TAXMAN

Real Name: Paul Lennon

Identity/Class: Normal human

Occupation: Protection racket collector

Affiliations: His thug, (presumably) unspecified mob bosses

Enemies: Night Raven, his victims (Albert Feldstein, Carlo Canalone, Sam Venuti)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: The City (probably New York)

First Appearance: Hulk Comic#3 (March 21st, 1979)

Powers/Abilities: Air of restrained menace. Explosive briefcase.

History: (HC#3) The Taxman is the "collector for the City's most ruthless protection racket. A man who delights in squeezing his victims dry!" Night time in the City, and the Taxman and his thuggish assistant have arrived at Sam Venuti's pawnshop to extort protection money out of him. When Venuti pleads for a break, as business has been bad lately, the thug points out that his boss has already given him a break the last couple of weeks, and that this is messing up the Taxman's figures, something he doesn't like. The Taxman adds that if someone fails to pay, then things get broken, and the thug hauls the shopkeeper over his counter. In the back room Mrs. Venuti is witnessing all this, and calls the police. The thug meanwhile throws Sam Venuti through the shop window, and cleans out the till. He hands the money to the Taxman who notes that it is two dollars short, so the two crooks go outside to see if Sam has any money on him. The take the extra cash off the stricken man, and then drive off, having dumped Venuti in a trash can. But they are unaware that there has been another witness to their actions, as Night Raven steps out of the shadows.

The Taxman's next stop is Carlo Canalone's restaurant, where the Taxman informs the owner that he is putting up his rates. Carlo protests at this, but the Taxman is deaf to his pleading, pointing out that without protection accidents can happen. As he says this the thug knocks drops a valuable Capodimonte figurine, which smashes, much to Carlo's distress. The restaraunteur decides he has had enough of this protection racket, and backed by his kitchen staff (who are armed with cleavers) he yells at the Taxman to get out - of his restaurant and of his neighbourhood, and to not come back. The thug seems ready to take them all on, but the Taxman says that crude violence will not be necessary, and that they will leave quietly. After they have departed the staff and Carlo still cannot believe they successfully stood up to him, when Tony, one of the waiters, notices that the Taxman left his briefcase behind. Carlo shouts at Tony to get rid of it, as an ominous ticking grows louder, but it's too late, and the building goes up in a violent explosion.

(HC#4) The next night the Taxman and his thug visit the clockmaker, Albert Feldstein. The Taxman informs the elderly gentleman that he is three weeks overdue, and must pay one hundred and fifty dollars immediately. When Albert pleads there must be some mistake, and that he simply doesn't have that kind of money, the thug puts on a set of knuckledusters and states that they will have to settle the bill another way. Desperately the old man offers the Taxman an antique clock, which he says is worth at least two hundred dollars. The Taxman is considering this unusual offer, which he notes as "most irregular", when a crash in the back room draws his thug's attention. In spite of Albert's protest that it is just the cat, the thug goes to investigate. He discovers to his shock that Albert Feldstein is gagged and tied to a chair back there, but before he can alert his boss to the subterfuge, he is attacked by the impostor. A fight ensues, which the thug soundly looses. Hearing the ruckus, the Taxman decides to depart with the clock and without his assistant, taking his "property as far away as possible from the source of danger!" As he drives off he notes the clock's loud tick, figuring it is probably cheap trash. Then, as the ticking loudens, dreadful realisation hits him. An instant later his car explodes violently, flipping off the road and into the river it runs parallel to. Two items float to the surface: the Taxman's bowler hat, and a note, "Where brooding darkness spreads its evil wings the Night Raven stings!"

Comments: Created by Steve Parkhouse and David Lloyd.

The Taxman's bosses are never specified. Presumably he does answer to someone, since every place he collects from seems to be a defaulter of some sort, and if you are the City's  most ruthless protection racket man and you worked for yourself, having all your victims trying to default would seem unlikely. More probably the Taxman is sent in to collect from the problem "clients" that are proving troublesome. Purely speculation, but his boss may well be Mr.Big, the local crimelord who is seen to hire The Assassin a few issues later to kill Night Raven.

It's not certain that the Taxman is dead. In all likelihood he is, but this is a comic character we are talking about, and sitting right next to a bomb which blows up your car and throws it into the river may only have resulted in him being thrown clear with his bowler knocked off his head and minor injuries. Doubtful, but this is Marvel we are talking about, and no one ever really dies in a Marvel comic.

And now for a bit of silliness, because I'm writing this profile and can be silly if I want to.

I always hear the Taxman speaking with an English accent. There's nothing mentioned in the story to suggest this, but he wears a bowler hat and refuses to take part in physical violence himself, letting others do it, and both of those to me are stereotypes of the English. Even if he isn't really English, I'd bet he makes out he is. So, you are the unnamed thug who beats people up for this little English-sounding guy, and you don't want to look unsophisticated next to your boss. What do you do? You decide you'll look more sophisticated if you smoke a pipe while beating people up, because pipes are much classier than cigarettes. When Marvel decides to add these characters to their list of major motion pictures adaptions ("Taxman and his Thug", opening May 3rd in a theater near you, directed by Oliver Stone!), I would envision the ideal casting to be David Niven as the Taxman and Stacy Keach as the thug. Except that David Niven is dead of course. But then so is the Taxman, so that'll work.

Taxman received a real name in Night Raven's profile in OHotMU A-Z HC#8.


The Taxman's Thug

The Taxman didn't like dirtying his own hands with violence, so he was always accompanied by an unnamed thug. This large, mustachioed gentleman, usually seen with a pipe in his mouth, handled all the physical stuff for his boss. smashing crockery and throwing people through windows. He was sufficiently sure of his own abilities that when Carlo Canalone's staff got threatening back, he was prepared to take on four to one odds, with some of the opposition armed with meat cleavers. However he wasn't tough enough to out-fight Night Raven, failing to lay a single blow on the vigilante. When last seen he had just been knocked into some trash cans in the alley behind Albert Feldstein's shop. His fate thereafter is unknown, but considering Night Raven wasn't famous for a "slap on the wrist" approach to administering justice, it's doubtful we'll be seeing him again.

-- Hulk Comic#3, (4


Sam Venuti (and wife)

Sam's wifeSam Venuti was a pawnshop owner who owed money to the Taxman. While the Taxman and his thug were rousting him, his wife phoned the police from the back room. They arrived too late to stop Sam from being thrown through a window, and then being stuffed into a trash can. Night Raven helped the shopkeeper back to his feet a few seconds later, so it seems likely he wasn't too seriously injured.

-- Hulk Comic#3


Carlo Canalone (and staff)

Carlo Canalone was an Italian restaurant owner. When the Taxman tried to raise his protection rates, Carlo objected. This resulted in the Taxman's thug smashing his prized Capodimonte figurine. Angered, Carlo tried to throw the two crooks out his establishment, backed up by a chef and two waiters (to judge by their clothing). Surprisingly the Taxman gave in without an argument. After he had left however, Tony, one of the waiters, noticed the villain had left behind his briefcase. Carlo swiftly realised it contained a bomb, but they didn't have time to do anything about it before the entire building exploded. There deaths were reported in the Daily Globe the next day..

To the right is a picture of Carlo and his staff. Tony, the waiter who spotted the briefcase, is on the far right.

-- Hulk Comic#3


Albert Feldstein

Albert Feldstein was an elderly clockmaker. He clearly knew Carlo Canalone, as he was saddened when he read the Daily Globe's front page report of the Italian man's death. If the clock on his countertop was correctly set, then it was around 1a.m. when he was reading this and there was a knock at his back door. A trusting fellow, he answered it without knowing who it was. His visitor grabbed his mouth to stop him shouting out, overpowered him, and tied him up in the back room. Luckily for him, the intruder was Night Raven, who merely wanted to take his place long enough to deal with the Taxman. Albert didn't help the situation by rocking the chair he was in until it fell over, alerting the taxman's thug that there was something wrong in the back room. The thug went to investigate and saw the old man lying tied up on the floor. (Astoundingly the ever dim Albert seemed to be trying to alert the thug as to Night Raven's subterfuge. If the guy who came to the door had been a brute who beat up and killed my friends, I wouldn't want him to be the one to rescue me.) This was the last we saw of Albert. Since he was an innocent, it's fairly safe to assume that Night Raven just untied him after dealing with the two crooks.

The picture of Albert on the left is actually Night Raven disguised as Albert.

-- Hulk Comic#4


CLARIFICATIONS:
Taxman has no known connection to:

His thug has o known connection to:

Albert Feldstein has no known connection to:

Carlo Canalone has no known connection to:


by Loki 

Last updated: 03/03/03

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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