Hey Kids, Comics! #190 - Rogue-ish I's: Riddled Through and Through

Welcome to a brand new story arc for HKC!, "Rogue-ish I's".  You are entering in this issue an in-depth look at five of the most vital adversaries in the Dark Knight's long crime-fighting career.  To begin, Andrew Farmer and Cole Houston pose a riddle.

More accurately, a Riddler!  

One of the most underrated Bat-Villains, the Riddler has come of his own in more recent years.  Re-imagined as something more than just a periodic thorn in Batman's side, Edward Nygma's curious alter ego is a force to be reckoned with indeed!

To help unravel the mystery within a puzzle inside an actual enigma, your hosts have enlisted the aid of Dallas-area Riddler maven and cosplayer, Josh Watson.  Bringing his considerable knowledge and love of the character to bear, the insights into the mind of this most curios of criminals abound.


Joshua Watson August 10, 2016 at 12:23 PM  

I just wanted to say this was a hoot and a half, guys! A little gaffe on my part I'd like to ameliorate for the listeners interested in the "New Dawn" story line (it's definitely one of the most fun Batman and Riddler team ups by far): That story arc begins in Batman Confidential vol. 1, #26!

There was so much I could have talked about in regards to the nuances of the character and the psychology behind why his gimmick is actually an effective sociological weapon but...you know, that could have taken -hours-.

So I'll ramble on here! Did you know that riddles, once a society has moved to the point of these (whether they be koans or mind twisters) hallowed bits of trivia becoming a vestigial practice rather than a necessary exercise of the brain actually activate the good ol' lizard brain? It creates an immediate flight reaction due to the societal expectation that we are to be right in the immediate and failure, particularly intellectual shortcomings, is grounds for not only the scrutinizing gaze of our peers but a potential introspective reevaluation of what you -do- know. It's a natural response and a fun one to watch folks squirm about when you've made something that isn't a classic, when it isn't an artifact of Google memory.

Fun fact: the use of that sort of overblown trivia is precisely one of the reasons that I forgot to mention in evaluating Riddler's recent portrayal. It adds another flourish to his peacocking, all that useless information that only applies in the most remote sense to the immediate really brings out how humorously enamored Nigma (with an i or a y if you do so prefer) is with the sound of his own voice. And gives a hint at him being the master of esoterica all in its own right.

Also, I'm kicking myself. We kept bringing up Greek parallels in particular but when it came to talking navigating a narrow passageway of characterization I didn't bring up the riddles as a writer's own Scylla to circumvent!

Oh, and one more mythological source that slipped my mind was that of Odin, chief among Norse Gods. Of the many, many names the wide brimmed wanderer held one was Gizurr. A loose translation of that becomes "Riddler." Food for thought on the matter, but we're speaking of an individual who sacrificed much for wisdom and often presented such mental challenges to kings and peasants alike in his travelers. With them came the opportunity for great boons and catastrophe alike. So the archetype is, as suggested in this little fire side chat, one that prevails throughout epochs and different locales.

Are we good? I think I'm good on babbling for now...I'll go back to having my nose firmly pushed into the carpet over whatever fictional schemes have been hatched. Again, thank you so much for the opportunity and I'm really looking forward to coming back any time you'll have me!

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