Supergirl: Who Is Toyman?

toyman
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Tonight's episode of CBS's Supergirl introduces Winslow Schott, the villain better known as The Toyman.

In the series, Winslow -- played by Henry Czerny -- is the father of CatCo employee and series regular Winn Schott (Jeremy Jordan). In the comics, though, he's got a whole different set of baggage.

Winslow Schott is a long-running villain in the Superman family of comics, with a variety of different depictions over the years.

Calling himself Toyman, Schott is a brilliant inventor who constructs advanced and highly destructive devices in the form of toys. He is a master roboticist and a specialist in creating miniaturized mechanical devices.

In the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, pre-Flashpoint continuity that informs most of the stories on Supergirl, Schott's company was bought up by LexCorp, leaving him out of work and unappreciated. After Superman stopped him trying to kill Lex and threw Schott in jail, he started to take his anger out on the Man of Steel instead.

Schott had a soft spot for children and always said he would never intentionally hurt them -- even though he would (though his robots and deadly toys) gladly kill adults. After one breakout, though, he kidnapped a number of children whom he believed to be neglected by their parents. One, Adam Morgan, was the son of Cat Grant and a big fan of Superboy's. Inspired by his hero, he freed the rest of the children -- and was killed for his troubles. Schott, now wearing dark clothes and a shaved head instead of his usual colorful get-up, was destroyed emotionally by the experience of intentionally hurting children and was quickly apprehended.

In an unsettling turn of events, actor Blake Jenner has recently been cast as Adam Foster -- Cat Grant's son.

After that capture, Toyman would have ties to Intergang -- he would make his toy-weapons for them -- as well as teaming for a time with the Cyborg Superman in an attempt to destroy Superman during a brief period when the Man of Tomorrow's powers had taken on an energy-based form and changed his physical appearance. Rather than killing Superman, the pair inadvertently split him into two energy-based beings for a time.

Eventually, Schott would die -- but it would be revealed shortly thereafter that it was an impostor -- a sophisticated robot Schott had created. It had been in prison while Schott lied low, because the impostor -- not Schott -- had been responsible for killing Adam Morgan.

This is far from the character's first appearance on TV; he's been on a number of series, both live-action and animated. Probably the most memorable version was on Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, in which he was played by Sherman Hemsley. "Season's Greetings," the Season Two Christmas episode, reunited Hemsley with Isabel Sanford, his longtime wife from The Jeffersons.

Interestingly, the DC Animated Universe, Toyman had an origin that merged elements of the post-Crisis Superman stories with what would eventually come to pass on Supergirl. Winslow Schott was a toymaker who turned to Intergang for a loan, and was framed for a crime and died alone in jail when he couldn't pay. His son, Winslow Schott, Jr., became a weapons master, sending Toyman robots and weaponized toys to kill members of Intergang -- eventually transferring his frustration to Superman when the Man of Steel interfered.