Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Killer Moth Week, 7: Wrapping Up

So, now we have read together the first two appearances of Killer Moth and have come to several conclusions.
(1).  First and foremost, Sonny Blandish, millionaire aviator boxer surgeon, is the greatest character in the DCU.  He’s the Earth-1 Buckaroo Bonzai.
(2)  Forget Bat-Mite and A.K. Barnaby; Killer Moth is the biggest in-universe Batman fanboy.
(3).  Killer Moth wasn’t very good at being Killer Moth.
(4).  However, much like Honey Badger, Killer Moth doesn’t care.  [By the way,  I think the New 52 version of Killer Moth should have a tough gun moll named ‘Honey Badger’.] Therein lies his unique conceptual contribution: Killer Moth stands for the idea that you don't have to be good at something to love doing it anway. 
(5)  Other costumed villains are in it for something.  The Penguin wants power and prestige, Catwoman wants riches and independence, the Riddler wants the intellectual challenge, Two-Face is making a moral point, and the Joker—well, you know… the Joker.  Killer Moth is different.  Killer Moth is in it because he loves the concept of an anti-Batman, because he just loves being Killer Moth. It’s pure supervillainy, undiluted by purpose.
Several of you misinterpreted the coloring in some of the panels, thinking that Killer Moth was shirtless and had a moth tattoo on his chest, which is not that case. BUT IT SHOULD BE.  Killer Moth is exactly the person who would have his logo tattooed on his chest, and whoever brings back KM in the New 52 needs to make that a reality.
(6) Like Homer, Wikipedia occasionally nods. It states:
“In his second appearance (Detective Comics #173 July 1951) Killer Moth kidnaps Bruce Wayne and learns his secret identity. However, he is shot by other criminals and the resultant cranial injury causes amnesia. He remains a persistent enemy appearing through the Silver Age of comics. He is frequently remembered as being the first criminal Batgirl encounters in Detective Comics #359.”
That is demonstrably false.  Killer Moth’s first two appearances were in the Golden Age. His next appearance is the classic Millionaire-Dollar Debut of Batgirl in 1967 and he has a 1968 cameo in a Scarecrow story (Batman #200).   These are his ONLY appearances in the Silver Age.  Period.  At best, I’d say his ‘presence is maintained’ (thanks to Batgirl), but he is certainly not a ‘persistent enemy’.   Although in 1965 his costume does fight Batman without him in (Justice League of America #35)—but the less said about that, the better.   People who do not know really know DC history often assume that “if it’s silly, it’s Silver”; they are often wrong.
(7) The first time Prisoner 234026 is actually given a name (“Drury Walker”) is in 1992 (and that was in the series Shadow of the Bat, whose continuity is questionable). But his ‘real identity’ has never been the point, because Killer Moth is Killer Moth.  As Tim Drake said in Red Robin #9: “I think this is Killer Moth. The costume and the man change from time to time, so you can never really tell.”  Which sets up the interesting idea that Killer Moth might have secretly become the world’s first supervillain identity time-share.  It would be oddly logical.  I can easily imagine the original Killer Moth, who was pretty badly banged up by Whitey Casey, deciding that the important thing is KILLER MOTH MUST GO ON, and either rents out or delegates the actually Killer Mothing to others.  Kind of like the DCU version of Doombots. That way, any time Killer Moth does something bone stupid, which is pretty much every time he appears, we Killer Moth fans can just dismiss it with, “Well, that wasn’t the real Killer Moth; it was just one of his mothmen.”
(8) Killer Moth deserves, but does not have, a representative Heroclix figure.  Hm.  Let me rephrase that.  We deserve a Killer Moth Heroclix figure.  Fortunately, I’ve solved this by getting two 3D printing customs of Killer Moth and having the Corgi™ Mothmobile model altered and attached by my team of engineers to an extra Heroclix Batmobile base. That's the kind of thing real Killer Moth fans do, people.
(9) Killer Moth fighting Batman?  Probably not a good fit.  However, KM would make a great foe for someone more easily intimated by his pinache and entirely misplaced confidence.  Blue Beetle? Green Arrow?  You tell me.
(10) Killer Moth versus Batgirl is yesterday's news.  Because once you've seen this, what more could you hope for?
No, what I'd really pay good money to see is:  BatWOMAN versus Killer Moth.


Bryan L said...

Super-villain time share. That is genius.

Eric Henry said...

In the Bronze Age, Killer Moth started teaming up with the Cavalier for some reason, usually to fight Robin and Batgirl in the pages of Batman Family.

But, in one issue, they did fight Batgirl and the original Batwoman (which is kind of what you asked for, right?).

Anonymous said...

Excellent series of posts. DC should hire you as a story consultant or court historian or something.

One minor quibble: it's Buckaroo Banzai

- TheStrawMan

Anonymous said...

Dealing with something this silly and relatively harmless is entirely outside Batwoman's wheelhouse...I like it.

Scipio said...

Indeed. There is a huge difference between Bonsai and Banzai, isn't there, LOL?

And, yes, I would want Batwoman to be all red-and-black and rich and painterly and Killer Moth to be crude and stratchy and garish.

Hoosier X said...

About that Wikipedia entry ...

Killer Moth did appear quite a bit in the late 1970s. (Have you seen that Batman Family #10 appearance? Where he's teamed with the Cavalier? They should be a permanent team. They could be DC's Mr. Hyde and the Cobra.)

The Wikipedia author (or authors) may have a very expansive idea of what the Silver Age is. I think most (99%, including me) would agree with you that 1977 is not the Silver Age by any meaningful standard.

But maybe somebody originally wrote "through the 1970s" and the next person - through carelessness or ignorance - edited it to "the Silver Age" to streamline it a bit. (I work with professional copy editors who turn clear copy into gibberish all the time. And they would rather guess at what the reporter meant rather than call him or her.)

I just want it to be clear that the Killer Moth, even though you are correct that he only appeared twice in the Silver Age, did make a number of notable appearances later in the 1970s, including a high point in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2 where he was recruited by the Silver Ghost's faction of the Secret Society of Super-Vilains to team up with Quake-Master to take out the Freedom Fighters.

(That really happened! I swear!)

The whole discussion has made me realize that Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) may well be a creation of the Silver Age, but it might be just as accurate to say she is a product of the Bronze Age. (And the real Silver Age Batgirl is Betty Kane!)

By the way, the Killer Moth series has been AWESOME!