And now, we at the Obsessive Geek Blog would like to present to you how to not revamp a character.
Let’s say, for instance, you want to write a Batman story where the main villain is Killer Moth.
One problem, nobody give a damn about Killer Moth. He’s like, totally lame, my dude, and nobody’s gonna take him seriously as a threat. Hell, an entire running gag has revolved around how much he sucks. (Though, if you ask me, I’d probably take him over Prometheus any day of the week).
Now, if you really want to do this, it’d be quite easy. The artist formerly known as Drury Walker started out as an anti-Batman, so just play that up. Have him outsmart and go toe-to-toe with the World’s Greatest Detective, change the costume into something less gaudy (preferably something akin to his Teen Titans look) and just let him be a conniving and brilliant villain. It’s not that hard to build an anti-Batman (see: Prometheus, Bane, Owlman, various other bastards I’m probably forgetting) and done right, he could really get over.
What you do not do is have him involved in a mid-90s crossover event where a demon offers to make him the stuff of nightmares….
…and then make him into the SciFi* Original Movie version of Brundlefly with a constantly drooling mouth.
*I refuse to call it the Syfy channel on the grounds that it’s a stupid spelling of sci-fi.
Charaxes (which is actually a genus of butterfly, but it has the word “axes” in it so it’s cool), as this admittedly mildly creepy looking thing came to be known, blandly menaced the pages of Robin #23-24 as a crossover to the now largely forgotten crossover event Underworld Unleashed. Driven by a voracious need to feed, he killed a few Arkham doctors and orderlies before escaping, cocooning Tim Drake’s Robin, and finally being defeated by Lock-Up, a villain even more minor that he was as Killer Moth.
It shouldn’t surprise any of you that those two issues of Robin the world on fire, giving Charaxes a long and fruitful career, having a handful of unmemorable appearances before getting killed by Superboy Prime in Infinite Crisis.
I first encountered Charaxes not in the pages of any comic, but from Batman: the Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight by Scott Beatty. He wasn’t just given a throwaway entry in a collage of weird monsters either; oh no, this guy ranked an entry all to himself! Not Killer Croc, not any of the Clayfaces, not Hugo Strange or Firefly. No sir, Charaxes was the villain that demanded two pages all to him! Given that this was officially licensed by DC, it makes me wonder if they had big plans for the guy in the future. I have no idea why they would want more of this thing stinking of the pages, but then again I don’t work in the comic book industry.