The Riddler (Q:When is a criminal like a mystery?)

By  Phil Perich for Before the Bat: The Gotham Podcast

Alright Gotham fans, let’s get to the one you’ve been waiting for, Edward Nigma (sometimes spelled Nygma, like on Gotham), aka The Riddler!  The Riddler first appeared in Detective Comics #140 (October 1948).

Young Eddie’s obsession with riddles began as a child when while still in school, upon learning there is a contest to see which child can put a puzzle together the quickest, Eddie sneaks into the classroom the night before and puts the puzzle together over and over until he can do it within seconds.  After easily beating all the other kids, Eddie receives his prize, a book about riddles.  This would steer the course for the rest of his life.  After growing bored cheating customers out of their money with his mind puzzles at the carnival he worked at, Eddie felt he need a bigger challenge, using his obsession with puzzles and riddles and commit crimes and challenge his greatest obstacle, Batman.  In the miniseries Batman: The Long Halloween, The Riddler is shown to be an informant, in this story working for crime lord Carmine Falcone.  

During the Hush storyline when Eddie is dying of cancer, he uses one of Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pits to cure himself and in the temporary dementia it causes, deduces Batman’s secret identity.  Eddie keeps the identity secret because as Batman tells him “What good is a riddle that everyone knows the secret too?”.  

After the villain Hush, aka Tommy Eliot learns that the Riddler used him as a pawn, Hush beats the Riddler close to death before he seeks protection from the Joker.  Months after this, The Riddler undergoes plastic surgery and alters his looks.  

Months after this, Eddie suffers head trauma and spends a year in a coma.  When he awakens, he has forgotten both Batman’s identity and his criminal tendencies.  He works for awhile as a private detective.

But later one, during Dick Grayson’s run as Batman, Eddie is caught in a bomb blast which reawakens his evil obsessions. 

The Riddler has been featured in many live action productions of Batman, first in the Adam West TV series played by actors Frank Gorshin and John Astin.


He was played next in the 1995 movie Batman Forever by actor Jim Carey.

And mostly recent we have seen a great portrayal of a pre-Riddler Eddie Nygma by actor Cory Michael Smith on the TV show Gotham.

I’m very intrigued by Eddie’s character and his path to the dark side.  What about you?  What’s your favorite part of this character?

Let me know:

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Until next week, be good. Remember, A:When he’s an E. Nigma.  (Get it? Enigma? Eddie Nigma?)