Bat-Mite

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Bat-Mite
Batmite2.png
Bat-Mite emerging from Joker's mouth. Art by Ed McGuinness.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Detective Comics #267 (May 1959)
Created by Bob Kane
Bill Finger
Sheldon Moldoff
In-story information
Species Imp
Place of origin Mite Dimension (possibly analogue to the 5th dimension, though never confirmed)
Supporting character of Batman
Abilities Reality manipulation
Not bound by third dimensional laws
Can alter 3-D laws in a manner that resembles magic

Bat-Mite is a fictional character appearing in stories published by DC Comics. The character made his first appearance in Detective Comics #267 (May 1959) in a story titled "Batman Meets Bat-Mite" written by Bill Finger, with art by Sheldon Moldoff.[1] Bat-Mite is an Imp similar to the Superman villain Mister Mxyzptlk. Appearing as a small childlike man in an ill-fitting costume, Bat-Mite possesses what appears to be near-infinite magical power, but in reality is highly advanced technology from the fifth dimension that cannot be understood by humans' limited three-dimensional views. Unlike Mxyzptlk, Bat-Mite idolizes his superhero target and thus he has visited Batman on various occasions, often setting up strange events so that he could see his hero in action. Bat-Mite is more of a nuisance than a supervillain, and often departs of his own accord upon realizing that he has angered his idol.[2]

Fictional character history[edit]

Pre-Crisis[edit]

Cover to Detective Comics #267 (May 1959), art by Curt Swan

Bat-Mite regularly appeared in Batman, Detective Comics, and World's Finest Comics for five years. Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk teamed up four times in the pages of World's Finest Comics to plague Superman and Batman together, as well. In 1964, however, when the Batman titles were revamped under new editor Julius Schwartz, Bat-Mite vanished along with the other extraneous members of the Batman family such as Ace the Bat-Hound. After this, only three more Bat-Mite stories were published in the pre-Crisis DC Universe: two Bat-Mite/Mr. Mxyzptlk team ups in World's Finest Comics #152 (August 1965) and #169 (September 1967) (which were not edited by Schwartz but by Mort Weisinger), and "Bat-Mite's New York Adventure" from Detective Comics #482 (February–March 1979), in which the imp visits the DC Comics offices and insists that he be given his own feature in a Batman comic. This story featured protestors with picket signs shouting "We want Bat-Mite!" outside the Tishman Building (where DC's editorial offices were located at the time), and was accompanied by an editorial comment that this story was published specifically to acknowledge the actual requests of fans for this character's revival.

Later Bat-Mite appeared in a one-page story in the 200th issue of The Brave and the Bold.

Post-Crisis[edit]

After the continuity-changing 1985 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths was published, Bat-Mite was mostly removed from the Batman comics canon. Bat-Mite made an appearance in the series Legends of the Dark Knight, although he may have been the hallucination of a drug-addled criminal named Bob Overdog. This comic states that Bat-Mite is one of the many admirers of superheroes from another dimension. This version of Bat-Mite later appeared in Mitefall, a one-shot book which was a parody of the "Knightfall" Batman storyline (with Overdog in the Jean-Paul Valley role). In #6 of the 1999 World's Finest miniseries, Mr. Mxyzptlk encountered Bat-Mite, shortly after being mistaken for him by Overdog. While in this story the post-Crisis Bat-Mite encountered Batman for the first time, Superman and Batman subsequently concluded that Mxyzptlk had created him, inspired by Overdog's ravings.

Bat-Mite also appeared in the 2000 one-shot Elseworlds comic special World's Funnest, in which he battles Mr. Mxyzptlk, destroying the pre-Crisis multiverse and the post-Crisis DC Universe, as well as the Elseworlds of Kingdom Come, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, and the DC animated universe. As an Elseworlds story itself, World's Funnest has no impact on continuity, as inferred from Dark Knight Returns and Kingdom Come being introduced to the official DC multiverse as a result of the series 52.[3]

Apart from World's Funnest, there has been no direct connection between Bat-Mite and Mr. Mxyzptlk. In the Bizarro Comics anthology, Mxyzptlk's native 5th Dimension seemed to include beings similar to Bat-Mite and Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt. Neither of these comics are considered canonical; however, in a JLA/JSA crossover in JLA and in JSA #78–80 it was revealed that both Mxyzptlk and Thunderbolt come from the 5th Dimension. Letter columns and writer interviews suggest that Bat-Mite comes from there as well, although this has never been shown thus far in the comic stories themselves.

In the post-Crisis issue Superman/Batman #25, it was revealed that the Joker had gained Fifth Dimensional powers by maintaining the essence of Mr. Mxyzptlk from the earlier "Emperor Joker" storyline; at the end, Bizarro was able to extract this latent magical essence from the Joker, which manifested in a form recognizable as Bat-Mite. As such, a Bat-Mite has been fully reestablished into the current continuity as an outgrowth of Mr. Mxyzptlk incubated within the Joker.[4]

The first post-Infinite Crisis appearance of Bat-Mite was in Batman #672, written by Grant Morrison.[5] Batman is confronted with Bat-Mite (or "Might") after being shot in the chest and suffering a heart attack. Might, who bears a green insectoid creature on his back, claims to have come from "Space B at the Fivefold Expansion of Zrfff"[6] (at times Zrfff has been used as the name of Mr. Mxyzptlk's home dimension). Only Batman sees him. As Batman is having an increasingly difficult time keeping his grip on reality during this period, it is possible that Mite is a mental delusion.

In Batman #678, Might reappears at the last page, commenting, "uh-oh" to Batman's increasing delusions. He then, throughout the whole Batman R.I.P. series, appears to counsel the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, a delusional personality manufactured by Bruce himself to keep Batman able to fight in case he was mindwiped, or driven to insanity. Batman #680 reveals that Might is indeed a product of Batman's imagination and represents the last vestiges of Batman's rational mind within the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh, although when asked by Batman whether he is an extra-dimensional being or a figment of his imagination, Bat-Mite responds that the fifth dimension is imagination.[7]

In Superman/Batman #52, Bat-Mite appears having had a bet with Mr. Mxyzptlk similar to that of World's Funnest. This Bat-Mite appears to admire Batman, and Batman addresses him with familiarity.[8]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

Bat-Mite, Batman, and Robin from The New Adventures of Batman.

Bat-Mite was a regular character of the 1977 Filmation animated series The New Adventures of Batman voiced by Lou Scheimer. He was depicted as a well-meaning magical fan of the superhero. As such, he tried to help Batman even though he usually complicated matters, with a whiny "All I wanna do is help!" as a near-catchphrase. One episode featured his home planet called Ergo as well as a villain of Bat-Mite's species named Zarbor. He also has a crush on Batgirl.[9][10]

An animatronic Bat-Mite briefly appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Deep Freeze", voiced by Pat Fraley. Bat-Mite enthusiastically greeted Batman, saying "Greetings, Dynamic Duo! I'm your biggest fan!" before kissing Robin, who was shocked. It then malfunctions and falls apart, stuttering "I just wanna help!". It is revealed just to be a robot toy, created by robotics expert Karl Rossum (voiced by William Sanderson). In the background, an animatronic Mister Mxyzptlk, Streaky the Supercat and Krypto the Superdog can also be seen in Rossum's apartment.

Bat-Mite also appeared in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episodes "Legends of the Dark Mite", "Emperor Joker", "Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!" and the series finale, "Mitefall!", voiced by Paul Reubens. This version of Bat-Mite is powerful enough to regularly break the fourth wall and read to Batman his past, present and future exploits from real world comic books, and make fun of real-world comic convention fans.

Video Games[edit]

Bat-Mite will appear in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham voiced by Roger Craig Smith.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Detective Comics #267 (DC, 1937 Series) at the Grand Comics Database
  2. ^ Beatty, Scott (2008). "Bat-Mite". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 39. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. 
  3. ^ Ross, Alex (2003). The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0375422409. 
  4. ^ Superman/Batman #25 (May 1, 2006)
  5. ^ Batman #672 (Feb. 2008)
  6. ^ Batman #674 (April 2008)
  7. ^ Batman #680 (Oct. 1, 2008)
  8. ^ Superman/Batman #52(October 2008)
  9. ^ "A History of Batman on TV". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-16. 
  10. ^ "The New Adventures of Batman". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2010-08-16.