These Are A Few of My Favorite Batman Villains
Joker is not my favorite Batman villain. As played by Cesar Romero in the TV series, Joker struck me as a child to be a giggling, over-the-top clown rather than a giggling creep like the Riddler or a squawking, devious, dapper lawbreaker like the Penguin. Nowadays, he has gone from being a buffoon to a psychopathic clown criminal much like John Wayne Gacy. Maybe I am not a fan of the dark elements of Batman, but I feel uncomfortable watching comic book villains act like the brutes in grindhouse crime dramas and Friday the 13th ripoffs.
Instead, I’m a Catwoman fan, especially the Julie Newmar version. I got some of my first impure thoughts watching the Newmar Catwoman prance around Gotham City in her super-skin tight black cat costume. Even though she was nefarious, cunning, intelligent, and catlike, the Newmar Catwoman was much like the Petticoat Junction girls, the Star Trek women, Mary Ellen Rogers and Julie Foster from Leave It to Beaver, Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island, Judy Robinson from Lost in Space, even Sally Field as the Flying Nun–a beauty who acted like the girl next door rather than a trampy lady of the evening. Had she just followed truth, justice and the American Way like Batgirl, she might had become Batman’s main Bat squeeze. One could only imagine how many archfiends would had been apprehended–not to mention those nocturnal activities in the Batcave that would had shocked Alfred the Butler, Mrs. Harriet Cooper, and Robin–had Batman and Catwoman joined forces.
Another stupendous archfiend was King Tut, who was arguably the campiest and funniest of all the Batman TV villains. King Tut was a mild mannered Egyptology professor from Yale University who became an evil Pharaoh every time he was conked in the head. The premise was ridiculous, and Victor Buono played Tut as a ridiculous super villain to the hilt. I still laugh watching the Caped Crusaders pow! bam! sock! Tut’s henchmen dressed in Egyptian garb.
As a former librarian, I have a special fondness for the Bookworm. Bookworm was a nerdy, four-eyed, wormy guy who had a great costume–he wore a leather suit that made him look an old book. He did his nefarious schemes based on literary works before finally getting his comeuppance from the Dynamic Duo. Roddy McDowell, who specialized in playing nerdy characters (e.g., Dr. Cornelius in the Planet of the Apes movies, the crazed teacher in Class of 1984 who gave new meaning to the term “final exam” when he asked questions with a loaded gun to the punks who slaughtered his lab animals), was perfect as the Bookworm. Too bad he didn’t more appearances on Batman. It would had been fun watching him commit more bookish crimes and match wits with his intellectual nemesis, Batman.
Even though he isn’t considered to be a truly great Batman villain, I enjoy watching Cliff Robertson playing the outlaw Shame. Robertson looked, sounded and acted like a Wild West B-movie bad guy, though he looked a little odd wearing a polka dot tie with his buckskin jacket. Unlike the Bookworm, Shame wasn’t especially bright, and he used old-fashioned rifles and pistols rather than the latest technological gadgets to battle the Caped Crusaders before heading off to the last roundup at the hoosegow.
I could go on describing other great Batman villains like Egghead, False Face, and Mr. Freeze, but it’s near lunchtime, and I have a sudden urge to drink some Batmilk and take a Batnap. See you soon, same Ordinary Joe time, same Ordinary Joe blog.
Joe’s Maybe Memorable Quote of the Day
If I was a superhero, I would be Fatman.