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Old 01-04-2019, 11:26 AM
Abishai100 Abishai100 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Mad Hatter (Carroll/DC): Horror?

The intriguing DC Comics super-villain Mad Hatter (real name: Jervis Tetch) is a madman who borrows his crime-alias from the iconic Lewis Carroll character (of the same name - 'Mad Hatter') who creates maddening logic-jokes and inane tea-parties meant to create strange perceptions of etiquette and civics.

The Mad Hatter plagues Gotham City, compelling the valiant DC Comics superhero Batman (a masked vigilante who tackles the criminally-insane) to pursue him to end insanity in his beloved urban space. The Mad Hatter, like the Carroll character who's oddly inspired the maniac, designs strange labyrinths and mind-games for Batman so he can 'avenge' society for the loss of his haunting 'illusory muse-girl' named Alice (whom we're not entirely sure is real or not!).

Traditionally, Mad Hatter (DC Comics) has been portrayed as a colorful and wily madman who is basically a criminally-insane terrorist. He's not prone to acts of outlandish courage or bizarre forms of politics, merely other-worldly kinds of crime and anarchy.

However, since Mad Hatter (DC Comics) is such an iconically anti-social 'villain' (in terms of civics/sanity), we might consider if such a character is prone for a more horror-oriented comics-storytelling presentation, perhaps mountable in a live-action alternative-stylized Batman (DC Comics) film-adaptation. Such a film might've been made earlier, perhaps with Guy Pearce (Ravenous) portraying Batman and Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) portraying the eerie Mad Hatter.

What, for example, would you make of the following short-story Batman/Hatter concept inspiring a hypothetical film screenplay? Since we're making so many comic book adapted films now, we might consider how comics-stories/books/fiction can be translated in more unusual ways...





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"As I looked out into the Gotham skyline from my loft-window, I wondered if being Bruce Wayne, the city's socialite-businessman and inheritor of Wayne Industries, was worth the sweat. Did I prefer being the city's secret/masked night-time vigilante 'Batman' in some way? I modeled my Batman-persona after a fictional bat-creature humanoid-mammal who survives under extraordinary circumstances, which is the sort of unusual imagination required for enduring the kinds of criminally-insane bad-guys Gotham City has produced. Do I prefer being Bruce Wayne or do I prefer being Batman?"
-Bruce Wayne diary entry [Summer 2018]

"I despise Batman. I hate everything he stands for in this 'capitalist-majesty' city called Gotham. I was once a respected neurologist in the new sciences-division of Wayne Industries until the 'handsome' Bruce Wayne personally ordered I be dismissed from my position when he found out I was designing a new series of electronic mind-stimulation cards which could be place in specially-designed hats kids would wear while watching custom-made comic book crime-fighting story-programs designed to indulge their fantasies. Wayne thought my mind-trick cards were too controversial and that parents would question whether or not their kids should 'stimulate' their minds artificially. I was fired...here I am two years later. No longer Dr. Jervis Tetch but rather the terrorist and ingenious madman known as Mad Hatter."
-Hatter diary entry [Summer 2018]

Of course, the Mad Hatter was not an ingenious philosopher or even a tragic scientist but rather a disgruntled mad scientist who simply became a maniac. Bruce Wayne (Batman) knew this, but fortunately no one knew Wayne was actually Batman, which was good, since the Hatter just might try to destroy Wayne Industries (the center of Gotham commerce!) just to spite Batman! Batman pursued Mad Hatter every chance he got, and the Hatter evaded Batman with all his resources. The Hatter wore distinctive green and purple giant tea-party hats and ornate tuxedos and drove around in a custom-made Mercedes with tinted windows. Hatter spray-painted his car in different colors every now and then so he couldn't be trailed. He also lived in an underground lair beneath an abandoned warehouse.

Batman was genuinely afraid of the Hatter (Jervis Tetch). Something about the Hatter's willingness to create unfiltered forms of violence/horror reminded Bruce Wayne of his own childhood demons regarding the scope/limits of crime-fighting. After all, Bruce/Batman often asked questions like, "How much muscle/violence should crime-fighters/cops exercise?" In other words, the eerie Hatter reminded Batman of the ugliness of violence and made the crime-fighting masked vigilante wonder about the challenges of policework itself. This unnerved Batman, which is why he kept his perspectives on the Hatter mostly private --- material for his hidden diary. Batman had already apprehended a host of criminally-insane evildoers in Gotham such as Scarecrow (a masked bandit), Poison Ivy (an eco-terrorist), and Penguin (a crime-syndicate ghoul). However, Hatter was the worst (by far).

HATTER: I can't believe you caught me...
BATMAN: I tracked you to that warehouse!
HATTER: Yes, my lair was underground; impressive.
BATMAN: You know how I caught you, Jervis?
HATTER: You imagined what you'd do if you were me!
BATMAN: Precisely; only I didn't have to conceive of your evils.
HATTER: No one can, Batman, for I am the only prince of darkness.
BATMAN: You gloat about your 'derring-do,' but you're simply insane.
HATTER: Haul me off to Arkham Asylum then!
BATMAN: I will; that's the premiere center for the criminally-insane.
HATTER: I doubt Arkham will rid my mind of my dark imagination!
BATMAN: Do you believe your kind of anti-social crime is imagination?
HATTER: Why not? There are many 'brands' of crime; I'm simply unique.
BATMAN: You need serious self-evaluation time, Jervis; think of your evil.
HATTER: Evil?
BATMAN: Yes, Hatter, evil; you murdered numerous cops with hammers!
HATTER: Well, yes, I did bash their meaningless skulls in with my hammers.
BATMAN: Don't you worry about the fate of your own soul/mind?
HATTER: My mind is its own treasure; I redesigned my mind-trick cards.
BATMAN: Yes, your 'mind-trick cards' which Wayne rejected!
HATTER: I used those mind-trick cards to lure cops to my warehouse here.
BATMAN: And then you mercilessly beat their heads in with your hammers.
HATTER: That's right; my message is clear --- anarchy is poetry.
BATMAN: You want to punish Gotham for what happened to you...
HATTER: Why was I fired? My mind-trick cards were absolute genius.
BATMAN: Arkham will treat your devastated sense of ethics, Tetch...
HATTER: Doctors will remember my reign of blood and think of art.
BATMAN: Hopefully the 'real' Jervis will be considered a 'tragic hysteric.'
HATTER: I've drank human blood...I'm dangerously sublime.



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