The Circus of Crime is a gang of evil circus performers led by the Ringmaster and a villainous organization in the Marvel Comics.
Oddly, there were two organizations in the Old West who dubbed themselves the Circus of Crime. Both teams fought against Kid Colt.
World War II
Originally a spy organization employed by the Nazis during World War II, Tiboldt's Circus was a traveling circus led by Fritz Tiboldt, the Ringmaster, and he and his performers would use their special skills and talents to rob their audiences. He was sent to America to murder US Government officials, under cover of his circus activities, Tiboldt and his gang fell afoul of Captain America and were deported back to Germany, where Fritz Tiboldt and his wife were subsequently murdered by their former employers.
The modern day Circus of Crime first came to the authorities' attention when they carried out a series of robberies of small towns using the Ringmaster's skill in hypnotism to mesmerize entire towns. Regrettably for the Circus, Rick Jones was one of the victims of their capers, and his involvement led to the involvement of the Hulk, as Rick briefly had telepathic control over the Hulk. He resisted the Ringmaster's hypnotism when the Ringmaster tried to bill him as 'The Monster of the Age', leading to the Circus' arrest. After a brief stretch in prison, the Circus visited New York City, where they battled both Spider-Man and Daredevil. The Ringmaster was briefly able to hypnotise Spider-Man. The Circus' core members later briefly operated as the Masters of Menace (a name thought up by Princess Python) after being released from prison and throwing the Ringmaster off the team, replacing him with the Clown. However they were again captured by Spider-Man.
The Circus of Crime established themselves as recurrent antagonists in several Marvel Comics series, where they briefly attempted to recruit Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch into their ranks when the team had been disbanded but they were defeated though they made them wanted by accusing them of trying to rob the Circus, though later in the issue it is claimed the DA wormed the truth out of Princess Python(Avengers #22), hypnotized Thor into assisting with one of their schemes while he was stripped of most of his powers except his strength, attempted to sabotage the Wasp and Yellowjacket's wedding, and battled against Daredevil and Power Man. They later fought Power Pack, the Thunderbolts and Generation X.
Initially depicted as credible villains, the Circus of Crime's members were gradually used by writers as comic foils, and were once defeated by Howard the Duck. They were featured as antagonists in the first issue of the Sensational She-Hulk second series.
Old West (1870s A.D.)
- Iron Mask - An armored shootist and former blacksmith who organized Circus of Crime and another band of costumed criminals.
- Bennington Brown - A hypnotist.
- Fat Man - An Australian immigrant who was a skilled boomerang-thrower and hand-to-hand combatant.
- Doctor Danger - A ventriloquist who used magnetic weaponry. He also was a member of the Chain Gang.
- The Living Totem - An extraterrestrial giant.
- Hurricane (Harry Kane) - A member of the Circus of Crime with super-speed. He is a good marksman and a former agent of the Iron Mask. He stole a magic potion from a witch doctor and drank it after the potion was struck by lightning
- The Rattler - An acrobat, horse rider, and marksman.
- Red Raven - A winged shootist. He was given magic wings by an elderly Navajo prisoner. Not to be confused with the superhero of the same name from modern times.
Nineteenth century (1900s A.D.)
This team briefly forced Kid Colt to assist them until he exposed them.
- Sawyer - Owner and strongman.
- Blade Benson - A swordsman.
- Captain Corbett - An animal trainer.
- Mr. Marvel - A high-wire artiste.
- The Tumbling Turners - A bunch of acrobats.
World War II
- Ringmaster (Fritz Tiboldt) - An Austrian who is the father of Maynard. He led Tiboldt's circus in the 1930s and was later murdered by Nazis.
- Omir the Snake Charmer - A snake charmer.
- Spike -
- Tommy Thumb - A midget.
- Trapeze Trio - Three trapeze artists that worked with Fritz Tiboldt.
- Zandow - A strongman.
- Ringmaster (Maynard Tiboldt) - The hypnotist, ringmaster, and leader of the Circus of Crime. He is the son of Fritz Tiboldt.
- Clown (Eliot "Crafty" Franklin) - A clown who is the Circus of Crime's occasional leader. He also works as a solo assassin and has a son named Corky Franklin. Clown later became Griffin of Gamma Corps while his half-brother became the second Clown.
- Bruto the Strong Man (Bruce Olafson) - A strongman from Sweden.
- Teena the Fat Lady (Mary Stensen) - A sideshow performer. She left the circus in an effort to raise a family but eventually returned.
- Human Cannonball (Jack Pulver) - A human cannonball.
- The Great Gambonnos (Ernesto & Luigi Gambonno) - Italian acrobats.
- Live Wire (Rance Preston) - A lariat artist and former agent of the Psycho-Man. He joined the Circus of Crime in Power Man #24.
- Rajah (Kabir Mahadevu) - An elephant trainer. He often fights while riding on an elephant.
- Fire-Eater (Tomas Ramirez) - A fire-eater who led the others to force Clown back into crime when he attempted to retire.
- Swordsman (Jacques Duquesne) -
- Iron Jack Baker -
- Antoro -
- Terrax the Tamer -
- Blackwing - He first appeared as a member of the Circus of Crime in Daredevil #118. Blackwing has also has been a member of HYDRA, the Skeleton Crew and the Masters of Evil. He is the son of Silvermane.
- Blossom -
- Bub -
- Circus Crew -
- Devil Dinosaur - Hypnotized into joining the Circus of Crime.
- Dragon Man - Hypnotized into joining the Circus of Crime in Incredible Hulk #292.
- Hawkeye -
- Howard the Duck - He was forced to help the Circus of Crime in Howard the Duck #25.
- Hulk -
- Major Minor -
- Mike -
- Missing Link III -
- Moon-Boy - Hypnotized into joining the Circus of Crime.
- Princess Python (Zelda DuBois) - She has also been a member of the Masters of Evil, Serpent Squad, Serpent Society and Femizons.
- Professor - He built the Rayon Gun. He was killed by Samson when he stole the gun.
- Rex the Dog-Faced Boy -
- Stilts -
- Thor (Sigurd Jarlson)
- Ulik - Hypnotized into joining the Circus of Crime.
Appearances in other media
- The Circus of Crime appears in "The Incredible Hulk" portion of The Marvel Superheroes.
- The Circus of Crime appears in the Spider-Man episode "Carnival of Crime".
- The Circus of Crime appears in The Avengers: United They Stand episode "Comes a Swordsman".
- The Circus of Crime first appeared in the 1940's Captain America comic. Also, there were two different Circuses of Crime in the 19th century that were fought by Kid Colt and the West Coast Avengers
- Matt Murdock (Daredevil) once offered to defend them in court after having helped Spider-Man defeat them.