Friday, February 13, 2015

In Which We Go Mad Trying to Follow the History of the Mad Hatter

*Sigh*... I missed another day.  And I'm afraid I'm going to miss quite a bit of next week as well.  I'm afraid we're just going to have to accept that my life has taken a turn where ye old blog is going to be a "semi-regularly posted" situation.  Sorry, folks... you can't tell the ocean to slow down.

Batman villains have seen a lot improvement over the years: Deadshot, Cat-Man... heck, even the Joker went through some changes over the years, going from homicidal meanie to silly thief to... well, I don't even know anymore after that dreadful Death of the Family tie-in.

Anyway, when I think about villains that have gone from "meh" to "awesome," I can't help but include the Mad Hatter.  The Mad Hatter went from a guy who just stole a lot of hats to a guy that used hat gimmicks in his crimes:

... because it's the Silver Age, a man could escape custody jumping on a springy chef's hat.  Although  I'm not sure that, based on the trajectory, he got more than five feet away from where he jumped.

Non-comic nerdlingers may not know this, but this version of the Mad Hatter was actually an imposter.  Remember this guy?

Well, that guy was actually the Mad Hatter we know and love today.  It turns out the hat-gimmick guy of the Silver Age  in the first picture was an impostor.

You're probably saying, "Well, derp.  Of course. The original looked nothing like the hat-gimmick guy."  And you're absolutely right.  But Batman never noticed that the hat-gimmick guy claiming to be Jervis Tetch bore no resemblance to the little guy he'd fought earlier.  And the impostor wasn't revealed for fifteen years.  During that time, the Batman tv show of the 1960's had this Mad Hatter, played by David Wayne:

This character appeared once in both seasons of the tv show.  And by the physical appearance, it's obvious he was based on the impostor, not the real deal.

These days, we're back to the original:

He's all into mind-control and is obsessed with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  He also talks in creepy fonts and likes to kidnap little girls.  Creepy as heck, but you know... he's a Batman villain, so it makes for a better story than a guy jumping on a chef's hat.  

He's actually a staple character these days, showing up more often than not in Batman-related video games and animated series.  Why he has yet to appear in movies, I don't know... but I think it's because he's just so dang icky.  I'm referring to the real guy, not the chef's hat-jumping guy.

Moving on, I sometimes find something hilarious that's totally incidental.  Thusly:

The woman on the left just throwing papers in the air for next to no reason whatsoever slayed me.  She's awfully jittery.  She probably shouldn't be working full-time.  FIREMEN!  AIIIIEEEEEE!

And now, for another installment of... Oh, crap. Did I Just Say That Out Loud? (tm!)

Now I can do my best... without fear of revealing my secret identity!

What's that about a secret identity, Danny?

Oh, crap... Did I Just Say That Out Loud? (tm!)


Gene Phillips said...

Good catch on the paper-throwing employee. I imagine that the artist just got bored drawing so many stick-like background figures and tossed in some frenetic action-- just to keep himself going, not because he thought anyone would ever notice.

Though I like the second Mad Hatter better than the very first version, the revision of Number 1 in the 70s-- by Gerry Conway, I seem to recall-- was better than either, using hats with mind-control devices in addition to the ALICE references

BatmanisBw said...

Another good post.I like the paper lady.

Honestly, If you need to take a break, just take one. You've earned it and this isn't a saw movie. You don't Have to write post if you don't want to.

Evil said...

"But Batman never noticed that the hat-gimmick guy claiming to be Jervis Tetch bore no resemblance to the little guy he'd fought earlier."

Good going, world's greatest detective!