|First appearance||All-American Comics #85 (May 1947)|
|Created by||John Broome|
|Alter ego||Lawrence "Crusher" Crock|
|Team affiliations||Injustice Society|
Legion of Doom
|Altered in-story information for adaptations to other media|
|Team affiliations||Secret Society of Super Villains (Justice League Unlimited), |
League of Shadows (Young Justice)
The Sportsmaster is the name of different supervillains appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The Lawrence "Crusher" Crock version of Sportsmaster is usually depicted as a criminal who uses sports-themed weapons and gadgets to commit crimes. He is also the husband of Paula Brooks and the father of Artemis Crock.
Crusher / Sportsmaster appeared in Young Justice, voiced by Nick Chinlund, and Stargirl, portrayed by Neil Hopkins.
The Lawrence Crock version of Sportsmaster first appeared in All-American Comics #85 (May 1947) and was created by writer John Broome and artist Irwin Hasen.
The Victor Gover version of Sportsmaster first appeared in Manhunter #17 and was created by John Ostrander, Doug Rice, and Kim Yale.
He was the foe of the original Green Lantern as well as Wildcat. He was first known as Crusher Crock, a frustrated athlete who turns to a life of crime. He was a member of different incarnations of the Injustice Society. He helped capture the JSA using an exploding ball, after which they were hypnotized and then during the Patriotic Crimes he steals Old Ironside. He teams up with (and later marries) the Golden Age villainess Huntress. Later they have a child named Artemis Crock who became the third Tigress. In his later years he spent time behind bars but at least on one occasion was broken out of prison by his daughter - then a member of Injustice Unlimited. Following his death, his body was cloned by a secret organization called the Council for their enforcers (they had previously used Manhunter).
In the Elseworlds miniseries The Golden Age, set outside regular DC Comics continuity, Sportsmaster's real name was revealed to be Lawrence Crock. He first appears in issue #2, robbing a jewelry store in the same building as the GBS radio station. He battles Alan Scott in a physical fight. According to the mini-series, he had a daughter he could not see and was hoping to earn enough money committing robberies to win her back. Later he joins the forces of Tex Thompson (secretly Ultra-Humanite in Thompson's body). He dies trying to save a little girl from being killed by Dynaman. His death convinces Alan Scott to join the fight.
The Earth-One version of the character (see DC Comics Multiverse) had the same name and origin, but was the foe of Robin and Batgirl. He also married his universe's version of the Huntress. After losing a villains versus heroes baseball game, they reformed and have not been seen since. Since the Crisis on Infinite Earths, this version was apparently wiped from existence or merged with his Earth-2 counterpart.
In 2011, The New 52 rebooted the DC universe. The Lawrence Crock version of Sportsmaster appears as a member of Leviathan. He is also mentioned to be the roommate of Clock King, and the two fight Harley Quinn.
There was also another Sportsmaster whose identity was Victor Gover, an African-American former football player who possessed "photographic reflexes". Blacklisted from the world of professional sports after his meta-human abilities were revealed, he turned to crime with a special armored suit that he wore. He fought against Manhunter.
He also became a member of the Suicide Squad for one mission during War of the Gods. They are sent on an intelligence-gathering mission against the magic-user Circe. The Sportsmaster's allies included Black Adam, Javelin, and the author avatar of Grant Morrison. Sportsmaster was one of the few members to survive this mission.
Following the events of Zero Hour, the character of Victor Gover was radically altered. Victor Gover was now a white male with blonde hair, who no longer had photographic reflex powers, but was a disgraced all-American athlete who turned to crime due to an addiction to gambling. Furthermore, he also wore an exact replica of the original Sportsmaster's costume. Fighting Wildcat, Victor was betting on himself as part of a betting parlor based on metahuman fights. Gover then fought against a handicapped JSA, who were taking a dive to ensure the kidnapped Ma Hunkel's safety. After Wildcat freed Ma Hunkel, the JSA quickly routed him. Wildcat then took Gover to the alley where the whole incident began, beat Gover savagely, and forced Gover to retire as a supervillain and attend Gamblers Anonymous.
There were two individuals who modeled their modus operandi after the original Sportsmaster, the Sportsman of Earth-2 and the Sportsman of Earth-1.
The Earth-2 version gained his powers from absorption of an anti-proton globe which enhanced his physical attributes and allowed him to wield seemingly telekinetic control of various sports related implements. This version embarked on a life of crime as a result of the globe's effect on the rational functions of his cerebral cortex. He battled several heroes including the Golden Age Robin and Wildcat.
The Earth-1 version was Martin Mantle, Jr. and appeared only in Batman #338 (1981). During Mantle's youth, his father, disgusted by his son's poor athletic performance, forcibly subjected him to unsafe enhancement treatment in a twisted attempt to make him more "manly". Although emotionally scarred by the incident, Mantle indeed grew up to become a champion athlete, only to learn his father's procedure was altering his body in a way that would eventually kill him. As the Sportsman, he embarked on a brief life of crime with Olympian-level physical attributes and specialized equipment of his own design. His adversary was the Silver Age Batman who allowed him to "win" once he became aware that Mantle's life was nearing its end.
Sportsmaster appears as one of General Immortus' followers in Final Crisis Aftermath: Run!. His real name, origin, and any connection to Crock is not revealed. He is killed in an explosion. His look is modeled on the Earth-One Sportsman.
Crock uses sporting-themed weapons such as exploding baseballs, flying bases, rocket baseball bats, knockout basketballs, lacrosse snare nets, exploding hockey pucks. Their outfits generally included a baseball cap, catcher's mask, padded jersey, catcher's chestguard, football-style pants, and cleats.
Each of the Sportsmasters and Sportsmen had superb physical attributes on par with Olympic athletes in their prime. As noted above, Victor Gover also had "photographic reflexes".
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Sportsmaster is imprisoned in Doom prison. During the prison break, Sportsmaster was forced by Heat Wave and Eel O'Brian attempt to breakout from cells. Sportsmaster's heart is torn out by Eel O'Brian.
During pre-production, James Gunn originally considered adding Sportsmaster to the titular team of his film The Suicide Squad, but eventually decided not to use the character.
The Young Justice incarnation of Sportsmaster appears as a boss in Young Justice: Legacy, voiced again by Nick Chinlund.