For the 75th anniversary of Batman, I've been invited to do a series of brief articles on some of the lesser known villains the Caped Crusader faces. Here's my first installment.
It occurs to me (and many others) that the thing that makes Batman so great is his nearly limitless rogues gallery. Sure Flash has a group actually calling themselves the Rogues, and they’re notable in their own right, but the limited nature of that group is exactly why Batman’s rogues are so notable.
Of course, you’ve got your Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, and Bane who have all appeared in the movies (some even twice) and have been around for decades at the front of the charge against Batman. But for this month, the 75th anniversary of the Caped Crusader, I plan on focusing on some of his lesser known villains.
Each week I’ll highlight a character I consider a ‘B’ level villain one movie appearance away from making it to the big leagues. Then I’m going to shine a light on a foe so far down the alphabet I sometimes wonder if the creators even remember these poor saps.
Killer Croc – Waylon Jones
First Appearance – Batman #358 (April 1983)
Created by – Gerry Conway, Don Newton, Curt Swan
Killer Croc began his villainous career with aspirations of being the kingpin of crime in Gotham City. He spent several issues disguised, keeping his appearance hidden until Batman discovered the truth. Waylon Jones was born with an exaggerated, fictional form of atavism, which induced him with reptilian abilities and traits.
As Killer Croc continued appearing throughout the various Bat-titles, his appearance and psyche continued to deteriorate. At times he’s appeared as nothing more than a massive lizard with no traces of his former humanity, while other times he’s been depicted closer to his original incantation of a mobster.
While not having made it to the movies yet, Killer Croc has become a fan favorite from his various appearances in the many Batmen cartoons, video games, and different toy lines.
Personal Favorite Moment:
“There I was, holed up in this quarry when Batman came nosing around. He was getting closer… closer. I threw a rock at him… It was a big rock.”
That is Killer Croc’s dialogue from Batman: The Animated Series episode “Almost Got Im” in which several villains (Two-Face, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Joker, and Killer Croc) reminisce of different times they almost defeated the Batman. While the others told stories of elaborate death traps that forced the detective to use all of his abilities to escape, Killer Croc’s boils down to everything he is; a large oaf. There’s no beauty or finesse to Killer Croc and there shouldn’t be.
Calendar Man – Julian Gregory Day
First appearance – Detective Comics #259 (September 1958)
Created by – Bill Finger
Julian is obsessed with dates and calendars as one would expect form a criminal calling himself Calendar Man and whose real name is a cheap play on the Julian and Gregorian calendars. His early appearances had him commit crimes based on seasons or days he was largely considered a joke of a villain with unnecessarily flashy costumes.
Personal Favorite Moment:
I’m not sure there’s much room for debate here, as my favorite moment of his also happens to be his most well known. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale plucked the rarely used character from publishing limbo and propelled him front and center in his reoccurring role in ‘Batman: The Long Halloween’ where he’s taken on a much darker persona and offers advice to Batman on a copycat serial killer from a jail cell much like Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs”.