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Pummeling the Metropolis Marvel with perilous playthings, the Toyman has long been one of Superman's craftiest arch-foes. He springs into view—literally, on a flying pogo stick, hopping out of Superman's butterfingered grasp—in Action Comics #64 (1943), in a tale penned by Don Cameron and penciled by Ed Dobrotka. This “publicity- mad as well as money-mad” eccentric is actually Winslow Schott, a tubby, long-maned Gepetto who pulls heists with his sleeping gas–firing mechanical soldiers and explosive-discharging toy truck. When the Toyman endangers nosey reporter Lois Lane with remote-controlled, poison-clawed dolls, Superman zips to her aid in the nick of time and captures the cunning crook. The Toyman vows to return: “How the world will laugh when Superman is defeated by a toy!” True to his word, the Toyman returned for numerous encounters with Superman through comics' Golden Age (1938–1954), with toy-based weaponry such as flying Superman action figures that detonated on contact, acid-blasting water pistols, razorsharp pinwheels, and a jumbo jack-in-the-box that catapulted him through the air. Often assisted by flunkies, the Toyman teamed with Lex Luthor and the Prankster as “the Terrible Trio” in Superman vol. 1 #88 (1954), but their alliance fizzled. Despite the camp humor that dominated much of comics' Silver Age (1956–1969), the Toy-man was irregularly seen during that period. Filmation Studios, however, dusted him off for a trio of 1966 appearances in its The New Adventures of Superman cartoon. By the 1970s Schott had reformed, and in Action #432 (1974) Jack Nimball assumed the toymaker's guise by becoming Toyman II. The physical opposite of Schott, the sprightly Nimball was festooned in a kitschy jester's outfit and appropriated his predecessor's injurious toy gimmicks for a few skirmishes with the Man of Steel. In Superman vol. 1 #305 (1976) the original Toyman reclaimed his title, eliminating Nimball with a booby-trapped cuckoo clock. Toyman II's death didn't stop Hanna- Barbera from using him as one of the Legion of Doom in Challenge of the Super Friends (1978–1979), with Frank Welker voicing the villain. In the comics, Schott made irregular Toyman appearances, one of the most unusual being DC Comics Presents #67 (1984), in which he battled not only the Man of Steel but also the world's most munificent toymaker, Santa Claus. When all things Superman were overhauled beginning with writer/artist John Byrne's continuity-changing The Man of Steel miniseries (1986), the Toyman was also retooled into a darker, more dangerous interpretation. “Toys in the Attic” in Superman vol. 2 #13 (1988) (re)introduced Winslow P. Schott, a successful toy manufacturer driven mad after being put out of business when his company was acquired by Lex Luthor's LexCorp. As the Toyman, the vengeful Schott unsuccessfully targeted Luthor for death with a lethal toy arsenal, and in later tales allied with the criminal organization Intergang and even co-starred in a 1996 one-shot, Superman/Toyman. Schott has been transformed in the twenty-first century into one of DC Comics' creepiest menaces—a registered pedophile, his traditional fascination with children has adopted psychotic implications. A repulsive sight in shaded granny-glasses and close-cropped hair, the Toyman committed his most heinous act in Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #4 (2005): a Timothy McVeigh–like bombing that struck, among other businesses, a children's daycare. Superman vol. 2 #177 (2002) introduced a teenage genius named Hiro Okamura, a Japanese whiz kid who flirted with crime with his high-tech gadgets. In the mid-2000s Okamura, nicknamed “Toyman,” has been on the straight and narrow, under contract by Batman to design crime-fighting weapons. The Toyman was parodied as Quackerjack, a recurring foe played by Michael Bell on the Disney cartoon Darkwing Duck (1991–1995). Sherman Hemsley, best known as television's upwardly mobile dry cleaner George Jefferson, played a live-action— and light-hearted—Toyman in the “Season's Greedings” episode of ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993–1997). The WB's animated Superman series (1996–2000) included a pair of appearances of a new Toyman, radically redesigned to resemble a marionette; Bud Cort provided the cartoon villain's voice. Despite the Super-foe's appearances in comics and on television, success has escaped the Toyman in one venue that seems obvious given his modus operandi: toys. No Toyman action figures have been produced as of the mid-2000s.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.