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Clock King & Sportsmaster

Clock King and Sportsmaster are two characters who date back decades and have been depicted differently over the years. While drawing on other versions, this profile is about the specific iterations that appeared in Harley Quinn #12 and #13. In this two part story the two villains are confronted in a tri-state area mall by Power Girl and Harley Quinn who are working together as a team. Yes, there’s a reason they’re working together and does the anything goes attitude of the Harley Quinn solo stories need to be pointed out? The villains use a teleportation ring that has somehow come into their possession (can you say “plot device”?) to send the women to a distant planet. Clock King mentions that “[his] friends on the other side will love this bounty” and they’re both surprised when Power Girl and Harley return not once but twice after another use of the device sends them on an off world adventure with Vartox. Power Girl and Harley reappear in issue #13. Power Girl and Harley defeat the two men, but only after Sportsmaster fires a small, short range nuclear ballistic missile explosion meant to stop Power Girl and some wacky, unrelated hijinks.

A few points can be made from even these brief appearances. The first is that writers Amanda Connor and Jimmy Palmiotti are using innuendo, primarily in dialog, to convey that this Clock King and Sportsmaster are a couple. Clock King says to Sporstmaster: “Sure, now you appreciate me. With them gone, we can discuss your decor choices back at the hideout. In issue #13 Clock King refers to Sportsmaster as his “roommate” before correcting himself by saying “I mean my partner…” Palmiotti confirms this in a tweet when asked by Dale Lazarov. He reacts with great concern that Sportsmaster will die in the explosion and then uses a chronal device to turn time back one minute in order to rescue Sportsmaster from dying. Visually the men appear to be embody the idea that opposites attract. Clock King wears a refined suit with a dapper bowling hat and a giant sized clock hand as an accessory while Sportsmaster seems dressed for kind of extreme sports. They’ve also been given a serious upgrade with weapons and allusions to a mysterious, off-panel backstory.

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This pair have not been seen together since this Harley Quinn story. However, writer Christopher Priest has used Clock King in the first few issues of his Deathstroke (volume 4). Priest’s take on the character is quite powerful and rather insidious. There is no indication of Clock King’s sexuality in these stories.

Sportsmaster can be traced back to All American Comics #85 (May 1947) where he first appeared as Crusher Crock and fought Green Lantern and Wildcat and as a member of the Injustice Society against the Justice Society. The original Golden Age version married the original Huntress as did his Earth 1 counterpart.

Clock King (real name William Tockman) first appeared in World’s Finest #111 (August 1960). A villain named The Clock appeared in Star Spangled Comics #70 (1947). He wore a business suit, fedora, and a tie with a clock on it. This Clock King is unrelated to the one which appeared in Green Arrow volume 3.

Sportsmaster created by John Broome and Irwin Hasen. Clock King created by Frances Herron and Lee Elias.

Art by Chad Hardin and Alex Sinclair.

All rights reserved DC Comics.

July 4, 2021
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