|First appearance||Batman #666 (July 2007)|
|Created by||Grant Morrison
|Alter ego||Lazlo Valentin|
Circus of Strange
Professor Pyg is a fictional character in DC Comics and an enemy of Batman and Robin. He was created by Grant Morrison and first appeared in a cameo in Batman #666 (July 2007). He is a regular character in the Batman and Robin series. His real name is revealed in Batman and Robin #3 to be Lazlo Valentin, a low-rent "extreme" circus boss.
Morrison describes the character as "one of the weirdest, most insane characters that's ever been in Batman. We hear a lot about Batman facing crazy villains but we tried to make this guy seem genuinely disturbed and disconnected".
Grant Morrison's main inspirations for the character came from the song "Pygmalism", written by Momus for Kahimi Karie. Both the song and character are references to the play Pygmalion, reflected in the character's desire to transform people into an idealized state.
Fictional character biography
Batman (Dick Grayson) first learns about Professor Pyg when he captures his minion Mister Toad. Pyg proclaims the "Year of the Pig", and he and his Circus of Strange appear in Gotham City as part of the plan by Dr. Hurt. Pyg starts a campaign to make people "perfect", and his minions capture Robin (Damian Wayne).
Pyg attempts to release an addictive identity-destroying drug in the form of a virus, using his Dollotrons — genderless lobotomized humans with special masks fused into their faces. He previously sold the drug to gangs, who used it to control prostitutes. Pyg also plans to convert Robin into another Dollotron. He is foiled by Batman, who obtains Pyg's location from Pyg's captured henchman, Phosphorus Rex. Batman arrives at Pyg's disused amusement park hideout (previously used by the Joker in The Killing Joke) after Robin escapes from Pyg's clutches. Together, they succeed in subduing Pyg and his Circus of Strange, and they capture most of the Dollotrons.
Pyg is arrested and taken to Blackgate Penitentiary. He is later freed by Simon Hurt's enforcers, the 99 Fiends Gang. A major part of the plan by Hurt and the Black Glove, Pyg wreaks havoc across Gotham with his viral infection. Batman and Commissioner Gordon are captured by the 99 Fiends Gang, and a giant army of Dollotrons appears. Batman breaks free, but Pyg plans to convert Gordon at a "party" held in Crime Alley. The plan is foiled by Batman and the Joker (who has captured Robin); Joker is revealed to be Dr. Hurt's adversary. The Black Glove terminated with the Joker's laughing gas. Pyg and Hurt are nearly captured by Batman, but they subdue him using the drugged Gordon.
Robin is freed by the Joker as a part of a plan to stop Dr. Hurt. Robin assaults Pyg's van and liberates Gordon, but he is captured by the 99 Fiends Gang. Pyg leaves Hurt and his 99 Fiends to pursue his own agenda in the city. Simon Hurt impersonates Thomas Wayne, and he nearly defeats Batman and Robin until Bruce Wayne arrives as the original Batman. Wayne remains to fight Simon Hurt, and he sends Robin and Grayson after Pyg.
Professor Pyg is at the center of the virus infection zone, surrounded by Dollotrons and numerous addicts. He is using a device that he claims will bring the addicts "salvation"; the device is a mobile Dollotron converter. Grayson and Robin defeat Pyg, luring him out of the crowd by tricking him with his "mother".[clarification needed] He is taken to Arkham Asylum.
A new villain named Son of Pyg briefly appears as an agent of the Leviathan organization. He is defeated by Batgirl during a plot to turn a group of teen mercenaries-in-training into agents of Leviathan. His real name is revealed to be Janosz Valentin aka "Johnny Valentine".
During the Forever Evil storyline, the Scarecrow approaches Professor Pyg at Gotham Memorial Hospital to see if he will give his supplies and Doll-O-Trons to the Scarecrow's followers. Bane later approaches Professor Pyg and forces him to join his cause.
Batman in Bethlehem
In a possible future depicted in Batman #666, Professor Pyg and some members of the Circus of Strange have become crime bosses in Gotham City. He is found dead by the police without his mask, crucified upside down in a church. A special Dollotron is also seen, an improvement on the older models.
The Dollotrons are Professor Pyg's army of robotic mind-controlled people. They wear doll-like dresses and have doll masks permanently attached to their original faces. The masks cannot be removed surgically. The process of creating them is not described in detail, but it is implied it involves brain surgery, genital mutilation, and mind-altering drugs.
They number in the hundreds, and can appear suddenly when Pyg is around.
The most notable Dollotron is Scarlet, the daughter of one of Pyg's Russian victims. Pyg was prevented from completing her transformation and she remains sane. She later joins Red Hood as his side-kick. Her mask eventually wears off by itself, but there may be lasting damage.
In other media
- Professor Pyg makes a cameo appearance in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "The Knights of Tomorrow!". He appears fighting Batman and Robin along with Mr. Toad and Club of Villains members Flamingo and King Kraken.
- Professor Pyg appears as a recurring villain in Beware the Batman, voiced by Brian George. The character's violence was toned down by series' creators, though he is still shown wielding a bone saw as a weapon. Professor Pyg and Mister Toad are depicted in the series as eco-terrorists who hunt and commit crimes against those who they find guilty of hurting animals and endangering their habitats. Pyg is also depicted as exceptionally strong, even showing the ability to pick Batman up above his head and throw him.
- Professor Pyg makes his video game debut in Batman: Arkham Knight, voiced by Dwight Schultz. He is viewed as a serial killer who kidnaps innocent people across the country under his front "The Circus of Strange", and brings them back to Gotham and turns them to what he calls "Dollotrons". Any failed attempt to turn victims to Dollotrons are left behind mutilated as what Pyg calls his failed "flawed" experiments. He is the villain behind the "Perfect Crime" side quest where Batman tracks him down by investigating the corpses left behind. Batman later tracks him down at the Pretty Doll Parlor at Ryker Heights. After a fight against Pyg and his group of Dollotrons, Batman takes him down while breaking his pig mask and rescues the captive civilians. Batman then brings Professor Pyg to the Gotham City Police Department to be locked up with the other villains.
- Batman and Robin #1
- Batman and Robin #2 (September 2009)
- Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1
- Batman, Incorporated #4
- Batman vol. 2 #1
- Batman Incorporated vol. 2 #2-3
- Forever Evil: Arkham War #1
- Zalben, Alex. "'Beware The Batman' Trailer Shows Off The Menace Of Professor Pyg". Animation, Comic Books, DC Comics. MTV. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- SDCC 2012: DC Nation – Beware The Batman – Mitch Watson & Glen Murakami Interview
- Professor Pyg at DC Comics Wiki