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MAKE MY MORT! DC’s Clock King

It’s about time

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C’mon. You knew sooner or later Clock King would show up. He’s the very definition of Mort: ridiculous costume, laughable power set, and a losing streak as long as your arm. And yet, since his debut in the August 1960 issue of World’s Finest Comics #111, Clock King has maintained a steady presence in the DC Universe. He’s appeared in comics, live-action television, cartoons, toys, video games… there’s even a Facebook group petitioning to get him on WB’s Arrow! In spite of his apparent Mortdom, Clock King is doing all right for himself.

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Fate had been cruel to William Tockman. Eking out a meager living in Star City as a clock repairman while caring for his invalid sister Beverly, Tockman was diagnosed with a fatal illness and given six months to live. Worried about how his sister would care for herself in his absence, he decided to provide for her with the proceeds from a series of crimes he’d commit. Knowing he only had six months to live emboldened Tockman — he crafted a bizarre costume and a number of clock and time-related gadgets to aid him on a crime spree as the Clock King!

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Unfortunately for him, the inexperienced Tockman soon crossed paths with Star City’s resident superhero Green Arrow and was easily defeated and imprisoned for his crimes. In jail, Tockman discovered he’d he been wrongly diagnosed: he didn’t have a fatal illness after all. His sister, on the other hand, died penniless and alone during his incarceration. Driven mad with grief, Tockman returned to his Clock King identity, seeking revenge on Green Arrow. You can probably imagine how that went.

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Sheesh. Rub it in, guys. Hasn’t this poor clown suffered enough? I mean, look at him. Green Arrow didn’t beat him, life did.

In 1966, Walter Slezak portrayed the character in two episodes of ABC’s popular live-action Batman television show. Lucky for viewers, the costuming department eschewed the skin-tight outfit and put the ample-bodied Slezak in a suit. If you were a fan of the King back then, you may have been a little disappointed he’d been changed so significantly from his comic book counterpart, but Slezak made the best of it, turning in a memorable performance. I mean, his eyebrows alone are worth the price of admission!

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Three wrist-watches? Bling, thy name be Slezak.

Back in the comics world, Clock King joined the Injustice League because losing is more fun when you do it in a group. He schlepped around the DCU picking up crumbs where he could find them, but his brand of villainy had largely fallen out of favor. Comics had become grim and gritty in the decades since his creation and the guy wearing a clock on his face was the last person a hero wanted to be seen fighting. King discovered he had to change with the times.

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Clock King struck again in 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series. He had a new name, origin, and costume — okay, it wasn’t a costume so much a brown suit; the only clock motifs in evidence were the decorated lenses of his glasses and his hour-hand sword-cane. Still, it was a great redesign, even if, once again, fans were wringing their hands over the changes. King appeared in B:TAS twice, as well as turning up in a few episodes of Justice League Unlimited. This version actually received a figure, which shows Matty thought enough of the character to take a pass at him.

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Recently yet another incarnation of the Clock King appeared in an episode of Batman: Brave and the Bold. With his regal fur-trimmed cape and crown, the new design puts as much emphasis on King as it does Clock. It’s nifty, but nowhere near as fun as the original. Back in the comics, a new younger and “edgier” version of Clock King appeared in Teen Titans #56, but was almost immediately retconned out of existence by the Nu52 event. Tockman hasn’t been seen since, making a return to the classic Clock King costume entirely possible.

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If you’ve read this far, you’ll probably agree: Clock King would make a fantastic action figure, and who better to illustrate that point than Mortdom’s own Dr. Doolittle, ibentmyman-thing!

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Benty’s Clock King screams coolEven if you know nothing about the character, you immediately get what he’s about. The design is pure eye-candy — it’s colorful, creative, and doesn’t look out of place next to today’s weird toy lines like Regular Show or Adventure Time. A guy with a clock for a face? Someone is kicking themselves right now wishing they’d thought of it! It’s a terrific concept and one that deserves it’s due.

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In this Nu52 world of v-neck collars and panel lining, it’s nice to get back to the basics. His tights-and-cape look ties King to the classic DC aesthetic, while his vivid colors and repeated clock pattern makes him stand out in a sea of villains. Best of all, Clock King would be easy enough to make using existing tooling — having the cape and the body already made could free up Matty to go deluxe on the head and provide the clock face with moving arms. It’s a simple feature that would add a huge amount of playability to an already nifty toy. In this day of $27 Club figures it would be nice to get something that felt like it was worth it.

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Clock King is uniquely DC — you’d never mistake this guy for a Marvel character, and that’s okay. DC has always skewed wackier in their creations, infusing their four-color offerings with a sense of fun and excitement unmatched in the world of comics. It was an approach that served the company well for decades and still remains within easy reach — just look at the aforementioned Batman: Brave and the Bold to see it in action. Classic DC villains shouldn’t be portrayed as today’s generic brooding sociopaths; they should be allowed to remain unique and true to their natures. The writers and artists of yesterday have provided a fantastic legacy to build on, and characters like Clock King deserve their due. They certainly deserve a space on our toy shelves. So say it with me now:

C’mon, Matty, Make My Mort!

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Thanks to ibentmyman-thing for  for allowing us to showcase his timely custom! Check out his other great customs here: http://thefwoosh.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=24971

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