Leap-Frog

Leap-Frog
The comic book history of Leap-Frog, a villain of Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Iron Man, from Marvel Comics.

You know you've chosen the wrong gimmick when "human pogo stick" gets thrown around as your nickname. Like, there are lethal children's toys. Lawn darts. Water wiggle. But...the pogo stick. I mean, it's not like there's a villain out there called "lawn dart" though with this show's track record I wouldn't be surprised in the least...Leap-Frog, the human pogo stick, leaves...something to be desired when it comes to intimidation.

Hopping Mad

The Leap-Frog first jumped on the scene in Daredevil #25, where Matt Murdock was getting off a plane and, there on the tarmac, a guy in a green suit was...jumping.

For real, Matt. Image copyright Marvel.

Now, I'm an older millennial, so I have some memory of the time before 9/11. You used to be able to take knives under a certain length onto airplanes and people could walk up to the gate...you couldn't put on experimental bouncy booties and leap around the planes though. That was a stretch even for the 60s.

Vincent Patilio was having a hard time. I mean, no one for whom life is going really great shuts down JFK because he's bouncing all over the runway with his springy shoes. And that was the Leap-Frog's secret weapon: electric-powered springs on the bottom of his shoes. Anyway, they were a success when he was able to evade capture, and no one knew who he was because of a handkerchief he wore over his face.

Yes, his only disguise was a handkerchief over his nose and mouth and no one knew who this guy was. I mean it was a classic bandit look. But if you think about it, Batman wears a disguise over everything but his nose and mouth. So, the logic stands that you need to be either covering your nose and mouth or covering everything but your nose and mouth for complete anonymity.

That's him talking through the mask. That looks so uncomfortable. Image copyright Marvel.

The very well-adjusted Vincent Patilio spent the rest of the week in his basement, sewing his frog costume. He then hit the town...

...and the town hit back. It was on his second robbery that Daredevil found him and, even though he was fast on land, he was really a frog in name only, because Daredevil pushed him into a lake, his springy-booties shorted, and Daredevil dragged him to the cops.

He was paroled, and, in addition to his freedom, Vincent gained a backstory.

His fifteen-year-old son and his wife were loving and forgiving. The past was in the past. Vincent, though, couldn't see it that way. He hated costumed heroes...because he hated himself. He was barely making ends meet on account of losing his wife to cancer and not being able to find a job after his brief stint doing super crime, and his family was in trouble.

For some reason they let him keep the suit. Like, when you're sent to prison I think they keep what you wore into prison, so you can get it on your way back out. Apparently it's the same with jumpy super-suits. His fifteen-year-old son was drawn to the suit in the closet.

The suit actually looks cool, here. Image copyright Marvel.

The Rib-boot

Don Draper has a famous line in Mad Men where he says, if you don't like what they're saying about you, change the conversation, which is...a slightly less eloquent way of saying that if your dad can't forgive himself for his past as the supervillain Leap-Frog, you, the fifteen-year-old Eugene, should put on his supersuit, change your name to Frog Man, and go fight hardened supercriminals to redeem your dad's life work.

Eugene did, and he fell backward into success, stopping a villain known as Speed Demon when Frog Man lost control and fell on him. He was no longer Leap-Frog, the Human Pogo stick. He was the Fabulous Frog-Man. It's better. Not much, but better.

Vincent was proud, but forbade his son from going back out for more costumed adventuring and Eugene, doing something extremely out of character for a teenager, rebelled. He did something his parent asked him not to do. I know they said comics can be unrealistic but honestly I think that's a step too far.

Annnd the suit is back to looking like a giant frog suit. Image copyright Marvel.

The Fabulous Frog-Man did actually end up with a supervillain nemesis. The white rabbit, a woman who was one sport coat away from dressing like a Playboy bunny, and the Walrus, someone we've covered on this show before, formed the Terrible Two, the...smallest possible team-up.

It was actually pretty sweet. The Fabulous Frog Man was having some trouble, so his dad showed up at the last minute and the Leap Frog and Frog Man fought side-by-side, beating White Rabbit and the Walrus, and warming the heart of Spider-man and the news team.

An Un-Frogettable Team up

The Frog Man, always a bit of a joke, went on to have a lengthy superhero career. During the Marvel Civil War he signed up with the government's Avenger's Initiative and joined Kentucky's Avenger team, the Action Pack which, I love that name. Β Like Frog Man it's delightful and campy in all the right ways. After that wrapped, he graduated from college and currently works as a busboy in Manhatten, Frog suit at the ready, waiting for the day the world needs Frog Man.

And...in a universe that includes Spider-Man, Daredevil, Captain America, Luke Cage, and the Fantastic Four in the five boroughs of New York City alone...he...might be waiting a while.

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