They sometimes say that the truth is stranger than fiction. Even though some of the plots in Batman comics, movies, and games are pretty far-fetched, some of the villains have been known to have been inspired by real-life figures.
In some cases, the story creators and moviemakers have revealed their muses. However, others have been less forthcoming, which leaves fans to speculate. But in the three examples highlighted in this article, there are plenty of clues that even the Gotham City Police Department would have no trouble picking up. In fact, they probably wouldn’t even have to call on the services of the Dark Knight.
The Riddler is undoubtedly one of Batman’s most infuriating foes. More than any other, he leaves a trail of tantalizing clues in his wake, all while hiding behind his disguise. Of course, many of Gotham’s villains hide behind different disguises and operate using pseudonyms. For example, The Riddler’s real name is Edward Nygma, and Harley Quinn’s is Dr. Harleen Quinzel. This strategy helps the characters to evade, or at least delay, capture.
No other villain taunts Batman quite like the Riddler. When the director and co-writer of The Batman were looking for a real-life example, they didn’t have to look far. In a publicity interview for the movie, Reeves came clean that the 1960s Californian Zodiac Killer was his template. He also left a series of cryptic clues for the law enforcement agencies to track him down. However, these red herrings were so successful that the real identity of the killer has still not been confirmed to this day.
When it comes to cool characters, they don’t get much more icy-hearted than Mr. Freeze. Real name Dr. Victor Fries, the cryogenics harnesses the power of freezer technology to literally stop his adversaries in their tracks.
While Mr. Freeze himself needs a freezer suit to survive following a botched laboratory experiment, the real-life Mr. Freeze used super-low temperatures to conceal his deadly crimes. His name was Richard “Iceman” Kuklinski, and his very dubious line of work involved being a hitman for the Devalcante crime family from the 1960s until his capture and arrest in 1986. He earned his chilling nickname as his method was often to freeze his victims before disposing of their bodies – confusing the police about the exact time of death.
The Penguin got his name not just for his waddling walk but also for the formal tuxedo he’s never without. However, it’s his use of a particular everyday item that has been seen in real life. We’re talking about his umbrella – a weapon that has also been favored by KGB assassins. The Soviet agents have been known to inject their intended victims with poison using the tip of their brollies.
This method has proven so successful that the perpetrators have never been caught. Perhaps if Batman had been on the case, it might have been a very different story.