‘Spiderman Night Fever’ — “Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man”

“Death Dance of the Hypno-Hustler”

In “Peter Park­er, the Spec­tac­u­lar Spder-Man” # 24 (Novem­ber, 1978) the Hyp­no-Hus­tler is out to score big, and the man­age­ment and the audi­ence at the Beyond For­ev­er Dis­co are just the first to hear and feel the pow­er of mes­mer­iz­ing music. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for him, Spi­der-Man is in the audi­ence, and he has expe­ri­ence in fight­ing mind-con­trol­ling foes before. He has very lit­tle trou­ble against a rook­ie like the Hypno-Hustler.

After defeat­ing a gang of thugs on the sub­way, all Peter Park­er wants to do is go back to his apart­ment and hit the books. His friends have oth­er plans, which include tak­ing him out to see the new act at the Beyond For­ev­er Dis­co. And to make mat­ters worse, they even brought a white suit for him (which looks like it was lift­ed from John Tra­vol­ta and “Sat­ur­day Night Fever”: just what the straight-laced Peter Park­er needs to feel absolute­ly embar­rassed. How he gets the suit on in front of his friends and still keep his Spi­der-Man cos­tume on under­neath a secret is a mystery.)

At the dis­co, the man­ag­er dis­cov­ers his big act rob­bing his safe. To keep him silent, the Hyp­no-Hus­ter demon­strates his two big weapons: first, his hyp­no-gog­gles, for indi­vid­ual tar­gets, and sec­ond­ly, his back­up band, the Mer­cy Killers, whose siren singing com­pli­ments his abil­i­ties.  Out­side, Peter and his friends arrive just in time for the Hyp­no-Hus­tler and the Mer­cy Killers to start their hyp­not­ic per­for­mance. The effect puts the audi­ence into a trance, which would have affect­ed Peter as well, except he has expe­ri­ence in fight­ing off mind control.

[The music is loud — inces­sant! It wash­es out over the dance floor in waves of sound. It car­ries with it the will — the con­scious­ness of the dancers … and recedes with the sub­tle insistince of the ebbing tide!]

(Peter) “Its the music! It — it’s mes­mer­iz­ing them … guid­ing their move­ments. H‑Haven’t felt any­thing t‑this strong ever since Mind­worm!. G‑got to fight it!

[But as Pete resists, all the oth­ers on the dace floor suc­cumb … to the will-sap­ping per­for­mance of the Hyp­no-Hus­ter.]

(Peter) Music … The musi­cian’s voiceflash­ing lights — every­thing con­tribut­ing to the hyp­not­ic effect! It — it’s almost … over-pow­er­ing!

To keep him­self from falling under the Hyp­no-Hus­tler’s con­trol, he bor­row the trick from Odysseus and puts web­bing balls into his ears to block the sound. He then con­fronts the Hyp­no-Hus­tler, unable to hear what he is say­ing, but, from long famil­iar­i­ty with vil­lain-speak, still man­ag­ing to fig­ure out what he is say­ing. He also dis­cov­ers his foe is not just a one-trick vil­lian: the Hyp­no-Hus­tler can swing a gui­tar like a base­ball bat, and his belt and boots are gim­micked, too. Still, that isn’t enough to fight off Spi­der-Man, so the Hyp­no-Hus­tler uses his hyp­not­ic gog­gles to call in his reserves, the Mer­cy Killers. Which is exact­ly what Spi­der-Man was wait­ing for. The Hyp­no-Hus­ter is becom­ing frus­trat­ed at not being able to to defeat or even fight Spi­der-Man and is get­ting angri­er, while Spi­der-Man is as calm as he was when he start­ed. At just the right moment, Spi­der-Man jumps behind the frus­trat­ed Hyp­no-Hus­tler and removes his head­phones, tak­ing away his pro­tec­tion against the Mer­cy Killers’ hyp­not­ic singing.

(Peter) “When will these pik­ers learn that anger only cloud your judge­ment … set­ting them up for the sim­plest of maneu­vers … like this one?!

(Hyp­no-Hus­tler) “What in — ? Oh, no! Not my … HEADPHONES!!

(Peter) “Bin­go!”

[Bereft of his pro­tec­tive head­phones, the Hus­tler is left wide open to the mes­mer­iz­ing song of his own com­pa­tri­ots on crime … the Mer­cy Killers! And the effect is both intrigu­ing to our wall-crawl­ing observ­er … and instan­teous.

All that’s left is the clean-up. As long as the entranced Mer­cy Killers keep singing, every­one in the audi­ence will remain entranced, and because every­one else in the audi­ence was entranced, no one saw the bat­tle and there­fore could not con­nect Spi­der-Man with Peter Park­er. All Peter has to do to pro­tect his secret iden­ti­ty is web the Mer­cy Killers to stop them from singing and once every­one awak­ens from their trance, pre­tend he was hyp­no­tized like the rest, as they dis­cov­er the Hyp­no-Hus­tler and the Mer­cy Killers webbed and their valu­ables in a pile on the stage.

His­to­ry: The Hyp­no-Hus­tler is a one-shot vil­lian with a hyp­no­sis gim­mick and a dis­co theme. although he would make a cou­ple of sub­se­quent comics appear­ances with­out encoun­ter­ing Spi­der-Man. He would lat­er join Vil-A-Non for recov­er­ing ex-super-vil­lains. He also appears in the back­ground in the “House of M” storyline.

As for the Mer­cy Killers, they were nev­er unique­ly iden­ti­fied and nev­er appeared in sub­se­quent comics.

Com­men­tary: Dis­co has a lot to answer for musi­cal­ly, but in all fair­ness, don’t hold it respon­si­ble for the char­ac­ter of the Hyp­no-Hus­tler. The blame goes to the writer Bill Mant­lo and artist Bill Springer. And yes, the char­ac­ter con­cept was lame but not all that more lame than a lot of Spi­der-Man vil­lains from that period.

Triv­ia:

  • Accord­ing to the Mar­vel Ency­clo­pe­dia, the Hyp­no-Hus­tler’s real name was Antione Delsoin.
  • A female ver­sion of the char­ac­ter named Hyno­tia appears in the “Spi­der-Man: The Ani­mat­ed Series” videogame. (There is a Iron Man ani­mat­ed series char­ac­ter named Hyp­no­tia: coin­ci­dence, or just to keep from cross­ing and con­fus­ing the two?)

Ref­er­ences:

  • Issue at the Comics Vine
  • Hyp­no-Hus­tler at the Mar­vel Uni­verse wiki
  • Hyp­no-Hus­tler at the Mar­vel database
  • Hyp­no-Hus­tler at the Spi­der-Man wiki
  • Hyp­no-Hus­tler at Comics Vine
  • Hyp­no-Hus­tler among the 11 lamest super-vil­lains at the Inter­na­tion­al Soci­ety of Supervil­lains here
  • Hyp­no-Hus­ter rat­ed #1 all-time Spi­der-Man worst vil­lain here
  • Hyp­no-Hus­tler rat­ed among the 20 worst supervil­lains here

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