The Masquerader (Sam Tweed) is an obscure Batman villain. He appeared but once, in 1969 (Detective Comics Vol. 1 #390).
At this point, Batman stories are still camp, and in the vein of the hugely popular Batman TV show. But this is one of the last such stories, as Batman will soon become a more serious, darker character.
The Masquerader himself isn’t that campy. But the story’s basics are firmly tied to Silver Age Batman. This makes it difficult for the Masquerader to have existed post-Crisis on Infinite Earths.
(Difficult but not impossible. Especially if you adopt the Grant Morrison view that there was a strange, brief era early in Batman’s career that echoes Silver Age sci-fi weirdness).
- Real Name: Sam Tweed.
- Marital Status: Unrevealed.
- Known Relatives: None.
- Group Affiliation: Leader of his own criminal crew.
- Base of Operations: Gotham City.
- Height: 5’7″ Weight: 135 lbs.
- Eyes: Blue Hair: Brown
Powers & Abilities
Sam Tweed is an adept tailor.
During his Masquerader plot, he used some speciality fabrics and materials. But these likely were researched specifically for this occasion. Since the late 1960s Batman costume seems made of ordinary fabric, without the terribly expensive specialty materials seen in later versions.
As the Masquerader, Tweed used :
- An ordinary handgun, likely in .45 ACP.
- An inflatable costume. It made him look like a big, tall and muscular man. This trick costume offered good protection from blows. It could also be nigh-instantly deflated to escape from holds, or squeeze through small spaces.
- The costume also presumably distorts his voice, since Batman didn’t recognize it.
- Booby-trapped fabric. This seems to be normal fabric under average conditions of heat and humidity. But in hot and dry conditions, it becomes increasingly tighter and more rigid. This greatly hinders the wearer, and will eventually kill them through constriction and asphyxiation.
(According to Tweed, it is “hygroscopic monofilament of steel-like strength”.)
The Masquerader was also assisted by a gang of brawny, capable toughs.
Labouring in the shadows, Sam Tweed was Batman (Bruce Wayne)’s tailor. He was the one making his distinctive costumes. Tweed would take orders over the phone, and deposit them at Commissioner Gordon’s precinct house.
(Back then, Batman was a close ally of the Gotham City Police Department. He was even given free rein to investigate special cases.)
But Tweed grew jealous, and weary of providing garments for others to shine in.
He thus came up with a strange plan to eliminate Batman. From there he could take over as Gotham’s newest master of crime.
To fit the part he tailored a scary, embiggening costume for himself. This was the Masquerader persona.
As the Masquerader, Tweed did the usual thing – sending clues to Gordon to lure Batman to crime scenes.
His gang would then focus on ruining Batman’s costume. Then the Masquerader would escape, using the fact that he seemed too large to fit his prepared escape route.
Once the Batman ran out of costumes, Tweed sent a booby-trapped replacement costume.
As the Masquerader, he also pretended to have found and murdered Sam Tweed. Tweed’s name was on the label found on shredded parts of the Batman costume (!).
This trick was to force Batman and Robin to split, by giving them two urgent leads.
The Masquerader then confronted Batman under a large, ceiling-mounted infrared lamp. This heated and dried Batman’s booby-trapped costume, incapacitating him.
However, Batman managed to produce a pen laser from his utility belt, and shoot it at the ceiling. This activated the sprinklers, rehydrating his costume.
From there Wayne easily defeated Tweed, who was never seen again.
As the Masquerader, he seems to be something like 6’5″ and 300 lbs. There’s no panel where his size can clearly be assessed, but he’s huge.
Overconfident, jealous jerk who thinks that he’s all that.
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
Masquerader (Sam Tweed)
|Dex: 03||Str: 02||Bod: 02||Motivation: Power|
|Int: 03||Wil: 03||Min: 03||Occupation: Tailor|
|Inf: 03||Aur: 03||Spi: 03||Wealth: 005|
|Init: 009||HP: 015|
Artist (Tailor): 05, Vehicles (Land): 03 Weaponry (Firearms): 03
- Handgun [BODY 03, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 08, R#03].
- MASQUERADER COSTUME [/STR/ 05 BODY 04, Artist (Actor): 08, Enhance (Unarmed RV): 05 (cap is 08), Enhance (Blunt RV): 03 (cap is 06), Grappling Immunity: 03, B&L :
- Grappling Immunity requires deflating the costume.
- Artist (Actor) is only usable as a disguise. Both to look convincingly much bigger, and to alter Tweed’s voice.
The Masquerader costume might also have APs of Lightning Immunity.
Lost in a masquerade
The Masquerader’s gang were pretty tough guys. They could reliably hit Batman and damage his costume. They generally held their own against the Dynamic Duo. How to model that ?
- Assume that damaging Batman’s costume wasn’t, in game terms, a Trick Shot or a Take Away Manoeuvre. Treating it as a standard attack that damages the costume rather than the wearer is IMO reasonable.
- Allow them to occasionally Team Attack. One such Manoeuvre is clearly seen early in the story.
- Keep in mind that this isn’t the Denis O’Neil Batman yet. He’s a good fighter, but not a phenomenal martial artist. His AV, in particular, can’t be higher than 06.
- Use some of the better stats for the gang members from our Stock Thugs And Criminals article.
- Lastly, the Masquerader was statted with Leadership and a highballed Hero Points scores. This works well to represent the story’s combat scenes.
Death by textile
The booby-trapped costume, once dried by the infrared lamp, started reducing Batman’s DEX and STR, then do Physical Attacks against him.
There isn’t much material to analyse. But the proposed Numb Power should work, though it did Killing Combat. Batman was almost entirely immobilised and powerless within four or five Phases.
This uses our usual method of giving minor characters only the scores they need for the story.
Were it a 1980s Mayfair Games sourcebook, the Masquerader would likely have higher Attributes just because he wears a costume. If you prefer this approach, just grab a stats block for a comparable character from the Batman Sourcebook .
No Growth for the Masquerader costume, since the effects were almost purely cosmetic. And the protective capabilities were beyond what one AP of Growth grants.
The costume might offer protection against more attacks. Here we stick, as usual, with what was demonstrated.
Source of Character: Detective Comics.
Helper(s): Darci, Michael Ficklin.
Writeup completed on the 25th of April, 2018.