Friday, April 12, 2013
Well, he was never in an issue of Detective Comics, but I still love Mr. Camera for being such a stereotypical lame one-shot Batman villain.
(He's probably not a one-shot villain anymore. Somebody's probably used him for some weird purpose over the lat 15 years. And I don't feel like looking it up. But his single appearance in the classic era of Batman was Batman #81 in 1954.)
He has a suit and tie. And an opera cloak. And a camera on his head.
(Look at the panel where you can see his face through the lens! What is up with that?!)
And his crimes revolve around cameras.
Isn't that a certain type of awesome?
(The people of Gotham City are a bunch of FREAKS!)
The story actually revolves around Robin. It starts off with Dick Grayson going to school and confessing that he is Robin. And that means that Bruce Wayne is Batman! Soon it's all over the news, the talk of Gotham City!
It's just part of an elaborate ruse, you see.
Mr. Camera is about to get out of prison. (The bulk of the story about Mr. Camera took place some time ago, even though it was never revealed until now as part of the explanation as to why Dick Grayson admitted he was Robin.) During hs past escapades matching wits with Batman and Robin, Mr. Camera had set up a camera in an alley next to a crime scene - he liked to film his exploits, you see - and he thinks he filmed Batman and Robin changing from their secret identities! He hid the film before he was apprehended, but he never had a chance to develop it and look at it.
So Batman and Robin attempt a pre-emptive strike. If they debunk yet another "Bruce Wayne is Batman" incident just before Mr. Camera's big reveleation, people will be more likely to just blow it off. So Dick Grayson admits he's Robin, setting off another Batman's Identity Scandal for Bruce Wayne to deal with.
Despite numerous difficulties, they pull it off. Dick Grayson admits he said he was Robin just to impress a girl. The crisis blows over. And then it turns out that Mr. Camera's film was badly overexposed and didn't show anything anyway.
Mr. Camera can't do anything right.
But we love him just the same! Somewhere between Signalman and the Spinner, Mr. Camera takes his place in the Batman pantheon.