#1
Old 09-15-2005, 03:45 PM
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Jervis Tetch?

I'm watching my recently-acquired "Batman: The Animated Series" dvd collection, and I've got a question.

Frequently, villains will have given names that hint at their eventual identities as villains. Edward Nigma, for example (E. Nigma) becomes the Riddler. Temple Fugit (riff on the Latin tempus fugit for "time flies") becomes the Clock King.

I'm now in the middle of the first "Mad Hatter" episode, who is inspired by "Alice in Wonderland," and his given name is Jervis Tetch. Everything else seems to be a riff on the Alice books (the focus of his affection is named Alice Pleasance--the original Alice's first and middle names), a pair of his henchmen are dressed as the Walrus and the Carpenter, etc.

So my question: is there an Alice reference in the name Jervis Tetch that I am not getting, or is it just an odd random name?

(The series, by the way, is every bit as awesome as I remembered it. Perhaps I'll get around to a review of it in the near future.)
#2
Old 09-15-2005, 03:48 PM
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I have no answer to your question, but I do loves my B:TAS DVDs.
#3
Old 09-15-2005, 03:52 PM
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Here is some form of an answer from here :
Quote:
A love for the Mad Hatter character in Alice in Wonderland mixed with an infatuation for his secretary Alice caused Jervis to become an odd and bitter man. Donning the guise of The Mad Hatter, he tries to win Alice's affection by attempting to make her believe he is suave and debonair. Unfortunately she spurns his affections. Her rejection enrages Tetch, so he uses his mind controlling microchip's to force Alice to do his bidding. After being captured by Batman, Tetch blames him for ruining his chance of having Alice and swears revenge against the Dark Knight.
#4
Old 09-15-2005, 03:58 PM
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A couple of guesses: Jervis Tetch sounds a but like nervous twitch. Also, "tetched" is a rural expression for "a bit crazy." It probably comes from "touched in the head," meaning the same thing.
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#5
Old 09-15-2005, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dijon Warlock
Frequently, villains will have given names that hint at their eventual identities as villains. Edward Nigma, for example (E. Nigma) becomes the Riddler. Temple Fugit (riff on the Latin tempus fugit for "time flies") becomes the Clock King.

So my question: is there an Alice reference in the name Jervis Tetch that I am not getting, or is it just an odd random name?
It probably means as much as Selina Kyle or Oswald Cobblepot
#6
Old 09-15-2005, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott
Jervis Tetch sounds a but like nervous twitch.
That's exactly what I thought when I first heard the name (again, on the animated series). I assumed it was a Jabberwocky-style pun/mangling of "nervous twitch."
#7
Old 09-18-2005, 12:30 AM
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First, thanks for the responses.

Second, I hadn't caught the "nervous twitch" similarity. Y'all might be onto something there.

But, to be clear, we're still guessing, right? There's no definitive answer yet.

I got the idea to try to hunt down contact info for the writer on the first Mad Hatter episode (Paul Dini), to see what he could tell us, but didn't manage to hunt down an email or anything. However, I did find this:

http://batmantas.com/ A site devoted to the show. The Mad Hatter page (which is in a frame that won't let me link directly to it because I'm most likely a klutz) states his first appearance:
Quote:
First Comic Book Appearance
Batman#49, October 1948.
So whether Mr. Dini knows the origin of the name is undecided, but it most definitely predated his involvement.

Oh, and everyone knows that the scientific name of the Emperor Penguin is Cobblepottus oswaldii.

Don't they?
#8
Old 09-18-2005, 07:24 AM
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Nice one, you had me whooshed for a moment.
(Aptenodytes forsteri, actually)
#9
Old 09-18-2005, 03:31 PM
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(Actually, after posting that, I decided that "Jackass Penguin" would have worked better. However, this board doesn't allow editing, so...)
#10
Old 09-18-2005, 04:22 PM
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Thinking about it, the Batman villains I'm familiar with (both TV and comic book) don't actually run towards having names matching their gimmicks.

Do:

Riddler
Clock King (Original, comic book version was named William Tockman, FTR.)
Calendar Man (Julian Day.) (Never appeared in the animated series, as far as I know.)
Maxie Zeus (That is his real name.)
Mr Freeze (Victor Fries.)
Harley Quinn (Harlene Quinsel.)

Don't:

Mad Hatter
Joker (Real name never revealed.)
Two-Face (Harvey Dent.)
Dr Hugo Strange (Real name, having no connection to his obsession with Batman's real identity.)
Catwoman
Penguin
Catman (Thomas Blake.) (Who I just realised appeared in the TV series in a highly modified form.)
Killer Croc (Waylon Jones.)
Scarecrow (Johnathan Crane.)
Firefly (Garfield Lynns.)
Clayface (There were at least 3 in the comics: Basil Karlo, Matt Hagen, Preston Payne. Karlo does have a theme to his name - he's an actor, whose name is an obvious play on Boris Karloff. TAS Clayface - Matt Hagen - combined Karlo's origin and Hagen's name and powers.)
Man-bat (Kirk Langstrom.)
Ventriloquist/Scarface (Arnold Wesker.)

Could be stretched to fit:

Poison Ivy (Pamela Isely - doesn't match her gimmick, just her chosen name.)
Dr Milo (Sounds vaguely like Moreau, and at least two animated appearances involved him making half-man-half-animal creatures. A real stretch, even if that's all he ever did.)
Ra's al Ghul (Real name never revealed, although Ra's al Ghul may as well be. 'Demon's Head' could match his immortality and desire to take over the world. A bit of a stretch, particularly considering his ecological leanings.)

So, that makes 5 (up to 8 if you want to stretch), that match, 16 (19, if you don't want to stretch) that don't.

So, Hatter's name doesn't strike me as particularly off-style for Batman, even among the animated characters.
#11
Old 09-18-2005, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tengu
Thinking about it, the Batman villains I'm familiar with (both TV and comic book) don't actually run towards having names matching their gimmicks.

dont :
Two-Face (Harvey Dent.).
halfie?
#12
Old 09-18-2005, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tengu
Joker (Real name never revealed.)
Actually, I just finished watching the first two disks of Season Two yesterday, and in one episode they DO actually mention the Joker's real name. I don't remember which episode it was, so I'll have to go back and check, but there was a name mentioned.

However, the question of whether it was the Joker's original name, or whether it was one invented for BTAS might still be up for debate. The series did invent some material (such as the backstory for Mr. Freeze, which--at least, according to them--had never been set forth before the series), so I must rescind my earlier claim:
Quote:
So whether Mr. Dini knows the origin of the name is undecided, but it most definitely predated his involvement.
This may not be true, after all, now that I think about it.

I'd still like to know where it came from. "Jervis Tetch" is a pretty odd name to pull out of the air at random.
#13
Old 09-18-2005, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dijon Warlock
Actually, I just finished watching the first two disks of Season Two yesterday, and in one episode they DO actually mention the Joker's real name. I don't remember which episode it was, so I'll have to go back and check, but there was a name mentioned.
If we're thinking of the same episode, part of the point of that one was that Joker makes up stories about his history. He prefers his history to be multiple choice, as he put it. Regardless of whether it is or not, any name given for him can be assumed to be a lie, since a point is made at several points that even Joker doesn't know what his history is.

And, yes, Hatter was Jervis Tetch long before Dini got ahold of him. Here's his entry from Who's Who (1986).
#14
Old 09-19-2005, 07:26 PM
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The episode I watched mentioned three names at the beginning, and then revealed them to be the Joker, the Penguin, and someone else (don't recall if it was the Riddler or not, though). The episode actually turned out to be about another villain...I'm thinking it may have been a Poison Ivy episode, but I watched 14 episodes that day, so I could be wrong.

Thanks for the page and the list. I knew that several villains' names had nothing to do with their criminal identities; but since everything else about the Hatter was an "Alice" riff, I naturally assumed his name was, too.

It appears very likely, however, that it wasn't.

Man, I've got bats on the brain, lately. Still 43 episodes to go. Holy saturation, Batman!
#15
Old 09-19-2005, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dijon Warlock
The episode I watched mentioned three names at the beginning, and then revealed them to be the Joker, the Penguin, and someone else (don't recall if it was the Riddler or not, though). The episode actually turned out to be about another villain...I'm thinking it may have been a Poison Ivy episode, but I watched 14 episodes that day, so I could be wrong.
Funky...I don't think I've seen that episode. Any chance you remember the title, or at least about where it fits relative to other eps?
#16
Old 09-19-2005, 09:10 PM
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I'd always assumed the Mad Hatter's last name was supposed to allude to his being "tetched," or crazy, as AskNott observes. "Jervis" doesn't have as obvious an association, but it's interesting that the character's initials are the same as those of John Tenniel, illustrator of the Alice books, who created the Hatter's classic appearance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tengu
Don't:
Catwoman
Perhaps there's no direct link, but I guess that the name 'Selina' was chosen at least partially for its similarity to the word 'feline.'

Quote:
Scarecrow (Johnathan Crane.)
Scarecrow's a gawky scholar whose gimmick revolves around fear; I can't help but think that the Legend of Sleepy Hollow allusion is too strong to ignore.
Quote:
Killer Croc (Waylon Jones.)
No way. The character is transparently based on famous country singer Waylon Jennings, from his scaly skin to his well-known penchant for cannibalizing his enemies.
#17
Old 09-19-2005, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tengu
Funky...I don't think I've seen that episode. Any chance you remember the title, or at least about where it fits relative to other eps?
Season Two, in the first 14 episodes somewhere. I watched them all the same day, so beyond that things are a mite blurred. It's right at the beginning of the ep (as I recall), so when I get a chance, I'll sit down and plow through the first few minutes of them again and find it for you.
#18
Old 09-19-2005, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tengu
Thinking about it, the Batman villains I'm familiar with (both TV and comic book) don't actually run towards having names matching their gimmicks.

Do:

Riddler
Clock King (Original, comic book version was named William Tockman, FTR.)
Calendar Man (Julian Day.) (Never appeared in the animated series, as far as I know.)
Maxie Zeus (That is his real name.)
Mr Freeze (Victor Fries.)
Harley Quinn (Harlene Quinsel.)

Don't:

Mad Hatter
Joker (Real name never revealed.)
Two-Face (Harvey Dent.)
Dr Hugo Strange (Real name, having no connection to his obsession with Batman's real identity.)
Catwoman
Penguin
Catman (Thomas Blake.) (Who I just realised appeared in the TV series in a highly modified form.)
Killer Croc (Waylon Jones.)
Scarecrow (Johnathan Crane.)
Firefly (Garfield Lynns.)
Clayface (There were at least 3 in the comics: Basil Karlo, Matt Hagen, Preston Payne. Karlo does have a theme to his name - he's an actor, whose name is an obvious play on Boris Karloff. TAS Clayface - Matt Hagen - combined Karlo's origin and Hagen's name and powers.)
Man-bat (Kirk Langstrom.)
Ventriloquist/Scarface (Arnold Wesker.)

Could be stretched to fit:

Poison Ivy (Pamela Isely - doesn't match her gimmick, just her chosen name.)
Dr Milo (Sounds vaguely like Moreau, and at least two animated appearances involved him making half-man-half-animal creatures. A real stretch, even if that's all he ever did.)
Ra's al Ghul (Real name never revealed, although Ra's al Ghul may as well be. 'Demon's Head' could match his immortality and desire to take over the world. A bit of a stretch, particularly considering his ecological leanings.)

So, that makes 5 (up to 8 if you want to stretch), that match, 16 (19, if you don't want to stretch) that don't.

So, Hatter's name doesn't strike me as particularly off-style for Batman, even among the animated characters.
Just to throw another "maybe" out there, for Manbat, Kirk Langstrom has an obvious similarity to the term Angstrom. Being that he was a scientist who worked with genetics, you could make the argument that the name reflects that background.

I agree with the OP in thinking that the name Jervis Tetch is so odd that one would think there's some hint in it. Your list of "Don'ts" all seem to be fairly traditional English names. I can see where it'd encourage you to think this case may just be more subtle than is obvious.
#19
Old 09-19-2005, 10:41 PM
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Also, it's pretty clear that Dr. Crane's name isn't totally unassociated. The back story includes allusions to Icabod Crane, and that characters fear of the legend. This fear is what Scarecrow is all about. I'd say he definately falls into the group of foreshadowing names, though he may be somewhat unique in that it's openly discussed in the backstory.
#20
Old 09-20-2005, 03:16 AM
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Leave it Wikipedia...

The Joker's name was originally given in the 1989 Batman movie as "Jack Napier," which is considered a play on the word "jackanape."

That's the name that was used in BTAS, as well. Wiki gives the episode in question as being Dreams in Darkness. Amazon indicates that it was the last episode of Season One (rather than being in Season Two, as I remembered. I have been watching too much of this show lately). I'll spin that episode again when I get home, since I don't remember who the featured villain was in it anymore.
#21
Old 09-20-2005, 07:42 PM
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Dreams in Darkness: Opens with Batman as a patient in Arkham due to hallucinations. This is where the conversation happens with Dr. Bartholomew, which includes mention of "Jack Napier, Harvey Dent, and Pamela Isley...or as you [Batman] know them: the Joker, Two-Face, and Poison Ivy."
SPOILER:
Bat's hallucinations are caused by exposure to the Scarecrow's fear gas, which he is planning on releasing into the water supply--thus providing an inspiration for Batman Begins.

So that settles that.

It seems our friend Mr. Tetch's name goes way back to the comics, so I'm not sure how likely it is to even uncover a definitive cite for its origin.
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