Toyman

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Toyman

Toyman.jpg

A bespectacled, bulbous-nosed villain who "invents weird automatic toys ... to help him execute bizarre crimes" (S No. 60/3, Sep/Oct 1949: "Superman Fights the Super-Brain!"). He is "a crafty criminal with the face of a saint and an adding machine for a heart" (S No. 41/1. Jan/Feb 1947: "Playthings of Peril!"), a "cunning creator of crime-toys" (S No. 63/2, Mar/Apr 1950: "The Wind-up Toys of Peril!") who is "publicity-mad as well as money-mad" (Act No. 64, Sep 1943: "The Terrible Toyman!") and whose "tenderest spot --[is] his vanity" (S No. 63/2, Mar/Apr 1950: "The Wind-up Toys of Peril!"). Action Comics No. 64 describes him as

    a wily old man who has devoted his life to  
    the most intricate and amazing toys
    you've ever seen --and has learned so well
    to make them do his bidding that he [has
    become] a national menace! (Sep 1943:
    "The Terrible Toyman!")

The Toyman is “a kindly-seeming old man with bright, twinkling eyes” (Act No. 64, Sep 1943: “The Terrible Toyman!”), a “nimble brain” (S No. 63/2, Mar/Apr 1950: “The Wind-Up Toys of Peril!”), and shoulder-length hair which is sometimes blond (Act No. 64, Sep 1943: “The Terrible Toyman!”; S No. 32/3, Jan/Feb 1945: “Toys of Treachery!”) or red (S No.27/1, Mar/Apr 1944: “The Palace of Perilous Play!”), but is most often colored brown (S No. 44/1, Jan/Feb 1947: “Playthings of Peril!”; and others).

“In a cellar deep beneath the city streets, the Toyman has a secret workshop, tooled with the latest precision machinery. . . .“ (Act No. 64, Sep 1943: “The Terrible Toyman!”). It is here that this “whimsical villain” (S No. 32/3, Jan/Feb 1945: “Toys of Treachery!”), this bizarre “genius who never graduated from kindergarten” (S No. 47/1, Jul/Aug 1947: “The Toyman’s Castle!”), applies his “crafty genius” to transforming “objects of innocent amusement into fantastic tools of villainy” (S No. 27/1, Mar/Apr 1944: “The Palace of Perilous Play!”), “not for the amusement of children, but for the consternation of their fathers!” (Act No. 64, Sep 1943: “The Terrible Toy-man!”).

“As everyone knows,” notes Superman No. 63/2, “the incredible Toyman’s business is creating treacherous toys for cunning crimes ... grim playthings for plunder!” (Mar/Apr 1950: “The Wind-Up Toys of Peril!”).

The texts describe the Toyman as a “whimsically sinister rugged individualist of crime” (Act No. 85, Jun ‘45: “The Puzzle in Jade!”), as a “gleeful gadgeteer,” and as a “malevolent master of mechanical menace” (S No. 60/3, Sep/Oct 1949: “Superman Fights the Super-Brain!”).

In September 1943 a "queer old maker of toys" pepares to embark on a truly astonishing career in crime. "People have laughed," muses the villain aloud, "thinking me a harmless old eccentric! Little do they suspect that I have become the world's cleverest toymaker for reasons of my own! Riches and power shall be mine because of my ingenius [sic] toys! Then it will be my turn to laugh at the world! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

In the days that follow, the Toyman amd his henchmen commit two spectacular crimes, first robbing a bank by employing an army of ingenious toy soldiers to fire a barrage of sleeping gas into the bank building, then looting an armored truck of its cargo currency by using a toy armored truck, filled with high explosives, to blast the money-laden vehicle over the side of a bridge. Superman thwarts the Toyman's third robbery and apprehends his henchmen, but the villain escapes to his secret subterranean workshop and takes Lois Lane captive when she stumbles upon its location. He is about to annihilate her with his collection of radio-controlled dolls ("The only unpleasant thing about them," notes the Toyman dryly, "is that their fingers are sharpened to needle points and dipped in poison! The effect is swift, once your skin is pierced!"), when Superman arrives on the scene in the nick of time to apprehend the toyman and rescue Lois from his clutches.

"I'm sure the warden of State Prison will appreciate your peculiar talents, Toyman!" remarks Superman as he carries the villain away to prison.

"I'll stay there just long enough to think of a plan to destroy you," retorts the villain, "and then I'll be back! How the world will laugh when Superman is defeated by a toy! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!" (Act No. 64: "The Terrible Toyman!").

Indeed, “even in prison, the Toyman’s uncanny skill wins him applause- .and the freedom of the workshop,” and in March-April 1944 he executes a dramatic escape by manufacturing a rocket-powered mechanical Superman and riding it to safety over the prison wall.

Sometime later, after disguising his true identity beneath a black wig, moustache, and Vandyke beard, the Toyman announces the opening of his $1 Palace of Play, an amusement parlor for the upper classes whose extravagant versions of traditional penny-arcade games cost $1 apiece to play. In addition to the profits he earns from his games, however, the Toyman also robs and swindles his patrons, such as by stealing their wallets and jewelry when they enter his parlor’s photographic booth to have their pictures taken.

When Lois Lane pays a visit to the Toyman’s lavish dollar arcade, the villain lures her to his private workshop and imprisons her in an airtight glass cylinder ringed with deathtraps in hopes of luring Superman to his doom, but Superman survives the barrage of “high-tension electric current” and other deadly booby traps, rescues Lois Lane from the cylinder, and takes the Toyman into custody (S No. 27/1: “The Palace of Perilous Play!”).

In January-February 1945, after flying out of State Prison in a sophisticated model airplane he had ostensibly been building for the warden’s son, the Toyman sets to work on an elaborate scheme designed to enable him to recover a fortune in jewels hidden during the French Revolution by the wealthy Count du Rochette but long since believed lost. To gain entree to the homes of the three wealthy Metropolis families who now own the three objects, a vase, a coach door, and a fountain statue, in which the eighteenth-century French nobleman hid his fabulous gems, but who have no inkling whatever of the riches the objects contain, the Toyman, adopting the alias Monsieur Printemps, obtains employment as a toy designer at Metropolis’s largest toy store and soon persuades the wealthy families who own the objects he seeks to commission him to design a series of lavish, one-of-a-kind toys for their children. Gaining entree to his victims’ homes by delivering these commissioned toys in person, the Toyman uses his intricate creations to help him steal the objects he seeks, as when he uses ingeniously constructed mechanical figures of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to knock the vase containing a portion of the Count du Rochette’s treasure out an open window. Superman ultimately apprehends the Toyman, however, and returns him to prison (S No. 32/3: “Toys of Treachery!”).

By June 1945 the Toyman has escaped from prison and embarked on a series of spectacular robberies involving the theft of relatively inexpensive jade objects, including a ring, a watch charm, and a pair of cuff links. Superman is puzzled by the Toyman’s interest in these objects until he learns that the fragments of jade from which they were made once belonged to a notorious criminal, now deceased, who had inscribed on each fragment a small segment of a map to his vast hoard of stolen loot. The Toyman had learned of the map while an inmate in prison, but by the time he had escaped and set about finding the jade pieces, they had been sold to a jeweler and fashioned into inexpensive items of jewelry. The villain manages to recover several of the jade pieces and to take Lois Lane captive in hopes of forestalling interference from Superman, but the Man of Steel locates the Toyman’s hideout, rescues Lois, and takes the villain into custody (Act No. 85: “The Puzzle in Jade!”).

By Winter 1945 the Toyman has escaped from prison and set about continuing his villainous “march toward riches and power” by stealing “the finest ultra-modern scientific equipment the world has ever produced,” including “valuable experimental equipment” en route by freighter to “the International Radiological Institute.”

“Not all [Superman’s] powers can stop me,” gloats the villain, “when I have stolen the most advanced inventions of this new age and turned them to my own use!”

To facilitate his fiendish crimes, the Toyman employs radio-controlled torpedoes in the form of small-scale replicas of the conveyances he intends to rob, as when he disables a cargo plane by means of a radio-controlled torpedo shaped like an airplane. To make his escapes, the Toyman has devised a small but powerful “atomic-powered rocket ship.”

Superman’s efforts to apprehend the villain are complicated by the fact that the Toyman has stolen an ingenious scientific device which “can be tuned to the personal wave-length of any individual—and detect the presence of that individual a mile away!” Once having been “set. . . to correspond with the electrical vibrations of your body,” explains the device’s inventor to Superman shortly following its theft, “it will warn him whenever you’re within a mile of him—on land, sea or in the air!” Nevertheless, despite this handicap, Superman ultimately overtakes the Toyman’s getaway rocket and takes the villain into custody (WF No. 20: “The Toyman: Super-Scientist!”).

Toymanhop.png

In January-February 1947 the Toyman, having already escaped from prison, concocts an intricately convoluted scheme for bilking six of Metropolis’s wealthiest businessmen. After building a number of lavish, magnificent toys—such as an exact scale model of the Silver Streak, a new train recently put into operation by the Metropolis Railroad—the Toyman pays a series of calls on his unsuspecting victims and, posing as a shy philanthropist, asks the six businessmen to do him the favor of donating his lavish toys to Metropolis’s poor children for him so that he himself can remain anonymous. The businessmen, overjoyed at the prospect of the free publicity the donations will bring them, eagerly agree, even going so far as to grant the Toyman’s request that the businessmen allow the toys to be brought back to their respective business establishments in the event they require repairs so that the Toyman can make the repairs anonymously.

In due course, the toys are donated to some of Metropolis’s neediest youngsters, and, also in due course, as the Toyman had cunningly planned from the very beginning, the toys break down and are returned to the businesses that donated them so that they may undergo repairs. Unbeknownst to the six businessmen, however, each toy has been specially designed to facilitate the robbery of the business to which it has been returned: the model of the Silver Streak, for example, is filled with explosives to enable the Toyman to blast open the railroad company’s safe.

Although, for a time, the Toyman’s spectacular crime spree continues unabated, Superman ultimateiy apprehends the villain and, with the aid of building materials donated by the Toyman’s six intended victims, constructs new housing for the people of one of Metropolis’s most impoverished slums (S No.44: “Playthings of Peril!”).

In July-August 1947, while serving a term in prison, the Toyman talks the warden into letting him organize a prison toy shop, where he soon begins manufacturing elaborate cops-and-robbers games— utilizing complex mechanical dolls—for sale in a Metropolis store featuring prison-made goods. Ostensibly, the games, in which tiny mechanical criminals are apprehended by tiny mechanical police, are designed to demonstrate the futility of crime, but in reality they are elaborate crime blueprints designed to instruct the Toyman’s confederates outside the prison in the foolproof commission of spectacular crimes.

When Superman finally captures the villain’s cohorts, the Toyman breaks out of prison by blasting a hole in the wall with an explosives-filled mechanical doll. At large once again, the Toyman embarks on an elaborate fortune-telling swindle which involves accumulating the signatures of prominent persons, ostensibly so that the Toyman’s electronic swami can tell their fortunes, but in reality so that the villain can duplicate the collected signatures and use them for forgery.

Although the Toyman takes the precaution of kidnapping Lois Lane to prevent interference from Superman, the Man of Steel nevertheless apprehends the villain and frees Lois from her place of captivity, a fantastic castle hideaway filled with ingenious toys and marvelous mechanical devices (S No. 47/1: “The Toyman’s Castle!”).

In November-December 1947, while en route to State Prison in a prison van, the Toyman is rescued from police custody by Arnold Langs, an unscrupulous jeweler who plans to frame the Toyman for the grisiy murders of four men, all of them potential witnesses to the fact that, sometime in the recent past, Langs swindled an insurance company out of thousands of dollars by pocketing a string of his own priceless pearls and then collecting the insurance.

Since Langs and his four intended victims, all of whom had seen the jeweler with the pilfered pearls in his possession after Langs had reported them stolen, were also witnesses against the Toyman at one of his recent trials, Langs plans to murder them all while making it appear that the Toyman killed them in retaliation for their testimony. After faking his own death in a manner calculated to implicate the Toyman, Langs brings about the death of two of his intended victims—one by means of a hand buzzer containing a poisoned needle, the other with a water pistol that shoots poison gas—and is prevented from killing the remaining two in similarly ghastly fashion only by the timely intervention of Superman.

For a time it appears to everyone concerned that the Toyman has embarked on a vengeful rampage, but Superman ultimately solves the complex riddle, apprehends Arnold Langs, and recaptures the Toyman and returns him to prison (S No. 49 :“Toyman and the Gadgets of Greed!”).

In September-October 1949 the Toyrnan and his underworld cohorts commit a pair of spectacular crimes—the looting of a jewelry store followed by the theft of an entire bank building—with the aid of an amazing “super-brain,” an incredible machine invented by the Toyman, which, in the villain’s words, “thinks’ automatically and answers in moments a problem that might puzzle us for days!”

“Even as the Toyman speaks into the [machine’s] microphone,” notes the text, “the electrical impulses [of his voice] operate machinery” beneath the machine’s glass dome “which molds plastic miniatures” of all the people, places, and objects involved in the commission of a projected crime. “Miraculously, the amazing toy creates a model replica of all the factors in the crime drama being planned,” acting out the crime-to-be in miniature, in advance, before the very eyes of the criminals, showing them how to execute every detail of the crime to perfection.

Even the remarkable super-brain, however, cannot hope to cope indefinitely with the super-ingenuity of Superman, and when the criminals attempt to carry out their third major robbery, the Man of Steel is on the scene to apprehend the Toyman’s entire army of underworld cohorts. The Toyman does not participate in this last crime himself, but Superman apprehends him soon afterward at his secret hideout (S No. 60/3: “Superman Fights the Super-Brain!”).

In March-April 1950, after obtaining permission from the warden to build a bronze statue of Superman atop the prison roof as an inspiration to his fellow convicts to mend their evil ways, the Toyman constructs an ingenious Superman statue whose arm is actually a steam-powered catapult and then catapults himself to freedom beyond the prison wall. At large once again, and determined to “stage crimes with toys that will make Superman look ridiculous before the whole world,” the Toyman launches the Superman Toy-O-Mat, a unique toy emporium where skillfully crafted wind-up Superman toys are dispensed from coin-operated vending machines.

Among the toys on sale at the Superman Toy-OMat are a Superman doll that leaps over a model of the Daily Planet Building, and a second Superman doll that crashes through a model of the outer wall of the Strongbilt Construction Company. When, as the villain has anticipated, the business manager of the Daily Planet and the president of the Strongbilt Construction Company visit the Superman Toy-OMat and buy these toys to display in the offices of their respective companies, the Toyman sees to it that they receive special versions of the toys which have been filled with explosives and otherwise equipped to enable the Toyman to rob the two firms.

At a prearranged time, the Superman doll in the Daily Planet’s toy hurls itself through the glass window of the newspaper’s cashier’s cage, snatches the company payroll, and flies out the window with it to the waiting Toyman. And, that night, the Superman doll in the Strongbilt Construction Company toy blows open the firm’s vault with a charge of high explosive, enabling the Toyman to steal the priceless diamond collection stored inside. Nevertheless, not long afterward, Superman trails the Toyman to his secret hideout, rescues Lois Lane from his clutches, and takes the villain into custody (S No. 63/2: “The Wind-Up Toys of Peril!”).

In March 1954 the Toyman forms a temporary alliance with Lex Luthor and the Prankster in an attempt to commit a series of spectacular crimes (S No. 88/3: “The Terrible Trio!”) (TGSB).

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