We laugh blithely about the Joker, the Spectre, the Scarecrow, Neron, and Eclipso. We speak their names casually and constantly, as if these avatars of terror were old friends. For we do not fear their return. We welcome them with open arms, and, having learned of their advent, rush to share the good news with our friends.
But we do not speak the name of that which we truly fear. Which we meta-fear. The name of...
Thanks to the new Batman Showcase edition, we get to remember that Bruce and Dick used to have an aunt living with them (does it really matter whose aunt she was?) who kept trying to uncover their secret identity.
I just love the panels above! I enjoy picturing Madge Blake toiling away in the hot sun, blacktopping an entire road by hand, by herself, in an afternoon.
"Goodness gracious! Blacktopping is such thirsty work! But I don't mind doing it, if it will help trap my beloved relatives in my web of manipulation and deceipt. Why, it's the least a citizen can do!"
I like to picture her eventually dying that way, laying some byzantine trap for her young charges, keeling over face-first from heat prostration into the still steaming pitch, which sears the flesh from her skull, and her attempts to scream as she loses consciousness are stifled by the black morass oozing down her throat. Then her corpse goes on to host some forgotten DC horror comic (Garden Shed of Mystery!), to be remembered only when aging hefty drag queens dress as her for Halloween ("What do you mean, who am I? I'm Harriet the Harridan, you nit! From Garden Shed of Mystery. Oh, for pete's sake... AUNT HARRIET!")
Or sometimes I just picture her snooping around until she tumbles down an open elevator shaft, clawing at the sides and the cable vainly, as her fingers are snapped and shredded, only to land with a wet thud on the roof of the Batcave service elevator, her broken bones piercing internal organs that will cause her to slowly hemorrhage to death over several excruciating hours of sharp pain, while a ridiculous flowered hat floats down to land squarely on her shocked face, so that her own death smells to her like VO5 and Dippity Doo. It's times like that I really wish I could draw.
Sometimes, I picture her succumbing to fates even more gruesome than those, like being slowly consumed by some hideous freak of nature...
So, if you're not afraid to speak The Name, how do you picture
P.S. Oh, and in case you're wondering how Aunt Harriet began to suspect that Bruce and Dick were Batman and Robin...
she discovered the Batcave under Wayne Manor.
THEN she decided to prove they were Batman and Robin. Everything Morrison's ever done pales beside the craziness of that kind of Silver Age thinking.