Hugo Strange on Gotham
B.D. Wong is Hugo Strange on Fox TV’s Gotham
Jack and Troy geek out about the new villains on Gotham.
Hugo Strange is a fictional super-villain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly as an adversary of the superhero Batman. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #36 (February 1940), and is one of Batman’s first recurring villains, preceding the Joker and Catwoman by several months. Hugo Strange is also the first Batman villain to deduce the hero’s secret identity.
Hugo Strange first appears as a scientist who uses a stolen “concentrated lightning” machine to generate a dense fog every night, allowing his gang to rob banks unseen, though he knows Batman poses a threat to him. Batman, who already knows of Strange’s experiments, begins investigating him after one of his henchmen kills a man.
When his henchmen are apprehended, Strange vows to set a trap for Batman at the next target on the list. When Batman arrives over a dozen of Strange’s men are waiting for him. One of them knocks him out with a blackjack.
He wakes up in Strange’s lair, where Strange hangs him from his wrists and lashes him with a whip. Batman breaks the ropes, gasses the room, and tackles Strange. He is jailed but plans to escape.
In Hugo’s second appearance he escapes from the “city asylum” with a gang of criminals, then breaks out “five insane patients” and uses them as test subjects, turning them into hulking 15 ft zombies by administering a powerful artificial growth hormone that acts on the pituitary gland. They wear bulletproof clothing, and he releases them to wreak havoc in Gotham City while his men commit robberies.
Strange administers the serum to Batman after the giants capture him, saying it will work in 18 hours. Batman tricks two of the monsters into killing each other, and then saves himself by creating a drug that prevents any abnormal secretions from the pituitary gland.
He is then able to kill all the other monsters, and sends Strange to his apparent demise, although he suspects that the mad scientist has survived. In Detective Comics #46 Strange starts spreading a fear-inducing powder around the city until a punch from Batman sends him falling to his apparent death.
He returned in the 1970s during the “Strange Apparitions” story arc. Having survived his earlier “death,” Strange is running a private hospital for Gotham’s wealthiest citizens where he holds them to ransom and changes them into monsters.
When Bruce Wayne checks into the hospital to recover discreetly from radiation burns he sustained while fighting Doctor Phosphorus, Strange finds out that Wayne is Batman and proceeds to wreak havoc on his personal life. Strange then attempts to auction the identity of Batman to City Council Boss Rupert Thorne, Penguin, and Joker. Thorne has Strange kidnapped and beaten to reveal Batman’s identity, but Strange apparently dies before he can tell them. Strange’s ghost comes back to haunt Thorne, driving the council boss insane. Thorne confesses his long career of corruption and is sent to prison.
As revealed in Batman #356 (Feb. 1983) Strange had indeed survived the beating from Thorne’s men, by using yoga to slow his heartbeat to an undetectable level. Strange created the ‘ghost’ that haunted Thorne which drove him to confess to the authorities. Subsequently Strange attempts to weaken Bruce Wayne through the use of drugs and robots, with the ultimate goal of usurping the mantle of Batman. The plan fails, and Strange apparently dies once more when he blows up a replica of Wayne Manor.