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Joe Chill(pop culture)
While he may lack the powers, weapons, and/or worldview of the archetypal supervillain, Joe Chill committed one of the most the infamous crimes in the history of popular fiction: the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne, which their son Bruce avenged by devoting his life to warring against wrongdoers as Batman. Chill was a nameless mugger with an itchy trigger finger in the earliest texts relating Batman's origin, but was identified in Batman #47 (1948) when the Caped Crusader connected Chill to his parents' unsolved murders. A dramatic scene in that Bill Finger/Bob Kane story featured a desperate Batman revealing his Wayne identity to a panicky Chill. Later in that tale Chill met his demise by his own henchmen once they discovered that their boss had “created” their cowled enemy. Joe Chill has since wandered in and out of the perennially evolving Batman mythos. A 1956 tale portrayed him as a hitman masquerading as a mugger to veil the identity of the crime boss that ordered the Waynes' deaths, and Mike W. Barr and Todd McFarlane presented Chill as Batman's improbable partner in a struggle with a masked vigilante called the Reaper in 1987's “Batman: Year Two” storyline. Realizing that the apprehension or demise of Joe Chill negates the necessity of Bruce Wayne's continued mission as Batman, DC Comics has, in twenty-first-century Batman continuity, eliminated references to Chill by name, preferring to keep the killer of Wayne's parents unknown. Conversely, the theatrical blockbuster Batman Begins (2005) featured Chill (actor Richard Brake) as the Waynes' assassin, later involving him in the film as a mob informant.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.