Victor Goodman (King Tut)

Another infamous villain from the Batman tv series is surely King Tut, the pharaoh wannabe portrayed by Victor Buono. In the show, he’s Egyptologist William Omaha McElroy, who due to a blow to the head believes himself to be the reincarnation of Tutankhamun (King Tut for short), and tries to conquer Gotham City to make it his new kingdom; throughout the series, he always changes personality from conqueror Tut to meek McElroy receiving a lot of blows to the head. His (more recent) comics version is actually a man named Victor Goodman (a name that is a homage to the original actor, as “buono” in Italian means “good”), who’s much more sinister than the first one. King Tut has also been mentioned by Martin Stein in Legends of Tomorrow, with his headgear appearing as a memorabilia at P. T. Barnum‘s show, but so far King Tut has never been adapted to live action again. Quite a shame, as the Goodman version can be quite a creepy villain…

Victor Goodman was born in Gotham City, and grew up to be an enthusiast expert of Ancient Egypt. His passion and expertise got him a job at the Gotham City Museum, where he was put in charge of the Egyptian wing. In the meanwhile, he continued his studies, focusing on his favorite pharaoh from ancient times: Tutankhamun. According to official history, the young Tutankhamun had rejected the cult of Aten, the one god, to embrace once again the polytheistic religion of his fathers, and then he had died for natural causes. Goodman, however, was sure he had found evidence that the pharaoh had been tricked by his priests and advisers to abandon the worship of Aten, and that he had wanted to turn back to the monotheistic cult shortly after his decision; for this, and for fear of retaliation, the priests had murdered him, making it look like a natural death. Victor tried to explain his theory to his colleagues, but nobody believed him, nor wanted to finance his studies further to allow him to find definitive evidence of what he claimed. If this wasn’t enough, they even boycotted one of his dearest and longest-dreamt projects: to bring King Tut’s Tomb to the Museum to make it an exhibit, so that the entire city would have been inspired and enlightened by the contemplation of the legendary pharaoh’s might. The official explanation was that the Riddler had robbed the Museum far too many times to allow something as precious as the Tomb to be exhibited there, but there was something else behind it, and it was all a conspiracy against Goodman: the curator, Leigh Carson, had joined forces with the board trustee in charge of acquisition Aaron Hayes to steal the Museum’s operating budget, and they wanted to incriminate Goodman for it. The plan actually succeeded, and the paper trail left by the two thieves led directly to Victor Goodman, who was fired in charge of embezzlement. Too spirit-broken to say anything in his own defense, Victor left without a word.

While Carson and Hayes continued their operation, Victor Goodman was suffering a major psychotic break. He saw in the betrayal of his colleagues and superiors an image of King Tut’s betrayal by his advisers and priests, and this identification led him to embrace the pharaoh’s cult of Aten, and to dedicate himself to the forgotten god. He even stole some Egyptian relics and donned them, naming himself King Tut and embarking into a revenge quest against the ones who had betrayed him and his god. First, dressed as his new persona, he visited the Museum’s director, Earl Rondeau, who had agreed to fire him. He found him as he was investigating the papers that had served as evidence against Goodman, actually trying to bring down Carson as well, but King Tut knew no pity and no remorse. Tut forced Rondeau to learn a riddle from Tutankhamun’s anthem to Aten, one that described something that allows people to see but cannot be watched directly, whose presence is felt even when it cannot be seen (the sun, obviously). Then, he gauged his eyes out, and left him to be found as a message and declaration of war. Rondeau was taken in and interrogated by Commissioner Gordon, who immediately called Batman, as the anthem recited by the poor eyeless man clearly made them think of the Riddler. Batman believed that Nygma had somehow escaped Arkham Asylum, but he found him there, and he wasn’t the least pleased that somebody was stealing his M.O…. especially considered that, analyzing the anthem, Nygma was immediately able to tell that the criminal wasn’t interested the least in riddles, but he was just using them to divert the attention from his real goal and objective. Batman and the Riddler joined forces to find the perpetrator and arrest him, while King Tut was hellbent on his vengeful crusade. He still had to execute his primary targets, and with the protection of hid god, not even the team-up of the world’s two best detectives could have foiled his plan.

Victor Goodman is a man who dedicated himself entirely to his one passion, Egyptology, that absorbs all his feelings and interests, bringing him to the borders of psychosis the moment it all comes crumbling down. As King Tut, he’s a dangerous monomaniac with a remarkable intelligence and access to a number of ancient weapons, who devises intricate riddles and enigmas to mislead his enemies and instill fear in his victims. Convinced to be the avatar of the true Tutankhamun and a loyal servant to Aten, King Tut is an ancient warrior king projected in the contemporary world, ready to resume a bloody crusade to please his god…and his own thirst for vengeance, of course.

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