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The Psycho-Pirate is the man who knew too much. In Showcase #56 (1965), written by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Murphy Anderson, Dr. Fate and Hourman meet a pillager in a red-andblack harlequin costume who manipulates human emotions with the Medusa Masks, prized relics he has stolen. But this Psycho-Pirate is not the emotion- master of the same name who originally fought the heroes' Justice Society of America (JSA) teammates during comics' Golden Age (1938–1954)— that villain, a mousey, mustached typesetter named Charles Halstead, was jailed by the JSA, and behind bars he blabbed the secrets of the Medusa Masks to his cellmate, wastrel Roger Hayden. Upon his release Hayden became the new Psycho-Pirate, able to bombard victims with uncontrollable outbursts by expressing an emotion on his own face. Fusing the Medusa Masks into a single faceplate, Hayden occasionally committed crimes as the Psycho-Pirate, but did not foresee the pitfalls of manipulating human feelings—he became both consumed and maddened by these experiences. The Anti-Monitor, the despot who engineered the Crisis on Infinite Earths in the 1985–1986 maxiseries of the same name, manipulated the Psycho- Pirate in the world-altering affair. After the Crisis, which merged several parallel realities into one (and streamlined DC Comics' multiple continuities into one universe), Hayden was the only Earthling who remembered the worlds as they originally were. Knowledge of these dissonant realities drove him insane—and into a straitjacket. The Psycho-Pirate has become a pawn yet again, this time of writers wishing to dabble in pre-Crisis lore in post-Crisis continuity. Grant Morrison used Hayden to distort reality and temporarily revive old DC characters in Animal Man #23 and #24 (1990), and Geoff Johns found the villain a useful tool to unravel the confusing origins of Power Girl in the miniseries JSA Classified (2005)—as well as to set into motion the events of DC's Earths-altering crossover Infinite Crisis (2005–2006). DC Direct released a Psycho-Pirate action figure in its 2005 Crisis on Infinite Earths toy line.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.