Captain Stingaree is a very minor villain in Batman’s rogue gallery who debuted in the three part “Slow Down and Die” story that began in Detective Comics #460 (cover dated June, 1976). Karl Crossman is the owner of the Stingaree, a pirate themed entertainment and dining cruise ship that is the “hottest in spot for Gotham’s jet set.” To the everyday person, Crossman appears to be an average businessman although one who wears pirate garb while working. Secretly though Crossman has decided to become a villain and he’s bent on eliminating Batman or Batmen since Crossman is convinced that Batman is really a role played by the triplet Courtney brothers who are private investigators. Batman persuades the Courtney brothers to help him trap Crossman over the course of the three issue story. After capturing Stingaree Batman reveals the reason for Stingaree’s vendetta against the Courtney brothers: they are actually quadruplets and Karl is their long lost brother.
Compressed storytelling was still common in comics during the 1970s. Drawing Crossman with a shaved head and full, black beard was meant to be an effective disguise to keep anyone from recognizing the resemblance to the Courtneys. Karl’s motivation for wanting to eliminate his brothers whom he was certain were all Batman is explained simply as Karl being the black sheep in the family. Neither did the writers explain how Stingaree learned to make bombs or create a miraculous chemical reaction that replicated ice when intense heat was applied to it.
Writer Bob Rozakis next used Stingaree in Secret Society of Super-Villains #6 which teamed him up with Captain Cold and Captain Boomerang. The three captains had a trio of loosely, to be generous, connected criminal adventures before being defeated by Black Canary and Captain Comet. Alas, Stingaree’s inclusion in the then popular series didn’t generate much if any enthusiasm for the character and the next several times he appears it’s literally in the background.
In 2006 author Brad Meltzer became the writer for a new Justice League of America series. In the second issue Meltzer has an undercover Jefferson Pierce (Black Lightning) talking with the Cavalier, another minor Batman villain, who has become Pierce’s informant. Meltzer wrote a piece of internal monolog for Pierce which reveals Stingaree and Cavalier have been in a relationship. An interesting revelation about two obscure characters but nothing more came of it. Both Stingaree and Cavalier appear as background characters in Batman #291 and #292 (1977) which theoretically could have been their meet cute.
Stingaree next appears in Secret Six #7 by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott. Stingaree and others were recruited to attack the Secret Six. It’s a very short lived reappearance since Simone kills off the character.
Stingaree first appeared in Detective #460 and his relationship with Cavalier is mentioned in Justice League of America #2 (volume 3). Read Cavalier’s profile.
Created by Bob Rozakis, Michael Uslan, and Ernie Chua. Art by Chua and Tatjana Woods from the cover of Detective #460.
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