|Who can explain why a villain with this kind of class |
never caught on?
Well, no place is less likely a spot for peril to lurk than your garden pond but it seems like Stan Lee spent most of the 1960s convinced that the most dread menaces imaginable lurked beneath those shallow waters, as he repeatedly dredged them for new threats to inflict on our heroes.
We got the Toad. We got the Frog-Man. We got Leap-Frog.
What they all had in common - apart from being named after amphibians - was they were all completely and totally useless.
The Toad's deadly power was, of course, jumping about a bit.
The Frog-Man's deadly power was also jumping about a bit.
But, for me, worst of the lot had to be Leap-Frog. Here's a man who decided that the way to become an unstoppable super-villain was to attach a couple of bed springs to a pair of flippers and dress up as a frog. The only super-hero I ever remember him fighting is Daredevil, causing me to suspect Daredevil was only there to see off the villains no other hero could be bothered with. I seem to recall Daredevil once beating him, in the Gene Colan era, by throwing him in a lake. Yes, that's right, he defeated a villain based on a frog by throwing him in some water. That's like beating Gorilla Man by throwing him at some bananas.
But there was more. I seem to recall both the Avengers and the X-Men coming up against a character called Amphibius. Amphibius' deadly power was, inevitably, jumping about a bit. This time, Roy Thomas was the culprit.
Was this obsession with boingy amphibians a purely Marvel thing? Did other comic book companies share it? DC had Bouncing Boy who could jump around - and could inflate himself, as some toads do - but he clearly wasn't frog based. Image Comics had Spawn. I'd just love to be told Spawn was inspired by frogs' eggs but I fear I may be disappointed.
So, what's the lesson of it all?
Mostly this. If you're considering becoming a super-villain, first ask yourself one question; "With my powers in place, could I be defeated by being locked in a cupboard?" If the answer's yes, don't become a super-villain. Become a broom handle. I myself can be defeated by being locked in a cupboard. And that's why, no matter how long it exists, Betty's Tea Rooms will never see the back of my nunchucks.