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Tiboldt's Circus was originally a small Austrian travel circus managed for generations by members of the Tiboldt family. In the 1930s Fritz Tiboldt, then manager and ringmaster of the circus, became active in Nazi party activities.

World War II[]

During World War II, he was asked by German intelligence to take his circus to the United States of 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 government high officials. Fritz Tiboldt brought with him Omir the Snake Charmer, Tommy Thumb, the Trapeze Trio, and Zandow the Strongman. 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.[3]

Post War[]

Fritz Tiboldt and his wife Lola continued to manage Tiboldt's Circus after the war. Eventually Fritz and Lola Tiboldt were murdered by Nazis 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 parents' death.[4]

Keibler's Circus[]

Once in America, he took over the Keibler's Circus renaming it as Tiboldt's Circus. Unable to compete successfully 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.[5]

Modern Era[]

Circus of Crime (Earth-616) from Incredible Hulk Vol 1 3 0001

The Circus of Crime's usual modus operandi was the following: They would give a performance before a large audience. At some point the Ringmaster would use the powerful mind-control device concealed in his hat to put the audience into a trance. The Circus members then robbed the audience, who would remember nothing about the thefts when the Ringmaster released them from the trance and the performance continued.[6] The Circus of Crime performed under different names so that audiences would not suspect that they were the Circus of Crime.

They clashed with superheroes on a regular basis, mostly with the Hulk who was also one of the first they encountered. After a string of robberies, they tried to rob Rick Jones's town he summoned the Hulk (who at the time had a link with Rick) and stopped the circus.[6]

They also fought with Spider-Man,[7][1] the Avengers,[8] and others. They brought Black Goliath under their control, but were defeated by Power Man.[9]

Over the years the membership of the Circus of Crime varied, although there was a core group that participated in most of its criminal ventures. The Ringmaster and his accomplices were imprisoned by the law numerous times, but rarely for long, given the difficulties of proving the charges against them, since their victims usually had no memory of being robbed by them. Occasionally the Circus of Crime operated without the Ringmaster, either because he was in prison, or because some members had become dissatisfied with his leadership.[1] However, he always returned as leader.

The Circus of Crime returned to New York as the "Cirque de Nuit" to inaugurate the Hotel Metropol in a show where Ringmaster used his mind-control abilities to hypnotize the rich spectators of his show and stole from them. During this time, he has new members like Fifi and an unnamed protege of Swordsman. The two Hawkeyes, Clint Barton and Katie Bishop, used special glasses in order to be immune to Ringmaster's control and stopped the Circus, leaving most of their members heavily wounded. They escaped in the boat where the Circus took the loot, making them appear as they were the thieves.[10]

Circus members Ringmaster, Clown, Fire-Eater, Great Gambonnos, Strongman, and Teena the Fat-Lady were among the villains that joined the Army of Evil.[11]




No known weapons


No known transportation


  • The Circus of Crime first appeared in the Captain America comic from the 1940s. Also, there were two different Circuses of Crime in the 19th century that were fought by Kid Colt and the West Coast Avengers
  • Matt Murdock once offered to defend the Circus in court after having helped Spider-Man defeat them.[7]

See Also

Links and References