61 years ago - Clifford Devoe is born.
45 years ago - 16-year-old Clifford attends Oxford University.
41 years ago - 20-year-old Clifford earns a bachelors degree in history.
39 years ago - 22-year-old Clifford earns his master degree in history.
36 years ago - 25-year-old Clifford earns his doctorate in history, becomes a professor in Central City University.
28 years ago - 33-year-old Clifford is diagnosed with a degenerative disorder, becomes obsessed with expanding his own mental ability.
23 years ago - 38-year-old Clifford earns simultaneous masters degrees in Engineering & Neuroscience.
16 years ago - 45-year-old Clifford first invents his thinking cap, allowing him to exponentially expand his mental capacity. He begins planning elaborate crimes across the city to prove his superiority, challenging the Flash.
10 years ago - 51-year-old Clifford stages a crimewave in Central City using his mind control technology, looking to permanently upload his consciousness into his computers. He falls into a coma when he is stopped by the Flash & Kid Flash.
6 years ago - 55-year-old Clifford's digital avatar achieves consciousness, and begins taking over systems in Central City. He is able to awaken his own body, and is suddenly slowed by his own weakened neurochemistry, allowing the Flash to disconnect him.
3 years ago - 58-year-old Clifford assembles a new group of Flash villains to become a new team of Rogues, menacing the Flash. He is defeated with the help of the original Rogues, and dies when his computer life support is shut down.
There is a certain pedigree to the idea of the super-genius criminal. It's a vintage idea, well explored in all sorts of classic pulp stories and comics. While most readers will probably name Lex Luthor as a classic example of the archetype, he's actually more of split between this and the mad scientist. Meanwhile (in much the same way that classic Captain Marvel villain Dr. Sivanna is a much purer version of a Mad Scientist), the vintage version of the Thinker is maybe the best example of the pure criminal mastermind villain that you're going to find.
The Thinker's Comic History
The Thinker debuted way back in 1943, an enemy of the original Flash, Jay Garrick. He was mostly depicted as a mustachioed criminal genius who had invented his 'thinking cap'. While another version of the character was used as a Firestorm villain in the 90's, the original verison of the character returned as an Artificial Intelligence in the pages of Geoff John's Justice Society. This version of the character would continue to be seen in several different series, becomeing part of the Injustic Society, the Suicide Squad, and even part of the covert government agency Checkmate.
More recently, the original version of the character was depicted as the main villian in the fourth season of the CW Flash series.
Our Thinker Story
We've leaned pretty heavily on the CW series depiction of Devoe in the creation of our version of the character. The classic version of the character is a bit of a mustache-twirling criminal archetype, and we like the introduction of the idea that he actually has motivations beyond just general villainy-for-it's-own-sake. The idea that Devoe was stricken by his degenerative disease while he was just a normal college professor actually works well as a motivation for him to create his thinking cap. From there he is in a constant state of expanding his mental capacity, relying more and more on his technology to the point where his actual body becomes a hinderance.
The real reason we were excited to use the character is because he works exceptionally well as the leader of the 'New Rogues', an upstart rival group of Flash Rogues that challenge the original group. When this storyline happened in the comics the leaders of the group were characters like Blacksmith & Plunder, characters that really don't hold up in the long term. By making the Thinker the driving force of that story it all makes a lot more sense and we get a great little swan song for a very cool classic villain.