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It'th a pleathure to be commanded in a clear, firm, authoritative voithe, mithtreth.
Igor, Carpe Jugulum

Welcome to my secret lair on Skullcrusher Mountain.

I hope that you've enjoyed your stay so far.

I see you've met my assistant Scarface.

His appearance is quite disturbing,

But I assure you he's harmless enough.

He's a sweetheart, calls me master,

And he has a way of finding pretty things and bringing them to me.
Jonathan Coulton, "Skullcrusher Mountain"

Igor is the Sidekick and manservant to a Mad Scientist. He's an absolute toady, loyal to a fault, and has no problem doing unsanitary scut-work (such as Grave Robbing) for his genius master, who is always addressed as "Master," sometimes with an impressive lisp. He'll typically be a hunchback, dwarf, or even some small variety of monster. Evil Sorcerers can substitute a tiny imp or demon. A vague European accent and/or a Peter Lorre impression (despite Lorre's not having played that sort of role until late in his dotage) round out the vocal category.

Igor can't fight (usually), and if encountered by the hero in a combat situation, will high-tail it out along with his master, unless the master tries to sacrifice him to enhance his own chances. Abduction of young screaming ladies, however, is within Igor's power.

This character is completely defined by Fritz, a character who appears in the 1931 Universal Pictures adaptation of Frankenstein. (He does not appear in the book; he was imported from an 1832 play adaptation, Presumption: or the Fate of Frankenstein.) The name "Igor" comes from a similar character named Ygor (played by Bela Lugosi) who appeared in the second sequel, Son of Frankenstein. Most modern uses and references include at least a subtle twist.

A very stylized, specialized, and specific variant on The Renfield. Is often Working for a Body Upgrade. Can overlap with Satellite Character. Compare to Battle Butler, Crusty Caretaker and Professional Butt-Kisser.

Examples of The Igor include:


Anime & Manga

  • Jaken, Sesshomaru's servant in Inuyasha.
  • Nemu Kurotsuchi, Mayuri Kurotsuchi's servant in Bleach, though she lacks many of the physical traits specified above and calls Mayuri by his name with a -sama honorific (which is often used by servants to their masters).


Comicbooks

  • Toad plays the Igor role to Magneto in early X-Men comics.
  • In Little Gloomy, Mad Scientist and jilted boyfriend Simon von Simon employs the hunchback Boris as his assistant. Boris, however, bears no real allegiance to Simon and only works for him because, as a hunchback, he doesn't have any other job opportunities. Boris is also somewhat explicitly much more sensible if not in fact smarter than Simon.
  • Grimer from Sonic the Comic is an exemplary Mad Doctor's Assistant to Big Bad Dr. Robotnik. As well as the usual Igor traits (hideous goblin-like appearance, frail build, intense loyalty, referring to his boss as "Master", etc) he was also something of a Hypercompetent Sidekick, being the primary designer of many of Robotnik's most dangerous war machines and personally coming to Robotnik's rescue on several occasions. His finest moment came when he was jailed after Robotnik was apparently destroyed by the Chaos Emeralds, where he proved he was a manipulative Chessmaster and managed to manipulate the heroes easily from his prison and save his master.
    • The American Sonic the Hedgehog comics had Snively in this role during his early appearances. He's still a toady nowadays, but after 16 years he's grown to hate his job a bit. Sniv has come to rely on being a Deadpan Snarker as his chief coping mechanism. It seems to work decently enough.
  • Gina from Gold Digger teases her sister Britanny by referring to her as her Igor.
  • During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Psycho Pirate was this to the Anti-Monitor.
  • Batman, of all people, actually had a mute hunchback assistant for a while in the '90s. Harold Allnut was a gifted mechanic and electronics technician who helped out in the Batcave.
  • Godland features Eghad, the simple assistant to criminal mastermind Friedrich Nickelhead. Eghad's intelligence is extremely lacking, and he knows little but undying loyalty to his master. Unusually for this trope, he's also Nickelhead's bodyguard and packs a frankly ridiculous amount of power in his tiny frame.


Film

 Dr. Gangrene: It's insulting for a misanthrope of my stature to have an assistant as good-looking as you!

Igor: Sorry, Doc. Maybe if I walked with a hunch?

  • Mad Scientist Doctor Finkelstein has one of these in The Nightmare Before Christmas. He likes doggy treats.
  • Paul "Dibbs" Plutzker of 1995 film: Casper, played by Eric Idle.
  • Both films of Count Yorga had Brudah, a deformed shambling man who serves as the Count extremely tough servant. He has been showed to defy his master once though in the first movie, where he rapes the damsel after Yorga controls her to come to his mansion during the daytime. He is later seen shameful of the act and begs Yorga to forgive him.
  • Dracula of The Monster Squad tries to use Frankenstein's Monster as one of these, ordering him to retrieve Van Helsing's diary. He's quickly won over by Phoebe, the youngest of the eponymous crew, and turns against his master.
  • Pavel, played by Ted Raimi, serves as the Igor in Bruce Campbell's Man with the Screaming Brain. He collects a lot of corpses over the course of the film.
  • In Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex, there is a segment with a Frankenstein parody. The deformed assistant of the mad scientist is even named "Igor".
  • Back to The Future's Marty McFly meets the "short, loyal lab assistant to a Mad Scientist" criteria, but is a reasonably well-adjusted teenager whose relationship with the Doc is less "subservient toady" and more "frequent rescuer of his Big Brother Mentor."
  • The butler and maid from Transylvania 6-5000 were both hunchbacks, and a married couple whose son had an even more extreme hunch. Or so it seemed; really, all three of them were faking to conform to this trope's groveling-hunchbacked-servant expectations.
  • Krull of Mr. Sardonicus is more well-spoken and normal looking than your typical Igor, but is still a good fit. He's Sardonicus' main servant/doer of dirty work, and has a deformity in having an eye missing (because Sardonicus ripped it out). While Sardonicus is the more villainous of the two, Krull is shown to be fairly sadistic himself, and ultimately gets revenge in a cruel The Dog Bites Back moment.


Literature

  • Literary example: Terry Pratchett's Discworld distills the trope by featuring an entire clan of these types, all named Igor (except female Igors, who are named Igora or Igorina). They all have their own unique pattern of scars and deformities (except for the female Igors, who are oddly enough very attractive, although they usually keep a stitch somewhere as a sign), and all of them incredibly skilled surgeons, chemists and inventors. When they work for Vampires, Werewolves and Mad Scientists, they often double as a butler. They also have a tendency to replace parts of their own bodies with bits from other people which are no longer in use by their former owners. Often an Igor will accept as payment for a surgery a promise that they can help themselves to the patient's body (for themselves and other patients) when they eventually die -- a promise they take very seriously. They also hand down useful organs; when an Igor says "I have my grandfather's hands", he is NOT being metaphorical.
    • Furthermore, they rarely have any qualms about who they work for -- they don't work for Vampires and Werewolves and Mad Scientists because Evil Feels Good, but because "Insanity gets the job done." An Igor would never do to another living person something that they wouldn't be willing to try first on themselves, though that doesn't necessarily narrow it down much. Even (relatively) sane and non-evil organisations (such as the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, The Free Hospital and a bank) recognise the value of an Igor and employ one or more.
    • Igors of Discworld are eerily good at:
      • Turning up behind you when you need them but don't expect them. (This might be a tribute to Eye-gor from Young Frankenstein, who went from the roof to right behind Dr. Frankenstein in less than a second.)
      • Opening the door exactly as you're raising your hand to knock. Relatedly, every door opened by an Igor will creak, whether or not it normally does. It's said to be a "skill".
      • Turning up at the moment of death.
      • Lisping, although this is done deliberately; "modern" Igors sometimes "forget to lisp." On one occasion, before delivering a somewhat longwinded explanation, the Igor in question asked if he could drop the lisp, to make said explanation easier to understand.
      • Knowing exactly which Igor you're talking about.
      • Knowing when a lightning storm is coming, and using said lightning to power whatever mad invention they've been asked to create.
      • Surgery -- in particular, they can re-attach lost limbs and perform transplants using only needle and thread, and also possess the ability to completely suppress the patient's immune system incompatibility with the donor organ through means unexplained. They also have the ability to bring back people who have actually died, if it's recent enough (and if they're allowed to -- dwarves in particular will not allow Igors to bring them back. Igors are said to be "naturally disappointed" by this). As of Unseen Academicals, Lord Vetinari has been compelled to make a law about this, because murder trials have a tendency to go wrong when the (formerly) deceased walks through the door: "If it takes an Igor to bring you back, you were dead. Briefly dead, it's true, which is why the murderer will be briefly hanged."
      • "Acquiring" materials for their master's latest deranged scheme.
      • Quietly exiting just before the angry mob arrives.
    • Interestingly, the Barman at Biers is named Igor, but is not a member of the clan -- it's just a coincidence, which is odd as Biers is frequented mostly by the undead. He apparently finds comments about the incongruity of this rather irritating.
  • Subverted in James Blaylock's Homunculus, where the hunchback creeping around the spooky laboratory actually is the Mad Scientist, Ignacio Narbondo.
  • Played for humorous effect (along with everything else) in Bring Me The Head Of Prince Charming. The demon Azzie Elbub is aided in his plan by his hunchbacked assistant Frike, who proves himself the man for the job by slaying (off-stage) the other applicants for the job. Frike is quite a good Igor, except for his habit of breaking into Azzie's alchemical supplies in order to get drunk or high on them.
  • In the Dragaera series, Sethra Lavode's servant Tukko/Chaz (his full name is Dri'Chazik a Tukknaro) comes across as a parody/subversion of this. In the Vlad series, he's described as constantly shaking and walking with a pronounced stoop, but Vlad suspects that this is Obfuscating Stupidity because despite his seeming infirmity, he never spills food or drink. This reading is supported in the prequel books in which he is revealed to be a famous wizard.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Onimi is the Igor to Supreme Overlord Shimrra, the leader of the Yuuzhan Vong. The very last book reveals however, that Onimi is actually the mastermind behind the Yuuzhan Vong invasion and that Shimrra was actually a puppet being telepathically controlled by Onimi.


Live-Action TV

  • Good Eats recently introduced the dungeon under AB's kitchen, wherein his toadying Dungeon Master (The Igor in all but name) supplies him with painful kitchen appliances, such as a steak cuber and tortilla press. Yes, it's a cooking show; it's just not a normal cooking show.
  • Amusingly parodied on SCTV with actor Woody Tobias, Jr., who actually was an ugly hunchback and thus was pretty much confined to this role (named "Bruno") as sidekick to 3-D filmmaker Dr. Tongue, who usually played Mad Scientist roles. Both were "serious" actors, to the point they attempted a remake of Midnight Cowboy in 3-D, but they didn't have much range...
  • TV's Frank was one of these to Dr. Forrester, on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
    • In the first season, it was Dr. Ehrhardt (despite being nominally a Mad Scientist himself).
  • On Black Books, Bill Bailey turned into an Igor briefly. Complete with lisp and hunch.
  • Despite being Topher's assistant on Dollhouse, Ivy is a complete subversion of this trope being female, quite attractive and anything but slavish in her attitude towards him.
  • Andrew on Buffy the Vampire Slayer could be said to have been somewhere between this and The Renfield to Warren.
  • Gilligans Island did two episodes with mad scientist Boris Balinkoff; Both times he had an assistant named Igor, the first time played by a human, the second by a monkey. (Considering the things Balinkoff got up to, it's even possible they were the same character..)
  • Both Jesse and Gale act as Igors to "Heisenberg" on Breaking Bad.
  • Condo to Mad Scientist Dr Solon in the Doctor Who episode "The Brain of Morbius".


Music

  • The evil genius of Jonathan Coulton's "Skullcrusher Mountain" has his assistant Scarface, whose description is pretty much textbook Igor.


Newspaper Comics

  • The Igor appears in a few Far Side cartoons. In one of them, the Doctor is scowling at him for having brought the wrong size wrench.


Radio


Tabletop Games

  • The Table Top Role Playing Game My Life with Master casts all the players as Igors.
  • In the fan-made New World of Darkness gameline Genius: The Transgression, Beholden fill this role. Beholden are otherwise ordinary people who see the world exactly as the Genius sees it and thus can handle Wonders without wrecking them, help build them, and do all sorts of dirty work for their masters. In fact, "Igor" is a slang term for a Beholden. It's not very pleasant being one. Beholden lose their ability to form any beliefs or meaningful opinions beyond copying those of a Genius, and if they're without a master for too long, they either go mad or die. They also have a tendency to experience a Breakthrough in certain conditions and become a Genius themselves.
  • Dr. Mordenheim is Ravenloft's Expy of Dr. Frankenstein, so naturally he has an Igor: a hunchback named Horg, whom he's re-created via cloning each time his assistant gets killed. Robbing graves in Ravenloft isn't the safest vocation, so he's on his third or fourth Horg by now.


Toys


Videogames

  • In the game Psychonauts, Sheegor is a female Igor forced to work for Dr. Loboto to save her captured pet turtle Mr. Pokeylope. She switches over to your side when you retrieve him; she's scary at first, but actually sort of a Woobie.
  • The game Brain Dead 13 has Fritz (most likely named as a Shout-Out to Universal's Frankenstein), an imp with hooks for both hands who pursues the protagonist throughout the game.
  • Dr. N. Gin in the newer Crash Bandicoot games. Actually, he was an Igor in the earlier games too. But one with a Humongous Mecha. In the first game, N. Brio was almost this, but eventually became a self-reliant Mad Scientist himself.
  • An Igor (called "Egor") is the protagonist of the Amiga platform game Frankenstein. Your goal in the game is to bring the required ingredients to dr. Frankenstein so that he can create the Frankenstein's Monster.
  • At the start of Monster Lab, the player is given a PDA aptly named I.G.O.R.
  • Igor makes an appearance in Castlevania as an invincible fleaman that assists Frankenstein's monster in battle in the first game, thus subverting the usual idea that Igor doesn't participate in combat.


Webcomics

  • This trope has actually been reversed in Annyseed where our hero's are greeted at the door by a cute, defiant little Monkey.
  • Webcomic example: Doctor Germahn of El Goonish Shive has an Igor of identical function but vastly different flavor. Her name is Amanda, and she's quite blonde.
  • Another webcomic treatment: In the current Girl Genius storyline, Agatha finally makes it to her ancestral keep, only to find the entire TOWN surrounding it is populated with Igors subconsciously pining for their masters the Heterodynes... and woe betide pretenders that hang around instead of getting eaten by the Castle.
    • This is a thing with Sparks in general. When in the madness place, they tend to drag others along in their fervor, with those who are exposed long enough becoming highly conditioned to serve Sparks (not exclusive to their original master).
      • One charachter suggest this is an evolved survival trait.
    • And von Zinzer, Agatha's follower whose reluctance to fall into "minion" routine, while useful in itself, produces hilarious scenes.
  • Order of the Stick has Giro as assistant to a Mad Scientist type wizard who makes Frankenstein's Monster-style flesh golems here. Giro isn't even a real hunchback; he wore a fake hump to get the job.
  • Pokémon-X (Better Than It Sounds, honest) parodies this with Professor Birch's assistant, named Igor, who is a perfectly normal lab assistant aside from the name and all the jokes he is subject to because of it.
  • In Narbonic, most respectable mad scientists have henchmen. It's just the way things are done. Dave even jokes that his boss should call him Igor. Later, the henchmen unionize.
  • Nosfera has the adorible Iggy, the man-flea.


Web Originals

  • Doctor Steel's robot servants are all hunchbacks.
  • The Cinema Snob notes in some of his reviews that he wants to know how the hunchbacked assistant ended up with the doctor. At least one, Blood-Sucking Freaks, explains that Ralphus is just a sadist who does it for free.


Western Animation

  • ReBoot: In later seasons, Mad Scientist "Herr Doktor" is Megabyte's top man. The doc has an unnamed assistant who is a heavily disfigured "one" binome.
  • In the Timon and Pumbaa series, the local Mad Scientist instead has "Shegor" because he's an equal opportunity employer.
  • In the Beast Wars episode "Feral Scream", Waspinator fills in the role of The Igor while Megatron is creating Transmetal 2 Dinobot. Waspinator even speaks lines such as "Yes, Master" in a creepy sort of voice.
  • Aladdin: the Series: Aside from being a magical flying eel, the evil sorcerer Mozenrath's sidekick Xerxes fits this trope to a T.
  • Lugnut in Transformers Animated.
  • Toonsylvania has its Igor as one of the main characters of the show.
  • In one episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield uses his imagination to compare Jon's new relationship to Bride Of Frankenstein. He notices the assistant, Igor, and tells Odie that all assistants are named Igor. It's a rule.
  • One of the several Mad Scientist antagonists on Courage the Cowardly Dog had a hunchbacked rat as a laboratory assistant.
  • In Jibber Jabber, several of the boys' fantasies involved Jibber and 'Dr. Jibberstein' with Jabber as his loyal hunchbacked assistant 'Jabgor'.
  • The blatantly named Urpgor of The Dreamstone is this to Zordrak. While most Urpneys are sniveling toadies, Urpgor is exceptionally unhinged and weasel-like, even refering to Zordrak as 'Master'. As a bonus he is the Mad Scientist of the Rogues Gallery.
  • In Freakazoid!, Guitierrez's third appearance sees him with an assistant he addresses as "Jocko"... who conspicuously looks like a very "normal" (albeit short) man with glasses but still behaves like an "Igor".
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