Secret Origins Special #1: The Penguin, The Riddler, and Two-Face

On this special* episode, Ryan Daly investigates the original sins of Batman’s vilest villains in Secret Origins Special #1. First, Ryan welcomes Michael Bailey for the origin of the Penguin. Then Ryan and Mike Gillis try to crack the mysteries of the Riddler. And finally Ryan recruits Clinton Robison and Nathaniel Wayne for a double-sided discussion of Two-Face. All of that plus new secrets behind the Secret Origins from Ryan’s meeting with Mark Waid at Boston Comic Con. (special* = long.)

Secret Origins Podcast Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/secretoriginspodcast

Secret Origins Podcast on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/httpsecretoriginspodcastlibsyncom/secret-origins-podcast?refid=stpr

Let us know what you think! Leave a comment or send an email to: RDalyPodcast@gmail.com.

This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK.

Subscribe via iTunes as part of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST: http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-fire-and-water-podcast/id463855630

“Premonition” (Theme for Secret Origins Podcast) written and performed by Neil Daly.

Additional music: “Puttin’ On the Ritz” by Robbie Williams; “The Riddler” by Frank Gorshin; “Two Divided by Love” by The Grass Roots; “Mama Weer All Crazee Now” by Quiet Riot.

Thanks for listening!

41 responses to “Secret Origins Special #1: The Penguin, The Riddler, and Two-Face

        1. Great stuff in the later seasons. Sgt Hatred becomes the Venture bodyguard, Brock is working with SPHINX, Henchmen 21 proves to be the most capable of all, Phantom Limb returns, more Order of the Triad, more Shore Leave, Dr Venture’s boy adventurer therapy group, Kevin Conroy as Captain Sunshine, Dean’s internship at Impossible Industries, Hank & Dean’s prom, sulky Dean, the return of the original SPHINX (lots of fun for the GI JOE generation), Spanokopita!, and more….

  1. Okay, I’m through the Riddler segment, and even though I was left out of this Batman episode (did you not check the Fire & Water contract, Ryan?) I’m going to go ahead and comment on Penguin and Riddler.

    I agree with Michael Bailey on many things, and another one for the record books is that Batman Forever is a much better Batman film than Batman Returns. Sure, the goofy starts to seep in with this movie, but the Batman and Robin scenes work like a modern take on the early Golden Age stories.

    I also agree with Ryan that DC seemed hellbent on trying to make the Penugin work with the darker tone of the Batman universe. I don’t think they really succeeded until Chuck Dixon came up with the Iceberg Lounge aspect to the character. This story always struck me as part of that “let’s make Penguin tough and gritty”. It may be because of Sam Keith’s art (sorry, not a fan on mainstream comic stuff), but it also has to do with “he’s not fat, it’s just muscle” which I’ve always called BS on…at least until I watched the Netflix Daredevil series, where the Kingpin truly, TRULY frightened me. So I’ll give them that. That was 14 year-old Chris’ hang-up with this story.

    The Penguin got a then NEW origin in Best of DC (Digest) #10, March 1981 a Secret Origins issue. I think this may be the first place where Oswald’s mom, and his being bullied was first explored.

    Onto the Riddler: Yes, Frank Gorshin did wear a three-piece suit and bowler hat in the classic TV series and movie, in addition to his tights. This was the first time this look appeared in the comics.

    This story is an odd one. I really like it, but it came to me at a weird time, where I was trying to reconcile my love for the silly old TV show against the new, dark, cool, hip Batman of the late 80s. I never turned my back on the show like many, but it was kind of the crazy old uncle you still loved, but you tended to try to avoid at reunions. The Riddler comes across very much like that here. DC didn’t have any rights to the made-for-TV villains at that time, so it’s interesting that Gaiman snuck them in.

    I have ready many articles with Batman writers who admit the Riddler is a tough nut to crack. Even the Animated Series guys felt like they never really got him right. Oh, and he wore the bowler with the tights on the second version of that series, The New Batman Adventures.

    There was a Question story shortly before this where the Riddler was portrayed as washed up (written by Bat-edtior Denny O’Neil). His Who’s Who entry from the 1989 Detective Annual also reflects his retired status, and his running of the junkyard (more on that in the next Who’s Who episode). Interesting that at this point, the Bat-office was content to seemingly put Riddler out to pasture, while they were trying desperately to make Penugin work in their darkened world.

    So far, so great!

    Chris

    1. Well, they considered him a pretty worn out joke, which was a big point of that story. BTAS, as they did with many characters, showed the potential that lay within.

  2. Wow, almost four hours! I was sure at some point during the show Ryan was going to check the tote board to see how many donations had come in.

    In a lot of ways, this is my favorite issue of the SO series. I think the Riddler section is genius, as is the wraparound segment. I find the Penguin and Two Face stories merely okay, but I think the whole book gets lifted by the stuff Gaiman did. Plus the Bolland cover is…well, a Bolland cover. Perfect.

    I remember being really shocked that DC allowed Gaiman to even mention some of TV show villains in a comic, especially at the time when they were trying so hard to sell the Grim n Gritty Batman to a mass audience. I thought it was pretty daring and loved Gaiman for doing it.

    And even though no one asked, my top 5 fav Bat Villains are (in no particular order)

    Scarecrow
    Two-Face
    The Mad Hatter
    Black Mask
    Ra’s Al Ghul

    Kyle has disqualified himself from future podcast guest gigs by putting KGBeast on his list. Have some standards, man! Who was #6? Kite-Man?

  3. A note before I listen, I love all versions of the Riddler, yes even the Jim Carry version. I even like the hardly seen AU version. Neil Gaiman is my favorite writer. I love stories that casually break the forth wall. This Riddler story is reprinted in “Whatever happened to the Caped Crusader”, where I liked it far better then the tittle story.

    I kinda remember reading it in comic form…
    I sort of remember the other two stories….

    I re

  4. I remember having the argument where the Bat fans and the Vertigo kids both hated me for liking this.
    So weird relationship with this issue have I.

  5. Well, I listened to the rest, and now I have a beard and am eligible for Social Security. But I didn’t mind. This was indeed, a special episode. Well done fellas.

    But Ryan, you question the existence of a Harlan Ellison-written script for a Two-Face episode of the Batman TV Series? Did you NOT listen to the Super Mates episode where Cindy and I review the comic special that adapted that unused script? It was written by Len Wein and drawn by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez (Praise Be His Name)! For shame.

    You’re probably right about the Chilton angle, BUT, the name Chilton does come up in Batman lore. In the late Silver/early Bronze Age, it was established that Bruce was sent to live with his Uncle Phillip after his parents were murdered. He was looked after by Phillip’s housekeeper, a Mrs. Chilton. Unbeknownst to Bruce (but known to Alfred, per The Untold Legend of the Batman mini), the kindly Mrs. Chilton was actually the mother of…Joe Chill, the man who murdered Thomas and Martha Wayne! Duh-duh-DUHHHH!!! But yeah, it was probably a Silence of the Lambs thing.

    I forgot to mention the cover earlier. It’s outstanding. Iconic even. The best image of those three characters ever committed to paper? Probably.

    I loved how you guys dug deep with the questions on celebrity. Some interesting discussion there. While I do agree there is some fascination with killers, I don’t see too many attempts at actually merchandising them (although there was a series of serial killer trading cards which stirred up some serious fuss years ago). In the DCU, someone is constantly trying to exploit these pshychos, and even the Joker himself tried to get in on it with the Laughing Fish, of course.

    As for favorite Bat-villains…that’s like asking me whose my favorite kid? Don’t tell Cindy I said that.

    Chris

    1. C’mon, Chris, we all know you have a favorite kid. Don’t hide it!

      As for the Ellison-plotted BATMAN ’66 episode/comic, well, of course I listened to that episode of Super Mates! It just, uh, slipped my mind.

    2. There have been Charles Manson t-shirts and stuff, which is close enough, for my book.

      The serial killer trading cards were from Eclipse, if I remember right. It created a minor stir; but, it blew over pretty quickly. I thought their Bush League trading cards were far better, though nowhere near as good as their comic creator cards.

  6. Great episode…. So far just listened to up to Riddler part. I liked the Peguin discussion well enough.
    The Riddler discussion has me relalizing I like the idea of the Riddler more then any of the actual characters who have appeared. I say characters plural because he’s been so different so many times….
    Jim Carry’s guy (who I like) IS NOT the Gaiman stand in from this (whom I love). And neither of those is the Gerssin 60’s guy I first fell in love with.
    His names and gimmick may stay the same, BUT I think he might be the second least consistent between versions character in Superhero stories. (Hank Pym is number one)

  7. Great episode. Loved that this was 4 hours, as it really allows 3 important villains to get some well due spotlight.

    Regarding the Riddler segment (my favorite of the 3, by far, and one of my favorite comic villains ever), this is indeed the 1st time he appears in a suit & bowler hat in a comic. He’d wear it more prominently in his next appearances – Dark Knight, Dark City (whose cover artist, Mike Mignola, designed the B:TAS Riddler, which displaced Timm’s own design inspired by Will Eisner’s Spirit) and in most appearances beyond.

    And from the pen of Paul Dini himself came a statement that echoes Ryan & Michael’s observation about the Riddler’s relative lack of use in comics and, in his own case, the animated series. In the 1998 Batman Animated retrospective book, Dini reflected on the a Riddler and said that the shared opinion of the showrunners was that the Riddler was a very tough character to write – “a cerebral villain who spends too much time proving how smart he is rather than causing mayhem” – and that most scripts were rejected because they were too long or just too silly. Plus, of course, coming up with compelling riddles (that didn’t devolve into lazy machine gun sparrow references) on their show deadlines was a bit too much. I would imagine that’s why Bill Finger, the character’s own co-creator and a writer who was fairly infamous for not meeting his own deadlines, only ever wrote him once or twice himself

    Always enjoyed that Neil Gaiman can, if he ever tires of the Sandman fandom, proudly point to a fairly poignant Riddler tale in his vast bibliography, and that Bernie Mireault would again illustrate a more nostalgic story that, to a more untrained eye (like mine in the early ’90s), would age wonderfully over the next 25 years and add a special element to the Riddler’s “secret” “origin.”

  8. Day 2 of listening to the Secret Origins podcast. This expedition has been doomed from the start. We ate the last dog this morning. During dinner last night, Shag stood up suddenly and said “I’m just stepping outside for minute”. I never saw him again.

  9. Still making my way through this, but wanted to get a special Secret Origins podcast on the origins of Ryan “Shanks” Daly and Michael “Legs” Bailey. I’m particularly interested in the time they clearly spent in the clink. I don’t know how else they have such a clear knowledge of streetfights and prison bitchery.

  10. My top 5 Batman villains is most similar to Ryan’s (as it stood at the time of recording):

    5. Two Face
    4. Raysh
    3. Joker
    2. Catwoman
    1. Deadshot

  11. Late to the game as usual.

    I loved this book as decent looks at all these characters.

    I am a fan of the Riddler but I agree it is hard to pull off a good story. Like you all, I need the Riddler to be an intelligent puzzler. I don’t need ‘What trees are hairy? Fir trees.’ Somewhere along the way, Scott Snyder said he wanted to write a Riddler story but learned quickly that it isn’t easy to write riddles. My intro was Gorshin, who is the quintessential Riddler for me.

    But my favorite Batman villain is Two-Face and so I loved this story. As you guys said, the Wagner Faces story (LOTDK 28-30) is brilliant as he tries to play up his freakish side. I’ll also add Batman:Jekyll and Hyde by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee. Great stuff there. And, of course, his role in Dark Knight Returns is well done, Harvey giving into his dark side, his coin scarred on both sides. Chilling.

    I think part of what I like about Two-Face is that he starts out as Law and Order, a man of rules, who descends into madness and thinks chance is more powerful than rules. Brilliant.

    My top Five Batman villains:
    TwoFace
    Riddler
    Ra’s Al Ghul
    Catwoman
    Joker.

    But I wish more was done with the ‘reverse Batman’ the Wraith, covered in Who’s Who XXVI

    1. Ack, as I am driving home today I realize I forgot 2 more fave Batman villains – Hugo Strange! And the Nightslayer/Nocturna duo.

      Also, great info from Mark Waid at the con. Ditko on Plastic Man. Now I will never forgive Roy Thomas!!!

  12. Excellent episode, Ryan. Nice to know there were three amazing guests (and one complete jackass who somehow bribed you to get to talk with you and Nathaniel). Like you, my favorite Batman villains keep changing, but I will fully own all the well-deserved tossed fruit for the KGBeast pick.

    The conversation you had with Mark Waid sounds absolutely amazing. What an utter shame no interviews or anything could come of it. Perhaps another time.

    I have to give a big word of thanks and appreciation to all the guests. Michael, Mike and Nathaniel, you all made this episode a neverending source of entertainment. This Cecil B. DeMille epic length episode just flew by with all your amazing input. I’m glad to know we can all agree that Mr. al Ghul belongs in the Top 5 no matter what.

    Here’s hoping my monotonous hick droning didn’t bore too many people along the way.

    1. Loved your debut Clinton, but I’m not agreeing on Ra’s, so there! Everyone seems to like him because he makes Batman go all Jamea Bond, but we already have a James Bond. i like my Bat-villains to have a connection to Gotham, not live in a tent and be involved in a creepy relationship with his sub-Bond girl daughter.

      But everyone else seems to love the old bugger!

  13. We’ve talked a lot about the heroes before (our) time, but not so much the gangsters so original that they exist in our personal pre-history. The Batman rogues gallery has probably benefited most from this 20th century phenomenon, and I think this is absolutely due to “Batman ’66.” Hollywood has historically been filled with short-sighted morons, especially when it comes to comic books, and the Man of Steel is still paying for the producers of The Adventures of Superman going cheap with his opposition. If they’d made a few extra costumes, had a few guys who could stage punch George Reeves through some drywall, he might very well have continued to be the most popular and important super-hero of all. Instead, Superman ceded to Batman the opportunity to not just transport a super-hero into a basic filmic reality with very light science fantasy elements, but to port the entire surreality of funny books to TV and cinema. Ditto the motion pictures, where Superman started out fighting Gene Hackman, Ned Beatty and Valerie Perrine and went less impressive from there. When Batman came to film, he brought with him the expectations of a Gotham City fully realized for a generation of fans within and without comics’ readership. They got the Joker, and then asked about Catwoman, and then Scarecrow, and then Poison Ivy, and how about some more Commissioner Gordon and Batgirl and Harvey Dent and so on. Superman had Lois Lane and, uh, Jimmy Olsen and… Brainiac? Mr. Mxyzptlk? The potential was there, but the multimedia exploration was late and lacking. I never felt as strongly for Batman’s rogues overall as I did for other more favored cliques, but in terms of marketing to the masses, they’re tops.

    The cover is by Bolland… Brian Bolland, license to thrill. His is one of the few names you could justifiably drop into a sentence containing the phrase “merely JLGL.” Despite being something of a straightforward pin-up, this Secret Origins would likely turn up at the very least among the top ten best covers individually for Riddler, Penguin, Two-Face, and perhaps even Batman, despite his not actually even being on it. Another uncommon phrase: “This book has too many Neil Gaiman stories, and they’re not very good.” Both the framing story and the Riddler non-origin are one note played too long. I’m grateful for the presence of Kevin Nowlan in the vignette, but there’s still too much undigested Hydrox layout artist lingering on the page. It looks better than it deserves to, but still like someone aping Nowlan instead of the real thing.

    There are so many possible introductory points for me to the Penguin, since he was on the cartoons and in one of the first comics I bought, but most probably it was through Burgess Meredith. Actually, that was the only Penguin I liked as a kid, purely on the performance. Elsewhere, Penguin was the dope with the trick umbrellas, and those short portly action figures made for obvious punching bags to more fit kewl toys. Then Danny DeVito came along and ate up space in Batman Returns that I’d have rather seen lent to the two other villains (I got a fever… and the only cure… is more Christopher Walken.) Worse, the Burton version informed Batman: The Animated Series, an early opportunity for me to reject cynical attempts at grimdark with obviously inappropriate characters. I was an early adopter of Chromium Age sensibilities, but the Penguin helped me to recognize that when everybody is a grizzled badass, nobody is, and there has to be a better way into one of the most famous comic book super-villains than to pretend he’s a goth and pander to a scene.

    Around the same time as Batman Returns, DC put out best of trades for Penguin and Catwoman. It was either there or in subsequent books of critical analysis (Jules Pfeiffer?) where I was made to realize that what made Penguin special among the Batman rogues was that he was sane and a brutal mobster. He’ll entertain affectations like the bird-themed heists and the refrigerated hideouts because that’s fashionable in Gotham. He’ll put on his roaring 20s suit and whip out his trick umbrellas, as it makes folks underestimate him or laugh him off. Doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, he’s balling, and he’ll be running whichever prison they temporarily assign him to. He’s had heartaches, but he’s not tragic. He’s just a bad guy in a worse town who loves showing off in his dirty work. That’s refreshing in his environment.

    Sometime in the mid-90s, I’d fallen in love with a version of the Penguin’s early history I’d concocted and have since forgotten, then read this Secret Origin. I hated it a lot in part because it somehow contradicted my ideas, but now that I’ve reread it without a personal agenda, I can be more objective in thinking it sucks. I’ve never liked Alan Grant’s work, because he’s got that 2000 A.D. attitude that gives the impression he’s too clever to be working on disreputable genre material, so he basically takes the piss while still cashing the checks. I read this origin as a satire, bashing together impossible contrivances and cliche to see if you can get away with hacking out a marketable strip on sheer fan service. It plays right into the sadistic power fantasies of a large segment of the readership without offering any legitimate insight into the main character. People laughed at Oswald Cobblepot, and one bully especially scarred him, so he became a themed master criminal? What? You can’t just draw a line from one to the other, and yes, it’s totally the Kingpin’s origin with the forced inclusion of “Birds N Stuff.” That’s like, Peter Parker’s parents were gunned down in an alley, so he became a Spider-Man. But… Wait… There should probably be more to this, right?

    Then there’s the art by Sam Keith, which is a total scam. His fundamentals are strictly amateur hour, reminding me of the crappy comic strips I drew in my notebook in grade school. Faces in crude absolute profile across multiple panels, extreme obscuring close-ups, young child with a camcorder camera angles, an absence of the illusion of depth– work cheats that even Rob Liefeld would scoff at. The con is that Keith then drenches everything in heavy inks with some stylish shading techniques and usually one “money” image per page that looks impressive until you break down what he actually did (like that facial close-up of Penguin coming out of (surprise) deep shadow that conceal his neck and body while Keith has flicked ink off a toothbrush to alter the texture. For my money, peak Sam Keith was his Marvel Comics Presents covers, where he could draw Wolverine in semi-silhouette endlessly– a character with built-in weirdly exaggerated anatomy that you could jazz up with a slick muscle dimple and thick layers of body hair. I can enjoy his work in the same vein of guilty pleasure as other early Image artists, but extreme style aside, he’s among the worst technically of the “name brand” lot. He’s the Jack in the Box tacos of ’90s draw-ers.

  14. What a fantastic episode, I liked the off-grid format and the multiple guests.

    I’m a Penguin traditionalist, he’s a funny little man who’s ridiculously formidable. I don’t want him as a Kingpin muscle monster, or running a nightclub and skimming the cash off other crimes. I want him out on the streets, flying into fights with Batman and Robin on a helicopter umbrella. I do love this origin, though, with the melted teeth scaring the bejabbers out of me. (I looked up that Best of DC Secret Origins of Super-Villains digest, featuring the origins of ‘your favourite villains’ – Penguin, Parasite, Ocean Master, Captain Boomerang, Shadow Thief… and Red Dart. Good grief. Someone should do a lame villains podcast, Least Wanted or something.)

    Again, I don’t like the modern take on The Riddler, as a private detective – Batman needs adversaries, and if someone can’t wrote a smart enough story for him, bench the guy until a smarter writer comes aloft. And while I love a nice three-piece suit, it’s tights all the way, baby!

    Two-Face is a brilliant villain, with a great origin, look, psychology, even a bit of a supporting cast in Gilda (has Duela ever appeared as his daughter in a Batman story)… I never tire of him. Oh, hang on, James Robinson’s extended post-52 story in which Batman gave Harvey Dent the job of replacing Batman, having made him a Kung fu master detective? How many unbusy heroes does he know? Dozens!

    When did they start drawing his face purple rather than green? It’s like a reverse Beast Boy scenario. I love that the Earth 2 Batman got to stay sane.

  15. Ouch, the iPad posted the message when I breathed on it. Still jabbering, here!

    I have to disagree with Nathaniel that nobody introduced in the Eighties was any good. Nocturna and the Thief of Night. Killer Croc. Black Mask. The Ventriloquist. Anarchy. Black Mask. Film Freak…

    I doubt that Geraldo Rivera inspired Steve Jones – Gaiman wasn’t living in the US back then and Rivera is pretty unknown over here in the UK. Snoopy TV reporters are ten a penny in the DCU. There were at least two UK broadcasting guys in the Eighties called Steve Jones, maybe he took against one of them.

    I was fascinating to hear Harley Quinn make a list of top Batman villains, I can’t recall a single story in which she fights him solo … I was under the impression she was a sidekick to the Joker who then stepped out in her own. Then again, I’ve only seen about one episode of the TV cartoon so am likely way off base.

    My list:

    5 Scarecrow
    4 Nocturna
    3 Penguin
    2 Catwoman
    1 Two-Face

  16. The Riddler almost certainly came through my door via the Adam West TV show. Penguin has the stronger visual and easier hook, so he got around a lot more than Ed Nigma. I haven’t really watched the show since it was in syndication growing up, but Frank Gorshin was definitely near the top of my favorite actors there (and I love John Astin, but not as Riddler.) What I was surprised didn’t get explored on this episode was how similar the usage of Joker and Riddler was for a lot of years. They were both big, loud, cackling crooks with gaudy costumes involving purple and green with themed henchmen and elaborate heists/traps revolving around childhood amusements. I think the biggest problem for most of Riddler’s career is that he’s too similar to the Joker without getting over as well conceptually with fans. I used to love the Joker before he went WAY off the deep end in the late ’80s, so to my thinking, the simplest way to restore some of Riddler’s lost glory is to write him as the Silver/Bronze Age Joker. I tried to watch those two grisly, sadistic, imbecilic, pathetic Joker fan films some opportunistic cretins released recently in a transparent attempt to exploit Suicide Squad’s flickering visibility. I couldn’t make it much more than five minutes skipping through either because it’s the same disgusting serial killer fixated dreck that has adulterated so many crime shows today. Wouldn’t it be great if Riddler could recapture the toothsome but still playful anarchy of the Joker Boomers and Gen-X grew up on? Y’know, he could still kill people that kind of deserve it or that the audience just doesn’t care about to remind everyone he’s a threat, but maybe not beat any children to death with a crowbar or commit any catastrophic acts of sexualized violence that leaves the victim physically paralyzed?

    But say we keep Riddler on point. Writers are full of excuses to not do their damned job. Riddles are hard? Buy a book of riddles, and if the specific examples are copyrighted, reverse engineer them. Read a question, come up with your own answer, and if it doesn’t match the book’s, keep your answer and alter the riddle until it best matches that. In fact, you can even craft the story out of the engineered riddles, allowing you to plot via these sort of mad libs. It’s actually simpler than trying to think up some crazy thing for the Joker to do, but then again, he’s just a flamboyant serial killer now, and murdering fictional folk in cruel ways is easier than just about anything else to write.
    “Ha-ha, I’m hurting you!”
    “Ahhh, it hurts so bad.”
    “You maniac– I’m going to hurt you for hurting this person!”
    SFX: HRT!!!

    The Dark Knight is arguably the greatest Batman movie, but aside from wasting Two-Face on a too fast psychotic break in an unnecessary fourth act that could have been expanded into a much better sequel than The Dark Knight Rises… Deep breath; going back into that sentence… I don’t think it’s a very good Joker movie. The main issue is that Ledger’s Joker is too contained and methodical, his schemes requiring crackerjack precision, and the Clown Prince of Crime should never be that disciplined. I don’t think the Riddler needs to literally be a guy who tells riddles, any more than Joker ever tells actual jokes anymore or ever. He’s a taunting clown and a bit of a prop comic– maybe throws out some puns– but jokes? As I was watching The Dark Knight in the theater the first time, during the bank robbery, I was kicked out of the narrative when it hit me that this was more of a Riddler story, or maybe Clock King. You know, guys who are vexing because they can rig the game at the level required for the elaborate heist. Joker can crash a benefit gala or set up a group morality play involving bomb detonators, but he’s not Keyser Soze. Actually, Kevin Spacey could still pull off Edward Nigma, I think. Far better than the awful Jim Carrey, certainly.

    The Secret Origin offered here was crummy, as any number of minor Batman villains could have been used as Gaiman’s mouthpiece. Riddler (and BEM) deserved better, and got it (sans BEM) from Chuck Dixon (and Kieron Dwyer? Spaz Johnson?) in a Detective Comics Annual with a Year One theme. That’s the only Riddler comic I can think of off the top of my head that I really enjoyed and completely sold me on the character. I like the potential Riddler a lot, but his common usage, not so much.

  17. I guess time to revise to make sure Hugo Strange makes it onto my real list.

    TwoFace
    Riddler
    Ra’s Al Ghul
    Hugo Strange
    Catwoman

    Odd that Joker isn’t on the list. Maybe because he is so omnipresent, its hard to be a favorite. No one says grass is their favorite plant.

    1. You beat me to my initial presumed “unique” selection of Hugo Strange, and I posted it to the wrong feedback section besides, so at least your list wasn’t squashed between giant bricks of my rants. We’ve got three in common, and Two-Face almost made mine, too.

  18. Very late to the party – was away on holidays last week and had no time to listen to podcasts! Another great show, Ryan and guests. Re the Penguin story, I believe that there was a follow up in the anthology “The Further Adventures of Batman featuring the Penguin” where Sharkey started murdering people from his and Penguin’s past to try and draw Penguin out for revenge from the story in Secret Origins Special.

    I love the Riddler as a Batman villain – one story of his which I particularly like was by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan in Detective Comics 705-707 which included the Clumaster. Very fun story and Dixon gave the Riddler two sidekicks in Echo and Query who were a blast. Would highly recommend that and Dixon’s Year One Annual on the Riddler.

    Would echo all the comments about the Batman annual 14 – great story on the origin of Two Face.

    All set to dive into episode 45 now!

    1. I think I read those issues with Echo and Query. I wasn’t reading BATMAN or DETECTIVE regularly during that time but I remember checking those issues out because I liked the covers and I’m always interested in a new take on the Riddler.

  19. Late to the party, by my favorite (not the best, mind you) Batfoes are:
    Clayface (the BTAS version moreson than any other, but the Preston Pane one had a striking visual)
    Man-Bat (I contend he shouldn’t be a foe, but he keeps popping up that way)
    Riddler
    Killer Croc (pre Jim Lee-fuzzy Croc)
    Doctor Phosphorous (you want to talk visuals!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *