Real Name: Brad Steel

Identity/Class: Human

Occupation: Circus owner/ringmaster

Group Membership: His own circus (Little Egypt, The Freak, Sandar, Bobby Steel, many others)

Affiliations: May Parker, Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Enemies: A specific unidentified clown within his circus

Known Relatives: Bobby Steel (grandson)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Presumably mobile

First Appearance: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery (1984)

Powers/Abilities: Brad Steel had no superhuman powers but was a skilled businessman, circus owner and ringmaster. In his younger days, he was a skilled trapeze artist.

Height: 5'7" (by approximation)
Weight: 160 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: White

History: (The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery (fb) - BTS) - As a young boy, Brad Steel was a circus trapeze artist. As he grew older, he became the ringmaster and owner of the circus but eventually felt on bad luck and was forced to consider selling the circus. His dear friend May Parker had heard of his financial woes.

(The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery) - May Parker took her nephew Peter Parker to her dear friend Brad Steel's famous circus. Seeing May and Peter in the crowd, Brad Steel came over to them and introduced his grandson Bobby, who was a trapeze artist. Peter commented about maybe taking some photos of Bobby performing before May and he went to their seats. After May explained Brad's recent bad luck and the possibility of Brad having to sell the circus, Peter's spider-sense went off, warning him of trouble. Telling his Aunt May that he would be back after getting them some popcorn and soda, Peter secretly put on his Spider-Man costume to investigate the trouble. Watching as the circus parade started, Spider-Man witnessed the massive applause received by Bobby before the lead elephant went wild. Noticing a dart sticking in the elephant's forehead, Spider-Man removed the dart and the elephant calmed down. Brad Steel walked over to Spider-Man and quietly asked if Spider-Man would play along with the show so the audience could remain unaware that anything had gone wrong. Spider-Man agreed to help and later that night, Spider-Man met Brad in the big top tent, where Brad explained his recent financial problems and confessed that he might have to sell the circus in order to provide for Bobby. Spider-Man promised to find whoever was causing the circus problems and the next day, Spider-Man was keeping guard when many of the animals seemingly went crazy. Picking up an ultra-sonic whistle via his spider-sense, Spider-Man realized someone had caused the uproar and when a lion broke free and went after a clown, Spider-Man wrangled the lion until the ultra-sonic whistle stopped. When the whistle halted, the animals calmed back down and Spider-Man was no closer to finding out who had caused the ruckus. Bobby then climbed up the rope ladder to the trapeze and despite Brad's concerns and attempts to stop Bobby for his own safety, Bobby proved unable to hear Brad's pleas due to the height of the trapeze. After checking on things, Spider-Man deduced that Bobby would be safe since his spider-sense wasn't going off but decided to watch Bobby's show from a web's eye view. As the show progressed, Brad watched from the ground as someone cut Bobby's trapeze rope. Spider-Man quickly rescued the falling Bobby and immediately began searching the dark tent with his spider-signal belt beam. Finding the clown he had earlier rescued from the lion with a knife in his teeth, Spider-Man webbed the clown and left him hanging from the tent. Confronting the clown, Brad Steel listened as the clown confessed to the attacks on the circus due to his love of the circus and fear of Brad selling it. Brad reminded the clown that while he also loved the circus, the attacks were wrong. The clown saw the error of his ways but was taken into police custody. Later that afternoon, Brad Steel's agent called to tell him that Spider-Man's appearance brought the circus so much new publicity that it had been booked solid for the next five years. Happy to hear that he wouldn't have to sell the circus after all, Brad thanked Spider-Man for his help and Spider-Man swung away to circus cheers.

Comments: Created by David Anthony Kraft, Marie Severin and Earl Norem.

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery was a "Big Looker Storybook" for children, published by Marvel Books in 1984. The Earl Norem art in the book is fantastic and frankly, the story wasn't too bad. The only weird part was that Spider-Man swung off at the end of the story, apparently leaving his Aunt May behind to worry about where Peter went. Also, one had to wonder what became of Brad Steel's circus once the potential customers found out that Spider-Man was not part of the regular act. Hopefully, the financial trouble didn't return and Bobby eventually went to college...

Profile by Proto-Man.

Brad Steel has no KNOWN connections to:

Bobby Steel has no KNOWN connections to:

Bobby Steel

Bobby Steel was the grandson of Brad Steel, who wanted to provide for Bobby and someday pay for Bobby to go to college. Traveling with Brad's circus, Bobby became a trapeze artist and was eventually introduced to Peter and May Parker, some of Brad's friends. After a series of attacks on the circus, Brad attempted to keep Bobby from performing out of fear for his safety but Bobby climbed the rope ladder to the trapeze anyway, unable to hear Brad's pleas due to the height. During his attack, Bobby's trapeze rope was cut by an unidentified circus clown as part of the attacks on the circus but Bobby was rescued by Spider-Man. After the clown admitted that his attacks were meant to scare away potential buyers of the circus and he was taken into custody, Bobby was happy to hear that the circus was booked solid for the following five years due to Spider-Man's appearance.

--The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery

images: (without ads)
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery, p7-8, splash page (Brad Steel, main image)
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery, p30, splash page (Brad Steel, headshot)
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery, p19, splash page (Bobby Steel)

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Big Top Mystery (1984) - David Anthony Kraft (writer), Marie Severin, Earl Norem (art)

Last updated: 10/15/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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