A, B

Over to Bobsy for the first one, a lost gem of a bat-ghoul.

Cadaver

Think like Dr. Phibes or ‘the Price of Fear’, Vincent Price’s radio series of horror tales that he would front and narrate. Cadaver is like a behind the scenes mastermind, crafting these little theatrical events for unwitting but ironically-deserving Gothamites to get caught and come to a grisly end in. This would be like The Game or traditional long-cons, but low key and intricate, involving doppelgangers, stooges, switches, hi-tech surveillance, all painstakingly researched and executed, and performed with an unusual amount of stagey flair, blood, and medieval death motifs.

Cadaver worships death – not as one worships a god, as one worships a favourite matinee idol, and seeks to flatter her with wonderfully inventive murders.

He should have a beautiful assistant: Who is that mysterious, alluring, new secretary who is tempting this average joe into a dizzying series of betrayals that results in him dying nob-first through the office shredder? That kind of thing. Batman is called into the bizarre crime scene by a baffled Gordon, and painstakingly reconstructs the chain of events leading up to it. Cadaver is crap in a fight of course (but his assistant isn’t) and there are always loads of death traps in his hideout (usually abandoned art deco hotels, mausoleums or churches). Cadaver spends a lot of time pacing about wearing cloaks and Phantom of the opera masks, quoting the bloody bits from obscure Jacobean dramas.

Calendar Man

Back to me.

calendar-man-loeb

Loeb’s Hannibal Lector-esque take on the character makes sense even if it is a bit lazy. It’s the savant as Other, isn’t it? We’ve all seen that guy on the telly who can tell you what happened on every single day of his life – he’s a bit weird and scary, isn’t he? He doesn’t think like us, does he? That guy in Oliver Sacks’ book who could count all the matches at a glance? He’s not like you or me. Also, I dunno, being really, really clever… it’s just not normal, is it? People’s don’t work like that? But you know who does? Evil computers, aliens and psychopaths. Yep, a dangerous route to go down, leading to all kinds of not nice prejudice but It’s a well worn and very much in the popular psyche.

What Loeb probably didn’t think about was the connection between dates and oracles. It seems to me that formal systems for keeping track of time have an existential dimension that goes beyond merely ordering our lives in a banal sense. Ultimately the abstractions we use for dividing time into discrete chunks allow us to feel in control of our pasts and to some extent the future, and from there it’s a short hop skip and jump to appreciating just why it is that priestly classes and suchlike have historically had such an interest in
dates and positions of the stars. Loeb’s cryptic Calendar Man taps into that stuff, despite his purely derivative intentions.

So maybe that’s a way in? Calendar Man as oracle, his penthouse lair clouded with hallucinogenic incense and wide open to the stars. The sunlight blazing into the morning traffic, focused through black obelisks in the center of Gotham City. Wealthy Gothamites paying a price in blood for his ecstatic insights. His costume as robes, temple guards, hidden knowledge, ancient prophecies, the stars being right.

calendar-man-fun

Calendar Man might actually be a bit better as a scary bat-foe than I thought, actually, but there’s part of me – the part that stares wearily into the depths of my outlook calendar – that likes Calendar Man as a failed popcriminal. These days calendars make me think of the office, of work, of stress, off climbing the walls with boredom, not having enough time. in 2010 calendars are project management tools, oppressive petty things designed to annihilate idling and fun. But the original Calendar Man, with his peacock plumage of date strips, wanted to reclaim the calendar for fun and frolics. He took time out to make a special fatsuit so he could pretend to be Saturn while robbing the local bank (on a Saturday). He was sticking his finger up to the daily grind, the 9-5 world. He was I guy I could get behind.

Catman

Respect to Gail Simone but for our purposes here he’s just another anti-Batman – one who specializes in brutal hand to hand combat and hunting. He should always be hunting someone, probably Bruce. I like anti-Batmen, I like the idea of one who’s capable of beating seven bells out of of the Dark Knight while riding his very own lion*, but I don’t have a lot to say about them as a group right now.

Probably get round to it when I do Deadshot.

*What, he doesn’t ride a lion, you say? The fuck he doesn’t. If the guy below can ride a lion Catman sure as shit can

riding-a-lion

A great big lion who instead of a mane has a necklace made from the shrunken heads of all the other lions he’s slain and decapitated with his great big teeth.

Part 2 coming later.

23 Responses to “Alphabetical villain thing: All the Cs part 1”

  1. Thrills Says:

    On the theme of modern-day calendars representing drudgery and day-to-day misery and time-theft, I see a terrible grey unemployed British Calendar Man, filling in his jobsearch forms with the minor crimes he’s commited – “WHAT I DID: Checked internet, using someone else’s broadband. WHAT HAPPENED: Saw night porter job, applied with falsified CV. WHAT I WILL DO NEXT: Do a wallpapering job for cash in hand, hassle Knight and Squire via email spam”.

    When he’s sent on New Deal Plus, that’s when it all kicks off.

  2. Zom Says:

    That’s not Calendar Man, that’s the Dole Bludger. A far more fearsome foe.

  3. Zom Says:

    …he threatens The Very Fabric of Our Society.

    Weakness: bike riding

  4. Neon Snake Says:

    Ah, Dole Bludger. What I don’t understand is why these people don’t just get a job. It’s not like their arnt jobs out there, if theyd just get off there lazy backsides and look,instead of just sponging off of decent hard-working folk like

    - Oh, I can’t even be bothered, at this stage.

    re. Calendars. Yeah, they really have had all the fun sucked out of them, haven’t they? I remember being a kid and getting my first diary, and thinking it was going to be brilliant; all sorts of fun and games that could now be arranged ahead of time. Yeah, I can get behind a Calendar Man who makes them more about that.

    Except it just reminds me of the new hotmail adverts.

  5. Botswana Beast Says:

    You should have fun calendars at your work with thing ssuch as jokes or perhaps interesting facts, which you tear off daily much as Calendar Man does above.

    Perhaps if you had a small Batman and Robin they could be buried in the debris.

  6. RetroWarbird Says:

    The British Calendar Man would be portrayed by Ricky Gervais, and eventually he’d be elevated by his actor from a C-Lister to an A-Lister like how Frank Gorshin made Riddler’s career.

    I like Calendar Man. (The cheesy old version). On a “meta” level, he’d be an awfully insightful way to poke fun at the “monthly” nature of comic book periodicals. I mean here’s our fat comic store patrons … slaves to Wednesday … coming back each month for the next installment of escapism from their own daily grinds of life.

    Catman’s a thing of beauty, though, isn’t he? “BAT”man? Bah, fuck that. Cats kill bats. I’ve seen cutesy little Calicos leap ten feet straight up and catch bats from the sky in their teeth and claws.

    Batman deserves an uphill battle now and again, doesn’t he? Not necessarily alpha-dog Bane levels of uphill, but somebody more vicious and fast than himself, who’s got claws that kill.

  7. LavenderBunny Says:

    It’s hard to see what role the likes of Julian Day (or Crazy Quilt, or Killer Moth; really, whoever) might usefully play in the post-Morrissey Batverse, but here’s an idea;

    Damien, who’s presumably heading for the doghouse at the end of the current run, sets up a quasi cave/lab in Gotham’s sewers, and hunts down the C-list, one by one, while a)skint and b)riding a new Bat-Hound, that he’s gene modified after, perhaps, one too many hits of Scarecrow gas. He could be allowed to get away with this for quite a while

  8. RetroWarbird Says:

    I miss the Spook.

    I would like a new Ace, though. Honestly … rich old money git like Bruce Wayne? There’s no reason that Wayne Manor shouldn’t have a German Shepherd guarding it to pick up those things that the world’s most hi-tech surveillance system can’t. And who doesn’t love pet dogs? Bruce is clearly a work dog. He even loves chasing cats. I’ve kept successive German Shepherds since my first … unless Bruce shook his head when “Dick brought in the dog and made a stupid mask for it” and vowed “NEVER AGAIN WITH A DOG … THE BATMAN DOES NOT DIG THIS DAY”.

  9. RetroWarbird Says:

    (Alfred … release the hounds.)

  10. amypoodle Says:

    i didn’t know about this until a few days ago, but speaking of super-pets, here’s an amazing fact: comet the superhorse was in love with supergirl and, get this, he occassionally became a cowboy to make out with her!

    how fucked is that?

  11. Zom Says:

    That’s stupendous. Having just finished The Player of Games (thanks for the lend, Amy) I could easily imagine something like that going on in a quite straight-edged sci-fi novel.

  12. Anton Binder Says:

    It’s worse than that. He was originally a Centaur i.e. torso of a man hind quarters of a horse. Comet was given his powers by the ancient Greek enchantress Circe, to atone for mistakenly, turning him into a whole horse. Sometimes a comet would enter Earth’s orbit and turn him into a man (hence the name) during which time he would indeed find employment as a cowboy and shag Supergirl. As far as I recall Comet was arguably the most powerful creature in the DC universe during the Silver Age; he had all the powers of Superman with no vulnerability to Kryptonite. And he was a horse. Who was dating Supergirl. If we’re gonna have Bathound, and I think we should, we really need to bring back Kara Zor-El’s well hung Cowboy/Horse BF!

  13. Zom Says:

    It’s essential

  14. Thrills Says:

    I’m pretty sure 90s Peter David Supergirl was having confusing feelings regarding a female horse angel or something? At least that’s what I remember from my brief, disgusting dalliance with Wizard Magazine.

  15. Zom Says:

    What do people think of the straight Calendar Man concept, and Bobsy’s in my view brilliant take on Cadaver?

  16. Thrills Says:

    The key phrase is definitely “Cadaver worships death – not as one worships a god, as one worships a favourite matinee idol”

    Gothic glamour of the silent movie era, melodramatic movements, running away from Batman up steps as lightning strikes, cloak over the bottom of his face – that is a Cadaver I would totally read.

    Also, I really like the idea of ridiculously elaborate society crimes involving lots of fake blood, and an exasperated Batman getting more and more pissed off (or bored?) as the ‘logic’ or ‘pattern’ (or whatever) of the crime loops in on itself or goes off at ludicrous tangents, like an old-fashioned thriller plot, but MORE.

  17. Zom Says:

    “Cadaver worships death – not as one worships a god, as one worships a favourite matinee idol”

    Yep. That’s the key alright.

    I tried to figure out how to do it but I got stuck on the whole loving death thing. Kept coming back to boring, obvious, wrong shit like necrophilia because I couldn’t get beyond a very flat reading of the word “love”. Bobsy came to the rescue.

  18. RetroWarbird Says:

    So in Grant’s current arc … Cadaver would be Joker’s fanboy?

    I think David Hine just had Jerry Arkham smash out Cadaver’s teeth, or something.

    There’s something for me in Cadaver that really speaks … Batman obviously owes a lot to Westerns … and the archetype of the Undertaker in the Western is untapped in Batman. Cadaver likes to make up the bodies he kills to look nice and neat. In the Wild, Wild West they’d make up the bodies of “celebrities” and “infamous outlaws” and take tons of pictures. And have tours come by and you could get your picture taken with Jesse James’ corpse or whatever.

    Killing Gotham celebrities, criminals, celebri-criminals, for photo shoots and Undertaker style parlour settings seems appropriate. He’d be a natural in the Black Glove.

  19. Anton Binder Says:

    Yeah the comments kinda got hijacked by a super horse there. Loving all your ideas on Bat Villains. Calender Man hmmm. The further possibility would be to highlight the dichotomy between his Popcriminal and New Age Guru personas as suggested. How can he be taken seriously as a seer when he is compelled to commit ludicrous date related misdemeanors? There’s a night/day connection there that maybe someone could run with. And Catman…he’s really just a batman of a different colour isn’t he? I mean in sillhouette their silver age costumes were indistinguishable. He would be better as a kind of randy Tomcat who gets into your house, rips up the furnishings and shits on your carpet.

  20. Brimstone Says:

    Calender Man… i had one year when i first started going to gigs and my calender was awesome. every other weekend said something like ‘see Belle & Sebastian’ or ‘see LOCAL BAND I LIKE’ or ‘call up girl from Friday’ and i marked all the big festivals in advance…. it was really colorful

    or you could do an Aztec calender thing

  21. Zom Says:

    I thought of the Aztec calendar – too limiting, not enough of a high concept. You could of course have him take on some kind of apocalypse obsessed Aztec priest role for a year come 2012. Would fit with his protean approach to costumes and themes.

    What I’ve written above is a bit odd in that it blurs a doable approach (oracular Calendar Man) with a bit of whimsy (Calendar Man striking out for fun against the our banal timelocked world). You might be able to get away with one story like that in a Batman comic, but as a long term plan it wouldn’t have much mileage. Ditto for the conflicted approach outlined by, you, Anton – I just don’t see that working in a Batman comic.

  22. Anton Binder Says:

    Yeah but I’d like to see Morrison (for one) try. I also thought of throwing some kind of time travel power into the mix in a Wibbly wobbly Moffatt/return of Bruce Wayne kind way (like the ability to mess with chronology) but didn’t really get anywhere.

  23. Shiny Jim Says:

    Four dimensional calendars!

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