The Rag Doll (Peter Merkel) is a fictional character, a supervillain in the DC Comics Universe. He was first introduced as an adversary for the Golden age Flash in a story published in Flash Comics #36 (December 1942). In the series Starman, James Robinson has revived the character, giving him a darker reimagining.
His son, Peter Merkel, Jr., currently uses his father's name as a member of the Secret Six.
Peter Merkel, a native of the Midwestern United States, was born with a unique condition: "Triple-jointedness". Like the more common "double-jointedness", Merkel's condition was characterized by extremely extensible ligaments and tendons, though to a significantly extended degree. The son of a side-show barker, Merkel found work in a small local carnival as a contortionist and eccentric dancer. In the early 1940s, the carnival fell on hard times and Merkel found himself out of work. Wandering the streets, Merkel despaired of having money. Seeing large boxes of toys being loaded into a department store, Merkel hit on the idea of hiding himself in one of the large rag dolls and then robbing the store after closing. Going unnoticed among the toys, Merkel carried his idea one step further: He would rob while still hidden in the Rag Doll suit. In these earliest days of costumed villains, the idea seemed novel and Merkel decided that no one would believe that a Rag Doll could commit crime.
In time, the legend of the Rag Doll grew far and wide. Petty crooks began to seek out the Rag Doll, to take advantage of his criminal success. In 1943, The Rag Doll moved his operation to Keystone City. There he had his thugs deliver him as a gift to a young heiress named Geralda Cummins. The young girl was holding a much-touted party for her circle of socialites and the Rag Doll aimed to take advantage of the situation. To coordinate the event, Cummins had selected Joan Williams who had recently begun a party and festival business. It was decided that each of the wealthy guests would donate $10,000 in defense bonds to serve as a prize in a treasure hunt. Whoever solved the hunt first, won the prize. Unknown to Joan, the doll Geralda had received as a gift was listening and planning a much different outcome.
Read more about Ragdoll at Wikipedia
Official Site: DC Comics
Researched by: razorback