Monday, February 04, 2013

Killer Moth Week II, #1: The Subjugant Return!

As mentioned yesterday, in imitation of our anti-hero Killer Moth, I fooled you all (HA! HA!) into thinking there was no story where Batman discovers Killer Moth's secret identity.

But naturally, since the point of all Golden Age Killer Moth stories is the comic book irony of parallelism between Batman and the anti-Batman (i.e., Killer Moth), this happens: Killer Moth discovers Batman's secret identity at the same time!

 It's like a stereopticon...OF IRONY.

The story ends where the last one began: Killer Moth slipping from his own grease gun and falling from a 100-storey-tall bridge. 

"Yeow"?  What is this, an Archie comic?

For the record, that's a retcon.  What he said was "HELP!" Which is less cartoonish, but much funnier, in a pathetic sort of way. The original scene:


Naturally, he didn't die, because he was wearing four orange pieces of cloth hanging from his neck when he fell 100 stories into the Unspecified River. That's science, kids; try it sometime! 
 Actually his secret superpower is immunity to surface tension.

After this daring and spectacular escape from Batman, Killer Moth has immediately and permanently made his reputation among the underworld...

as a laughingstock.

Criminals are a belittling and derisive lot.

Whoa; one guy actually fell over laughing at Killer Moth.  And that guy with the tongue is pretty much the personification of the Gotham City underworld: armed, oddly costumed, and aggressively amused.

Once upon a time, my then-boyfriend, who was wearing a gorilla costume, broke up with me at a Halloween party to go home with a girl. I was dressed as a banana at the time (which is why I still have a secret aversion to banana costumes). Then I discovered he'd given me both pink eye and prostatitis; such is youth. 

As you can see, my hair used to be darker and I look much taller in a banana costume.
Most people do.

But as mortifying as that was, it was as nothing compared to this scene of Killer Moth in his ridiculous really-gay-owl costume climbing out a sewer drenched in muck...

 Nice shoulders, though.

... only to be greeted by wholesale mockery from the very underworld he dedicated his entire life and fortune to protect.

Obviously, any rational person at this point would say the Golden Age equivalent of 'f*ck this noise' (probably something along the lines of "Aw, nuts! This game's for mooks!").  But this has nothing to do with Killer Moth, who simply redoubles his efforts to gain respect for his lovingly crafted "Killer Moth" identity. 

"Moth Watch", by Edward Hopper, 1951.

Killer Moth basically has an unhealthy codependent relationship with his own Killer Moth identity; the worse it abuses him the harder he has to prove that he loves it and can make their relationship work.

 Oh, my god, he had a model of an armored car made just so he'd have a trophy of that time Batman broke his ribs.

But his dreary workaday life as a millionaire philanthropist and arts patron interrupts his glorious killermothing career, as he has to attend a meeting of the museum board.  You'll remember,  that's how he knows fellow boardmember Bruce Wayne.

And what is that museum board up to...?  Buying ...

wait for it...

pre-Incan moth idols.

"Pre-Incan moth idols" are the new "priceless Etruscan snoods".

Yeah, I'm gonna need a good night's rest before tackling THAT one.


Bryan L said...

"Why don't you find a flame to dry you off?"

Comedy gold.

Nathan Hall said...

I think the Gotham Museum picks its exhibits based on things villains will rob. That way, when it happens, it gets free advertising in the form of newspaper headlines, and even more of that when Batman apprehends the villain.

But as for the jokes ... so many more possibilities:

He BUTTERfly away!

Batman sure picked holes in him.

Talk about the MOTH-er of all losers!

Pounded him like a pupa!

All pitch and no results. Killer Moth? More like Killer Mouth!

Nathan Hall said...

Also, a biologist recently weighed in on KM's possible namesake. You were right - there is no such thing as a Killer Moth:

Scipio said...


"Killer Mouth"

That's a good one...

Anonymous said...

This Killer Moth study has really changed my outlook on him. I used to think he was the creation of a simpler, more innocent era who just hadn't aged well... but it looks like even back in the '40s, everyone knew he was a hilariously incompetent loser.