Batman follows the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole to battle none other than our favorite archvillain, The Mad Hatter, in a new 112 page full-color hardcover graphic novel Batman: Through the Looking Glass ($22.99), written by Bruce Jones and Sam Keith, released by Titan Books in January 2012. (Not to be confused with the Batman: The Brave and the Bold “Through the Looking Glass” comic released last year.) With a new big budget Batman movie every year or so, how long before we’re going to see DC comics’ Mad Hatter battle the Dark Knight in some summer blockbuster?
Here’s the cover for Issue #3 of the new comic series The All-New Batman: The Brave and the Bold, which was launched after the success of the Cartoon Network show Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Bob Kass writes to us: “The cover shows the Alice in Wonderland characters but the story has the Looking Glass characters. In the story, the Mirror Master, who is a classic Flash villain, sends Batman and the Flash to the Looking Glass World with the help of Mad Hatter. The story includes the White Knight, the Tweedles, Jabbewock, Humpty Dumpty, etc. There is a clever touch where the Flash’s costume insignia reverses in the Looking Glass world.”
Johanna Draper Carlson at Comics Worth Reading is happy that this issue “take[s] on some of the whimsy and charm that make its cartoon counterpart so much fun to watch.”
Issue #3, for example, takes the trendy inspiration of Alice in Wonderland to remind us of the Batman villain The Mad Hatter, who’s mind-controlling the original Flash because “he’s one of the few heroes with the good taste to wear a hat.” That kind of logic, internally consistent to the characters but ridiculously silly to the reader, adds to the enjoyment of this comic.
"The Mad Hatter as he appears in Lego Batman: The Videogame." -Wikipedia
Batman’s most famous enemy The Joker has been identified with Carroll’s character before (recently in The Joker’s Asylum II, June 16th, 2010.) But apparently The Mad Hatter is himself also a Batman villain, originally appearing in Batman #49 in October 1948 (according to the Wikipedia.) “Like other Batman villains, the Mad Hatter has become a darker character over the years. The Mad Hatter is depicted as a scientist who invents and uses technological mind-controlling devices to influence and manipulate the minds of his victims, believing that ‘the mind is the weakest part of a person’. He is well-known for sporting a green-coloured hat which is usually slightly over-sized as it houses his mobile mind-manipulating devices.” So that’s why the Hatter wears a big hat!
The buzz from the DC universe is that the Batman spinoff, The Joker’s Asylum II, June 16th, 2010, “is devoted to the Mad Hatter and his Alice obsession” (thanks, Devra Kunin.) The incredible cover art is by Bill Sienkiewicz, written by Landry Walker. The DC website explains The Joker’s Asylum as “a special month-long, weekly series of one-shots starring the greatest villains in Batman’s rogues gallery.”
On other shelves in other shops, the June 12th-18th Economist picked up the “mad” Tea Party theme on its cover, this time with Palin as Alice, Glenn Beck as the Hatter again, and I’m assuming the cigar is supposed to imply that Rush Limbaugh is the Hare. (He was the Cheshire Cat in The Nation.) I’m not sure how to interpret FoxNews as the dormouse.