Dr Zinn in the Original Series

Dr. Zin as he appeared in the original series

Dr. Napoleon Zin was an Asian criminal mastermind[1] in the cartoon series, Jonny Quest, voiced by Vic Perrin. Zin's was the chief nemesis of the Quests; his first appearance was in the episode "Riddle of the Gold", on 16 October 1964. 


Zin made appearances not only in the original series, but in the the movies and the New Adventures of Johnny Quest and Real Adventures of Johnny Quest series that followed.


Dr. Zin in The New Adventures of Jonny Quest

Zin was identified as the arch rival of the show's adult protagonist, Benton Quest, but considered the other heroes of the show to be his adversaries as well. With yellow skin and a diabolical laugh, Zin was an example of the Yellow Peril villains common in Cold War-era fiction,[1][2] though Zin was much more toned down than many of the other Asian villains of the time (including the other Asian villains on the show). Given the series' influence from the James Bond film, Dr. No, it can be assumed that Zin was partially inspired by the film's eponymous villain, Julius No.

Original series

The only antagonist to appear in more than a single episode, Zin was featured in four episodes in the original series, though he never physically met any of the protagonists, opting instead to use henchmen (and in one case, a giant robot spider) to do his dirty work. However, he usually revealed his hand in the plot to the heroes via two-way television systems.

Zin was first seen in the episode, "Riddle of the Gold," where he hoped to use a gifted scientist to create synthetic gold indistinguishable to real gold, thus making him wealthy beyond imagination. His operation in India, however, was thwarted by Benton Quest and his posse.

Zin next appeared in his most popular episode, "The Robot Spy" where he sends a UFO containing a large robot resembling a spider as a Trojan Horse of sorts; hoping that Quest will bring the robot to his labs to study and that the robot will steal the design specs for Quest's new "para-power ray" invention. The plan runs successfully until the robot's departure, which is anything but discreet, and military units are sent against it. However, keeping Zin's machine from escaping proves difficult because the villain designed it to be extremely resistant to weapons fire and even direct hits from tank gun can barely slow it down. Dr. Quest finally has to resort to firing the ray on it, destroying it.

Zin then next appeared in the episode, "Double Danger," where he plans to steal Quest's research on a Thai drug that could be used to prolong astronauts' mental alertness while in space. Zin's men kidnap Quest's bodyguard, Race Bannon, and replace him with a double. Quest's son, Jonny as well as his adopted son, Hadji, suspect the plot and enlist Race's former girlfriend, mercenary Jade who happens to be in the area, to stop the double.

Zin's last appearance on the original series was "The Fraudulent Volcano," where he ran an operation to create an unknown weapon of mass destruction to sell to the highest bidder out of a hollow volcano. Quest and his team foiled Zin's plot and the volcano was destroyed by the local military.

The New Adventures

Zin also appeared in three episodes of The New Adventures of Jonny Quest. His first appearance was "Aliens Among Us," in which he ordered apparent aliens to steal a matter transportation device that was invented by Dr Quest, and when they failed to get it to work, Dr. Zin ordered the aliens to kidnap Jonny and Hadji to try to force Dr. Quest to help them.

Zin's next appearance on the show was in "Deadly Junket," where he kidnapped Dr. Bradshaw to work on an anti-missile system, but brought more grief upon himself after Dr. Bradshaw's daughter Jessie escaped and sought out the Quests for help.

Zin's last appearance on the show was "Skullduggery," in which he was behind a plan to use tokens of power to gain mastery over the world. But a doomsday device was activated when an ancient Druid ceremony was re-enacted.

Jonny Quest movies

Zin was also the villain in the 1993 TV-movie Jonny's Golden Quest where he finally meets the protagonists face-to-face. In the film, Zin is in failing health (and demonstrating even more flagrant symptoms of Yellow Peril Syndrome) and plans to use cloning techniques to place his brain in a clone whose body would be enhanced with Race's DNA. Jonny Quest begins to show an intense hatred for Zin after he kills Jonny's mother and plots his revenge on Zin. Towards the end of the story, Zin seemingly dies as his lair explodes around him. At the very end of the film, however, one of Zin's many clones washes up near an island and awakes inside its vat.

Zin returned again in the 1995 TV-movie Jonny Quest vs. The Cyber Insects with an army of genetically engineered bugs and an invisible defense satellite he planned to use to make himself global emperor. Zin, in this movie, seems somewhat healthier than his prior appearance in Golden Quest, no longer needing an air tank to breathe, but still having a horrible skin condition, as the clone from Jonny's Golden Quest. Zin's tyrannical ways are highlighted here, as he disposes of his minions for the smallest mistake (even getting rid of one for something that was not the henchman's fault). Zin controls Benton Quest's personal robot with a virus, and uses it to capture Quest himself, but the Quest team foil his plans and the satellite self-destructs with Zin barely escaping in his pod.

In both films, he is voiced by Jeffrey Tambor.

The Real Adventures

Zin was believed dead during the first season of The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. However, creators of the show felt the series wasn't reminiscent of the original enough and brought Zin back[1] in the second season episode "Nemesis," where Zin reveals himself as alive to Quest and holds a NASA station launching a new satellite hostage. Zin's two daughters, Anaya and Melana, returned to later episodes of 'Real Adventures' after being absent from the 'New Adventures' series;[1] they are seen to have developed a speciality in cyborg ninjas in the intervening period. In one of those episodes, "Night of the Zinja," Zin is believed to have died. However, he appears in the very next episode, "The Robot Spies," where Zin launches the ultimate plan to defeat the Quests with a whole slew of robots. In this series, Zin was voiced by Clyde Kusatsu.

Other appearances

Dr. Zin appeared in the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Bannon Custody Case" voiced by Billy West. In that episode, he built a robotic duplicate of Race Bannon in his plot to win over Jonny and Hadji from Dr. Benton Quest. Harvey Birdman found this during the trial and Dr. Zin was disguised as the stenographer all along. Thus, Dr. Zin was arrested.

Dr. Z, an homage/parody of Dr. Zin, appears in Adult Swim cartoon The Venture Bros. as the aged, former nemesis of Action Johnny (a similar homage/parody of Jonny Quest). He first appeared in the season three episode "The Buddy System" making an appearance at a "boy-adventurer" day camp as the "special guest" and, upon seeing the drugged out mess Action Johnny has become, expresses dismay and sadness. He has since appeared in the fourth season episode "Self-Medication", wherein he was accused of murdering Johnny's and other former adventurers' therapist. Dr. Z eventually explains that the men have to leave their boy-adventurer past behind them and become men. In the same episode it is implied that he is gay and his wife is his "beard".

In Toby Danger, Steven Spielberg Presents Freakazoid!'s parody of Jonny Quest, Dr. Zin is parodied as "Dr. Sin", who steals the world's largest semi-conductor.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Saturday morning fever, Timothy Burke, Kevin Burke pages 113-116
  2. The supervillain book: the evil side of comics and Hollywood, Gina Renée Misiroglu, Michael Eury, Visible Ink Press, 2006
  3. Includes content from Wikipedia

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