Tuesday, January 14, 2014


And yet you dress like that.
Batman No.188 December 1966 – THE ERASER WHO TRIED TO RUB OUT BATMAN

It’s the tail end of 1966 and the Batman comic book is doing everything in its power to evoke the television show which has swept the nation. Gone are the moody shadows of even a year ago and now it’s deliberate camp, a little sex appeal and a whole passel full of Zows, Bams and KaPows!

The Eraser identifies Bruce Wayne because he
spent years in college just breathing in his scent. 
The opening tale in Batman No.188 fixates on Bruce Wayne’s good luck with the ladies and an enemy who – like the best of all Silver Age supervillains – was clearly inspired by office supplies. A parade of goo-goo eyes made in Bruce Wayne’s direction by a bevy of wordless, nameless sexpots he’s encountering in both his identities leads Gotham’s most famous ninja-slash-millionaire into a reverie about former college classmate and inveterate screw-up Lenny Fiasco, a name which sounds like a Southern California ska band if ever there were one.

Remembering Lenny’s simultaneously terrible track record with both women and competence, the Dynamic Duo coincidentally finds themselves at odds with The Eraser, lean and rubber-helmeted criminal mastermind who dresses like a number two Dixon Ticonderoga and hires his services out to erase the evidence left behind by other crooks.

Lenny’s repeated experience with having to correct his own copious errors throughout school gives him an almost preternatural ability to detect the shortcomings in other baddies’ plans, and moreso even manages to identify old schoolchum Bruce under the Dark Knight Detective’s criminal disguise. The Eraser then goes on to prove he’s evolved beyond his limitless collegiate screw-ups by promptly unmasking in front of Bruce Wayne and pretty much ending his usefulness as a crime scene fixer. Whoops!

Helmet or no helmet, his skull has clearly been crushed. 

The whole thing ends with The Eraser trapping Bruce Wayne in a freezing death trap in order to pay him back for stealing the girl of his dreams during a Winter Carnival, a story as old as time. Not that Batman’s above twisting the knife – when Fiasco finds himself in prison, the Caped Crusader can’t resist gifting him with a giant eraser to remind him of his failure. Passive-Aggressive Batman!

If the story ends up reminding your humble editor of anything in particular, it’s of “Hush”, the high-profile Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee Batman arc which featured a childhood pal of Bruce Wayne’s returned to deal out the frustrations of a troubled childhood on the Dark Knight’s head. Consider this the prequel, won’t you?

That's A message, to be sure.


Casanova Frankenstein said...

So, why wasn't this guy in the Nolan movie again?

neofishboy said...

I think the world is ready for a grim and gritty version of a dude who wears a giant eraser on his head. Ooooo ... pencil-trick callback! "Do you wanna know how I got this copper band..."

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