Ringmaster (comics)

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The Ringmaster
Ringmaster.png
The Ringmaster.
Art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Incredible Hulk #3 (September 1962)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Maynard Tiboldt
Team affiliations Circus of Crime
Notable aliases Circus Master of Ceremonies; Martin Thraller
Abilities Hypnotic mind control via device on his hat
Formerly:
Reality manipulation via cosmic powered ring

The Ringmaster is a fictional character, a supervillain in Marvel Comics. The best known Ringmaster in the Marvel Universe is Maynard Tiboldt who debuted in Hulk #3.

Publication history[edit]

A villain known as the Ringmaster of Death appeared in Captain America Comics #5 (Aug 1941). This character also appeared much later in flashback in Captain America #112 (April 1969).

The second Ringmaster is Maynard Tiboldt. Since his first appearance in Hulk #3, he has turned up as a somewhat pathetic and luckless opponent for virtually every hero in the Marvel universe, ranging from Spider-Man to Howard the Duck. He is a tall thin man who sports a Fu Manchu moustache and dresses in a green variation on the traditional circus ringmaster costume. Having acquired a hypnosis-wave generator originally created by the Red Skull and mounted said device in his costume's top hat, the Ringmaster's usual scheme is to lead the self-titled "Circus of Crime" into a community and rob the local citizenry as they attend his circus. Nearly every appearance of the Ringmaster ends with him being thrown back into jail, having been defeated by his current foe.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Ringmaster I[edit]

The Ringmaster is a Nazi agent, whose circus was a cover for murdering US government officials.[1] Following the introduction of Maynard Tiboldt, this character was revealed to be the later Ringmaster's father Fritz Tiboldt.[volume & issue needed]

Ringmaster II[edit]

Maynard Tiboldt was born in Vienna, Austria to the original Ringmaster of Death Fritz Tiboldt, and his wife Lola. He inherited the Circus when his parents were murdered.

The Ringmaster is a powerless man with a unique hat which is designed to hypnotize people, thus allowing him to take complete control over their actions. He originally traveled across America as the manager, director, and ringmaster of his small traveling circus, which was actually a front for his "Circus of Crime"; The Human Cannonball, The Clown, Bruto the Strongman, The Great Gambonnos (acrobats and gymnasts) and Princess Python, the Snake Charmer. During their show, he would hypnotize the crowd and send his lackeys out to steal any valuables on the victim's person. Once, while engaging in this activity, he managed to enslave the Hulk when he was under the control of Rick Jones who was attending a performance. However the Hulk captured him when he tried to escape in a chariot.[2] Bringing this act to New York, he fought Spider-Man and Daredevil, whose blindness prevents Ringmaster from hypnotizing him, for the first time, though he was briefly able to place Spider-Man under his control.[3] After this failure, he briefly abandoned the Circus of Crime, who became the Masters of Menace (a name Princess Python thought up) led by the Clown. He came back to steal their loot after their capture by Spider-Man, but was captured by the police instead along with the rest.[4]

The Ringmaster next attempted to enlist recent Avengers inductees Hawkeye, Quicksilver, and Scarlet Witch as circus performers, but instead wound up defeated by them, though he claimed they tried to rob him making them wanted by the Police, though it is later claimed the DA got the truth out of Princess Python.[5] He later schemed to blow up Avengers Mansion during the wedding of Yellowjacket and the Wasp and defeated Jarvis, but fought and was defeated by the Avengers.[6] He later enlisted a mind-controlled Ulik as an accomplice, but was defeated by Thor.[7] With Blackwing, he battled Daredevil once again.[8] He also battled Power Man and Black Goliath.[9] Ringmaster later helped Namor the Sub-Mariner and the Shroud secretly enter Latveria.[10] He later captured the sea-nymph Meriam, and fought the Hulk again.[11]

The Ringmaster later enlisted Howard the Duck as an unwilling accomplice, but was defeated by Howard and Iris Raritan.[12] Ringmaster battled the Thing, Iceman, and Giant-Man.[13] Ringmaster next pitted a mind-controlled Hulk against the Dragon Man.[14] The Ringmaster was later hired by the Headmen to test She-Hulk's strength and invulnerability.[15] He later attempted to reform, but helped the Circus of Crime escape from the police after battling Power Pack.[16] He was released from prison in Doc Samson's custody, and assists in the therapy that creates the Merged Hulk personality for Bruce Banner when his MPD was causing him serious psychological damage.[17]

The Ringmaster later gets a surgical-upgrade of his eyes, allowing him to use them to hypnotize people, from surgeons working for Devlin DeAngelo, which he used to hypnotize Bruce Banner.[18] As "Martin Thraller", the Ringmaster used his hypnotic eyes while running for president of the United States (and manages to hypnotize Nick Fury into forgetting his own identity) until stopped by the Jack Truman incarnation of Deathlok.[19]

The Ringmaster traveled to Tibet and stole a ring that had once been created for the Mandarin shortly before his apparent demise. Made from a piece of a shattered Cosmic Cube, the ring allows him to manipulate reality within a fifteen foot radius. Attacking New York for 'practice', he clashes with various superheroes, including Spider-Man and Moon Knight.[volume & issue needed] Moon Knight and Spider-Man are both given heart attacks, but then Daredevil joins the scene. Moments before the Ringmaster is about to fire them out of cannons, at the ground about one foot below, the Punisher shoots off his ring finger.[20]

The Cosmic Ring is confiscated by Captain America, who encourages the grouping of heroes to get the shot-off finger to the ambulance personnel for reattachment. Curtis Doyle later uses the ring as the hero Freedom Ring until his death at the hands of Iron Maniac.[21]

During the Civil War storyline, Ringmaster (alongside Clown and Great Gambonnos) was visible among an army of super-villains organized by Hammerhead that was captured by Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents.[22]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Ringmaster originally had no inherent superhuman powers.

The Ringmaster's principal weapon is the powerful portable mind-control device which he carried concealed in his unique top hat. This device is a portable version of the nullatron, which was originally designed by scientists in Nazi-occupied lands during World War II and used by the Red Skull against the Invaders in 1942. The version in the Ringmaster's hat has been specially modified by him for his own uses. The hat has a swirling disk in the front which can send out a hypnotic beam and give him control of the minds of others, amplifying his natural hypnotic talent. Tiboldt eventually had special hypnotic disks surgically grafted into his eyes. These implants allow him to mentally dominate individuals, but he still requires his hat to mesmerize large crowds of people simultaneously. Sufficiently strong-willed individuals are able to resist the Ringmaster's hypnotism if they cannot see the whirling pattern on his hat and the reflective stars on his costume. Others like Doc Samson have access to special glasses designed to neutralize the Ringmaster's technology.

With the Cosmic Ring, Tiboldt gained the ability to alter reality in a 15-foot (4.6 m) radius around him.

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • The Ringmaster appears in the 1980s Spider-Man cartoon episode "Carnival of Crime".
  • Ringmaster appears in the Avengers Assemble episode "Crime and Circuses", voiced by Fred Tatasciore. Besides sporting his trademark top hat, Ringmaster wields flamethrower gloves, and can vanish in a cloud of smoke.

Video games[edit]

  • Ringmaster appears in a Spider-Man interactive fiction game for various 8-bit computers in the 1980s.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Captain America Comics" Vol 1 5 #5
  2. ^ Incredible Hulk vol. 1 #3
  3. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #16
  4. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #22
  5. ^ Avengers #20
  6. ^ Avengers #60
  7. ^ Thor #173
  8. ^ Daredevil #118
  9. ^ Power Man #24-25
  10. ^ Super-Villain Team-Up #8-9
  11. ^ Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #217
  12. ^ Howard the Duck #25-27
  13. ^ Marvel Two-in-One #76
  14. ^ Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #292
  15. ^ Sensational She-Hulk #1
  16. ^ Power Pack #59
  17. ^ Incredible Hulk vol. 2 #377
  18. ^ Hulk vol. 2, #249, written by Joe Casey
  19. ^ Deathlok vol. 3, written by Joe Casey
  20. ^ Marvel Team-Up #10 (Sept. 2005).
  21. ^ Marvel Team-Up vol. 3 #24
  22. ^ Civil War: War Crimes
  23. ^ Comics Continuum

External links[edit]