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The Odd Man by Steve Ditko

Odd Man


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

The Odd Man is a minor but memorable creation of Steve Ditko , who appeared in 1978/79. There were further apperances, but I think all are Easter eggs, usually in crowd scenes. In any case, this profile only covers the one, fully published story, in Detective Comics vol. 1 #487.

IIRC The Odd Man was a victim of the DC Implosion . The story in ’Tec #487 was actually slated as the first in a series of backup adventures in Shade, The Changing Man but Shade (like so many others… Vixen #1 (sob)) bit the dust before it could see the light of day. What can I say… I’m a Ditko fan !

The Odd Man’s visual may have been inspired by the work of M.C. Escher.


Background

  • Real Name: Clay Stoner
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: River City
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 160lbs
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond (as Clay) Black (as The Odd Man)


Powers and Abilities

From all indications, The Odd Man is an intelligent, perceptive, and physically adept hero.

As well as being a gifted gadgeteer , The Odd Man is a detective of some ability. His friend, Judge Brass, who is privy to his double identity, often helps him in his investigations.

The Odd Man’s agility is remarkable. For instance, it allowed him to dodge many attacks by the Pharaoh’s Mummy Gun. He is an untutored martial artist who can, nevertheless, hold his own in a fight. However, he prefers to rely on his gadgets and weapons in combat.

Tools of oddity

He has built a number of ingenious, if low-tech, weapons to use in his war against crime and appears able to devise more as needed.

  • He wears a clip-on tie, fashioned from some extremely elastic fabric and sporting a weighted knot, that he can wield in combat.
  • He has gloves that produce a disorienting cloud of smoke when he claps them together.
  • He sports a pair of shoes which allow him to walk on any surface through some, as yet unrevealed, means.

In his battle against the Pharaoh, his only recorded adventure, it took him only 24 hours to devise a spray capable of dissolving the glue-like, plastic compound from the Pharaoh’s Mummifier Gun. He also used this spray to coat the floor producing an oily patch on which the Pharaoh lost his balance.

Den of oddity

The Odd Man has designed a special headquarters that he can use to interrogate criminals. The room can be made to shift 45 degrees on its axis. It also features a disorienting floor plan. Furthermore, the Odd Man’s special shoes allow him to walk on any of the walls, further heightening the Escheresque  effect.

So unnerving is the room that any criminal that he brings there for interrogation soon cracks and tells The Odd Man everything he needs to know.


History

“He came from nowhere, garbed in a confused costume that would make a carnival clown blush with embarrassment. His weapons were absurd – impossible ! But somehow he became the terror of criminals, and everyone began to wonder – who is The Odd Man !”
(From The Odd Man by Steve Ditko. Published in Detective #487.)

That is all the explanation that is given for Clay Stoner’s strange costumed identity.

In his first and only recorded case, The Odd Man opposed the plans of The Pharaoh. Suitably outfitted in Egyptian garb, the Pharaoh sought to gain the Nile Stones. Together, these gems formed the Nile Necklace, a gift for the villainous Queen Nyla.

Of course, these jewels were in the possession of private collector’s and the Pharaoh went on a killing spree with his Mummifier gun to obtain them.

In the end, The Odd Man defeated the Pharaoh, who accidentally shot Nyla with his Mummifier. Without his queen, his very reason for living, the despondent Pharaoh turned the gun on himself.

Recently, The Odd Man resurfaced at Project: Cadmus applying for the lab’s security position. When last seen, The Odd Man was wall-walking away from a confused Superboy after spouting nonsense. It is unknown whether Clay has merely chosen to enhance his unnerving motif or if The Odd Man has somehow gotten – odder.


Description

Okay, hold tight ! As The Odd Man, Clay wears a garish costume presumably to disorient and unnerve criminals.

Starting from the top : Clay wears a mask with black, rooted hair and a Caucasian skin tone. The mask’s eyes are two wide, arched voids (no pupil or iris). His left eye is yellow and his right is red. The mask’s mouth, also devoid of detail, is a wide white smile / grimace. The nose is a triangular shape slightly darker than the rest of the mask.

He wears a clip-on necktie which is yellow with large black spots down the front and thick diagonal black stripes at the knot (upper right to lower left). His shirt is black and white with checks. The shirt’s left collar is white while the right is black. The front of the shirt is solid black on the left side but white with diamond checks on the right.

His short gloves are white and cuffed at the wrist and his shoes are navy. Which brings us to his “business suit” which is where things get really strange !

The jacket goes like this. Left side ; lapel : solid yellow, front : blue with thick diagonal black stripes (upper left to lower right), back : solid blue, upper arm : yellow with diamond checks, forearm : solid red. Right side ; lapel : blue with thick diagonal black stripes (upper left to lower right), front : solid red, back : red with diamond checks, upper arm : yellow with thick horizontal black stripes, forearm : red with thin vertical black stripes. His trousers are similarly bizarre. Left leg ; waist to knee : red with thick vertical black stripes, knee to ankle : yellow with diamond checks. Right leg ; waist to knee : yellow with thick horizontal black stripes, knee to ankle : red with thin vertical black stripes.

Out of costume, Clay is glimpsed briefly in a plain white T-shirt and blue jeans. He is also seen visiting the River City Museum in the company of his old friend, Judge Brass. On this outing, he sports a navy blue business suit, white shirt, and pale orange and black print necktie. Clay is a “regular Joe” type with blue eyes, short blond hair, and a slim but athletic build.


Personality

The Batman terrifies criminals. The Odd Man, on the other hand, makes them really uncomfortable. At least, that is what appears to be Clay Stoner’s reason for dressing in a costume ludicrous enough to “make a carnival clown blush”.

His one recorded adventure features him using his strange appearance and his headquarters’ unique charms to scare information out of underworld fence, Ike Loges.

In combat against the Pharaoh, The Odd Man quips like any good card-carrying action hero. While being sealed into a sarcophagus by the Pharaoh’s strange Mummifier gun, Clay complains about the “sleeping arrangements” and when he frees himself he surprises the villains with, “Now it’s time for you two to be sealed up – in a jail cell !”

Clay Stoner is an inquisitive individual who puzzles over the central mystery of the Pharaoh case eagerly. It is also obvious that he harbors great respect for his friend, Judge Brass.


Quotes

“I am… The Odd Man ! I want some information, Ike ! And what happens to you depends on the truth of your answers !”


DC Universe History

Well, he’s already there. But where has he been ?


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

The Odd Man

Dex: 06 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Seeking Justice
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Private Investigator
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 019 HP: 035

Skills:
Acrobatics (Dodging)*: 06, Charisma (Interrogation, Intimidation): 06, Detective (Clue Analysis)*: 06, Gadgetry*: 06, Martial Artist*: 06, Weaponry (Exotic)*: 06

Advantages:
Buddy (Judge Brass), Expansive Headquarters (Note: Though the headquarters appears to encompass only one room I have chosen to designate it an Expansive Headquarters by virtue of its very special properties. See below), Sharp Eye

Drawbacks:
Secret Identity

Equipment:

  • UNNERVING HEADQUARTERS [BODY 10, STR 09, R#: 02, Miscellaneous Advantage: The Odd Man’s headquarters is an Escheresque affair with a door that opens to reveal a bricked up exit, a flight of stairs in the middle of a wall, and each piece of furniture affixed to a different “floor” and oriented to a different “ceiling”. In addition, the entire room appears to be on some sort of hydraulic system that allows The Odd Man to tilt it up to 45 degrees on its side. When he brings a criminal to his headquarters for questioning, he receives a -1 CS bonus to the OV of any Interrogation or Intimidation attempt he makes against the criminal]
  • CLING SHOES [BODY 02, Cling: 03]
  • POWDER AND SMOKE GLOVES [BODY 01, Fog: 05, R#: 03]
  • Weighted Extended Tie [BODY 01, Stretching: 01, EV: 03]
  • 05 AP C Omni-Gadgets (x1)

Note: While The Odd Man refers to both his tie and gloves by the names given above, his shoes and headquarters are not referred to by specific names. His shoes, in fact, are purely conjecture. He might very well possess the Cling Power but the other gadgets in his employ indicates that, most likely, the shoes are doing the actual work.


Buddy: Judge Brass

Clay Stoner’s friend, Judge Brass, assists him on the Pharaoh case. He is present when Clay states that perhaps The Odd Man should pay a visit to one of the suspects. Hence, he has been designated a Buddy.

Clad in a dark suit, Judge Brass appears to be in his early 50s, with graying brown hair, dark bushy eyebrows, and a slightly overweight frame. He stands a few inches shorter than Clay and walks with a hook-handled cane.

Brass likely possesses Physical and Mystical Attributes appropriate for an average human being. His Int, however, might be raised a bit to 03 or 04 APs. He also possesses Detective (Clue Analysis, Law, Police Procedure): 04 and High Level Connections to River City’s Police Department.

By Vincent Paul Bartilucci

Source of Character: Detective Comics #487

Helper(s): Robert J. Becker

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