Posts tagged ‘Toyman’

Action 561 – Toyman’s trivia contest

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The pre-Crisis Toyman gets his last major appearance against Superman in Action 561 (Nov. 84), thanks to Kupperberg, Schaffenberger and Jensen.

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The Toyman gets released from prison, and insists that he has gone straight.  Superman has his doubts, Schott went straight once before, and that didn’t last.  The Toyman has spent millions getting air time for a game show, in which contestants answer questions about the Toyman’s career.

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Superman watches the show, and is amazed at how much the contestants know about the Toyman.

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When none of the finalists can answer the final question, about the first toy Winslow Schott built, but a man in the audience can, Superman gets very suspicious, particularly when the man is carried away by toys.

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It turns out the entire contest was a set-up for Schott to find this guy, a childhood rival, who stole his first toy.  Schott actually expects to get it back, but of course the guy threw it away years ago.

We also learn that the other contestants were just toys that Schott had built.

Toyman makes one further pre-Crisis appearance, in the pages of Blue Devil.

 

Action 500 – the life story of Superman

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Action 500 (Oct. 79) is an oversize special, which does a good job of providing a fairly comprehensive story of Superman.

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Bates, Swan and Chiaramonte choose a big public tour of a new Superman pavilion as the framing device for the tale.  The various rooms give focus to different parts of the story.

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There is also a machine at the exposition which draws out Superman’s memories, so that people can enjoy his grief as he recalls Jor-El and Lara, and his early life on Krypton. But a mystery villain is making use of the device, channeling the memories into a Superman duplicate he is creating.

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The creation of the Phantom Zone is referenced, as well as Krypto on a test rocket.

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The Kents are shown, finding the boy and raising him, both through his Superbaby phase, and later Superboy.

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The story often uses exact swipes of scenes and images from earlier stories.  The death of Pa Kent duplicates the first telling of the event.

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As does the farewell message from the people of Smallville.

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Clark Kent’s life in Metropolis is shown, getting the job from Perry White at the Daily Planet, and working with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.  Morgan Edge’s takeover is related, with Steve Lombard making an appearance.

Supergirl gets her own room in the pavilion, and a montage of her career.  Other aspects are really downplayed.  The Legion of Super-Heroes appear, in their current line-up, in the Superboy room, but are not talked about.

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Still, Lori Lemaris does make it into the triptych of his loves, along with Lois and Lana.

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The villain room is the most notable – for its absences.  Aside from Luthor and Brainiac, only the Toyman and Parasite are shown.  Brainiac has his story told in depth, as it relates to Kandor.

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The mystery villain turns out to be Lex Luthor, which is not that much of a surprise.

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And the duplicate gives himself away when he relates Luthor’s origin from Luthor’s own, very slanted, view.

As a story, this leaves something to be desired.  But as a Superman compendium, it works.

Action 432 – Two Toymen, and the Human Target ends

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Bates, Swan and Anderson bring back the Toyman, and introduce a new one, in Action 432 (Feb. 74).

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The new Toyman is not given a name, nor is shown out of his mask and costume.  Clearly younger, and thinner, than the original, he begins his crime spree in a big way, signing his destruction of an airplane.

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He uses exploding bubble gum to divert Superman, and make his escape.  Perhaps because of this, he makes me think of the Trickster, more than the Toyman.

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But Toyman is the name he chose, and Winslow Schott is none too pleased about that.  Schott has reformed.  Indeed, the character had not been seen since 1962, except for a cameo in a World’s Finest story in 1966, in which he was shown in prison.  But Schott gets out his Toyman outfit, to teach the newcomer a thing or two.

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The original confronts the replacement, and takes him down in very little time, giving him a choice.  Partnership, or death.

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So the two Toymen work together to pull off a theft.  The newbie betrays the old, but he is late in the game.  Schott had been in touch with Superman before he ever found his successor, working with him to take the new Toyman out of action.

Both versions return within the next couple of years.

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The Human Target has his last outing in Action Comics in this story, by Wein and Giordano.

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He takes the place of a reclusive oil baron,who has a taste for living young, and with a young girl.  Though Chance is suspicious, the girlfriend is faithful, and the wanna-be killer has no connection to her.

The Human Target returns in a few years, as a back-up series in the Brave and the Bold.  The ad for that run would use the panel above, which shows Chance running through the oil field while being shot at.

 

Action 85 – The Toyman returns

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While the cover of Action 85 (June 1945) goes for humour, the Superman story inside is not one of the “funny” ones, that have become so common recently.

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The Toyman returns, in this story by Don Cameron and Ed Dobrotka, pulling a series of robberies, in which he only takes items made of jade.

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The first robbery in the story is the best, as the Toyman surrounds a ship with deadly toy boats.  Lois Lane is on board, sent to do a story on the cruise, while Clark is assigned to the Toyman, and winds up scooping Clark on his own story.

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At one point the Toyman blows up a train bridge, expecting the engineer to stop the train, so he can rob it. The Toyman is shocked when the train does not stop, and upset at the idea of the passengers dying.  Superman repairs the bridge in time, but it is still notable that the Toyman is very much not a killer in these days, no matter how often he threatens Lois.

The stolen jade pieces turn out to form a map to hidden loot, which Superman retrieves and returns.

Action 64 – the Toyman debuts

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The Toyman makes his first appearance in Action 64 (Sept. 43), in a story by Don Cameron, Ed Dobrotka and George Roussos.

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Clark Kent and Lois Lane first encounter the Toyman in the park, as he hands out toys to children.  With no real motivation besides greed,he decides to turn his toy making skills to crime.  Curiously, he begins by sending a letter to Lois Lane, announcing his intent.

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The letter also gets Superman on his trail, but the Toyman’s crimes always leave bystanders in danger.  Superman is so busy taking care of them that the Toyman repeatedly gets away.  Lois Lane tracks him down, and gets captured, of course.  That gives Superman that extra impetus he apparently needed to capture the villain.

Despite appearing on the cover, I’m not sure whether Toyman was really planned to be a recurring character.  The story seems pretty basic.  He returns about six months down the road in the pages of Superman.

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