Dec 1, 2011

How Not to Revamp a Villain: The Puppet Master.

So the Puppet Master is one of those villains. Y'know the kind, the one trick pony. Who only has one trick. When a character in the Fantastic Four suddenly starts acting out of character you can pretty much put money on the fact that it'll be the Puppet Master's doing. The only wrinkle that makes him interesting is that he's directly related to Benn Grimm's girlfriend Alicia Masters.

(Well not DIRECTLY related, since he's her step-father. But you get the point.)

So when you have a villain like this (for example The Mad Thinker, or Arcade) what do you do with them? You can only use them so many times because they get repetitive. The answer is simple -- you take the core of the character, and then you revamp it! So that's what they (that is Stan Lee and artist Bob Powell) did with the Pupper Master in Strange Tales #133.


For those not aware, the Puppet Master, as created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, originally looked like this:

He's not a traditional super-villain design. He's basically just meant to look like a cross between a traditional folk toy designer, and a ventriloquist's dummy.

When you have these non-traditional villains one of the big temptations is then to turn them into a more typical costumed super-villain. This can be done right (for example, with Jack Kirby's revamp with of The Sandman), but in this case... in this case it was done so very wrong. The story does offer the Puppet Master some new powers:
Cats -- the source of all super-villain
scientific discovery!
Oh yeah, you read that right, the origin of his new face is that he got plastic surgery to change his face. I wonder if he got plastic surgery to become a fatarse too. I dunno. All I know is, this is a bloody stupid revamp. The new powers are dumb, because they make him LESS powerful than before, and his new look is just awful.

So yeah, if you're going to revamp a villain? Don't do it this way, man. Please don't.
--Andrew S.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting that the Puppet Master's new power looks an awful lot like what the Gray Gargoyle can do. I'd be tempted to say that this story served as some sort of prototype, except that my sources (okay, the Wikipedia) suggest the Gargoyle appeared almost a year earlier.