There is a disconnect in Batman. Between the way the public see the character from the 1966 TV series that has stuck in the public consciousness. High camp, ludicrous villains and no real danger.
And then there’s the way the Tim Burton portrayed Batman, followed up by Christopher Nolan. As the grimdark Batman, and villains that are psychopathic dangers to humanity. With the ludicrousness underlining their madness.
The Batman comic went that way a long time before the movies, with the likes of Neal Adams, Frank Miller, John Wagner and Alan Grant writing a darker Batman and ridding him of the more ludicrous aspects.
It was Grant Morrison who tried to incorporate some of that again, in his claim that every Batman story was as valid as any other when considering the history of the modern Batman. And most recently, Tom King has delighted in bringing back references to the more ludicrous characters, starting with silly aside, then making a heartbreakingly poignant tale from Kite Man.
And today’s turn is Crazy Quilt and… Condiment King.
Created by Bruce Timm and Paul Dini for the Batman: The Animated Series as an intentional throwback to the Batman 66 TV show, he is a supervillain who wields condiments, sauces, other kitchen implements to steal diamonds or whatnot. But he got a comic book origin too.
In the comics, he was only considered dangerous in that his condiment guns could cause anaphylactic shock.
In Final Crisis Aftermath: Run, he is killed after being bludgeoned by the Human Flame with his own ketchup and mustard guns,
However a quick New 52 and rebirth reboot and he came back as a throwaway gag in Batman #1 last year.
He has been used as comic relief in the comics, the TV cartoons and most recently LEGO Batman movie. But in today’s Batman #54 by Tom King, Matt Wagner and Tomeu Morey we get to see the two ages of Batman – one with a young pre-Robin Dick Grayson living in Wayne Manor back in the day and one with a modern day Nightwing, mocking the ridiculous.
With Batman rejecting any such humour in the situation. Given that people have died.
…and presumably not just from anaphylactic shock. Condiment King is a deadly threat and no more ludicrous than the Joker. And we have a Batman unable to see the funny side of anything.
Remind you of another laugh? One that will open Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo‘s Batman Damned?
We’re all still living in the Killing Joke…
(W) Tom King (A/CA) Matt Wagner
Dick Grayson-the original Robin-gets to spend some quality time fighting crime with his mentor for the first time since Batman popped the question to Catwoman. It’s a walk down memory lane as Bruce Wayne helps Dick get over the loss of his high-flying acrobat parents, which in turn led to his crime-fighting career. Guest artist Matt Wagner (Mage, TRINITY) jumps on board for this special issue! In Shops: Sep 05, 2018