Daredevil is famous for his deadly and serious villains. Kingpin, the Hand, Bullseye, Typhoid Mary, Elektra. The list goes on. But those characters came after his gritty reboot in the ‘80s from Frank Miller, which set the course for the character from that point forward. Before that, in the Silver and Bronze Age of comics, the Man Without Fear had some very silly villains. We met one of them, Man-Bull, in She-Hulk’s seventh episode. And now, they have introduced us to another: the amphibian costumed Leap-Frog. But is the ridiculous character a TV invention, or is he from the comics? Well, not only did Leap-Frog originate in the pages of Marvel Comics, but Stan Lee co-created him. Let’s look back at Leap-Frog’s comic book history.
Leap-Frog’s Comic Book Origins
Stan Lee and artist Gene Colan created Leap-Frog, and he first appeared in Daredevil #25-26 back in 1967. Vincent Patilio was a scientist and novelty toy inventor who found little fame and success in his chosen field. So, he turned to a life of crime to make himself rich. Clad in a head-to-toe frog costume, Patilio’s suit contained electrical coils on the soles of each of his two flippers, allowing him to leap great distances up to 60 feet high or 100 feet long. A backpack contained Patilio’s power source, which he activated with buttons in his gloves. Taking the name Leap-Frog, he fought Matt Murdock in one of his earliest adventures.
Leap-Frog did not exactly become one of Daredevil’s star rogues after that. The hero of Hell’s Kitchen thoroughly kicked his butt on a few occasions. Ultimately, it was Iron Man who put Leap-Frog away for several years, after the foe had joined with a group of other villains. And for the most part, Marvel writers forgot about this silly character. When he finally got out of prison, he went back home to his wife and son.
From Leap-Frog the Villain, to Frog-Man the Hero
It was at this point that his son Eugene Patilio took up the Leap-Frog costume. Not to become a villain, but to become a superhero instead. He thought using his dad’s inventions to fight crime might change his family’s fortunes. The younger Patilio changed his name from Leap-Frog to the somehow less imaginative Frog-Man.
In an effort to ease his financial problems, the elder Patilio pretended to be a villain again, and went undercover in the criminal gang of the villain White Rabbit. But his son, as Frog-Man, was trying to take down the White Rabbit gang, not realizing that dear old dad was undercover in the organization. This led to much confusion, but ultimately they worked it all out. Patilio didn’t want his son adventuring as Frog- Man anymore, but he didn’t listen to him. He tried out to be a member of the Defenders, back when several original X-Men were part of the team. He had a few adventures with Spider-Man as well.
But Frog-Man simply never made it into the big leagues, despite several attempts. Still, he was seen as important enough by the Skrull Empire to replace him with a doppelganger during the events of the Secret Invasion, although that led to a long readjustment period once they returned him to Earth. Perhaps one of Eugene’s most embarrassing moments came when Kraven the Hunter captured him and placed him in a zoo for supervillains with animal motifs. And yet, Frog-Man soldiered on, hoping to one day be recognized as a legit superhero—or at least make up for the criminal past of his father.
The MCU’s Leap-Frog
For his MCU debut on She-Hulk, Leap-Frog was fairly comics-accurate. When his suit malfunctioned (due to his own stupidity), he went to Jennifer Walters for legal representation. Just like in the comics, he goes by Eugene Patilio. And also just like in the comics, he’s not very good at being a hero. The show mentioned his rich and powerful father, who we didn’t see on camera during the episode.
Eugene having a rich dad was a deviation from the comics, as the senior Patilio was anything but wealthy. But it sounds like he had some kind of notable career before his son did, which tracks with the comics. By making Leap-Frog a villain at the end, they definitely combined him with his father. Will we ever see Leap-Frog again in the MCU? He definitely holds a grudge against She-Hulk now, and Daredevil as well. Maybe he will try to reinvent himself as Jen’s arch-nemesis. Good luck with that, Eugene.