I used to from time to time collect those old Marvel essential trades, those big, cheap, black-and-white reprints of stuff from the 60s. That, of course, included the early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Steve DItko. And I gotta say, there is perhaps few greater rogues galleries than Spider-Man’s, and Lee and Ditko created a whole slew of them with a whole lot of incredibly unique looks to them.
And somehow, there was also the Enforcers.
The Enforcers were a bit of a surprise when I was reading those reprints because, quite frankly, I had never heard of them. They were essentially the hired muscle for various villains who they would send out to mess with, well, usually Spider-Man, but my research (I read a Wikipedia article) tells me they messed with a lot of superheroes, including Daredevil and the Human Torch. But they were never the bosses. They were always working for someone else.
Who were these guys? Well, originally working for a crime boss creatively named “the Big Man”–who was really a much more creatively named Frederick Foswell–the Enforcers were a trio of criminals. There was Ox, who may or may not have had superstrength, but he was the big guy and the trio’s muscle. Then there was Montana who was really good with a lasso. And finally, there was their leader Fancy Dan. He was short and well-dressed, but apparently he also knew judo because back then, if you wanted to be a formidable martial artist in a comic book, you probably knew judo.
And these three guys working together could stymie Spider-Man.
Well, they could for a little while anyway.
And those guys bounced around, working for all kinds of different baddies, including the Green Goblin, and since they didn’t have the visual flare of, oh, any other classic Spider-Man villain, I just assumed they were forgotten and that was that. Heck, when I started this series, I had planned to do an entry on them but, you know, I spent 300 entries exclusively covering good guys.
But it turns out I was a bit wrong. They have come back a few times. They even picked up a few members. When Ox left, he was replaced with a second Ox who happened to be the original’s twin brother. And then there was Snake Martson, a criminal contortionist, and Hammer Harrison, a boxer who fought with metal gloves.
See? These guys are always ready to go do someone else’s dirty work since, I guess, they are not very creative on their own.
And there was a version of the original three in the Ultimate Universe.
Then again, they weren’t much more successful in the Ultimate Universe either. Some people are not exactly born leaders. For those that are, well, there are always some Enforcers you can hire.