Real Name: Bruce Olafsen

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Bodybuilder, circus performer

Group Membership: Circus of Crime (Antoro, Clown/Eliot "Crafty" Franklin, Clown (new), Eden, Fire-Eater/Tomas Ramirez, Great Gambonnos/Ernesto & Luigi Gambonno, Human Cannonball/Jack Pulver, Live Wire/Rance Preston, Precious, Princess Python/Zelda DuBois, Professor, Rajah/Kahir Mahadevu, Ringmaster/Maynard Tiboldt, Sultan the elephant, Teena the Fat Lady/Mary Stenson);
formerly Army of Evil (Absorbing Man/Carl Creel, Anaconda/Blanche Sitzniski, Armadillo/Antonio Rodriguez, Baron Blood, Blackout/Marcus Daniels, Boomslang/Marc Reimer, Bulldozer/Henry Camp, Bushmaster/Quincy McIver, Clown, CoachwhipCottonmouthCyclone/Pierre Fresson, Death Adder/Theodore Scott, Dragonfly/Veronica Dultry, Fer-de-LanceFerocia, Fire-Eater, Graviton/Franklin Hall, Great Gambonnos, Grey Gargoyle/Paul Duval, Ironclad/Mike Steel, Klaw/Ulysses Klaw, Kraven the Hunter, Living Laser/Arthur Parks, Madame MenaceMr. Hyde/Calvin Zabo, Nitro/Robert Hunter, Piledriver/Brian Calusky, Princess Python, Puff Adder/Gordon Fraley, Ringmaster, Rock PythonSidewinder/Gregory Bryan,Skein/Sybil Dvorak, Slither/Aaron Salomon, Squid, Teena the Fat Lady, Thunderball/Eliot Franklin, Tiger Shark/Todd Arliss, Vapor/Ann Darnell, Vector, Viper/Jordan Dixon, Whirlwind/David Cannon, Wizard/Bentley Wittman, Wrecker/Dirk Garthwaite, X-Ray, Yellowjacket/Darren Cross)

Affiliations: Baron Helmut Zemo, Max Fury, "Hammerhead" imposter, Headmen (Chondu the Mystic/Harvey Schlemerman, Gorilla-Man/Arthur Nagan, Ruby Thursday/Thursday Rubinstein, Shrunken Bones/Jerold Morgan), Mr. Negative (Martin Li), Taskmaster;
formerly Devil Dinosaur, Dragon Man, Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Moon Boy

Enemies: Avengers (Ant-Man/Eric O'Grady, Hawkeye/Clint Barton, Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff, Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff, Valkyrie/Brunnhilde, Venom/"Flash" Thompson), Bertha the elephant, Black Ant (Eric O'Grady LMD), Black Goliath (Bill Foster), Captain America (alternate Jessica Jones), Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Corky Franklin, Ghost Rider (John Blaze), D.W. Griffith, Hulk (Bruce Banner), Jewel (alternate Jessica Jones), Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones (alternate), Mercs for Money (Domino/Neena Thurman, Deadpool/"Wade Wilson," Gorilla Man/Ken Hale, Hit-Monkey, Machine Man/X-51, Masacre, Negasonic Teenage Warhead/Ellie Phimister), Power Man (Luke Cage), Power Pack (Alex Power, Jack Power, Julie Power, Katie Power, Franklin Richards), She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters), Spider-Man (Peter Parker), John Steele, Claire Temple, Kate Waynesboro, Wraith (Yuri Watanabe)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: Strongman

Base of Operations: Mobile;
formerly Sweden

First Appearance: Incredible Hulk I#3 (September, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: Bruto the Strong Man was a bodybuilder with incredible (though not enhanced) strength and big ole' muscles. When fighting others, he generally threw fists, swung large wooden poles or hefted barbells against his opponents. At least one weight he hefted was labeled "500 lbs," but he once strained himself trying to lift an elephant.

Height: 6'4"
Weight: 280 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown; formerly dyed black

History: (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#9 (fb) - BTS) - Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Bruce Olafson took the stage name Bruto the Strong Man and joined the circus run by Maynard Tiboldt, the Ringmaster. Tiboldt relocated Tiboldt's Circus to America, where he developed a hypnosis hat and a plot to mesmerize crowds and rob them. He formed many of his performers into the Circus of Crime with the others going back to Europe. Bruto eventually became a naturalized American citizen.

(Hawkeye III#7 (fb)) – As part of Tiboldt's Traveling Circus, Bruto the Strong Man performed with Ringmaster, Eden the tattooed lady and Hawkeye the Marksman. Hawkeye saw Bruto, asking where Eden was.

(Incredible Hulk I#3/3) – The Circus of Crime, including the Clown, performed a series of robberies in various American cities with Bruto gathering as much loot as he could. They were soon defeated by the Hulk and the F.B.I.

(Amazing Spider-Man I#16) – The Circus of Crime attempted their biggest robbery yet in New York City but Spider-Man and Daredevil stopped them. During the big fight in the Big Top, Bruto tried hitting Spider-Man with a 500-lb. barbell but the hero easily tossed him aside. Bruto was later hit by a redirected Human Cannonball.

(Avengers I#22) – After getting out of jail, the Circus reformed and tried manipulating the disbanded Avengers Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver into joining them but the heroes turned on the villains. During the battle, Bruto ran at Hawkeye with a pole but an arrow split it in two.

(Thor I#145) – Bruto strained himself after trying to lift an elephant and needed a long rest. The Circus began auditioning circus strong men to aid in a plot.

(Power Man I#25 (fb)) – The Circus of Crime were released from their prison van by Live Wire, who joined the team.

(Power Man I#24) – Using the alias Strongman, Bruto allied with the Circus of Crime and attacked Power Man and Black Goliath, determined to recruit them while the heroes' allies D.W. Griffith and Claire Temple were nearby.

(Power Man I#25) – Claire was zapped by Princess Python and Griffith was defeated but soon, Claire posed as Princess and freed the heroes from their trance, allowing Power Man to easily bat Bruto aside. Power Man soon hit Bruto with a large wooden box, defeating him.

(Ghost Rider II#72 (fb) – BTS) – The Circus of Crime broke out of jail but chose to leave Ringmaster behind. After they recruited new member Fire-Eater, the team put Clown in as their leader. In time, Clown ran away from the Circus and the others tracked him down at the Quentin Carnival, where the Clown was living with his father, the clown Corky.

(Ghost Rider II#72) – The Circus staged a series of sabotage acts on Quentin Carnival to convince Clown to rejoin. Later that week, Clown rejoined the team and when John Blaze followed him, Bruto knocked him out and the Circus stood over him.

(Ghost Rider II#73) – With John Blaze tied up, Clown convinced the Circus to return to the Quentin Carnival and take it over but the Clown ultimately sided with the Carnival, taking it over but turning against the Circus of Crime. Bruto grabbed a log to defend himself with but Bertha the elephant turned it against him.

(Incredible Hulk II#292 (fb) – BTS) – The Circus (Ringmaster, Clown, Fire-Eater, the Great Gambonnos, Human Cannonball, Live Wire, Rajah (aboard his elephant Sultan), Teena the Fat Lady, Bruto the Strong Man and Princess Python (with Precious)) headed to Mexico, fleeing warrants, where the Ringmaster forced Dragon Man to perform with them.

(Incredible Hulk II#292) – Bruto was present when the Circus sparred with the Hulk (with his girlfriend Kate Waynesboro). Before the fight concluded, the Big Top was destroyed.

(Sensational She-Hulk I#1 (fb) – BTS) – Using the name of the McFadden Brothers Circus, Bruto and the Circus of Crime started taking paid gigs. They were hired by a mysterious source (secretly the Headmen) to test the strength of She-Hulk.

(Sensational She-Hulk I#1) – Bruto helped She-Hulk work out until Ringmaster put her under hypnotic control then the Professor made her up as Glamazonia to join the Circus. After the team robbed the crowd that night, the Professor tried to kill She-Hulk then Gorilla-Man, disguised as an actual gorilla, stole Ringmaster's hat and freed She-Hulk, who then tied up the Circus members to be arrested.

(Power Pack I#59) – At the MacFadden Brothers Circus, the Ringmaster tried convincing the Circus (Human Cannonball, Great Gambonnos, Clown, Bruto, Live Wire) to go legitimate but they wanted one last major heist, having heard that foreign royalty would be in the crowd. Clown took over leadership of the group and during the live performance, they tried stealing the crown off the prince but Power Pack and Franklin Richards, who were in the crowd, fought back and the Circus was easily stopped. When the police arrived, Ringmaster used his powers to make the Circus appear innocent.

(Generation X I#37) - Bruto was present when the Circus set up shop in a Massachusetts town.

(Amazing Spider-Man/Devil Dinosaur '98 Annual (fb) – BTS) – The Circus (with Bruto) added Antoro the animal trainer to their ranks. Ringmaster hypnotized government officials into releasing Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy to his custody.

(Amazing Spider-Man/Devil Dinosaur '98 Annual) – The Circus rehearsed for their new performances with Moon Boy and Devil and their shows sold out. While the crowds gathered, however, circus members robbed local stores. Soon, Spider-Man attacked, freeing Moon Boy from hypnosis, then helped take the circus down. During the fight, Spider-Man kicked Bruto aside.

(Secret Avengers I#29 (fb) – BTS) – Max Fury and Taskmaster hired Bruto and the Circus for an assignment in Bagalia.

(Secret Avengers I#29) – In Bagalia, members of the Circus (Princess Python, Clown, Bruto, Livewire, Fire Eater) put on a daring performance, torturing John Steele with plasma knives. When Steele escaped, he brutally defeated the Circus and the Avengers (Valkyrie, Hawkeye, Agent Venom, Ant-Man) arrived to rescue Steel.

(Amazing Spider-Man III#19.1) – Mr. Negative proposed an alliance with the Circus of Crime (Ringmaster, Great Gambonnos, Teena the Fat Lady, the new Clown, Princess Python, Bruto, Fire-Eater) but the Circus refused. Later, as they battled police, Spider-Man and Wraith intervened, easily defeating the villains.


(Deadpool and the Mercs for Money II#6) – After the Ringmaster invested in mechanized animals and a giant Mecha-Lord Big Top, a huge battle structure with sophisticated assault technology, the Mecha-Lord Big Top attacked the city and Deadpool led his Mercs for Money (Deadpool, Gorilla Man, Hit-Monkey, Machine Man, Masacre, Domino, Negasonic Teenage Warhead) to fight back. They fought back against clowns with rocket boots and the Circus (Clown, Bruto, Live Wire, Fire-Eater, Great Gambonnos, Princess Python and Ringmaster on a giant robot elephant) defended themselves, with Bruto attacking Deadpool with dumbbells. The Circus was defeated and delivered to S.H.I.E.L.D.

(Captain America: Steve Rogers I#13) – Baron Helmut Zemo approached the Circus (Ringmaster, Great Gambonnos, Fire-Eater, Bruto, Clown, Teena the Fat Lady) for an alliance. They later gathered with a larger army, forming the Army of Evil.

(The Variants I#3 (fb) - BTS) - Bruto the Strongman was hired by a Hammerhead imposter to help rough up a coffee shop, the Stomping Grounds, owned by Rio.

(The Variants I#3) - Bruto had his eye on some pastries when four Jessica Jones from different realities entered, chasing Hammerhead away, and Bruto ordered some food to go.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.

For as many times as he has appeared, Bruto has been given barely any character development. No major storylines or plot devices, just a background character who is easily swatted aside. Poor guy.

Profile by Chadman.

Bruto the Strong Man should not be confused with:

images: (without ads)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Deluxe Edition I#2, p62, pan2 (main)
Sensational She-Hulk I#1, p1, pan1 (headshot)
Incredible Hulk I#3, p22, pan2 (Bruto carrying boxes)
Amazing Spider-Man I#16, p16, pan6 (vs. Spider-Man)
Power Man I#24, p18, pan1 (with weight)
Amazing Spider-Man III#19.1, p12, pan1 (with gauntlets)

Incredible Hulk I#3 (September, 1962) – Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (penciler), Dick Ayers (inker)
Amazing Spider-Man I#16 (September, 1964) – Stan Lee (writer/editor), Steve Ditko (artist)
Avengers I#22 (November, 1965) – Stan Lee (writer/editor), Don Heck (penciler), Wally Wood (inker)
Thor I#145 (October, 1967) – Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker)
Power Man I#24-25 (April-May, 1975) – Tony Isabella (writer), George Tuska (penciler), Dave Hunt (inker), Len Wein (editor)
Ghost Rider II#72-73 (September-October, 1982) – Roger Stern (writer), Bob Budiansky (penciler), Dave Simons (inker), Tom DeFalco (editor)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#2 (February, 1983) – Mark Gruenwald (writer/editor), various artists
Incredible Hulk II#292 (February, 1984) – Bill Mantlo (writer), Sal Buscema (penciler), Joe Sinnott (inker), Ann Nocenti (editor)
Sensational She-Hulk I#1 (June, 1989) – John Byrne (writer/penciler), Bob Wiacek (inker), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Power Pack I#59 (October, 1990) – Michael Higgins (writer), Tom Morgan (artist), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Generation X I#32 (November, 1997) – Tom DeFalco (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciler), Al Vey, Jon Holdredge, Scott Hanna (inkers), Mark Powers (editor)
Hawkeye III#7 (June, 2004) – Fabian Nicieza (writer), Joe Bennett (penciler), Sandu Florea (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man/Devil Dinosaur '98 Annual (July, 1998) – Tom DeFalco (writer), Tom Lyle (penciler), Robert Jones (inker), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Secret Avengers I#29 (September, 2012) – Rick Remender (writer), Matteo Scalera (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man III#19.1 (September, 2015) – Gerry Conway (writer), Carlo Barberi (penciler), Juan Vlasco (inker), Nick Lowe, Devin Lewis (editors)
Deadpool & the Mercs for Money II#6 (February, 2017) – Cullen Bunn (writer), Brian Level (artist), Jordan White (editor)
Captain America: Steve Rogers I#13 (May, 2017) – Nick Spencer (writer), Ro Stein (penciler), Ted Brandt (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Variants I#3 (October, 2022) - Gail Simone (writer), Phil Noto (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)

First Posted: 10/11/2018
Last updated: 01/20/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other 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 for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!

Back to Characters