Professor Pyg as he appears on the cover of Batman #62 (January 2019)
|First appearance||Batman #666 (July 2007)|
|Alter ego||Lazlo Valentin|
Created by Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert, Professor Pyg was introduced in Batman #666 (July 2007). 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. Professor Pyg proclaims the "Year of the Pig", and he and his Circus of Strange appear in Gotham City as part of the plan by Simon Hurt. Professor Pyg starts a campaign to make people "perfect", and his minions capture Robin (Damian Wayne).
Professor 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. Professor Pyg also plans to convert Robin into another Dollotron. He is foiled by Batman, who obtains Professor Pyg's location from Pyg's captured henchman Phosphorus Rex. Batman arrives at Professor Pyg's disused amusement park hideout (previously used by Joker in The Killing Joke) after Robin escapes from Professor Pyg's clutches. Together, they succeed in subduing Professor Pyg and his Circus of Strange, and they capture most of the Dollotrons.
Professor 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 Simon 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 Professor 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. Simon Hurt's adversary. The Black Glove was terminated with the Joker's laughing gas. Professor Pyg and Simon 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. Simon Hurt. Robin assaults Professor Pyg's van and liberates Gordon, but he is captured by the 99 Fiends Gang. Professor 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 Professor 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 Professor 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 a.k.a. "Johnny Valentine".
Otto Netz, also known as Doctor Daedulus, later revealed to Batman (the returned Bruce Wayne) that Lazlo Valentin was a former agent of his spy organization Spyral who went insane after being exposed to a mind-eroding chemical agent of his own design.
The pre-Flashpoint Professor Pyg appears in the Convergence limited series where a group of pre-Flashpoint Batman villains, including the Riddler and Professor Pyg, attempt to confront Thomas Wayne, the Batman of the modern-reimagined Earth-Two (who is commonly mistaken for the deceased Flashpoint Batman due to a similar costume). These villains, seeing him as simply an obstacle, attack en masse. This version of Pyg is eventually slain when Thomas Wayne blows himself up as a delaying tactic.
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, Professor Pyg is reintroduced as part of a group of Arkham Asylum inmates who attempt to escape from the facility during a riot, but are stopped by Batman (Bruce Wayne) and Grayson. Later, during the war with the Leviathan organization, through investigation, Batman discovers that Professor Pyg's "Mother of Nails" is actually Talia al Ghul.
During the Forever Evil storyline, when the Crime Syndicate arrives from another universe to take over the world, Earth is plunged into chaos, and Gotham City is divided by its criminals in Batman's absence. In the middle of the mess, Professor Pyg uses the Gotham Memorial Hospital as his hideout during the division. Pyg, with his Dollotron army, sedated unknowing pedestrians and unnecessarily operated on them. Pyg's reign, however, is short-lived because the Scarecrow approaches Professor Pyg at the hospital to see if he will give his supplies and Dollotrons to the Scarecrow's followers. Bane later approaches Professor Pyg and forces him to join his cause.
In this relaunched universe, Pyg's white van was followed by the Birds of Prey and he was stopped from making Dollotrons. He was found to have come down with the same sickness affecting the rest of the males in Gotham, eventually tracked to the "Daughters of Gotham" cult. 
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.
A prominent 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 sidekick. Her mask eventually wears off by itself, but there may be lasting damage.
In a possible future depicted in the story Batman in Bethlehem, 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.
In other media
- Professor Pyg has a cameo appearance in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. In the episode "The Knights of Tomorrow!", he is seen fighting Batman and Robin along with Mr. Toad, 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 Pyg is still shown using surgical tools as weapons. 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. Pyg is shown to be a mad doctor, performing experiments in which humans are transformed into animals.
- Professor Pyg appears in the live-action series Gotham, portrayed by Michael Cerveris. According to executive producer Bryan Wynbrandt, "Pyg is going to be a big part of the season. That's kind of our big villain of the first half". Michael Cerveris elucidated that Pyg's Dollotrons are unlikely to appear in Season 4: "You know how much he's liked the Pyg in the comics, but I would say that his focus is more on things to do with the city and with Jim Gordan [sic]. His whole reason for existing is not the Dollotrons. It's possible that the Dollotrons are a later part of his life. That doesn't mean that they just decided to get rid of it". This version of the character was introduced in the fourth season episode "Hog Day Afternoon" as a serial killer who targets corrupt cops and dresses them with the heads of pigs. When he and detective Jim Gordon finally meet, he states that he is targeting all dirty cops on Oswald Cobblepot's payroll and that he suffered profound loss at the hands of the "greedy pigs" in power. In "A Dark Knight: Let Them Eat Pie", Professor Pyg posed as a rabbi and killed some homeless people in Squatter's Row to harvest their organs. With assistance from some hired help posing as waiters, Professor Pyg posed as a chef and infiltrated a charity event at Falcone Home and School for Orphans in order to make Oswald Cobblepot, Sofia Falcone, and those present eat the meat pies filled with the homeless people's organs. Gordon managed to defeat Professor Pyg who is then arrested by the police. Pyg, while incarcerated, is found to have altered his face with metal rods to hide his true identity as that of Lazlo Valentin (pronounced "Valentine"), an escaped murderer from down south. After Gordon discovers this they arrive at Arkham to find Valentin had already escaped. During Gordon's investigation, Valentin reveals to him that he is actually a mentally stable contract killer who was part of an elaborate conspiracy orchestrated by Sofia Falcone to overthrow the Penguin's criminal empire. "Professor Pyg" was merely a disingenuous persona that Valentin used in order to falsely appear to be an unrelated rising supervillain. As Gordon threatened to send him to Blackgate Penitentiary, Valentin is ultimately shot by Sofia Falcone, who blackmails a confrontational Gordon to stay silent. This caused Gordon to take the credit of taking down Professor Pyg.
Professor Pyg appears in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, voiced by James Urbaniak. He first appears in his lair trying to operate on Two-Face by making scarred on both sides and purging Harvey Dent's persona completely. The operation is crashed by Scandal Savage and Knockout who arrive to capture Pyg for "a patient in need of medical attention". He is later tied up in a chair in the two women's apartment until he is caught up in the fight between them and the Suicide Squad. Right after Vandal Savage arrives to collect the "Get Out of Hell Free" card the Suicide Squad was sent for, Pyg is taken by Savage's men as Savage has Pyg to surgically implant the "Get Out of Hell Free" card into the immortal's chest cavity. Once the operation is successful, Savage kills him when he is no longer needed. Pyg's corpse is later found tied up in a chair as a warning for the Suicide Squad.
- Professor Pyg is among many other DC characters included in Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure.
- Professor Pyg makes his video game debut in Batman: Arkham Knight, voiced by Dwight Schultz. This version is portrayed as a serial killer who kidnaps people across the country under his front "The Circus of Strange", where he 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 (in which rejected victims have distinctive features: shark bite, six fingers on one hand, etc.), left in full display on rooftops and always accompanied by opera music. In his audio files, Pyg can be heard introducing the acts of his circus and later is heard recording diary-like audio logs for his son Janosz in which he talks about his work with the Dollotrons and how he had to kill Janosz's biological mother after she became imperfect. In the "Perfect Crime" side quest 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 Professor 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.
- Professor Pyg has a cameo appearance in Injustice 2. He is seen during Red Hood's ending being stopped from attacking Scarlet with a meat cleaver.
- Batman #666
- Batman and Robin #1
- Batman and Robin #2 (September 2009)
- Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes #1
- Batman Incorporated #4
- Convergence #3
- Batman (Vol. 2) #1
- Batman Incorporated (Vol. 2) #2-3
- Forever Evil: Arkham War #1
- Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #15
- Doomsday Clock #6 (July 2018). DC Comics.
- Zalben, Alex. "'Beware The Batman' Trailer Shows Off The Menace Of Professor Pyg". Animation, Comic Books, DC Comics. MTV. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "The Voices of Professor Pyg". Behind The Voice Actors.
- SDCC 2012: DC Nation – Beware The Batman – Mitch Watson & Glen Murakami Interview
- "Gotham Season 4 Will Introduce Professor Pyg". Screen Rant. July 22, 2017. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
- Charlie Ridgely (October 6, 2017). "Exclusive: 'Gotham' EP Reveals Every Villain Appearing in Season 4". Comic Book. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- Charlie Ridgely (October 31, 2017). "'Gotham's Michael Cerveris Explains How His Professor Pyg Is Different Than the Comics". Comic Book. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- DC Characters and Objects - Scribblenauts Unmasked Wiki Guide - IGN, retrieved 2019-07-29
- "Batman: Arkham Knight - The Perfect Crime Victim Locations and Guide". Shack News. June 25, 2015. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
- Professor Pyg at DC Comics Wiki