Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hugo vs. Hugo

Every now and again, in the rare instances Prof. Hugo comes up in a discussion, he is confused with sometimes professor Hugo Strange. In fact, I was just asked about this issue in a comment made last week. As a Hugo service announcement, I will briefly explain the difference between the two.

Doctor Hugo Strange created as one of Batman's first reoccurring Golden Age foes, predating the Joker & Catwoman. Credited to Bob Kane, but given his reliance on a studio, it was more likely Bill Finger and/or Jerry Robinson. Strange was a mad scientist who robbed banks with a fog machine, once doped Batman up with a super-steroid, and then seemingly perished.

Professor Arnold Hugo created as one of the last Batman foes of the much maligned Jack Schiff “sci-fi” period, only battling the Caped Crusader once. Credited to Bob Kane, who was doing absolutely no work himself at that point, so there’s no telling which bullpen hands offered ideas. Hugo was a mad scientist who used a machine to enlarge his brain (and entire head) to become even smarter. Irked by a slight from a Gotham historical society, Hugo used a giant tiger, lightning -firing jet skis, invisible flying robots and more to ruin their events. Arnold Hugo has never been presumed deceased.

Hugo Strange was a general comic book pseudo-scientist in the Golden Age, but since his revival has held a masters in psychology. He's sometimes called "doctor," but usually "professor," even though I'm not aware of his ever being associated with a university. Either way, he steps on other characters' toes.

Arnold Hugo has such an inflated ego, and at most universities, a professor "outranks" a doctor (as you can be a doc without being a prof, but you can't be a prof without being a doc.) On the other hand, a doctorate isn't always necessary at a city/community college. I’m not sure if you needed to be a doctor to teach at a Gotham City university in the 1960s, but I suspect if one did, Hugo might have used influence/bribes to secure the position. The sort of mad science he practiced and his drive to prove himself makes a body wonder.

Hugo Strange is late middle-aged and skinny. He is bald/ing with gray hair and a Van Dyke/goatee. Strange wears off-the-rack suits he fairly swims in. Strange sometimes uses conventional weapons.

Arnold Hugo is middle-aged and skinny. He is clean shaven and has a full head of dark medium length hair (sometimes brown, usually black.) Hugo usually wears stylish custom fit suits. Hugo always has some sort of weird gadget or ray gun at his disposal.

Hugo Strange is a second-to-third tier Batman villain, showing up a few times per decade in the ‘40s and 1970s-present. I don’t recall if Strange has ever bothered anyone outside the Batman family. At several points, Strange has expressed more interested in studying and even “becoming” Batman than fighting him.

Arnold Hugo fought Batman and Robin one time, and was turned over to the Caped Crusader as a courtesy at the end of a Manhunter from Mars story. In a non-canonical children’s story, Hugo bypassed Batman to hassle Superman and Aquaman.

The Martian Manhunter:
To my knowledge, Doctor Hugo Strange has never interacted with J’onn J’onzz in any way.

Professor Arnold Hugo’s second appearance saw him move from the lead Batman feature in Detective Comics into the Manhunter from Mars back-up, and his following three appearances segued with J’onn J’onzz into House of Mystery.

In 1977, after thirty-seven years in limbo, Professor Hugo Strange returned to comics during an acclaimed run by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers. This appearance inspired irregular revivals for decades thereafter.

In 1976, The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes: Batman - Volume 1 by Michael L. Fleisher offered the erroneous listing of "Arnold, Professor Hugo." Thirty-four years later, there are people who still think it's Prof. Hugo Arnold. Hugo made no further appearances until last year.

In Summary:
Hugo Strange in a psychopathic psychiatric doctor who specializes in mind games against Batman. He looks like a taller, more realistic Dr. Sivana, and is obsessed with the Dark Knight.

Arnold Hugo is a loony professor who specializes in weird gadgets that annoy the Martian Manhunter. He looks like Peter Pumpkinhead without the vegetation.


LissBirds said...

I like Prof. Hugo's look a lot better than Hugo Strange's. You can tell he's all Silver Age.

And it would seem fitting if Prof. Hugo got his "degree" through a correspondence school...

mathematicscore said...

You know, I actually like them both quite a bit, but Prof. Hugo just has more...zazz.