When it comes to superheroes, Superman isn’t one of my personal favorites. Of course, if I could be any superhero, I’d definitely pick Superman for x-ray vision alone (but having super-strength, invulnerability and flight wouldn’t suck either). Despite this I never really found him all that interesting on his own.
That’s because it seems there are only three main ways to challenge Superman’s obvious superiority. Take away his powers (à la kryptonite), hit him with magic or mental manipulation (à la Mr. Mxyzptlk), or just be tougher and stronger than him (à la Doomsday).
The Toyman doesn’t really fit any of these criteria, and yet, he’s primarily considered a “Superman” villain.
For those not all that familiar with the Toyman, I could write a brief description of the character here. Or, I could just block quote and attribute a perfectly good description that needs no editing or embellishment. So, from DAMN Good Coffee, the blog of Mr. Charles Skaggs, I present his description of the Toyman:
Created in 1943 by Don Cameron and Ed Dobrotka, The Toyman first appeared in Action Comics (vol.1) #64 as Winslow Percival Schott, a criminal who used various toy-themed devices and gimmicks when committing crimes. After Superman’s continuity was relaunched following the Crisis on Infinite Earths event miniseries and John Byrne’s The Man of Steel miniseries, The Toyman was reimagined in Superman (vol.2) #13 as an unemployed British toymaker who blames Lex Luthor for being fired from a toy company.
Years later, The Toyman became a darker, more sinister character who abducted and murdered Adam Morgan, the son of Cat Grant. The character was reimagined once again in Action Comics (vol.1) #865 as a toymaker who lived with his wife Mary and agrees to sell his shop after Mary is killed in a car accident. After learning that the buyer lied to him, Schott proceeds to bomb the business with an explosive teddy bear and Mary is revealed as one of his first robotic creations.
I can add nothing of substance to Mr. Skaggs’s words. That’s pretty much the history of the Toyman.
However, my favorite version of the Toyman is this one from the DC animated universe. This version is the unnamed son of Winslow Schott, and is obsessed with revenge against mob boss Bruno Mannheim, who he blames for his father’s imprisonment and eventual death, and his own miserable foster home upbringing as a result. He wears this creepy doll head and you never see his real face.
Anyway, about a year ago, I got an idea for a Supersystem 3 scenario featuring the Toyman. But, now I play Super Mission Force pretty much exclusively, and SMF being predominantly a game of Supers combat, I was in a quandary as to how to effectively use Toyman against Superman. After all, he has no super powers, and Superman could pretty easily wipe the floor with him in a straight-up fight. Toyman could, of course, have some super-tough toys for Superman to brawl with, but that just seemed kind of boring and not very imaginative.
I decided that Toyman isn’t really a threat to Superman, but he could easily be a threat to normal people. Protecting normal folks is what Superman is all about, so what if, for the purposes of the scenario, Superman had to protect as many civilians as possible? An idea took shape…
But first, if I was going to use the Toyman, I would need some toys. Behold what I found at the local dollar store:
For a grand total of $3.oo, I purchased these cool rock’em, sock’em robot finger puppets and some cars I could cannibalize. Some nippy cutters and superglue later, here is the result:
Instant toy-themed robot menace!
I did a quick search for a Heroclix version of Toyman. Sadly, it seems Wizkids don’t have the rights to the DC animated universe (Knight Models does, I think…) so I couldn’t get a version of the doll-head wearing Toyman that I like. I had to settle for this guy:
Not a bad start, and it naturally got me thinking about Christmas, which would be an ideal time of year for Toyman to start some trouble. With that in mind, I did a quick repaint and scoured my miniatures for other things that could be used as deadly toys.
My repaint is in the center. I purchased some (sadly OOP) Parroom Station clockwork soldiers (in the back) from Matt Beauchamp of Hydra Miniatures, and I took advantage of Armorcast’s 20% off Christmas sale to pick up the Santa bot. I already owned Wyrd’s Teddy from the Malifaux line. I just needed to paint him, and I did.
Turns out these Hydra War Rocket Galacteer fighters are just the right scale to double as deadly toy planes. So I planned on using them, too.
If Christmas was to be the backdrop for the scenario, I would need some thematic scenery, like piles of presents! I thought a ring box would make a good giant present (from which something deadly could emerge). I bought some wood cubes from an art store and glued them together in random formations. A little red, white and green craft paint and I’d be good to go.
I figure once I’m done with this scenario, I can repaint the blocks to use as crates and boxes for warehouse scatter terrain.
Stay tuned! Scenario to follow next post!