Professor Hugo Strange is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain in the DC Comics universe. He first appeared in Detective Comics #36 (February 1940) and is one of Batman's first recurring villains, preceding the Joker and Catwoman by a couple of months.
Hugo Strange first appears as a scientist who uses a stolen "concentrated lightning" machine that he uses to generate a dense fog, allowing him to rob banks unseen. In his second appearance he escapes from the "city asylum" [for this story the asylum was on Manhattan Island] with "five insane patients" and uses them as test subjects, turning them into hulking zombie by administering a powerful artificial growth hormone that acted on the pituitary gland; a side effect caused the victim to become a mindless brute. Strange administers it to Batman, but the Caped Crusader saves himself by creating a drug that prevented any abnormal secretions from the pituitary gland. In Detective Comics #46 Strange starts spreading a fear-inducing powder around the city until a punch from Batman sends Strange falling to his apparent death.
He returned in the 1970s during the "Strange Apparitions" story arc. Having survived his earlier "death," Strange is running a private hospital for Gotham City's wealthiest citizens — where he holds them to ransack their fortunes and changes them into monsters. When Bruce Wayne checks into the hospital to recover discreetly from radiation burns he sustained while fighting Doctor Phosphorus, Strange finds out that Wayne is Batman and proceeds to wreak havoc on his personal life incognito. Strange then attempts to auction the identity of Batman to City Council Boss Rupert Thorne, The Penguin, and The Joker. Thorne has Strange kidnapped and beaten to reveal Batman's identity but Strange apparently dies. Strange's ghost comes back to haunt Thorne, driving the council boss mad. Thorne, in his mad state, confesses his long career of corruption and is sent to prison.
As revealed in Batman #356 (Feb. 1983) Strange had indeed survived the beating from Thorne's men, by using yoga methods to slow his heartbeat to an undetectable level. Strange created the 'ghost' that haunted Thorne which drove him to confess to the authorities. Subsequently Strange attempts to weaken Bruce Wayne through the use of drugs and robots, before usurping him in the role of Batman. After failing Strange apparently dies once more when he blows up a replica Wayne Manor.
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Official Site: DC Comics
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