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The Overlord




Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.


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rock bottom




> Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.


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Doc Shallot




> > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.


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Jared




> Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.


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TJ Burns




> Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.

Part of it, I think, is that it's a sheer Golden-Silver Age gimmick, which loses a lot of its appeal in the modern world. The circus used to have such magic to it to the average person. These days, your average person figures the Ringmaster's circus is pretty much the norm for that sort of operation, just with super-powers instead of misdirection. That loss of innocence makes the "twist" of the Circus of Crime lose its potency. It's telling that the most memorable Ringmaster story I can recall (from the Ultimate Super-Villains anthology of short stories, not the comics themselves) focused on that dichotomy.


TJB


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The Overlord




> > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.
>
> Part of it, I think, is that it's a sheer Golden-Silver Age gimmick, which loses a lot of its appeal in the modern world. The circus used to have such magic to it to the average person. These days, your average person figures the Ringmaster's circus is pretty much the norm for that sort of operation, just with super-powers instead of misdirection. That loss of innocence makes the "twist" of the Circus of Crime lose its potency. It's telling that the most memorable Ringmaster story I can recall (from the Ultimate Super-Villains anthology of short stories, not the comics themselves) focused on that dichotomy.
>
>
> TJB

I don't think the concept is that dated, I like the idea of evil circus, I find the idea of something thaty is supposed to be innocent like a circus, twisted to an evil purpose interesting. The problem is almost 90% of the stories with these guys is the same:

The circus puts on a show, the Ringmaster brainwashes the audience, the circus members try to rob the crowd, some hero comes by and knocks them out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Try something different these guys. First they should look more gothic, they should all look kinda scary.

Second they should try some other ways to make money, something a little more sinister. Like a smash and grab operation, where these circus freaks attack people while other circus members steal everything that isn't nailed down from a store.

Or even more sinister, they could use the seemingly innocent circus characters (along with perhaps some Ringmaster's mind control tech) to lure kids of rich families to "join the circus". Once they have these kids they make demands parents for money or else.

Anything rather than using the same story over and over again.



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The Overlord




nt


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The Black Guardian




> > > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always
> > > thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than
> > > what is often presented in the pages of comics.
> >
> > Part of it, I think, is that it's a sheer Golden-Silver Age
> > gimmick, which loses a lot of its appeal in the modern world. The
> > circus used to have such magic to it to the average person. These
> > days, your average person figures the Ringmaster's circus is pretty
> > much the norm for that sort of operation, just with super-powers
> > instead of misdirection. That loss of innocence makes the "twist"
> > of the Circus of Crime lose its potency. It's telling that the most
> > memorable Ringmaster story I can recall (from the Ultimate
> > Super-Villains anthology of short stories, not the comics
> > themselves) focused on that dichotomy.
>
> I don't think the concept is that dated, I like the idea of evil
> circus, I find the idea of something thaty is supposed to be innocent
> like a circus, twisted to an evil purpose interesting. The problem is
> almost 90% of the stories with these guys is the same:

The first problem is that circuses, in general, have almost died out. Even Ringling Bros. is a shell of what it used to be. The whole sideshow gimmick is a thing of the past. Very few people can really relate to that.

> The circus puts on a show, the Ringmaster brainwashes the audience,
> the circus members try to rob the crowd, some hero comes by and
> knocks them out. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's the repeat that's the problem.

> Try something different these guys. First they should look more
> gothic, they should all look kinda scary.

Eh. Kind of disagree there. It kind of ruins the innocence twisted idea.

> Second they should try some other ways to make money, something a
> little more sinister. Like a smash and grab operation, where these
> circus freaks attack people while other circus members steal
> everything that isn't nailed down from a store.

I think they need to be more subtle. A circus that does this is going to be shut down pretty darn quick.

> Or even more sinister, they could use the seemingly innocent circus
> characters (along with perhaps some Ringmaster's mind control tech)
> to lure kids of rich families to "join the circus". Once they have
> these kids they make demands parents for money or else.

This is more like it. Or how about this...

I don't know how many of you have been to a circus lately, but the latest Ringling Bros. act involves the circus performers posing as normal people in the audience. At the beginning of the show, they're selected by other circus performers, and little-by-little, these seemingly average people are transformed into the ringmaster (the father), the trapeze artist (the mother), the dancer (the daughter), and the juggler (the son).

What if the Circus of Crime were hired kidnappers or maybe hired hitmen? Maybe a family is in witness relocation. They're discovered, and through something similar to the above, they're whisked away into the hands of the gangsters. But it's all done so subtly and under masquerade that it becomes very hard to find them afterward.

Or maybe the family is someone special (father's a scientist or something, or mother's a high-powered attorney), and while becoming part of the act, they're mind-controlled into performing tasks for the circus' employers.

Alternately, maybe the Circus of Crime should morph into something like Cirque du Soliel? A different name (obviously), but some kind of artsy, traveling acrobatics show. Each time we see them, they have a different stage gimmick, different costumes, etc. During their off hours, they pull off heists with the motif of the current stage gimmick. Or they could also do the other schemes above.
____________________


The Legend of LIONMAN and the Seven Kurodos
Experience The Bijou



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Attok12




I thought Joe Casey's "reimagining" of the Clown during his DEATHLOK series was pretty cool. He took what was a lot of people thought of as a lame character and turned him into a weirdo killing machine, sort of Joker-like, I guess.


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TJ Burns




> I thought Joe Casey's "reimagining" of the Clown during his DEATHLOK series was pretty cool. He took what was a lot of people thought of as a lame character and turned him into a weirdo killing machine, sort of Joker-like, I guess.

I agree... of course the Clown was always the most developed of the Circus of Crime, having had a character arc in Ghost Rider. Now, of course, that development's gone, thanks to the ill-advised transformation of the character into a gamma monster in Gamma Corps.


TJB


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The Overlord




> > > > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always
> > > > thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than
> > > > what is often presented in the pages of comics.
> > >
> > > Part of it, I think, is that it's a sheer Golden-Silver Age
> > > gimmick, which loses a lot of its appeal in the modern world. The
> > > circus used to have such magic to it to the average person. These
> > > days, your average person figures the Ringmaster's circus is pretty
> > > much the norm for that sort of operation, just with super-powers
> > > instead of misdirection. That loss of innocence makes the "twist"
> > > of the Circus of Crime lose its potency. It's telling that the most
> > > memorable Ringmaster story I can recall (from the Ultimate
> > > Super-Villains anthology of short stories, not the comics
> > > themselves) focused on that dichotomy.
> >
> > I don't think the concept is that dated, I like the idea of evil
> > circus, I find the idea of something thaty is supposed to be innocent
> > like a circus, twisted to an evil purpose interesting. The problem is
> > almost 90% of the stories with these guys is the same:
>
> The first problem is that circuses, in general, have almost died out. Even Ringling Bros. is a shell of what it used to be. The whole sideshow gimmick is a thing of the past. Very few people can really relate to that.

Still it can have a retro appeal, for example I like villains from the golden age who look like they dress from the 40s.

Red Skull is still a Nazi, that's pretty retro.
>
> > The circus puts on a show, the Ringmaster brainwashes the audience,
> > the circus members try to rob the crowd, some hero comes by and
> > knocks them out. Lather, rinse, repeat.
>
> It's the repeat that's the problem.
>
> > Try something different these guys. First they should look more
> > gothic, they should all look kinda scary.
>
> Eh. Kind of disagree there. It kind of ruins the innocence twisted idea.

Shouldn't people know that these guys are criminals now, so wouldn't they have a sinister look?

I think they all look kinda lame.

> > Second they should try some other ways to make money, something a
> > little more sinister. Like a smash and grab operation, where these
> > circus freaks attack people while other circus members steal
> > everything that isn't nailed down from a store.
>
> I think they need to be more subtle. A circus that does this is going to be shut down pretty darn quick.

Yeah, but again, shouldn't people know they are criminals now? Should they be out in the open criminals, are people that stupid to fall for the same ruse over and over again.


> > Or even more sinister, they could use the seemingly innocent circus
> > characters (along with perhaps some Ringmaster's mind control tech)
> > to lure kids of rich families to "join the circus". Once they have
> > these kids they make demands parents for money or else.
>
> This is more like it. Or how about this...
>
> I don't know how many of you have been to a circus lately, but the latest Ringling Bros. act involves the circus performers posing as normal people in the audience. At the beginning of the show, they're selected by other circus performers, and little-by-little, these seemingly average people are transformed into the ringmaster (the father), the trapeze artist (the mother), the dancer (the daughter), and the juggler (the son).

> What if the Circus of Crime were hired kidnappers or maybe hired hitmen? Maybe a family is in witness relocation. They're discovered, and through something similar to the above, they're whisked away into the hands of the gangsters. But it's all done so subtly and under masquerade that it becomes very hard to find them afterward.

Okay that would work.

>
> Or maybe the family is someone special (father's a scientist or something, or mother's a high-powered attorney), and while becoming part of the act, they're mind-controlled into performing tasks for the circus' employers.

See the problem is I think they should focus on the circus rather than the mind control gimmick, there other villains with a mind control gimmick, they should focus on the creepy evil circus thing.

I think they should try to kill people in creepy ways, like throwing people in a lion cage or throwing people off diving boards 50 feet in the air, etc.

>
> Alternately, maybe the Circus of Crime should morph into something like Cirque du Soliel? A different name (obviously), but some kind of artsy, traveling acrobatics show. Each time we see them, they have a different stage gimmick, different costumes, etc. During their off hours, they pull off heists with the motif of the current stage gimmick. Or they could also do the other schemes above.
Like I said, shouldn't people know they are criminals now?

__________________
>
>
> The Legend of LIONMAN and the Seven Kurodos
> Experience The Bijou



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Icon




> > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.


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Jared




> > > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.

Yeah, there were a few dumb things about the Red Triangle Gang, but look at what they had in their favor-sword swallowers with real swords; crazed clowns with bombs, bazookas, nunchucks and long knives; fire-eaters who spat fire at their opponents; sadistic strongmen; crazed whackjobs that shot themselves out of cannons as kamikaze missiles, and everything in between.

Sure, Batman clobbered them, but he's Batman. They were a bunch of dangerous psychos that played for keeps, and that's one of the things that made them cool.

If you leave aside the idiocy of their hacking the Batmobile, I still think they'd make a much better model for the Circus of Crime, rather than a bunch of R-List criminals that Omega the Unknown could take out without working up a sweat.


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Icon




> > > Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.


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Cornelius




> Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.

I like them just the way they are. However, they do require updating. I'd see what ideas Dan Slott or Peter Milligan had.

I'd love Mike Allred to draw the Circus. He's also a very good writer.

Corn
Reading: Nearing the end of the snazzy METAL MEN SHOWCASE vol. 1, the Moench/Sienkiewicz MOON KNIGHT Classics - a selection (after which I'll reread the first twelve issues of the fresh series), WEDDING PREPARATIONS IN THE COUNTRY AND OTHER STORIES by Franz Kafka and the THE HISTORY OF NEW ZEALAND by Keith Sinclair.
Listening: Johnny Cash and Tom Waits.
Watching: EXTRAS and FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS are a given. On dvd: PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (the original BBC series from 1978 with Bob Hoskins - every bit the other Dennis Potter masterpiece that THE SINGING DETECTIVE is) and SPACE 1999 (such highly welcome cheese.)
Flicks: HERCULES UNCHAINED (with Steve Reeves wrestling tiger-skins in awesome spaghetti magnificence.)



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Omar Karindu




> Why are the ringmaster and the Circus of crime so lame, I always thought an evil circus should be way creepier and scarier than what is often presented in the pages of comics.

You know, of course, that they're essentially a CCA-friendly update of Simon and Kirby's original Ringmaster of Death and his circus from Captain America Comics #5, right?

- Omar Karindu

"A Renoir. I have three, myself. I had four, but ordered one burned...It displeased me." -- Doctor Doom

"It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey


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