Iron Hat Ferris was actually named that before mob enforcers locked his head inside an iron hat. Hold on a second. Edward Nigma became the Riddler, William Tockman became Clock King, Roy G. Bivolo became the Rainbow Raider ... now that I think about it, Gotham could cut down on its super crime by almost 90 percent if Batman punched pregnant women in the stomach every time they thought up a clever baby name.
I don't need to tell you all the advantages of having an iron hat. It makes your head virtually immune to punches. Your boss has no idea when you're napping. You can fill it with soup and throw all your spoons away. Your woman's mons pubis will feel like it was bashed with a rusty anchor. So it's no surprise that Iron Hat Ferris went on an iron-themed crime spree that no one could stop, especially not Robin. Robin starts every fight with the most perfectly wrong move. If a man robbing the Indian food factory said, "I'm Rick Tallflame, better known as The Lava Colon!" Robin's first attack would be biting his asshole.
With no one to stop him, every iron-themed business in Gotham was at Iron Hat Ferris' mercy! The city had no answer for a man who broke his neck every time he heard a startling sound. Locking your head in a Dutch oven and being unable to brush your teeth for a week would be a lot like being a pair of extra large panties. And like those extra large panties, Iron Hat Ferris was ready to snap.
His iron-obsessed crimes became more and more stupid until even Batman and Robin could figure out his next move. What the Dynamic Duo never quite figured out was how to defeat an opponent when punching his face wasn't an option. Iron Hat beat the shit out of them every time they fought using a combination of headbutts and nothing. However, it's hard to think straight from inside a sweat-sock-scented face prison, and Iron Hat made the classic iron-headed mistake of going outside in a lightning storm.
In 1947, a fresh corpse was a fun and interactive way for Batman to teach children about science. "Tear off a gonad, chum! We'll drop it from the roof to see if it falls as fast as a stone!"
Paul Gregorian claimed to have nine lives, and he did what anyone would do if they could die eight times -- he killed himself all fucking day.
He jumped off of bridges and towers, he had people shoot him ... 9 Lives Man was awesome. At first he wasn't doing anything too criminal. In fact, it seemed like his main motivation was to screw with local emergency services. This was a man who discovered he sort of couldn't die, and his first and only thought was, "I'm going to prank a suicide hotline!"
Some of his deaths weren't as spectacular. "Behold as I touch these hot pans!!! My superpowers aren't an exact science, but trust me -- I'm holding on to them so long that this almost counts as two deaths!"
Soon, a group of thugs with more vivid imaginations than Paul forced him into using his amazing abilities FOR CRIME. Well, it turned out that Paul didn't really have nine lives. He was only a bored magician. Of course, being able to convince other people you should be dead is a handy ability to have. For example:
I love this cop's attitude. Filling out paperwork in the Gotham P.D. must take no time at all.
Somehow Batman figured out what was going on and he tracked Gregorian down. The chase scene lasted one entire panel before the Man With 9 Lives managed to kill himself diving out of a first story window. That's because when you pissed off Golden Age Batman, you died at least 20 or 30 times.
I think the moral of the story is that human life was cheap in the '40s. Batman and Robin crack jokes over a dead body while it's still twitching. Also, Batman brags every time he counts to 10.
Bill Keane died this week, and Batman would have wanted me to tell this joke: I feel like there would have been more order in the universe if the creator of Family Circus died from something with a second hilarious meaning like chili or bats. It's also too soon to link to these articles: If Family Circus Didn't Suck and 6 Family Circus Cartoons Improved with Dick Jokes.