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Batman: Public Enemy #1

10 Oct

October 10, 2012

We’ve met Mark Wayne Williams before. He was arrested hanging from the side of a building.

Before I get into the Bat-news, it needs to be said that this is a perfect example of the Wayne as a middle name rule.

From News of the Weird: It only occurred to me in the early 1990s that “Wayne” was a popular middle name among a few of the most heinous murderers of our time, e.g., the clown John Wayne Gacy (who killed almost three dozen boys and young men in the late 1970s and buried most of them beneath the floorboards of his Des Plaines, Ill., home) and Elmer Wayne Henley (sentenced to six consecutive life terms in 1974 in Houston for his role, with ringleader Dean Allen Corll, in the murders of 27 young men). I began to publish periodic lists in 1996, and soon readers made sure I never missed a one that made the news.

The News of the Weird list, as of 2008, had over 300 names.

Luckily for us, Mark Wayne Williams bucked the trend.

This never happened in the comic books. Imagine the indignity- the police confiscated Batman’s costume! I hope he was wearing clean underoos.

I’ve never been a fan of cosplay. Except at Halloween, my favorite holiday bar none, the idea of putting on a costume and acting like a cartoon character has never appealed to me.  And worse, there are people who put on superhero costumes and create their own identities to do good. Strange as I find the idea of dressing in a silly suit with a silly name and prowling the streets, many of these people actually help the populace. They help feed the homeless, for example, or escort people through dangerous neighborhoods. How they don’t get their own asses kicked I don’t know but they do it.

Vigilantes are a different story. Society- not to mention the police- take a bad view of and look down upon them. For every group like The Guardian Angels, who have been doing great work aiding (and being recognized by) the NYC police department for decades, there are a dozen people of groups facing serious jail time for enforcing their own brand of justice, usually very violently and illegally. You simply can’t take the law into your own hands.

All of this brings me to Mark Wayne Williams. The Petoskey Batman embodies the worst of cosplay and vigilantism. He totally buys into it. I won’t go so far as to say that Williams thinks he’s Batman but he certainly thinks that Batman is the embodiment of his idea of justice. Batman once said that “criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot” and while that may have true back in the 1930’s- and I have my doubts- it is not true today.  This man is not inspiring fear in anyone.

Nor does he seem to be pursuing justice.

I want to know what he was doing at the crime scene. The last time he appeared in Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride he was conducting surveillance, which even from an untrained person could potentially be useful.  Here he was investigating a crime scene. I’m taking some liberty here. The article does not say what he was doing; he was most likely standing there striking poses. I doubt his utility belt had any criminologist gear.

“Batman” clearly needs some help. I’m not sure jail time is right for this guy, though he did break the law and obstruct police activities. His heart is in the right place, it is his head that needs help. In comics Bruce Wayne is very psychologically well-adjusted; in the real world Mark Wayne Williams clearly needs some help. Rather than jail, I hope his arrest leads to his getting the kind of therapy or counseling he needs.

Besides, now that his secret identity has been made public, he’ll need police protection from all his underworld arch-enemies. I only hope that when it comes to trial, District Attorney Harvey Dent goes easy on him.

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