A, B

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


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.


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 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.


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


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.

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