HYPNO-HUSTLER

Real Name: Antoine Delsoin

Identity/Class: Human technology user

Occupation: Criminal, musician; former attempted crimefighter

Group Membership: Hypno-Hustler and the Mercy Killers;
formerly Tombstone's crew, S-Wing inmates (Chairman/Windsor Glastonbury, Demolition Derby/Basil Mendelshohn, Elektro, Fly/Gardner Polley, Home Wrecker/Matthew Mitchell, Hotshot/Abraham James, June Jitsui/June Hayashi, Larcenous Lil/Lilith Moll, Legal Eagle/Ralph G. Fake, Photoman/Vincent Charles, Printout Man/Windsor Babbage, Simon the Evil Swami)

Affiliations: Big Ben Donovan, Big Wheel (Jackson Weele), Cornell Cottonmouth, Deadpool (Wade Wilson), Piranha Jones, Rocket Racer (Robert Farrell), Tinkerer (Phineas Mason), Tombstone (Lonnie Lincoln);
formerly Bernie

Enemies: Hobgoblin (Roderick Kingsley), Iron Fist (Danny Rand), Kangaroo (Brian Hibbs), Sabretooth (Victor Creed), Spider-Man (Peter Parker)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: New York City, New York;
   formerly various prisons;
   Place of Birth Corona, New York

First Appearance: Spectacular Spider-Man II#24 (November, 1978)

Powers/Abilities: The Hypno-Hustler wears special lenses that produce a hypnotic effect in people, putting them into a trance, susceptible to suggestion. This effect can be enhanced by certain sounds, such as the singing of the backup band known as the Mercy Killers, and more recently Antoine seems to have learned to enhance the effect with recorded music. Eventually, the Tinkerer improved the Hustler's technology so that, in addition to the hypnotic suggestions, the Hustler could create hallucinagenic images in the mind of the hypnotized targets. The Tinkerer once provided him with a transmitter that could be placed on a target so that Antoine could hypnotize them from a distance.

Hypno-Hustler's headphones protect him from the Mercy Killers' siren song's hypnotic power; without them he is as vulnerable as anyone else to its power. He possesses at least moderate mechanical skills, since he designed and constructed the weapons built into his suit.

Apart from the hypnotic abilities, the Hustler has some combat-focused gadgets. His belt can fire an electrical stun-blast, and his boots each have 3-inch retractible spikes in the soles, as well as the ability to release an anesthetic gas.

He is also a capable guitar player and singer of Disco and Funk music.

Height: 5'11"
Weight: 180 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Black

History:
(Spectacular Spider-Man II#24 (fb) - BTS) - From Corona Park in Queens, Antoine was a high-school dropout who had frequent problems with a truant officer. It is unrevealed how Antoine came to possess his hypnotic lenses, but he eventually discovered that the sound of a backup band called the Mercy Killers perfectly complemented his own hypnotic powers. He convinced them to work with him as criminals.

(Spectacular Spider-Man II#24 (fb) - BTS) - Antoine begged Bernie for the opportunity to play at the Beyond Forever disco. Eventually, Bernie agreed to it, even paying for Antoine's expenses and publicity for the show.

(Spectacular Spider-Man II#24) - Before the performance at Beyond Forever, Antoine broke into the safe in Bernie's office and began stealing money. Bernie caught Antoine in the act and yelled at him, until the Hustler and the Mercy Killers used their powers to render the manager unconscious. Antoine apologized, but said he had big plans. When the show began, Hustler and the Mercy Killers hypnotized the audience and had them begin to hand over their valuables. Peter Parker had been in the audience and, sensing the hypnosis, changed to Spider-Man and created ear-plugs from his webs that allowed him to resist the mind control. The hero fought the Hustler, and got close enough to remove Antoine's headphones, leaving him susceptible to his own hypnotic music. With the Hustler in a trance, Spider-Man webbed up the mouths of the Mercy Killers, allowing the audience to awaken. Spider-Man left the Hustler hanging in a web from the venue's disco ball.

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z HC#5) - After another encounter with Spider-Man, which lasted only five minutes, Antoine was imprisoned again. He was sent to the prison known as the Cage.

(Spider-Man's Tangled Web#16) - Antoine, along with Big Ben Donovan and the Rocket Racer, was recruited into Tombstone's crew. Tombstone led them in an attack on his rival, Kangaroo, though the guards arrived before they could kill him.

(Spider-Man's Tangled Web#17) - Kangaroo and his crew beat Hustler, Big Ben, and Rocket Racer as retribution.

(Marvel Knights Spider-Man I#6) - Hypno-Hustler attended the auction in which the Venom symbiote was sold.

(Spider-Man Unlimited III#12) - Still in prison, Antoine was inspired by the success that Jackson Weele had had with Vil-Anon, and told Weele as much when he visited the prison to promote the program. Antoine decided to emulate Weele and, when paroled, tried to make amends for his criminal life by helping Spider-Man fight crime.

(Fin Fang Four Return!#1/5) - Jailed again for unrevealed reasons, Antoine was in the "S-Wing" a wing for Spider-Man villains. Here, he met the robot Elektro and showed him around. When Elektro's defiance accidentally incited a riot and attempted jailbreak, Hustler may have participated. In any case, the riot was swiftly quelled.

(Amazing Spider-Man II#609 - BTS) - Hypno-Hustler went live with his own website.

(Amazing Spider-Man II#645) - Antoine was out of prison again. Seeing Spider-Man angrily roughing up supervillains (including Spot, Diablo, and Overdrive), the Hustler panicked and went to a police station for protection. He was taken into custody.

(Avenging Spider-Man#13 (fb) - BTS) - In another prison, Antoine's cellmate was the Tinkerer. Antoine used hypnotism to remove the Tinkerer's smoking cravings. The Tinkerer designed an improvized version of Hustler's devices (from such items as forks and an MP3 player) that also allowed the Hustler to create hypnotic illusions in those he effected.

(Avenging Spider-Man#12 (fb) - BTS) - Antoine reached out to Deadpool. Antoine convinced the mercenary that he could provide a way for Deadpool to die, which Deadpool was seeking, if the mercenary helped him. Antoine gave Deadpool a hypnotic transmitter and had him attach it to Spider-Man's mask.

(Avenging Spider-Man#12) - Hypnotizing Spider-Man to think that the prison guards were school bullies, Hustler had the hero and Deadpool break into the prison to free him.

(Avenging Spider-Man#13) - Antoine had Deadpool protect him from Spider-Man, then had the hero see all the inmates of the prison as his worst enemies (as well as to see the Hustler in a more imposing form). Spider-Man did better against the convicts than Antoine expected, so he told Deadpool to kill the hero, which Deadpool argued was not part of their deal. Antoine hypnotized the mercenary to obey him, but Deadpool's fractured mind was only partially affected. Deadpool tricked Antoine into thinking Spider-Man was dead, and when Antoine tried to see it with his own eyes and removed his hypnotic lenses, he was soundly trounced by his foes.

(Marvel Knights Spider-Man II#5) - Antoine, with the Mercy Killers again, was among dozens of supervillains gathered by Richard Fisk to fight Spider-Man, though Fisk knew Spider-Man would defeat them and was setting them up to fail. Sure enough, even with dozens of others alongside, the Hustler went down easily.

(Axis: Hobgoblin#2 (fb) ) - The Hustler went to a school dance and used the music playing there to hypnotize the students into giving him the money they'd made selling tickets. When Hobgoblin arrived and stopped the music, the students beat up the Hustler. The event was caught on film.






(Power Man and Iron Fist III#2) - Antoine and the Rocket Racer discussed Luke Cage and Iron Fist getting their Heroes for Hire business back together.

(Power Man and Iron Fist III#13) - At the funeral for Piranha Jones, Antoine took an opportunity to tell a story about a time Piranha helped him out during a hard time.

(Iron Fist I#74) - The Hustler was hanging out in the Bar With No Name when Iron Fist and Sabretooth came in as part of an investigation. When a fight inevitably broke out, Hustler was kicked in the face by Sabretooth.

(Amazing Spider-Man V#19.HU) - Hypno-Hustler hung out at the Pop-Up With No Name.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Ed Winiarski (artist).

In his first appearance, the Hustler played songs called "Blood From A Stone" and "Sweet Surrender" and, while songs by those names do exist, I get the impression that these were meant to be originals by him.

I get the impression that Antoine is a very sociable supervillain, but I've kept his Affiliations limited to those we see him interact with. He appears in a lot of group scenes. For example, there were a number of guests at Piranha's funeral, but we don't know for sure how well he knew anyone there but Piranha, so I'm not treating them as any more than I would other villains who happened to be in a Bar With No Name scene at the same time. And was he working with Spot, Diablo, and Overdrive in ASM#645? No indication is given that he was. And then there's the Marvel Knights Spider-Man story in which almost every obscure villain showed up.

Hypno-Hustler had the questionable honor to be one of the characters killed by the Hulk in War is Heck, an alternate Earth recount of events by Uatu, in World War Hulk: Front Line#4 (November, 2007) by Paul Jenkins (writer) & Chris Moreno (artist).

Hypno-Hustler has profiles in Marvel Legacy: The 1970s Handbook (July, 2006) and Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z HC#5 (2008).

Thanks to Loki and Spider-Mike for additional images and abilities information.

Profile by Patrick D Ryall.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Hypno-Hustler has no known connections to:

The Mercy Killers have no known connections to:


Mercy Killers

The Mercy Killers was a group of three backup vocalists. When the Hypno-Hustler realized that their vocals conmplemented his own hypnotic abilities, they agreed to help him with his plans for a supervillain career. They performed with him at the show at the Beyond Forever disco and, when the Hustler mesmerized the crowd into giving up their valuables, the Mercy Killers gathered the items. The vigilante Spider-Man arrived to fight the Hustler and the three sang in an attempt to hypnotize the hero, not knowing he had plugged his ears. When Spider-Man removed the Hustler's headset, the criminal was put into a trance by the Mercy Killers' song. Likewise, the Killers, mesmerized by Hustler's lenses, continued to sing until Spider-Man covered their mouths, freeing the audience from their hypnotic spell.

Much later, they accompanied the Hustler when he was hired by Richard Fisk to attack Spider-Man with dozens of other villains.

--Spectacular Spider-Man II#24 (Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, Marvel Knights Spider-Man II#5


Bernie

Bernie was the owner of the Beyond Forever discotheque. He was moved by Antoine's pleas to give him help starting his musical career, and even paid to advertise the Hypno-Hustler's show at his venue. He was very disappointed when Antoine robbed him.

--Spectacular Spider-Man II#24


images: (without ads)
All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z#5, Hypno-Hustler entry (main image)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p14, pan1 (shock belt)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p14, pan2 (boots with spikes)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p14, pan3 (boots with spikes extended)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p14, pan6 (boots discharging gas)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p17, pan (unmasked head shot)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p9, pan4-5 (using his hypnotic powers)
Avenging Spider-Man#12, p20, pan 1 (prison clothes/improvised gear)
Avenging Spider-Man#13, p4, pan 3 (hallucinatory idealized form)
Power Man and Iron Fist III#13, p3, pan 4 (Piranha's funeral)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p10, pan 3 (Mercy Killers)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, Cover (Mercy Killers singing)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p10, pan7 (with Hypno-Hustler)
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24, p9, pan 2 (Bernie)


Appearances:
Spectacular Spider-Man II#24 (November, 1978) - Bill Mantlo (author), Frank Springer (artist), Bob Hall (editor)
Spider-Man's Tangled Web#16 (September, 2002) - Daniel Way (writer), Leandro Fernandez (artist), Axel Alonso (editor)
Spider-Man's Tangled Web#17 (October, 2002) - Daniel Way (writer), Leandro Fernandez (artist), Axel Alonso (editor)
Marvel Knights Spider-Man I#6 (November, 2004) - Mark Millar (writer), Terry Dodson (pencils), Rachel Dodson (inks), Axel Alonso (editor)
Spider-Man Unlimited III#12 (January,2006) - Christos N. Gage (writer), Mike McKone (penciler), Larry Stucker (inker), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fin Fang Four Return!#1/5 (July, 2009) - Scott Gray (writer), Roger Langridge (art), John Barber (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man II#609 (December, 2009) - Marc Guggenheim (writer), Marco Checchetto (artist), Luke Ross (pencils), Rick Magyar (inks), Stephen Wacker (editor)
Amazing Spider-Man II#645 (December, 2010) - Mark Waid (writer), Paul Azaceta & Matthew Southworth (artists), Stephen Wacker (editor)
Avenging Spider-Man#12 (November, 2012) - Kevin Shinick (writer), Aaron Kuder (art), Stephen Wacker (editor)
Avenging Spider-Man#13 (December, 2012) - Kevin Shinick (writer), Aaron Kuder (art), Stephen Wacker (editor)
Marvel Knights Spider-Man II#5 (April, 2014) - Matt Kindt (writer), Marco Rudy (art), Tom Brennan (editor)
Axis: Hobgoblin#2 (January, 2015) - Kevin Shinick (writer), Javier Rodriguez (artist), Alvaro Lopez (inker), Ellie Pyle (editor)
Power Man and Iron Fist III#2 (May, 2016) - David Walker (writer), Sanford Greene (artist), Jake Thomas (editor)
Power Man and Iron Fist III#13 (April, 2017) - David Walker (writer), Sanford Greene (artist), Jake Thomas (editor)
Iron Fist I#74 (January, 2018) - Ed Brisson (writer), Mike Perkins (artist), Mark Basso & Jake Thomas (editors)
Amazing Spider-Man V#19.HU (June, 2019) - Nick Spencer (writer), Chris Bachalo (pencils), Wayne Faucher, Livesay, Jaime Mendoza, Victor Olazaba, Tim Townsend & Al Vey (inks), Nick Lowe (editor)


First Posted: 07/13/2019
Last updated: 07/24/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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