Real Name: Timothy von Tapperson (ok, not really)

Identity/Class: Human, technology user

Occupation: Criminal, former stage actor, former doer of odd jobs

Affiliations: Hodges (father figure and ally), Maggia (allies, possible financers)

Enemies: Defenders (Dr. Strange, Hulk, Nighthawk, Valkyrie)

Known Relatives: Parents (unnamed)

Aliases: The Tappinest Tapper that ever did Tap (ok, I made that up, too)

Base of Operations: Currently unknown; formerly a studio in Los Angeles

Appearances: Defenders I#30 (December, 1975)

Powers/Abilities: Tapping Tommy is one heck of a tap dancer. He can tap dance, and tap dance, and tap dance, like nobody's business. He's actually well-balanced, and graceful, enabling him to dodge attacks. He uses his cane as an extension of his own hand, to strike or trip others. He was talented enough to use the cane to disarm the Valkyrie in swordfight fashion. The cane has a blade that can extend from its tip on command. Tommy kept a handful of high potency gas grenades in his top hat. This gas was the same one used in "that awful gorilla movie back in the thirties."

History: (Defenders I#30 (fb) ) - When Tommy was five years old, his parents were arrested when the Los Angeles County Police busted into their distillery during prohibition. He was taken in by Hodges, who treated him like a son. The two of them scraped by for years. Tommy thought he'd made it into the big time when he got a job doing musicals, but those went bust as well. In recent years, Kyle Richmond's financer, Pennysworth, bought the studio which was Tommy's parents former lot, and planned to turn it into a housing project. Tommy swore he'd get Richmond! He swore it! He contacted the Maggia and made plans to kidnap and ransom the wealthy Richmond for millions. However, Tommy planned to get the money for himself, kill Richmond anyway, and then escape where no one would ever set eyes on him again. Tapping Tommy works for no man, you see!

(Defenders I#30) - Kyle Richmond decided to oversee his investment, the studio of Tommy's, and was captured by the Maggia. Maggia agents confronted Dr. Strange to demand payment. Strange let them into his Sanctum and made mental contact with Richmond, aka Nighthawk, while Wong served the henchmen drugged tea, which knocked them out.
Dr. Strange gathered the rest of the Defenders and broke into Tommy's studio. Hodges sent a robot after them, which the Hulk...smashed. The other Defenders defeated the Maggia agents and freed Nighthawk, but they were all taken out by Tommy's gas grenades.



The Defenders awakened to find themselves strapped to a large...thing, and Hodges' dancing robots began to smack them to death with their canes, all the while singing, "We're in the Money." The Defenders found themselves unable to break their bonds and were trapped--doomed to die at the hands of the cane-whacking, dancing, singing robots. Then they each somehow found the strength to break free. Valkyrie found herself unable to strike the feminine robots due to her anti-woman-fighting spell/curse (oh, c'mon!), but she helped against the masculine ones. The fight continued until the Valkyrie knocked Hodge's Manipulator device from his hands. Dr. Strange stopped Tommy from escaping (even though Tommy said, "You'll not get me!"). The Hulk told Tommy he wanted to be friends, but Tommy needed to know that he was bad, and so the Hulk head-butted him, knocking him out.









Comments: Unfortunately, Tapping Tommy was created by Bill Mantlo (writer) and Sam Grainger (artist).

If you have a fast internet connection and you want the whole sucky song, click here: "We're In the Money."

Tommy and Hodges either did quite well to be able to afford all of the weaponry, or it was all financed by the Maggia (which doesn't make sense, because the Maggia didn't know Richmond was Nighthawk, and so had no idea that super-heroes would be involved). Or it's just all fiction anyway. Carycomix theorizes on that point: "He probably anticipated Richmond Enterprises hiring Luke Cage to rescue Kyle. Or, maybe even intervention by L. A.'s Champions!".

Carycomix  adds, "He [Tapping Tommy] probably anticipated Richmond Enterprises hiring Luke Cage to rescue Kyle. Or, maybe even intervention by L. A.'s  Champions! Anything was possible with Marvel, during the Seventies.  And, they had shameless fun doing it!!"

5 years old during Prohibition--topical.

Worst character, ever! I can't begin to comment on the story, but it was so goofy that it was, at least, entertaining (and yet annoying at the same time). Get it and read it. Your Defenders collection can't be complete without it.

Profile edited and updated by Kyle Sims

Clarifications: I hope there's no one who can be confused with Tapping Tommy.


Hodges may have been an old friend of Tommy's parents. He was a special effects designer for movies of the time. He took Tommy in and raised him. He was an inventive genius, and created and controlled a number of sophisticated robots and other weapons with his trusty remote control, the Maipulator. Without the control, he was up sh!+'s crick, and promptly surrendered.






Defenders I#30 (December, 1975) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Sam Grainger (penciler), Jack Abel (inker), Marv Wolfman (editor)

Last updated: 05/01/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:

Special Thanks to www.g-mart.com for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters