The Calculator(pop culture)
The Calculator, DC Comics' master of data accumulation, debuted in Detective Comics #463 (1976) in a six-page adventure starring the Atom, “Crimes by Calculation,” by writer Bob Rozakis and artist Mike Grell. The villain's vivid uniform (designed by Grell) of purple-and-white tights with an LCD forehead visor and a chest keyboard was more than a bold fashion statement: it housed a computer that allowed its wearer to calculate crucial info, predict attacks, and deduce weaknesses, keeping the Calculator one step ahead of his opponents. In the Atom's burg of Ivy Town, the Calculator plans to pilfer a machine that stops earthquakes. By typing commands into his chestplate keyboard, he emits solid-energy objects through his visor, confounding the Tiny Titan until the Atom finally overcomes this new foe. At story's end, the crafty Calculator is already plotting to challenge another superhero. The Calculator “started with the idea of a villain who would battle the various back-up [feature] heroes in Detective,” recalled Rozakis in a 2005 interview in BACK ISSUE magazine. For the next four issues the Calculator returned in short stories starring Black Canary, the Elongated Man, and Green Arrow, culminating in issue #468's (1977) full-length tale—written by Rozakis and illustrated by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin—uniting those “back-up heroes” and the star of Detective, Batman. These popular appearances earned the Calculator the number-two position (behind the Joker) in a 1978 DC Comics supervillains poll. That momentum was ill spent, however, as the Calculator was seen sporadically over the next 25 years, his outings often relegated to skirmishes with minor-league heroes like Air Wave, Blue Beetle, and Hero Hotline. Creator Rozakis had planned to eventually reveal the identity of the man behind the LCD mask, but circumstances prohibited his doing so. Outside of the occasional walk-on or fan roast, the Calculator slipped into obscurity until he was refurbished in the DC Comics miniseries Identity Crisis (2004–2005), scripted by bestselling novelist Brad Meltzer. Retiring his flamboyant costume for an ordinary shirt and tie, the Calculator became the evil equivalent of superhero information-broker Oracle, selling secrets to criminals and supervillains for a fee. Having unmasked the Calculator, Meltzer christened him Noah Kuttler, in actuality the name of one of the author's friends. In the six-issue miniseries Villains United (2005), the Calculator joined mega-menaces Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, Talia, Black Adam, and Dr. Psycho in a sinister society dedicated to waging war against DC's crusaders … and other supervillains.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.