Clayton "Clay" Stoner,
AKA The Odd Man
Created by Steve Ditko

"He came from nowhere, garbed in a confused costume that would make a carnival clown blush with embarassment. His weapons were absurd -- impossible! But somehow he became the terror of criminals, and everyone began to wonder ... who is the Odd Man?".

Who indeed?

Here's a truly bizarre P.I. from DC Comics (as if Bobo the Detective Chimp wasn't enough).

CLAYTON "CLAY" STONER is a pretty standard private eye, working the mean streets of River City. But all that normality must have gotten to him, or something. Or maybe he just felt inadequate in the DC universe, what with all those talking monkeys and muscle-bound spandex types flying around.

Because, sometimes, he dons a bizarre, brightly-coloured mismatched patchwork costume and a rubber mask with one red eye and one yellow one, and sets out to do battle with the forces of evil as...THE ODD MAN!

Armed only with his wits and a slew of elaborate gadgets intended to disorient and confuse, he sets out to fight the good fight, Those gadgets include his crazy tilting headquarters, a weighted extended tie, a spray he developed which melts certain plastics, gloves that emit powder or smoke when he claps his hands together, and a slippery oil spray. He is also able to cause people to black out (it's not specified, but we assume it's sthrough the use of some other kind of spray). I tell ya, this guy's a real gas.

The Odd Man was introduced in a eponymous story that had him pitted against the supposed reincarnation of the first Nile Queen and her Pharoah consort. That story was originally intended to mark the debut of a continuing back-up feature in Shade the Changing Man back in 1978, when the whole book itself was scrapped, a victim of corporate downsizing. For copyright purposes, a black-and-white version of the story was included in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall 1978). A year later, the story finally made its "official" debut in Detective Comics, and that was about it. By this point, the idea for a series had evidently run out of steam, but twenty years later, in 1999, Odd Man popped up in Superboy. That's the thing with comics -- no character ever seems to totally disappear.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm not really sure why I even bothered including this stupid character. Despite his real-life gig as a P.I., this guy's barely a dick at all. I think basically, I'm just so amused by how lame he is. I mean, mismatched clothing?

A weighted tie?

Oooh, I'll bet the crooks in River City were really terrified of this guy!


    (1978, DC Comics)
    Black and white, limited distribution
  • "The Odd Man" (Fall 1978, Cancelled Comic Calvaxcade #2; first appearance)
    This book was supposedly never intended for public distribution -- only 35 copies were printed, evidently a sop to copyright and contractual obligations..
    (1937-present, DC Comics)
    Odd Man created by Steve Ditko
  • "The Odd Man" (December 1979- January 1980, Detective Comics #487)
    The long-delayed full-colour, newstand debut of Odd Man..
    Odd Man created by
    Steve Ditko
  • (August 1999, Superboy #65)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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