WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #3 by Robert Venditti, Paul Pelletier, Drew Hennessy, Adriano Lucas, Clayton Cowles, Dan Mora, and Andrew Merino, available now.
Superman’s rogues’ gallery of villains is filled with fearsome, well-known names like Lex Luthor, Doomsday and Brainiac. An in the ’90s, Superman: The Animated Series went beyond those famous names to bring even more of Superman’s villains to life in the DC Animated Universe. In their transition to the small screen, villains like Parasite, Metallo and Toyman got reconsidered origins and streamlined designs that made them as scary as any of Superman’s other foes.
While Winslow Schott might be known for his heroic son on Supergirl today, Toyman is one of the Last Son of Krypton’s oldest bad guys, though one with a decidedly modus operandi. Complementing this gimmick is a fashion sense straight out of a carnival, which can make him one of the less intimidating recurring villains in the DC Universe.
In Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #3 however, Toyman decides to take on both Superman and Lex Luthor, all the while putting on a sadistically happy face that and the terrifying design he had in the DC Animated Universe.
The issue finds Metropolis dealing with the fallout of Lex Luthor’s hostile takeover of Schott Toys, the toy company formerly owned by Toyman. Due to Luthor’s careless mismanagement of the company’s products — namely moving production offshore to China — Schott Toys becomes known for cheap, low-quality toys. Enraged at how Luthor had destroyed the quality legacy of his family’s products, Toyman kicks off a new series of crimes to lash out at him. These involve hacking and reconfiguring various toys for violent and unlawful means, with one Schott Toys location being destroyed in an explosion. Clark Kent interviews Luthor to confront him on the situation, but the tycoon simply rebuffs him by bringing up Schott’s previous mental instability, professional failure and criminality.
Meanwhile, Toyman ramps up his attacks across Metropolis, all the while deciding to try out a new look. Embracing his moniker more than ever, he begins wearing the same child-like puppet mask as he wore in Superman: The Animated Series.
After sending out a lookalike drone to threaten Luthor at the Daily Planet, Toyman makes good on his warning by fighting Superman with a gigantic wind-up style robot. Superman eventually makes quick work of the titanic toy automaton, with Lex making a public announcement that the Lexcorp acquired Schott Toys will be shut down immediately. Unbeknownst to the public, Lex himself toys with the schematics of the giant robot, having been interested in potential military applications from Schott’s creations. The real Toyman himself isn’t seen again afterward, but e’s sure to return for another dangerous game with Lex formally closing his old company.
Typically, Toyman is a redheaded man in an old-fashioned, almost barbershop quarter style of dress, complete with a bow-tie. His most distinctive look might be the one that he had in Superman: The Animated Series. There, his usual bright-colored vests were complemented by a creepy, ever-smiling child’s mask, which he was never seen without. This version of the character has been the most popular yet, and he went on to seemingly kill Superman in the Justice League cartoon. In this issue, Toyman seems to combine the best parts of both of these looks, using the animated Toyman mask as a kind of armor over his regular appearance.
Created by Don Cameron and Ed Dobrotka in Action Comics #64 back in 1943, Toyman is one of Superman’s oldest recurring villains. As his name would suggest, his gimmick has always been attacking the Man of Steel and those that he protects with violent, militarized variants of children’s toys. The original and most popular version of the character is Winslow Schott, a nominally nice yet somewhat childish man who turns his theatrical love of toys into a life of crime due to mental instability. He fit right in during the sillier days of the Golden and Silver Ages, but during the darkening Bronze Age, the character began to appear less frequently.
Schott retired from crime and began working on the side of good, though an interloper named Jack Kimball would take his place. Due to a later mistake caused by Bizarro, who Schott thinks is Superman, Schott breaks down and returns to criminality, even killing Nimball in cold blood.
Although this comic is in its own continuity, the Post-Crisis version would mostly follow the same character cues introduced in this issue, with Schott as a failed businessman who falls into deep mental illness and crime. This even led to him being institutionalized at Arkham Asylum, which he resented, as even he felt that wasn’t nearly as crazy as the others there.
In the main DC Universe, Toyman recently turned over a new leaf and joined Checkmate after Superman publicly revealed his identity as Clark Kent to the world. Even though DC’s main Toyman is heading towards a heroic future, this version of the villain is definitely one who doesn’t play around.
One of Superman's oldest foes just adopted his truly terrifying, fan-favorite costume from Superman: The Animated Series.