Circus of Crime is a traveling band of circus performers, usually led by Maynard
Tiboldt, better known as the Ringmaster, who use their special skills to rob theiiences.
Circus of Crime was originally Tiboldt's Circus, a small Austrian travel circus
managed for generations by members of the Tiboldt family. In the 1930s Fritz Tiboldt,
then managed and ringmaster of the circus, became active in Nazi party activities.
After World War II began, he was asked by German intelligence to take his circus
to America, supposedly just to give performances in major cities, but actually
in order to use the talents of the Nazi sympathizers among his performers to murder
high government officials. However, Tiboldt, who came to be known as the "Ringmaster
Of Death," was captured by Captain America, and both Tiboldt and the members
of his circus who had aided him in his subversive activities ported.
Tiboldt and his wife Lola continued to manage Tiboldt's Circus after the war.
Eventually Fritz and Lola Tiboldt were murdered by Nazis who had escaped capture
in vengeance for their cooperation with the Allies. Fritz's son, Maynard Tiboldt,
thereupon succeeded him as leader and ringmaster of the circus, and decided to
move it to America, far from the scene of Hitler's rise to power and his par
But once in America, Tiboldt's Circus proved incapable
of competing successfully with larger with larger American
circuses. Blaming Americans not only for ignoring his circus,
but also for his father's humiliating capture in America
years before, Tiboldt decided to turn to crime. If Americans
would not enrich him and his performers willingly, they
would be forced to do so. Tiboldt outlined his plans to
the members of his troupe, a number of whom had accompanied
him from Europe, and others of whom had joined the troupe
after it came to America. A good percentage of the troupe
quit, refusing to turn to a life of crime. However, a surprising
number of the circus members eagerly agreed to join Tiboldt
in his criminal endeavors, and they became the first members
of what is known as the Circus of Crime.
Circus of Crime usual modus operandi is the following. They will give a performance
before a large audience. At some point the Ringmaster will use the powerful mind-control
device concealed in his hat to put the audience into a trance. The Circus members
then rob the audience, who remember nothing about the thefts when the Ringmaster
releases them from the trance and the performance continues. The Circus of Crime
performs under different names so that audience will not suspect that they are
the Cf Crime.
the years the membership of the Circus of Crime has varied, although there is
a core group that has participated in most of its criminal ventures. The Ringmaster
and his accomplices have been imprisoned by the law numerous times, but rarely
for long, given the difficulties of proving the charges against them, since their
victims usually have no memory of being robbed by them. Occasionally the Circus
of Crime has operated without the Ringmaster, either because he is in prison,
or because some have become dissatisfied with his leadership. However, he has
always returned a leader.
First Appearance: HULK #3