The adventures of SportsmasterPosted: 01/22/2014
I’m still utterly delighted reading about the supervillain Sportsmaster. He has no superpowers, just a baseball bat and delusional dreams. While you can imagine a man named Sportsmaster has no place in modern superheroics (ex: the New 52), his past journeys and battles will always have a place in our open hearts. Seriously, think Mark McGuire if he turned to a life of crime.
Today, we’ll be checking out in order:
Detective Comics #786, written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Patrick Zircher
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #11, written by J. Torries and drawn by Carlo Barberi
Batman Adventures #6, written by Ty Templeton and drawn by Rick Burchett
Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #2-3, written by Matthew Sturges and drawn by Freddie Williams II
Infinity Inc. #35, written by Roy & Dan Thomas and drawn by Todd McFarlane
JSA Classified #5, written by Jen Van Meter and drawn by Patrick Olliffe
So have you heard this story before?
Y’see, the first Green Lantern Alan Scott, who wore less of a uniform and more a gaudy Las Vegas magician’s outfit, has a secret weakness. Only one weapon can defeat the man wielding the most powerful weapon in the universe: wood. Luckily, my dear friend Reid Vanier explains it in detail for us. Thanks buddy!
Alan Scott – his weakness to wood is a result of the Starheart (the green flame that gives him his power) deriving its power from green, living things. So employing the “you can’t defend against yourself” logic, the Starheart cannot defend Alan Scott against anything made of plant matter, specifically wood. This comes up a lot in his early battles with Solomon Grundy, who is largely composed of plant material. Also, see: http://modernmythologies.com/2013/10/02/diametrically-opposed-golden-age-green-lantern-solomon-grundy/.
But when you have superheroes created in the 1940s, you just tend to accept the silliness without many questions. Plus, I like the idea that a supervillain’s weapon of choice includes exploding baseballs.
Lawrence “Crusher” Crock, the original Sportsmaster who had the honor of fighting the first wave of superheroes — Green Lantern, Starman, etc. — shows up sporadically throughout comic history. Luckily for Crock, when DC cashed in on their animated shows by releasing counterpart comics, Sportsmaster did receive some ink, like when he gets his butt kicked by Huntress:
Yes, you had to suffer a lot of sport puns. Did you notice this Sportsmaster uses a trophy as his weapon? He attempts to knock out Huntress by flailing around the Stanley Cup. His humiliation doesn’t end here. He also gets wildly emasculated by Batman:
I figure Sportsmaster just throws darts at a sporting goods catalog to put together an outfit, because he wears something different every time he shows up. Though nothing can beat his Green-Arrow-as-a-minor-league-cyborg-baseball-player look. Check out this beauty:
As you soon purge Sportsmaster from your memory, which you have every right to do, know that his legacy continues. We can make fun of him, tease him, joke about his stupidity, but we do have to think him for one important addition to the DC universe — Artemis Crock, Sportsmaster’s daughter.
Artemis later changes her identity to Tigress:
And if you’ve seen the Young Justice cartoon, then you know her as the female Green Arrow:
On a final note, as I searched the depths of comics for everything Sportsmaster related, I came across a brilliant gem from 1965. It highlights everything so insane about a sports-themed bad guy that you’ll be blinded by the simultaneous shock and admiration that this is an actual comic book story bought by actual comic book readers. But I don’t want to hype it up — you’ll see all its glory on Friday.