Though Violinist of Hameln is an action/comedy series that parodies a lot of shonen and fantasy tropes, this particular trope is played horrifyingly straight.
- Claw from Kimba the White Lion.
- Moo from Monster Rancher.
- Lord Void of Dreamkeepers. We mean, look at his name.
- Doctor Doom holds a lock on this position in the Marvel Universe.
- Superman's Lex Luthor, in some incarnations, resembles a modern Evil Overlord. However, he keeps up his Villain with Good Publicity status meticulously.
- The DCU villain Darkseid embodies virtually every aspect of this trope, on a cosmic scale. There's a reason he's the one quoted at the top of the page.
- The Marvel Universe has the interdimensional entity Dormammu, who has less of a street cred than Darkseid, but is so ridiculously more powerful that he routinely beats up various cosmic entities through his own power, by far outranks all Marvel's known rulers of hell, and is worshipped as god in thousands of magical universes. His pleasant ambition is to slaughter and usurp all higher entities, conquer all life and afterlife, and turn all of existence into an eternal torture camp dedicated to his personal glory... He's essentially Marvel's most terrifying villain when you think about it, more akin to an Eldritch Abomination really, except being even more powerful... But then you remember that his head is on fire, and that he's usually severely downscaled to let anyone even have a shot at surviving.
- Several Marvel villains fit this trope. Shuma-Gorath is an even more powerful demon than Dormammu, and all the Hel Lords those two are above are still this in their home turf, as is virtually any demon or evil Death God with their own realm. Doctor Doom qualifies for this trope, as does Loki and other arch-villains whenever they gain territory, or world domination as they often do for a time.
- A standard type of of foe for Conan the Barbarian and Red Sonja. Major evil overlords included Thulsa Doom and Kulan Gath.
- One of the more common types of foe in The Warlord. Deimos was the most dangerous and most persistant.
- Emperor Golgoth of Empire.
- The mummified, sinister King Yod of Megalex
- Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars (as opposed to his alter ego Senator/Chancellor Palpatine, a Villain with Good Publicity).
- Most other Sith Lords in the Star Wars universe with a position of command of some sort fit this trope as well, notably Darth Vader and Count Dooku (two of Palpatine's apprentices). In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, we have Darth Revan, Darth Nihilus, Darth Malak, Darth Krayt, and many, many others.
- Tim Curry's Lord of Darkness in Riddley Scott's Legend fits this to a T.
- Sauron from The Lord of the Rings. In The Silmarillion, Sauron was merely The Dragon to Morgoth, the Big Bad. Morgoth himself fits a lot of criteria of the Evil Overlord mixed with a Physical God of Evil, but supplemental material paints a picture of someone less interested in power in the here and now and more in destroying the world because it's not his creation.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Although the Evil Overlord is usually both male and associated with black (hence, Dark Lord), C. S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe presented a female associated with whiteness, the White Witch, as Narnia's evil ruler. The Magician's Nephew revealed that she had been Empress of Charn and destroyed all the life in her original world rather than lose. And in The Silver Chair, the Lady of the Green Kirtle is queen of Underland and out to conquer Narnia. Human Evil Overlords include the Tisroc of Calormen in The Horse and his Boy and Caspian's Uncle Miraz in Prince Caspian.
- Animorphs. Two words: Visser Three.
- As always, Discworld provides examples.
- The Evil Lord Harry Dread from The Last Hero parodies many tropes of the Evil Overlord: He got started with a Shed of Evil, hires guards so stupid they have trouble remembering their names, and ends up briefly allying with the Silver Horde, but then betrays them because, hey, Harry's the bad guy, it's what he does. Also, he hires his guards to be stupid so that the heroes can escape from his dungeons, and leaves chests full of armour and weapons about his Lairs because that's how the game is played. The heroes, in return, refrain from killing Harry out of hand and don't look too hard for the inevitable secret escape routes. Both he and the Silver Horde are rather unhappy about this new generation of heroes and villains who make an effort to be competent and thorough at their respective alignments. Heroes who actually capture and kill villains, villains who actually rule with an iron fist, etc.
- Lord Vetinari from the same series has all the trappings of an Evil Overlord, except that he happens to be a Reasonable Authority Figure who is Genre Savvy enough to know that evil doesn't pay. His only act of public villainy was having all mime artists tortured to death via scorpion pit. That only made him more popular.
- Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series. Even though he only really becomes any sort of Overlord in book seven, people treat him as one from the start, including his followers using the term Dark Lord. But up until he actually takes over, he's more of a terrorist/cult leader.
- Ardavan of The Assassins of Tamurin is one Evil Overlord who is not the Big Bad. Indeed, The Chessmaster had it in for him had the heroine not killed him first.
- The Shadow Lord from Emily Rodda's series Deltora Quest.
- Arawn the Death Lord of Annuvin from the Prydain Chronicles. He actually started out in the series backstory as the right-hand man to the previous Dark Lord, Queen Achren, but deposed her. It is worth noting that Arawn subverts certain aspects of this trope. Rather than being an unfathomably powerful opponent, he is portrayed as a cunning trickster who corrupts mortals through illusion and deceit. In combat, he proves to actually be quite weak, relying on his army of Nigh Invulnerable undead minions to protect him.
- Capricorn from The Inkworld Trilogy is a cookie-cutter example of this trope. He's also something of a capricious ganglord punk. Depends what you take from it.
- The Internet story Tales of Lokaria has the Black Master: a man who has lived nearly a thousand years and rules over much of the known world. Did we mention that he has hidden Mind Rape powers? His castle is constantly upgraded with the latest technology. He then purposefully leaves openings to let rebels and heroes in to kill them. He does have a 0% Approval Rating, but his Legion of Terror is very well trained and loyal. And he's kinder than the elfin Kingdom, led by Tidal, despite what people say. He also is extremely Dangerously Genre Savvy.
- His team is as follows. His Dragon, Dracon (no less!) is an ancient half-elf who is immortal and extremely powerful, and his best friend. The Dark Chick was mind-raped into submission. The Brute (the Mook Captain) is entirely loyal and very intelligent. The Mad Scientist has yet to be introduced, but can produce technology to warp reality and use magic.
- Rugaard from E. E. Knight's Age of Fire series is a partial subversion of this trope. While he's an Evil Overlord, he's a dragon, carries a good approval rating from most of his underlings, even his personal slaves Rayg, Rhea and Fourfang with him intervening to save them more than once, practices Equal Opportunity Evil, shows most of the traits we'd expect of a fantasy hero, and oh, plans to subjugate all the hominids in the world. But it's all justified, you see, because not a single free homonid he's encountered has ever been vaguely nice to him.
- The usurper Waldo in One for the Morning Glory: he conquered the kingdom of Overhill and personally murdered two infant members of the royal family when it was massacred; turned Overhill into a wasteland; and set out to conquer the next kingdom with evil magic, undead, and goblin allies.
- Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy deconstructs the idea of the Evil Overlord pretty nicely; the Dark Lord in the first novel really wasn't that bad of a guy. Sanderson plays with this one in all his works. Wyrn in Elantris is a straight example (so far as the audience can tell- his only onscreen appearance is a cameo). Susebron the God-King in Warbreaker is built up as a terrible, possibly insane Evil Overlord but is actually a very nice (and very naive) guy who is controlled by his Well-Intentioned Extremist priests and his Not So Harmless secretary.
- Belial from The Salvation War: Armageddon. Interesting subversion: He's not the guy in charge, in fact he's a nobody in Old Nick's court. So much so that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were considered highly amusing party tricks - and he's just there as the court jester. Turns out, however, that they're not quite "party tricks" after all...
- Darken Rahl and Emperor Jagang in The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. Rahl is more archetypal since his minions know he's evil but still follow him out of loyalty, while Jagang and his empire think they're right.
- Lord Foul in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. He wears black, has glowing red eyes, lives in Mordor, wants to destroy the world, is a master of The Plan and commands several armies of evil mutants. The Gadhi from the same series, however, is a Deconstruction of the trope.
- Paul Atreides of Dune Messiah is somewhat of a deconstruction/subversion of the trope. He is worshiped as a god by his Fremen legions whose jihad has spread their religion across the universe at the expense of billions of people, the once Proud Warrior Race is now rich and corrupt, and in comparison the Shaddam IV who he overthrew seems like a saint. However, none of this was Paul's intention. A group of overzealous Fremen started the religion and jihad and after 12 years it escalated to the point of Paul being a figurehead without any power to stop it, leading to the irony of being a powerful emperor who commands his subjects yet a powerless god who can't stop his worshipers. He also still manages to be the hero of the story because almost all of his enemies want to overthrow him for their own selfish purposes rather than stop the jihad. Paul was on top of this to begin with mostly because as enough of a prophet to see the big war is coming (back in the first book), he tried to somewhat limit the inevitable destruction by taking control.
- His son, Leto II, the God-Emperor, is another deconstructive example. He rules over territories from several galaxies with an iron fist, demands that his subjects worship him, commands an army of savage female fanatics, and uses his monopoly over the spice to prevent any challenge to his authority. What only he knows, however, is that he is using his reign as a means to free humanity from prescient rulers like himself and to ensure that humanity follows his "Golden Path" - the path away from extinction. His contemporaries think he is simply a power hungry despot.
- In the New Jedi Order, the absolute ruler of the Yuuzhan Vong actually has "Supreme Overlord" as his main title. It turns out he's just a mindless shell Onimi uses to act as his public face.
- Lord Sparr in The Secrets of Droon. At least until he pulls a Heel Face Turn.
- Big Brother from Nineteen Eighty-Four is very much the idea of the Evil Overlord regardless of whether there's an actual human being behind it or not, or whether or not that person is the "original" if they do exist.
- Parodied in Something M.Y.T.H. Inc., in which the common people of Possiltom think Skeeve is an example of this trope because he consorts with (friendly and likeable) demons, keeps a (goofy pet) dragon, and has (out of dire necessity) raised their taxes.
- The Shannara series is littered with them:
- Brona, an undead lord who manipulates various races at various times in his bid for Global Domination.
- The Ildatch, a sentient book of pure evil that served as The Man Behind the Man (or the sentient object behind the man) for Brona, being destroyed some three generations after him.
- The Dagda Mor and his eventual heir, Tael Riverine, who lord over an Evil Dimension of creatures sealed away long ago who merely seek freedom, though freedom entails overrunning the world with monsters.
- Completely subverted in Jacqueline Carey's duology "The Sundering" which is told from the viewpoint of the Evil Overlord. Although he suffers from chronically bad press it turns out that he and his subjects just want to be left alone and it is the god of the Elves who is trying to throw down.
- The Black Company novels by Glen Cook has a Sorcerous Overlord collection, sometimes subverting this back and forth. The main Evil Overlord of the books is an Overlady. She's the wife of the former Evil Overlord, the Dominator, but after their time together as Sealed Evil in a Can she left and made sure he's kept in. Because he's too evil, too powerful and hey, it was only a political marriage. This gets twisted in more and more ways from there.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland naturally has a whole peice about Dark Lords, including the rarity of Dark Ladies.
- Caine Soren aspires to be one, but is deposed soon into book one. In book four, he succeeds.
- Used frequently in John Carter of Mars. In the first three books alone we get several distinct flavors of this one- Tal Hajus, Matai Shang, Issus and Salensus Oll.
- Freddy Johnson as Osiris in The Tumbleweed Dossier.
Live Action TV
- The Master from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Giles becomes this in the serial novel "The Lost Slayer", after getting vamped. He's king of Sunnydale and some of the rest of southern California.
- Darken Rahl in Legend of the Seeker
- Chancellor Dongalor is a parody of this in Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire
- Doctor Who has The Master. And Davros, who has actually been called "the Dark Lord" at various points.
- Lord Zedd of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers is introduced as this. Even after his slide into has-been territory, it was still a very real, very frightening moment when he appeared in the Command Center after capturing Kimberly and forcing the Rangers to pilot his evil zords. His subsequent hand-to-hand fight with Tommy later confirmed his status in this category.
- The Gorma Emperor from Gosei Sentai Dairanger.
- Commonplace in Warhammer 40,000, with every Chaos Lord, Dark Eldar Archon and Ork warboss, and half or more of the Imperium's governors.
- Exalted boasts a wide variety of very powerful villainous types, but the closest to the Evil Overlord archetype would definitely be the Deathlords, leaders of the Abyssal Exalted and servants of the Neverborn. In a minor variation, they're not out to conquer the world so much as they want to kill everything that lives and destroy everything that's not alive, consigning all of existence to Oblivion.
- And then there are the Infernal Exalted, who must play this trope to the fullest, since it's their way of working off Torment. As per usual, this also has a Dark Is Not Evil aspect, as Acts of Villainy aren't actually inherently evil (The one drafted by Kimbery, for example, asks that you give your opponents Cruel Mercy...but doesn't actually have provisions for making it so that living is a Fate Worse Than Death).
- Innumerable examples from Dungeons & Dragons settings and fiction, including the evil gods Takhisis, Bane, and Hextor. Possibly the ultimate example from the RPG is Asmodeus, the King of Nine Hells—the game's equivalent to Satan.
- In Forgotten Realms, the god of tyranny Bane is the clearest example, and his church works with mortal overlords here and there, including Manshoon with his Black Network. The conqueror Yamun Khahan, a pastiche of Genghis Khan (not only rumours about him are quoted almost verbatim, but the other names are used as is). But is more of a subversion: a ravenous warlord bent on conquering the known world through endless war, yet turning westward was a change of course forced on him in the Thayvian campaign's dead end, and he was a Benevolent Boss adored by his people (not unlike the real-world Khan).
- Likewise Magic: The Gathering, including Volrath, Crovax, and The Man Behind the Man for both of these, Yawgmoth. Various other examples from M:TG include Baron Sengir, Lim-Dul the Necromancer, and Memnarch.
- Don't forget Nicol Bolas for Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons.
- Makuta Teridax in Bionicle, especially when he takes over the universe.
- Dr. Robotnik of Sonic the Hedgehog in some incarnations.
- Ganondorf/Ganon from The Legend of Zelda.
- The main characters in the Overlord series are archetypical Evil Overlords who wields hordes of gremlin-like creatures known as Minions, have mistress(es) and generally look like Tin Tyrants with Glowing Eyes of Doom being the only visible part of the character. The first game lets you decide just how evil the Overlord can be, either a destructive tyrant to a leader beloved by the peasants. Although at the end it turns out that you're just a patsy for the real one.
- While canonically the Overlord of the first game was apparently a Noble Demon who saved the Elves from extinction and kept Rose as his Mistress, his son in the sequel is much more evil, being either an Ax Crazy butcher or a Dominator who enslaved entire populaces to his whim. Lord Gromgard of Overlord: Dark Legend is portrayed as more an Anti-Villain who while still an Evil Overlord is a benevolent tyrant better-liked by his subjects more than his Jerkass siblings.
- Bowser from the Super Mario Bros. series fits this to a T in almost every game (sometimes even ones where you're just Go-Karting with Bowser), from ominous castles/lairs, plans for world/universe domination, and infinite hordes of largely incompetent goons.
- Sir Grodus from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door also fits. He's essentialy what Bowser would be if he weren't Played for Laughs, weren't a moron, and actually Kicked The Dog as opposed to Poking The Poodle.
- Fawful in Mario & Luigi, who goes on to call himself 'Lord Fawful' in Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story and has one overly long ego trip through the game. He plots to Take Over the World, lives in... two hijacked Evil Tower of Ominousnesses, has hoardes of... goons which have a copy of his face as their head, starts wearing dark clothing as soon as he turns into Dark Fawful and originally had a 0% Approval Rating until brainwashing the population.
- Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door also has The Shadow Queen, who gives Grodus a nasty taste of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil.
- In Heroes of Might and Magic 3, the Warlocks and Overlords of Nighon fit this trope perfectly.
- Zetta, Makai Kingdom's Badass Freakin' Overlord of the entire Netherworld...until he blew it up. Damn you, Zetta! Damn you to...oh, wait.
- Laharl, Disgaea's resident Overlord—though the first half or so of the game consists of you making the role legit (he's been asleep for two years thanks to Etna poisoning him). Other overlords in the series include Baal and Priere.
- In La Pucelle, Priere can become an Overlord if she kills too many demons in the Dark World, leading to a Nonstandard Game Over. Oddly enough, this is actually the canon ending. The remake incorporates this into the storyline, making it a requirement for the good ending.
- The titular character from the Legacy of Kain series spends a lot of time as this. He does take breaks to save the world, but he actually just wants to keep it alive so he can keep lording over it.
- Ultimately averted though, Kain wants to purify the corruption of the world and make it a vampire utopia because vampires came first and the world rightfully belongs to them. (He succeeds in getting it on the right track, but judging by blood omen 2, which results from the paradox he makes, there's a long way to go).
- In the City of Villains, Lord Recluse is king. Well more like dictator, but he has all the features- Five-Bad Band, Redshirt Army, island domains that vary between Vice City and urbanised Mordor.
- Shao Kahn in Mortal Kombat. And before him, Onaga.
- In the Warcraft series all the demon lords of The Burning Legion (Sargeras, Archimonde and Kil'jaeden) count, as well as the Lich King in World of Warcraft.
- Final Fantasy villains often fall into the Evil Overlord bin: but curiously, very seldom the actual Big Bad.
- Golbez of Final Fantasy IV before being revealed to be Brainwashed and Crazy.
- Gestahl of Final Fantasy VI is an evil overlord, but sadly also The Unfought. Kefka is also an example, and is one of the few that actually is an Evil Overlord at the end of the game when you fight him.
- Garland of Final Fantasy I is a tenuous example.
- Rufus Shinra and his father in Final Fantasy VII, since the ShinRa company essentially rules the world.
- Ultimecia of Final Fantasy VIII rules all in the future. And she is a rare female example.
- Exdeath of Final Fantasy V is another good example. He also has the distinction of being the most evil tree to ever appear in any form of media, and certainly the only one who is also the Big Bad.
- Quite possibly the best example is the Emperor from Final Fantasy II. He's a major military power throughout most of the game and when he dies, he becomes the freakin' ruler of hell. He also seeks to overthrow Chaos in Dissidia Final Fantasy. Quite possibly the only thing keeping him from being more popular is Final Fantasy II being the most overlooked game of the series.
- Borderline example, Maester Mika in Final Fantasy X, who is the Pope of a Religion of Evil. Effectively commits suicide near the end of the game.
- Jie Revorse in Star Ocean.
- The Fire Emblem series likes this trope.
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Emperor Vigarde suddenly attacks the peaceful allied kingdom of Renais. He does not actually reveal himself to the heroes, only to the player appointing new generals who are just pawns in a greater plan by The Demon King, Lyon, and Riev. In another cliche, he was in fact not the Big Bad or even in control of his actions, since he has been dead for months prior to the game's introduction and was being animated by Lyon's magic.
- Nergal in Fire Emblem 7 has this to some extent, but not as much as others like Zephiel and Alvis.
- Alvis in Fire Emblem 4 is practically a textbook example, except he actually has some motives.
- As is Zephiel in Fire Emblem 6, though he is ultimately not the Big Bad.
- King Desmond in Fire Emblem 7 can be seen as a similar way, but he does not actually try to hinder the heroes. He in fact wants his favourite child to be the heir, not Zephiel.
- Ashnard in Fire Emblem 9.
- Varesh Ossa in Guild Wars: Nightfall is a very good example, although unlike other cliched evil overlords, she is in fact control of her actions and knows fully well what she is doing.
- The Valuan Empire in Skies of Arcadia has both the Queen and her general Galcian.
- Final Fantasy Adventure/Mystic Quest and its remake Sword of Mana has an overlord as a villain, they even blatantly name him "Dark Lord". He is not actually the Big Bad, to no one's surprise after years of similar storylines.
- Shin Megami Tensei II portrays the Source of all Gods (named YVWH) as an Evil Overlord.
- Grigori Rasputin attempts to become this in Shadow Hearts: Covenant.
- Magus the Fiendlord from Chrono Trigger fits this trope rather well: he has an ominous castle, leads an army of fiends and wages war on humanity. However, his motives make him more of an Anti-Hero, who does what he has to do in order to destroy Lavos and find his sister. He can even join the player's party later in the game.
- Oda Nobunaga in any Capcom game, including the Onimusha and Sengoku Basara series (and the latter's Anime adaptation).
- In Imperium Nova, The Emperor of each galaxy is inevetibally labeled an evil overlord by his or her opponents. Whether or not the labeling is true is a matter of discussion.
- Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis presents us with a humorous, Large Ham version: The "Flayvor of Evil".
- The title character of Holy Invasion of Privacy Badman What Did I Do To Deserve This? mixes this trope with the Dude in Distress, being utterly helpless from abduction by heroes without the help of his God (the player character) and the creatures that inhabit his underground lair.
- Lord Bane from the old TBS Warlords III
- Dagoth Ur in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
- Dracula of Castlevania. Besides the obvious hints, the "Dark Lord" is his official title, and after he's killed off for good in 1999, said title is still up for grabs. Nobody's actually succeeded in taking it proper. Or wanted to, for that matter, in one case - Soma Cruz, being Drac's reincarnation, came close accidentally, and he had to fight to not turn evil. Dmitrii Blinov nearly became the Dark Lord intentionally. Nearly.
- Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie.
- Nightmare from the Soul Series fits this trope perfectly in his appearance in Soulcalibur IV.
- A subversion in Eiyuu X Maou; Villain Protagonist Felser has this ambition, and goes successfully fast-tracking on his way. The closer he gets to Total World Domination, the more it's revealed that his Hannibal Lectures are right, and that the current leaders really do deserve to be overthrown and punished.
- Dark Warlord Zanshin from Throne of Darkness. The player's lord becomes one after taking his place.
- The Devourlord from the Demon Path of Soul Nomad and The World Eaters aka you. Combines this with Omnicidal Maniac for a terrifying result.
- Caesar of of Caesar's Legion in Fallout: New Vegas rules an empire of slavers based upon The Roman Empire dedicated to restoring order to the wastelands through Rape, Pillage and Burn and enslavement. However, he's actually suprisingly intelligent and polite with a sense of humor, as well as possessing a love of political/philosophical debates when the Courier chats with him.
- Draygon in Crystalis.
- Lord Tedd in El Goonish Shive, but his self-proclaimed "voluntary servant" (it's not entirely clear what position she holds, but it's important) thinks he's a good guy under "corrupting influence".
- Order of the Stick has fun with this.
- Xykon from Order of the Stick is in many ways a parody of the Evil Overlord stereotype, though he's as genuinely evil as any other.
- General Tarquin is one of the Men behind the Dragon to the Empress of Blood. He's found his chances of survival are improved by acting as a mercenary commander for other Evil Overlord wannabes rather than sitting on the throne himself, but he still runs the show along with his Non-Human Sidekick. He's also so Affably Evil that it is approaching Draco in Leather Pants levels of sympathy among a portion of the fandom. Others, it seems, like him less with every strip.
- Lord Dragos from The Beast Legion is the perfect example of tyrannical Evil despot who rules the land with an iron fist.
- Stanley the Plaid/Stanley the Tool of Erfworld is described as an Evil Overlord by Parson because of his use of generic evil creatures and because he has united everybody else into an alliance against him. Stanley is highly offended by this, believing himself to be divinely favored. A divine artifact backs him up on this point. Or not, since croakamancer Wanda Firebaugh has one too, and apparently so does Charlie of Charlescomm.
- The Editor of Evil Overlords United.
- Sluggy Freelance:
- Lord Horribus, at least during the "That Which Redeems" arc. Oddly enough, Horribus is really only second-in-command of the demon armies. The actual Demon King spends the entire Demonic Invasion on the toilet.
- A wonderfully Crazy Awesome version is found in the "Holiday Wars" storyline where Bun-bun realises he can become one and Take Over the World by becoming the Anthropomorphic Personification of all the holidays. (Being the embodiment of Halloween gives the right "dark" flavour among what would otherwise mostly be too cheerful portfolios.)
- Baron Klaus Wulfenbach of Girl Genius is something of a subversion. For one thing, he doesn't want to be Overlord—he's there mainly to stop less reasonable mad scientists who ran rampant laying waste to everything. For another, he's not actually an evil ruler—the main rules of his empire boil down to 'don't start fights' and 'turn over all Sealed Evil in a Can for proper disposal'. However, he's ruthless in dealing with anyone (or anything) that threatens the stability of his domain, and he's willing to employ at least one homicidal psychopath (Bangladesh DuPree). Although his willingness to use DuPree is entirely based on the fact that she can be relied on to do the least pleasant jobs Klaus requires without hesitation, and keeping her around means that she's one less problem he has to deal with.
- Sparklelord in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja. Also, Ronald McDonald. Yes, the hamburger selling clown. It's more awesome than it sounds.
- Parodied in Overlord of Ravenfell.
- Dark Wings has Veslin, the mysterious leader of The Empire. Believed to be an evil dragon, but she might be anything, even a whole group of people. All we really know is that there's something powerful and intelligent driving the Veslians.
- In The Gamers Alliance, various evil overlords have appeared in the three ages, for example Arawn Losstarot and Distreyd Thanadar XII.
- The aptly-named Dark Overlords from the web fiction series Dimension Heroes.
- Whateley Universe example: supervillain Gizmatic, the King of Karedonia. Which he conquered and then enlarged.
- Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum, the Inarguable Eternal Leader of the glorious and superior Planet 3.
- The Sunflower Emperor in the Protectors of the Plot Continuum Mirror Multiverse. The Mysterious Somebody had a similar role in the prime multiverse, as the PPC's former ruler.
- Lord Doom and The Emperor hold this position in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe.
- Baron O'Brien is set up to look like one in Wormtooth Nation, but it's later subverted: he's just trying to hold the dying city together. Not that he's a nice guy, but he's far from evil. This makes since, since he was based on the character of Oberon from A Midsummer Night's Dream.
- Discord from the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic parody Pony Dot Mov destroys Ponyville and proclaims himself their god.
- The Nostalgia Chick gets called a dictator by her Sex Bot, gives Disney villains helpful advice and enjoys playing in God's domain just a bit too much.
- Diamanda Hagan actually admits to being this, having minions who she regularly orders to execute themselves.
- Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ozai's grandfather, Sozin, started the trend of Fire Lords being Evil Overlords. Then Zuko broke it when he interrupted Azula's coronation before she could continue the trend. Cue Awesome Moment of Crowning.
- Beast Wars Megatron becomes one in Beast Machines.
- Xiaolin Showdown has several. First there was Wuya. She was soon followed by Chase Young, Mala Mala Jong, the Sapphire Dragon, Hannibal Roy Bean, Robo-Jack, Panda Bubba, Gigi the killer (French) plant...
- Prince Phobos of WITCH.
- Master Cyclonis from Storm Hawks.
- Aku from Samurai Jack.
- The Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy from Dave the Barbarian.
- Shego from Kim Possible during A Sitch in Time. She even got the cool name The Supreme One.
- Pariah Dark from Danny Phantom who, despite appearing in one hour-long special, managed to take over one world and one entire dimension.
- Maximus of Atomic Betty actually calls himself "Supreme Evil Overlord Maximus I.Q.
- The Fairly OddParents: Both Crocker and Vicky have become evil overlords thanks to magic.
- Emperor Zurg, from the first two Toy Story movies and the Spin-Off series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, is a Parody of this trope.
- Trigon the Terrible from Teen Titans.
- The Big Bad of Blackstar is called the Overlord.
- Lucius Henious VII on Jimmy Two-Shoes.
- Queen Dark took over the world in Argai the Prophecy.
- Megabyte of ReBoot.
- Discord from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Over 1000 years ago, he ruled Equestria in a state of eternal chaos and suffering, with everypony reduced to being his personal playthings. Eventually, the Princesses discovered the Elements Of Harmony and rose up against him, turning him to stone and sealing him away. When he eventually escaped his prison, he took over Equestria and went right back to being this trope.
- Vortigern was a Dark Age Romano-British ruler who let the English in from Germany to fight the Scots and then fled when they decided they liked his country and wanted to take the whole thing. Interestingly, his name literally means "Overlord".
Statler: You know what I would do if I were an Evil Overlord?
- and we do mean "embodies"; he's the Anthropomorphic Personification of Tyranny