Puppet Master

    Character » Puppet Master appears in 317 issues.

    Stepfather of the lovely, blind Alicia, this sinister figure possesses a power which seems to surpass even that of the Fantastic Four! Using a unique form of radio-active modeling clay, he can fashion puppets which somehow control the living persons they are modeled after!

    Short summary describing this character.

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    Phillip Masters was born in Transia, nearby Wundagore Mountain. He began his molding when his Uncle Andrew gave him a whittling knife and he became excellent at carving, which became his hobby as he was not a popular child. His mother died while he was very young and his father put him in an orphanage. Flashbacks to his childhood have revealed neighbor girl Jessica Drew (later Spider-Woman) as a childhood friend. They played with the clay of Wundagore which Philip would use for his experiments in adult life. The clay became the only thing that gave him happiness.

    Phillip moved to the US from the Balkan country of Transia at a young age. He found it hard to form relationships in America because of his reclusive personality and cultural differences. He became a brilliant biologist and became partners with Jacob Reiss, his only true friend. Masters soon became jealous of Reiss' success and ended up killing him when he tried robbing their lab. During this robbery, he caused an explosion at the lab that caused Reiss' daughter, Alicia, to lose her sight. Masters soon married Reiss' widow, Marcia, and became Alicia's stepfather. Eventually Marcia died from the after effects of the explosion that blinded Alicia. Puppet Master swore to find a way to restore Alicia's sight, but has had no success.

    Mayor Story Arcs

    The Puppet Master

    Fantastic Four 8 (1962)
    Fantastic Four 8 (1962)

    Fleeing with hostage Susan Storm
    Fleeing with hostage Susan Storm

    Masters one day discovered some radioactive clay. With the clay, he could create sculptures and control other people. This was when the Puppet Master was born. In the beginning he used the innocent Alicia to help him try to defeat the Fantastic Four, the only ones who could stop him and his evil plans. He captured Susan Storm quite easily by flooding the room with ether and with the help of the Thing. Under the Puppet Master's control, the Thing refused to help the blonde girl. He then dressed Alicia Masters up to look like the Invisible Girl and sent her, along with the Thing, to go back to the Fantastic Four headquarters, meanwhile keeping Susan Storm as his hostage. When the Fantastic Four came to try and rescue their captive partner, the Puppet Master placed the bound girl on his winged horse and flew off with her. Fortunately for the Invisible Girl, Mr. Fantastic was able to stretch far enough and save her. Controlling them with his clay, Alicia eventually assisted the Four in defeating her stepfather.

    Months later, the Puppet Master was released from a rest home where he had been biding his time and immediately began planning his revenge on the Fantastic Four. Using his clay, he decided to use one of the Four's greatest foes - Namor the Sub-Mariner. He uses Namor to lure the Invisible Woman to him. Namor captures her and forces the remainder of the team to try to rescue her from Namor's undersea lair. The Puppet Master decides to only control Namor, planning to use him to defeat his enemies and gain further satisfaction from it. But the mind controlled Namor is defeated. In his submarine, the Puppet Master is attacked by a giant octopus and his ship taken in it's tentacles. Even with Alicia knowing that he is a terrible person and distancing herself from him, the Puppet Master is still shocked of her love for the Thing. Eventually, Masters was able to see that the feelings Alicia and the Thing shared were genuine.

    Decent Into Insanity

    The radioactive clay seemed to affect Phillip in the same way he used it on others. It eventually drove him mad, making him even speak with the clay. It was all that mattered to him and, in a way, made him the puppet. Masters slipped deeper into to insanity when he kidnapped Alicia and had Dr. Saunders, a surgical ophthalmologist, perform a series of eye transplants. Each surgery gave Alicia sight for a number of hours of vision. Masters was able to procure these eyes by kidnapping and murdering a series of young woman. Eventually, Masters decided that the superhuman nature of Invisible Woman could make for a more permanent eye transplant solution. He was stopped by his daughter who used a puppet she molded of him to break his hands, but not before Alicia provided some extremely suspenseful scenes by standing over an unconscious Susan Storm with a knife and thinking that Susan's eyes might actually give her permanent sight. He was committed to a psychiatric hospital.

    Creations for Good

    When he was released, he gave up his criminal ways. He was the Puppet Master no longer. He was able to stay away from the radioactive clay and make small figurines which he sold at craft fairs and through the mail. He was visited one day by Alicia and the Silver Surfer. The Surfer requested that he make him a copy of himself with the psychogenic clay. Phillip refused, but when the Surfer suggested Alicia sculpt it for him, he agreed so that Alicia would not become affected by it. Being around the clay instantly brought him back to his love for the clay. He created the Clay Surfer and the Silver Surfer made a exact copy of himself with his Power Cosmic in order to get through an emotional barrier.

    The Clay Surfer went rogue. When it exploded and took the real Surfer and Alicia through time, Phillip was left alone. It was then that he was attacked and kidnapped by Sorrentino and the Gangers, along with the inanimate body of the Clay Surfer. They took him to the Satori and told him that he would help lure their 'Cosmic Messiah', the Silver Surfer. His old friend and colleague Alexei Ganger was the one behind the operation and he planned to make Earth a utopia. When the Silver Surfer arrived, he refused to take part in their worship and destroyed the Clay Surfer. But Phillip was obsessed and tried to save his creation. He was dying and the Silver Surfer helped to revive him. Phillip had to make a choice and he chose life.


    He wished to atone for his past sins. But, at the moment, Alicia was not interested in reconciling with him. He remained behind with Ganger at the Satori, Ganger planning for him to make another Cosmic Messiah from clay since the Surfer refused them. Phillip succeeded in his task and a new Cosmic Messiah was born.


    Puppet Master has the ability to create sculptures of people out of radioactive clay and control their thoughts and actions. He attaches strings to his creations and controls them like marionettes.


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