Eivol Ekdal

Sorry Maz, but as Dorian Gallant made me notice, I missed a character from your request, another minor villain from the Batman tv series. With “minor” I truly mean “minor”, as he only appeared in a couple of episodes in the series, and in a single issue in the comics, maintaining more or less the same role in the different incarnations. We’re speaking of Eivol Ekdal (or Ekdol, according to some credits spelling), portrayed by Jack Kruschen. In the show, he works with the magician Zelda the Great, and manipulates her into committing some crimes, including the attempted murder of the Dynamic Duo. In the comics he does more or less the same, but with another magician: let’s see together.

Nothing is known about Eivol Ekdal’s early life. Judging from his name, he wasn’t American, but he had been living in Gotham City for quite a while in the 1960s, when he became known to the authorities. Ekdal was quite a genius, expert in engineering, physics, architecture and possibly something else. He specialized in building very special equipment for a variety of clients, always making them pay 100,000$ for his services, no more, no less (and that was quite a lot, in 1965). Among his clients, the most famous one was Carnado, a professional illusionist and master escapologist who commissioned to him special traps he would use for his shows. Carnado was particularly demanding, but always paid in time, even arriving to use his skills to rob banks in order to have the necessary money. Trap after trap, Ekdal found it more and more difficult to build new and effective traps for the magician, until he came up with his masterpiece, an inescapable death trap not even he knew how to get out from. It was a small room of clear, unbreakable Plexiglas, completely sealed from the outside. During the test run, he explained to Carnado that lethal gas would have come out of the one grill on the floor, at the center of the trap; the magician believed he had found an escape, holding his breath and lifting the grill… but that was electrified, and impossible to handle. Amused, Carnado gladly paid his 100,000 for the trap, and asked for the solution… a solution that Ekdal didn’t have, but that he was willing to help him find, for another 100,000$, of course.

Eivol Ekdal’s plan was quite simple: if there was one man in the world capable of escaping his trap, that was surely Batman, the World’s Greatest Detective. Following his instructions, Carnado used a false face to lure Batman to the death trap, in order to see how (and if…) he managed to escape, so that Carnado could have used the same trick on stage. Actually, Ekdal had other plans he didn’t reveal to his client, as he had a deal with some mobsters for Batman’s head (for… yes, you got it, 100,000$), so for him it was a win-win situation, either if the vigilante came out of his trap alive or not. Batman did indeed survive, as he threw his Utility Belt onto the electrified grill, so that the belt short-circuited the system, resulting in an explosion that destroyed the entire trap. The smoke from the explosion was enough to hide Batman from Ekdal’s sight, and Carnado wanted to get out of the room, so the hero was safe… for the moment. Ekdal convinced Carnado that Batman would have found them nevertheless thanks to his detective skills, so he called in for his two secret partners, who paid him 50,000$, with the other 50,000 to be given to him when they did in fact kill Batman. Ekdal staged the perfect trap, hiding the two criminals in a Medieval armor and in an Egyptian sarcophagus, one in each side of the main room in his hideout, and simply awaited for Batman in the middle of them: the moment the Caped Crusader would have arrived, the other two would have killed him on the spot. The scientist, however, had underestimated Batman’s detective skills, as he read his facial expressions and figured the trap out. In the following fight, as the goons were been beaten, Eivol tried to intervene in first person, but Robin locked him in the Egyptian sarcophagus, keeping him there until the police arrived. Sum of all irony, the following day the judge set the bail for Ekdal and his partners to 100,000$ each… a price he wouldn’t have been able to pay for a long, long time.

Eivol Ekdal is a self-proclaimed, but proved and tested genius, a scientist with interests and expertise in a variety of fields, making him a skilled inventor. He’s also a greedy and unscrupulous man, who uses his undoubted talents only to earn all the money he could possibly desire, not caring at all for the end his inventions are used for. Morally indifferent and with a perfect balance between price and offer, Eivol Ekdal is not only a great inventor, but also the perfect businessman… at least for his kind of affairs.

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Puzzler

The last villain from the Batman tv series, following Mav‘s request, is the Puzzler, a quite obscure thief who was introduced in the show as a last-time replacement for the Riddler. Portrayed by Shakespearean actor Maurice Evans, the Puzzler is portrayed as a British rival to the Riddler, who uses riddles and enigmas for his crimes as well, usually quotes Shakespeare, and loves to use vanishing ink. In the comics, he didn’t originally face Batman, but just like the Archer, he comes from the rogue gallery of another famous superhero. Let’s see together (just as a reminder, also the Puzzler lives and operates on Earth-Two).

Born in Metropolis, real name unknown, the Puzzler was born a genius, or at least so he said. He found out that he had an unborn ability to solve puzzles and play games, and as he grew up, he realized that he could use that very talent to make a lot of money, if he played his cards well. Looking at the world as if it was a chessboard, and acting on consequence, he managed to build quite a criminal empire, with a remarkable number of subordinates. The thugs worked for him practically for free, as everytime he paid them, he challenged them to a cards game, winning their salary back instantly. His main activity was blackmailing important people, killing them if they didn’t pay him for protection (protection from himself, ironically). The first one who didn’t get scared and didn’t pay was Carl Prentice, the ping pong champion, and Puzzler tried to kill him with a tiny bomb hidden in one of the tournament’s balls; Prentice, however, was saved by Superman, who intervened even later, when he tried to have the champion killed by his marksmen. Realizing he needed to get famous in order to ensure future victims to pay immediately, he called for Clark Kent, a reporter from the Daily Bugle, for an exclusive interview, but instead of Kent Lois Lane arrived. The ambitious reporter wanted the exclusive for herself, but as soon as Superman arrived, the Puzzler tied her to her chair, and threatened to electrocute her if Superman didn’t accept his challenge. He faced the Man of Steel in a game of checkers, but as he realized he was losing, he tried to cheat by palming Superman’s pieces… but the hero did the same, and cheated using his super speed and moving the pieces on the board. As Superman won, Puzzler released Lois… only to activate yet another death trap, and escaping in the confusion that followed. He may had lost a game, but he surely had found an adversary worthy of his intellect.

The Puzzler challenged Superman with a jigsaw piece, with a single word on a side, and the name of a location on another. While the hero was collecting the pieces that formed the sentence “World’s Toughest Intellectual Game“, Puzzler was kidnapping Elmer King, John Bishop, Sylvia Queen, Cornelius Knight, and Philip Clausen, owner of a pawn shop. His victims were the solution of the riddle: king, bishop, queen, knight and pawn, all aimed to chess being the answer. Superman realized this, and tried to anticipate his enemy by going to the house of Amos Castle, the last “piece” on the chessboard, but there he found a dummy with a card pointed on its chest. This was yet another riddle, as “dummy” and “card” pointed to the bridge cards game being the solution. In his hideout under the city bridge, Puzzler was ready to exact his money from the people he had kidnapped, but he was found by Superman, who had solved his clues. Just as the hero was about to arrest him, he revealed one last abductee: Lois Lane, again. This time, the Puzzler challenged Superman to a cards game, but the Man of Steel used his X-ray vision to pretend that all the cards were marked, thus giving to Puzzler’s goons the impression that their boss had cheated when winning their salary back. Attacked by his own men, Puzzler was forced to escape, and when Superman, who had freed the hostages, confronted him, he used as last resolve to jump from the bridge, apparently to his death. Actually, the Puzzler was still alive, and he resurfaced far from Superman’s sight. Defeat, however, had made him a different man. Time later, to test himself, he participated to a card tournament, but he lost each and every game he participated to. Enraged, he vowed to kill all the champions who had defeated him, in the most ironic way possible. First, he beat to death the poker champion with a fire poker. This made him feel better, but he had a lot more to do: he had to cause the hearts champion a heart attack, to throw the bridge champion off a bridge, to serve poisoned rum to the rummy champion, and to kill the casino champion in the city’s casino…

The Puzzler is a brilliant and clever man, but also a murderous maniac who crafted a criminal empire for the sole purpose of earning easy money at the expense of others. He’s a genius in solving games just as well as he is in cheating, and he never loses, in a way or another. As skillful a planner and careful a tactician he may be, the Puzzler’s sin is vanity, and he constantly leaves a trail of clues for his enemies to find as a challenge to their intellect: his arrogance in believing to always be the smartest guy in the room can’t bring anything good to him…

Fenton Quigley (The Archer)

On with the secondary villains from the Batman tv series, we find The Archer, a modern-day Robin Hood portrayed by Art Carney. This organized thief commits crimes along with his own version of the Merry Men, comprised of Maid Marilyn, Big John and Crier Tuck, but is soon stopped by the Dynamic Duo. In the comics, the Archer is a villain who originated in Earth-Two, who didn’t face Batman but rather the other superstar from DC Comics. He even recently resurfaced in Prime Earth, albeit with a totally different story. Let’s see together.

Fenton Quigley was born in Metropolis, the heir of one of the wealthiest and most important families of the city. His life of privilege allowed him to indulge in a number of expensive hobbies, but his favorite soon became hunting. He traveled to distant and exotic locations to find the best sport, and became renowned as a skilled big game hunter. As many rich people have their caprices, so did Quigley, and he specialized in archery to make the hunt more difficult, and thus more interesting and entertaining. He was supposed to inherit all his family’s fortune, of course, but all this was taken away from him when a political discussion with his father escalated to a real argument, and the two broke relationships. All hope of reconciliation were cut short when Fenton’s father cut him off the family’s fortune, and for the first time in his life, the once wealthy heir found himself in the unbearable condition of working for a living. Not willing the least to accept this compromise with his wealthy life from before, Quigley decided to put his hunting skills to good use, and to switch to a human prey. He sent letters to many rich people from Metropolis, demanding quite a lot of money in exchange for sparing their lives, signing simply “The Archer”. As it was foreseeable, nobody took him seriously, but they would have, after his first strike. He targeted one of the men who had ignored his letter, Thomas Gayford, and killed him with bow and arrow, striking from a distance, right in the middle of a huge party he was holding at his manor. This way, he had a lot of witnesses who had realized that nobody could be safe from The Archer.

A major strike to his ego arrived when the police was unable to determine if there was a single man responsible for the letters and the killing: Quigley sent them a message tied to an arrow, in Gayford Manor, to make things straight… but this way he attracted the attention of both detectives and reporters, who started investigating on the new Public Enemy #1. Two journalists from the Daily Planet, Lois Lane and Clark Kent, proved to be pretty persistent, and thus dangerous. He tried to kill them in a couple of occasions, shooting arrows at them and cutting their car’s breaks, but Superman always intervened to save them. Quigley decided to leave the reporters be, and killed yet another man. Then, taking advantage of the fact that the police had arrested a loony dressed like Robin Hood believing him to be the killer, he sent threats to a jeweler, sure that this time he would have been paid. The jeweler, however, was convinced by Lois Lane not to pay, so the Archer resolved to kill them both… but Superman arrived just in time: he saved both his intended victims, and captured and unmasked him. The Archer spent the following years in prison, thinking of a way to take his revenge on the Man of Steel. He devised new, special arrows that would have gave him an advantage. He escaped from prison, then he challenged Superman, declaring with a message in the sky that he would have killed Lois Lane, leaving him powerless in the process. Then, he kidnapped Lois, luring her into a trap calling her and pretending to be the ambassador she was supposed to interview. Superman found them, but thanks to the Archer’s new tech, any time Superman used one of his powers to stop the arrows, he lost it: first flight, then super-speed and invulnerability, heat vision, super-breath, super-shout, and finally his super-strength, leaving him with nothing to save Lois with. Superman, however, realized how Quigley was truly stopping his powers, and snapped out of it, taking the Archer down in a matter of seconds. Then, as the hero was saving the beauty, the Archer tried to escape, but was stopped by Jimmy Olsen, arrived on the scene following a tip. So long for this long-dreamt revenge.

Fenton Quigley is a murderous and amoral man, ready to resolve to homicide and theft in order to maintain his wealthy life style after being disowned by his own father. As the Archer, he’s in perfect shape, a skilled athlete and a superb archer, as his name suggests; apart from regular arrows, he also uses special ones rigged with brain-wave devices studied to act on Superman’s psyche, so that when the hero uses a power to stop one arrow, he’s hypnotized into the certainty of not being able to use that power anymore. A terrorist and a mercenary who’d do anything for money, the Archer is a spoiled brat who reinvented himself as a professional killer, and turns out to be pretty good in be both of them.

Bookworm

Another peculiar villain from the Batman tv series was Bookworm, portrayed by Roddy McDowall. Always wearing huge eyeglasses, the Bookworm is portrayed as a book-themed villain, always quoting the classics, dressing literally like a book (his suit is an antique book binding), and only committing crimes revolving around books, usually stealing precious and/or old ones. In the comics, this curious villain only appeared in the Earth-Two continuity, with a darker and more violent tone to his crimes, and facing a different superhero from the Golden Age. Let’s see together.

Nothing is known about the thief named the Bookworm, apart from the fact that he had a superior education. He was an expert in old and lost texts and manuscripts, but rather than entering the legal business and pursuing them for libraries or museums, he preferred to become a specialized thief, tracking down those books to sell them to the highest bidders… not having the slightest problem in torturing and killing the ones found in possession of the books he wanted. Quite the brain but with not enough muscle to do it all by himself, the Bookworm founded a gang, recruiting goons and thugs from the streets and making them his subordinates, paying them richly for the effort. One day, he found reports of an unpublished novel by Edgar Allan Poe, a manuscript preserved in one single copy, still hidden somewhere in New York City. Following his trails and studying his sources, the Bookworm was able to track the book down to a small bookstore owner, named Conners. The night he decided to pay a visit to Conners, accompanied by his right-hand man Butch, he received an unwanted welcome by Sandman and Sandy the Golden Boy, who intervened right when Conners, tortured, was about to tell the Bookworm the hideout of the manuscript. In the ensuing fight, the Bookworm was about to shoot Sandman, but Sandy threw a water bottle at him, making him lose his gun. Outnumbered, the Bookworm escaped, leaving Butch and Conners behind.

Sure that Sandman was expecting him to hit again the following night, the Bookworm came back to the bookstore later that same night, only to find Conners dead already, with no sign of the manuscript. He came back to his hideout enraged, and he became even more when he realized that his own subordinates didn’t believe him, and thought that he had murdered Conners (and possibly hid the book somewhere). Regaining control, the Bookworm prepared his men for a return to the bookstore: he had Butch bailed out, and selected two goons as lookouts in case the two vigilantes came back as well. That same night, the Bookworm and Butch broke in the bookstore, and Butch successfully opened Conners’ safe, but found it empty. In that very moment, Sandman and Sandy arrived, knocking out the two lookouts posted outside the shop. During the ensuing fight, a sudden gunshot was heard, and Butch fell on the floor, dead. Investigating the origin of the shot, Sandman found a rigged-up pistol hidden in a bookcase, guarding a secret compartment with a manuscript laying inside. That was evidently a trap Conners had prepared to protect the book, a trap he had forgotten about while panicking the night of the attack: he had unwillingly committed suicide. Finally laying his eyes upon the object of his desire, the Bookworm grabbed the book… and activated the trap, receiving a bullet to the chest. The bullet hit the manuscript as well, and the old book was ignited by the shot. Dying, the Bookworm remarked on what a loss for humanity losing that one lost novel by Poe would have been.

The Bookworm is a highly intelligent and cultured man, but also a remorseless killer and a professional thief. His motives and aims are actually difficult to read, as he does seem to care about humanity, its knowledge and cultural patrimony, while pursuing lost books even if through illegal ways, but how much of that feeling is sincere and how much of it is used to cover a much more materialistic greed remains to be seen. Either way, there’s no ancient manuscript or lost book the Bookworm isn’t able to find and retrieve, with any means possible…

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.

Edgar Heed (Egghead)

Today with Maz we meet one of the most notorious (and craziest) villains from the Batman tv series: Egghead, portrayed by the immortal Vincent Price. In the show, he’s a crazy criminal with a trademark obsession with eggs, who first appeared trying to conquer Gotham City. His egg-related puns are terrible and world-wide famous, and he’s also one of the very few people who discovered Batman‘s secret identity by using only logical deduction. In the comics, the greatest challenge has always been the one of fitting him the much darker world of comics Gotham, and the fact that it’s hard to take this guy seriously doesn’t help: so far, he’s had minor appearances at best. Let’s see together.

Not much is known about Edgar Heed, apart from the fact that he lived in Gotham City, and that he was completely crazy. For some unknown reason, this brilliant and meek-looking man became obsessed with eggs, that he saw as the embodiment of perfection. Probably an engineer to begin with, Heed started wearing only white and yellow suits, and even modified his way of speaking, adding some awful egg-puns like “eggstraordinary” or “eggcellent”. Of course, he even found a new, perfect name that reflected both his newfound love for eggs and his undisputed genius: Egghead. Gotham wasn’t exactly the sanest city in the world, so he was in good company in his free fall to madness. While moving his first steps in the world of costumed villains, he met another criminal genius, the Riddler, and the two recognized each other’s talent and decided to join forces. They formed quite a formidable duo, and together moved their first steps in a much wider world… but so was doing, in those days, Gotham’s new self-appointed protector, the vigilante Batman, who intervened to meddle with the two villains’ big projects. The couple was faced and defeated by the Dark Knight, and Egghead was arrested. Facing trial, it was obvious for everyone that he was completely insane, and he was locked up in Arkham Asylum, and forgotten there for years. Then, something unexpected happened: also the director of the sanatorium, Jeremiah Arkham, went completely crazy.

Arkham had destroyed the old asylum and rebuilt a new one from foundation, and moved all his patients into the new facility, Egghead included. In the process, however, he had come a little bit too close to one of his most dangerous inmates, Victor Zsasz, who had found his way to his mind and had begun to influence his decisions, even obtaining to get out of the asylum by night to commit his murders and come back at dawn as if nothing had happened. When Batman, suspecting something, infiltrated Arkham Asylum to prove that Zsasz was actually free to move, Jeremiah locked him inside along with all the inmates. As suggested by Zsasz, Arkham allowed all the patients who held a grudge against Batman to take a shot at getting their revenge against him, all for “academic purpose”, of course. Egghead was among the ones who joined the crowd witnessing Batman’s gladiatorial fight against the retarded brute Amygdala, and obviously rooted for the latter. When Amygdala was defeated, Arkham freed Egghead and all the others, prompting them to beat Batman with their own hands. Not exactly an organized assault team, Egghead and the other lunatics were all effortlessly beaten to unconsciousness, without even realizing that they were just part of a ruse by Zsasz to obtain a good shot at Batman. After that second, burning defeat, he was brought back to his cell, where he stayed for the rest of his days. As New Earth was (apparently) erased and reformed in Prime Earth, also Egghead came back, first running into Harley Quinn during a bank robbery, then being hired by Two-Face to kill Batman, a task he failed as usual. Egghead, however, had still some highly “eggficient” aces up his sleeve…

Edgar Heed is a highly intelligent man… unfortunately he’s completely crazy, and all his brilliant mind is twisted in a curious obsession with eggs, that brings him to commit a series of crimes (usually robberies) always dealing with eggs. As Egghead, his genius makes him a dangerous planner and tactician, and he also invented some unusual weapons, obviously egg-themed, like egg-grenades and tear gas eggs. An “eggstremely” unusual villain even for the likes of Gotham City, Egghead is a unique psychopath who believes to be the greatest criminal mind ever existed, and who wants to rebuild the world “eggsactly” in his own image.

Harriet Cooper

We stick to the Batman 1960s tv series with Maz, as our next stop is with Harriet Cooper, one of the most famous recurring character in the series. Portrayed by Madge Blake, she’s better known as Aunt Harriet, as she’s Dick Grayson‘s aunt and a constant presence in the first two seasons. In the comics, she maintains her family bond to Dick, at least in Earth-One (albeit she’s recently been included also in Prime Earth), and she eventually becomes a major presence in her nephew’s life. Let’s see together.

Harriet Cooper was (most likely) born in Gotham City, from an unknown family. She had a little sister, Mary, but the two of them weren’t exactly alike, quite the opposite. More traditional and housewife-type than Mary, she was quite shocked when her sister left home to marry John Grayson, a circus acrobat, and joined him in his show at Haley Circus. Mary and John had a son, Dick, and he as well joined them in their performance when he was old enough. Harriet saw Dick only when the circus’ tour brought it back to Gotham, but she always cared for her family. Then, a terrible accident killed both John and Mary, and Dick remained alone in the world. Luckily enough, billionaire Bruce Wayne decided to adopt the boy, and Harriet, who believed that Mr. Wayne could give her nephew everything he needed, didn’t even ask for custody. Harriet visited Dick from time to time at Wayne Manor, and checked on his well-being and on his education. Then, tragedy stroke again, as Alfred Pennyworth, Wayne’s butler and friend, got killed by a gang of criminals. Wanting to help the two young men who were now alone in such a huge house, Aunt Harriet stepped in, and offered herself as a replacement for Alfred, taking care of the house just like the butler would have done. Taking care of Wayne Manor wasn’t exactly an easy task, and despite being a socialite playboy Bruce Wayne seemed to have a lot of business to attend to… and of course, there was a big secret waiting just to be discovered by Harriet.

One day, while cleaning Bruce Wayne’s room, she stumbled upon a secret switch that activated an elevator… that led her directly to the Batcave. There was no reason to doubt that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were actually Batman and Robin, Gotham’s heroes, but she wanted more evidence. She blocked the exits of the Batcave, and then she put a small camera in the elevator: this way, Batman and Robin would have been forced to use it, and she could have seen on tape if they really were Bruce and Dick. When she recovered the tape, however, she found out something else: the four men were all together in the elevator, and it was blatant that they were actually friends, with Wayne only putting at disposal his terrain to the heroes (actually, the tape had been doctored by Batman himself, but Harriet never found out). Time passed, and something totally unexpected happened: Alfred was found alive and (almost) well, turned by Dr. Brandon Crawford into the villainous and monstrous Outsider. As Batman nurtured him back to health, he came back to the Manor, but as Harriet was ready to leave, he himself insisted that she stayed, grateful for her help. Unfortunately, Aunt Harriet’s health was already beginning to falter, and she came in need of an urgent cryosurgery that Gotham Hospital wasn’t able to provide. Once again, it was Batman the one who solved the situation, as he defeated Mr. Freeze, took his gun and gave it to the doctors at the hospital, who were now able to intervene on Harriet. The woman was saved, but her energies weren’t what they used to. When Dick moved to college, and Bruce and Alfred moved to the penthouse of Wayne Foundation, Harriet took the occasion to come back home, finally enjoying a rest she had fully deserved.

Harriet Cooper is quite a formidable woman, a traditionalist in terms of family and house-keeping, but with strength and energy enough to be the sole keeper of Wayne Mansion and to take care of all the necessities of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson (and later, even of a recovering Alfred Pennyworth). Sometimes intrusive and nosy, she’s however a moral pillar of Wayne Manor, and the last fragment of family Dick has left in the world.