How ‘Gotham’ Is Recreating This Creepy-Funny DC Comics Villain

Jeff Neumann/FOX

After an unacceptably long hiatus, Gotham Season 4 finally returns on March 1, and it's bringing along some fearsome new villains to join its impressively-sized ensemble. DC Comics villain Toy Maker will be one of the new personalities arriving in the second half of the season, according to the synopsis for the March 1 midseason premiere. The series will put a new spin on the character, but the Toy Maker did not originate on Gotham — far from it.

The character actually dates back to 1942 (as Toymaker) with an appearance in Master Comics as a bad guy who fights (and is defeated by) the valiant hero Minute Man. Toy Maker eventually returned to the DC universe in the animated series The Batman as a villain renamed Cosmo Krank, the head of his own toy company, Krank Co. After Krank Co. is shut down by the Batman, Krank begins using his toy crafting abilities to create gadgets and become a villain.

This new version of the character will be targeting Lee, according to TV Line, as the Toy Maker has been hired to kill "The Doc," which is her new identity as a gang leader in the Narrows. No version of the Toy Maker has ever really been an assassin before, so this spin will distinguish Gotham's take from previous incarnations of this character. In the previews for "Pieces of a Broken Mirror," Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox explore a toy shop that's been retrofitted with well-designed weapons in hopes of killing specific targets.

And Toy Maker is not alone — there are more than a few toy-themed DC villains that have popped up over the years. Most of them also create evil toys or turn people into their playthings. Closest in name is probably the Toyman, a Superman foe who originated in 1943 and creates a variety of toys that help him do his evil bidding. A legacy character, his mantle has been adopted by several different people over the years. His most famous incarnation is probably Winslow Schott, a older eccentric with a love for technologically advanced toys who was pushed into a life of crime after a brush with some arms dealers. The character recurred for years as a Superman character, and was also the inspiration for Winn Schott and his father on Supergirl. Toyman was later rebooted as New 52 hero Hiro Okamura, a kid genius, inventor, and member of the Justice League.

There's also the Toymaster, who originated in 1967 as a court jester-dressed criminal who used toy-based tricks. The character was never significantly revived post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, which would make taking any inspiration from him a real throwback for any contemporary comics fan. There's Doll Man and Doll Girl, heroes who have the power to shrink themselves, though their toy-based names don't have much of a connection to their abilities. And of course, don't forget the Dollmaker, who was already adapted as Dr. Francis Dulmacher on the show back in Season 1. He's the one who was kidnapping children around the city, harvesting people's organs, and was ultimately overthrown by Fish Mooney after she became the champion of his island of misfits and victims.

So from an evil surgeon to a twisted inventor, there are plenty of toy-based bad guys in DC Comics history. And while the Toy Maker's comics past doesn't run that deep, after decades of this character-type appearing all over the comics, there's a lot of room for this character to be totally unique. For one, this Gotham bad guy has Lee Thompkins in his sights, which means Jim's number one priority will be taking him down.