Thursday, April 3, 2014


Humpty Dumpty

Owing to the amount of research involved in Your Humble Editor’s other blog – The Chronological Superman, documenting the first twelve years of the Man of Steel across his assorted media – AND last year’s not-unrelated Villains of Steel project, I’ve developed a fascination with the question of who were the first super-villains faced by the individual members of the Superman Family.

His greatest nightmare.
Superman’s fairly straight-forward, his first super-foe is the Ultra-Humanite … unless you have increasingly specific definitions of what constitutes a super-villain versus an evil scientist, in which case it could be anyone from Luthor to little known baddies like The Ghost, Metalo or The Night Owl. Supergirl’s first dedicated super-foe is either one of two Kandorian bottle villains, Lesla Lar or the masked Black Flame, again depending on your definition.

For Superboy – the original Superboy who debuted in 1945, anyway – it’s clear-cut, his first super-villain was Humpty Dumpty, The Hobby Robber!

Created by Bill Finger – and if we know this for no other reason, we know it because Finger loved the “Hobby Robber” concept and used it for maybe half a dozen different villains across a few different comics – Humpty Dumpty is a laughably obese obsessive-compulsive, driven to amass immense collections for his own, selfish admiration. Yep, he’s the Fandom Elemental, a creature of pure avarice who robs others of delight so as to pad his own mancave to the gills with useless shit.

Well, it's good to keep active.
Decked out in comics’ least ominous ensemble – a frill-collared pair of footie pajamas with patches representing assorted hobbies sewn willy-nilly onto it, topped with a beanie cap – the eternally grinning Humpty Dumpty rides into thievery on his rocket-powered “hobby horse”, which is a flawless three-pointer of a double-meaning, give it up for Finger.

The concept of Hobby Robbing (which never doesn’t sound a little dirty, though lord knows why) is a wonderland for Finger, who – of course – invented most of Batman’s classically thematic foes and made a career out of tea-themed criminals robbing tea museums and Frisbee-themed villains robbing the Frisbee Suger Cube company payroll and all that good stuff. Because Humpty Dumpty’s obsession is hobbies – which are often about thematic collecting in the first place – he gets to change his theme five or six times per appearance; now he’s using stamp-themed gimmicks to rob a stamp show, now he’s using exploding pennies to rob a coin show, and so on. He’s the Soup Plantation buffet of themed villains.

Surprisingly, Humpty Dumpty made a multitude of appearances during a brief period, earning him a spot as one of Superboy’s most persistent recurring foes - considering how few he had, this puts Humpty behind The Kryptonite Kid and damn near nobody else.

Also making him an effective villain is the fact that
he is Buffalo-fuckin'-Bill batshit insane is what.

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