Minor Vilain Showcase: The Tycoon of Crime

Meet Mr. Blob, the Tycoon of Crime, from Superman No. 29. But perhaps you’re not so solid on the definition of tycoon? No problem, folks, the people at DC have got you covered:

Yes, Mr. Blob is [such a big shot that he has his own little domestic scene by way of an introduction. Perhaps this father-and-son pair are on perpetual retainer and proceed him into any situation in which his title might be called into question, who knows?

As the Tycoon himself further explains:

It's not a bad system that the Tycoon has, actually. Since he doesn't have the funds necessary to do something as extravagant as buy works of art such as the Mona Lisa, he instead hires artists to make copies of them and criminals to substitute his forgeries for the real thing. It's judicious application of wealth as a super-power, really, and it all goes just fine until Clark Kent visits the museum and figures out that something fishy is going on. Suddenly Superman is rounding up Tycoon Goons left and right and the man himself is apoplectic. Which leads us to the


The Tycoon’s plan isn’t stupid, though. Hiring a conclave of criminal scientists to devise a method of killing Superman could work, with the right amount of planning. And they have to get points for thoroughness as well:

Yes, the problem is that people have been trying to kill Superman for at least five years at this point, and they’ve tried all manner of methods only to fail every time. And then afterward, at the very end of each story, this happens:

Yes, the Tycoon’s plot failed due to lack of research: a quick trip to the Daily Planet archives would have yielded an extensive list of things that have failed to kill Superman. In fact, several characters make in-story references to the events of issue No. 25, in which a villain named Hi-Jack tried to kill Superman using a house filled with traps.

Remember, folks: when putting together an evil organization don’t just blow your budget on evil scientists. Hire a couple of evil researchers and archivists as well.


Eventually, though, someone in the group realized their error:

Lacking stars to wang together, the scientists produce this contraption, based on the firm scientific principle of "You know how dogs can hear really high-pitched sounds? Well this thing uses really high-pitched colours."

It’s one of the first times that someone has attempted to use one of Superman’s strengths against him, and though I wouldn’t have called it a guaranteed win...

It all works out! And not only that, but the Tycoon doesn’t fall into any of the common traps that usually trip up villains who bring a super-hero under their control: no using Superman to grant wishes like a genie or dressing him up and making him dance, no trying to get Superman to dispose of his enemies or wreck a rival’s business or anything of the sort.

No, he [almost gets it right (after indulging in some harmless whimsy, of course). After all, if anyone is sure to be able to kill Superman, it’s Superman himself.

And hypnotized Superman looks AMAZING.


The key word, however, was “almost”. Sure, Superman should be able to off himself, but without actually knowing that he is the Man of Steel, well:

Things get a bit problematic.

Once noon rolls around and Superman isn’t dead, the conflicting orders just plain cancel each other out and the Tycoon of Crime is left with nothing but a roast chicken to the face. Still, it was a good effort, especially from someone who inspired absolutely zero confidence in me when I first saw him. Tycoon of Crime, I salute you.

Minor Villain Showcase: The Wind

It has been noted that early Green Arrow tales are basically early Batman with the bats removed. And without any good supporting cast. Plus there are arrows.

The excellent thing about this, at least from the perspective of someone who writes about comic books on the Internet, is that where Batman pitted himself against a small collection of quality villains and a stream of second-stringers, Green Arrow rated Grade B antagonists at best. Virtually everyone he ever fought was an ode to how not to commit super-crime.

Case in point: the Wind, who made his one and only appearance in World's Finest Comics No. 37.

High Point of Career:

I suppose that one could count having the balls to go up against two of the greatest archers in the world using only a high-powered fan as a pretty decent accomplishment, and it is indeed impressive that the Wind manages to stymie Green Arrow and Speedy on two separate occasions:

Impressive, yes, but even more so is that magnificent costume. Just look at it! 

An orange suit with a blue cape/cowl combo, topped with a head-mounted weather vane? By any metric this costume should be a disaster, but the Wind actually manages to pull it off. My best guess as to why this horrible conglomeration is so appealing is that old man hatchet-face sticking out from under the cowl. Evidently the wearing of ill-conceived super-villain costumes are yet another activity that you can add to the list of things that only irascible old men can hope to get away with anymore, like pinching ladies' bottoms or casual racism.

Mode of Defeat:

Twofold! First, Green Arrow and Speedy finally noticed the enormous fan that had been blowing their arrows off-course for the last two days and, instead of walking in a wide arc around the stream of air and turning off the power to the thing, built themselves a giant bow and arrow with which to shoot it. Because a crime-fighting theme isn't worth a damn if it isn't applicable to every situation.

Of course, while they were eliminating the Wind's power of Standing Near an Enormous Fan-Equipped Truck, the Wind himself was making his escape. And then there were about five more pages of horsefeathers that I can't be bothered to remember. The important part, though, is that everything culminated in a dramatic bout of fisticuffs atop an arrow-shaped tower... 

... where the Wind was almost blown to his doom by a powerful gust of wind. It was irony what got 'im in the end, guv.

Low Point of Career:

I'm going to preface this by saying that I love Golden and Silver Age comics. They're great - I'll probably read some after I finish writing this. A large part of reading such comics is accepting them for what they are - if you spend all of your time picking apart the characters and the plot according to today's standards you suck all of the joy out of the experience. 

Having said that... the Wind's plan is complete horseshit.

A man named A. Wynd, an arrow collector, the Wind is unable to acquire the penultimate piece for his collection: a set of the arrows that Green Arrow and Speedy use to fight crime. So he puts on a costume and commits a series of crimes in such a way that arrows are scattered everywhere for him to acquire afterward. AND he doesn't actually complete the thefts that he starts, so that he can't be arrested once he gets what he wants. But having jumped through such hoops to avoid possible prosecution, Wynd immediately lets slip that he is going to complete his collection by straight up stealing a historically significant arrow from the next town over.

What he doesn't do:

Remember that he sent Green Arrow a letter the month before, begging for arrows.

Recall that his name is Wynd, which coincidently sounds the same as the costumed alter-ego he assumes.

Steal that last arrow before abandoning his identity-concealing mask.

Follow Green Arrow around for a week or two, which would have allowed him to collect enough discarded arrows to build another eerie themed house.

Collect anything that is actually at all interesting. That is, anything other than arrows.

The Wind, ladies and gentlemen! His whole dang life was a low point!

 Good night!

Minor Villain Showcase: The Blaze

Today, coming to you from World's Finest No. 7, The Blaze!


High Point of Career:

As with many of the ne'er-do-wells in my Minor Villain Files, The Blaze only really had one shot at the big time and it's possible that he knew it, because the guy went all-out on his helmet in (I am guessing) an attempt to make himself memorable enough to be a recurring Green Arrow nemesis. And he should have been - look at that thing! That is not some sort of mist coming off of the top but rather a metallic flame licking up from his diabolical cranium. Together with the riveted sections up front, the faux-flame makes this the best new helmet that I've seen all year.

Mode of Defeat:

Ironically, it was the helmet that was the Blaze's undoing, and not due to some sort of accident involving a low doorway:

This illustrates what I feel to be the main reason that the Blaze has failed to return, cool look or no: sheer dumbness. Having spent ten pages fighting an expert archer who has already tried to shoot his helmet off once before, the Blaze neglects to outfit himself with a chin strap. Also, the orange jumpsuit loses all of its charm on a helmless man.

Low Point of Career:

The Blaze's plan is clever: set buildings on fire and then rob them in the confusion. However, the way that he sets the buildings on fire...

... that's real low.

So here's to the Blaze. A snappy dresser but a real jerk to birds.


Minor Villain Showcase: The Ancient Mariner

Straight from Batman No. 142, it's the Ancient Mariner!


Yes, the Ancient Mariner, the villain who dare to take on the Batman himself armed only with age and an albatross! Presenting the summary of his career:

High Point of Career:

Unquestionably, the Ancient Mariner's greatest triumph was defeating the Dynamic Duo using only a simple albatross and his gnarled, arthritic fists. Especially impressive is the fact that Batman and Robin had just taken down five or six much younger men, though none of those were equipped with enormous seabirds.

Mode of Defeat:

Betrayal and fisticuffs. It just goes to show that you should never trust an albatross. Just like my grandmother always told me, really.

Low Point of Career:

Unquestionably, the revelation that the crimes were not actually being committed by the Ancient Mariner (aka Captain Stubbs) at all, but by his landlord Mr. Travis, who took the following circumstances:

a) Knew a crazy old man with a grudge against a shipping company.

b) Had befriended said crazy old man's pet albatross.

As a sign that he should steal the man's identity and become a nautical-poem-themed sea pirate. In Gotham City. Armed only with an albatross and a harpoon.

Honestly, the guy is going to have such a hard time living this one down that I don't think that he even needs to be sent to prison - he will never be able to lift his head again.

Carry on, Captain Stubbs. Carry on.