At this point we’re all getting a bit drunk and we all like comics. This is the best time to get excited about The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe and Who’s Who in the DC Universe. Listen now as grown men turn into children before your very ears!

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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.

The autopsies continue after the jump

‘A Caper A Day Keeps the Batman at Bay’ – Batman 312, 1979

This is pretty much the first Batman story I remember reading. Back in the late 80’s, you could buy reprinted Batman stories in British editions, available in most newsagents. In the backwater village I grew up in, this was pretty much it for exposure to American comics (I remember getting hold of a battered Secret Wars comic from a jumble sale that seemed like the Holy Grail to a kid raised on Beano and Beezer). Obviously 2000ad was around but that would come a little later. But these reprints were mining Batman’s seventies heyday, so there were stories by Len Wein and Denny O’Neil, and glorious art by Neal Adams, Jim Aparo et al. We were firmly in hairy chested lovegod Bat-territory, so stories inevitably involved Talia, ski-slopes, underground lairs, and Batman in full player mode. Although there was a smattering of grit in the comically hardboiled narration, these stories were colourful, dynamic and swinging – a disco era Batman hanging in his Penthouse apartment, who was definitely getting laid more than in the barren Aids scare 80’s. Oh sure, he was still grieving over his dead parents, but he was also doing the Batusi down at Studio 54.

More after the jump