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More a bother than a bad guy, the impish Bat- Mite was devised as Batman's answer to Mr. Mxyzptlk. The pint-sized pest first popped into the Caped Crusader's life in 1959 in Detective Comics #267's “Batman Meets Bat-Mite” by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff. “An elf dressed in a crazy-looking Batman costume!” utters Robin the Boy Wonder as this kooky kewpie, standing not-so-tall at just under 3 feet, materializes inside the secret Batcave. A super-hero wannabe from another dimension, Bat-Mite's goal is to make the Dynamic Duo a Terrific Trio. He uses his magical powers to fabricate absurdities— from causing a bridge to ripple to animating a giant Batman statue—merely to witness his heroic idol in action. After several scoldings from Batman, Bat-Mite takes a hint and returns home … albeit temporarily, phasing out with a cryptic “Good-bye—for now!” Nine months later he was back in “The Return of Bat-Mite,” in the pages of Detective #276 (1960), and returned regularly to bug Batman, Robin, and even Batwoman and the original Bat-Girl. DC Comics first paired him with Mr. Mxyzptlk in World's Finest Comics #113 (1960), their union posing a headache for Superman and Batman. On several occasions throughout the 1960s, some of the strangest scenarios encountered by Batman and Superman were mystically manufactured by the troublemaking Bat-Mite/Mr. Mxyzptlk team. By the late 1960s Bat-Mite was booted into limbo, although he soon found a welcome home on television in Filmation's animated series The New Adventures of Batman (1977–1978), reprising his early 1960s comics role as the well-meaning but pesky tag-along. His sole comic-book appearance during that decade occurred in the whimsical “Bat- Mite's New York Adventure” by Bob Rozakis and Michael Golden, appearing in Detective #482 (1979), in which the imp made an unappreciated visit to the DC Comics offices. While mostly a relic of the Silver Age (1956–1969), Bat-Mite still surfaces for a nostalgic romp for readers from time to time. His first appearance in DC's contemporary continuity took place in Alan Grant and Kevin O'Neill's “Legend of the Dark Mite” in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #38 (1992), in which a hallucinating felon told Batman of his “encounter” with a Bat-dressed troll. Bat-Mite has also been seen in several other noncontinuity stories and as a plush doll, statuette, and action figure from DC Direct. If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, perhaps Bat-Mite's greatest legacy is his inspiration of Larry, a problematic pixie with a Robin fixation who occasionally appears on the animated series Teen Titans (2003–present).
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.