Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Makeover: The Eraser

Lenny Fiasco, the man who would become the Eraser, first appeared in 1966's Batman #188. Lenny made a lot of mistakes in college, not so much bad life choices, as he was constantly making errors on tests and papers and had to correct them. This image of him was so common that the only time anyone could remember seeing him not holding an eraser in his hands was when he was crying watching Bruce Wayne take the girl he had a crush on to the ice festival.From that rather modest setback, Lenny Fiasco decided to dedicate himself to a life of crime so no one would ever laugh at him again, created a helmet that somehow erases all evidence from a crime scene, then dressed up as a pencil (how this ties into not getting laughed at I'm unsure), and started auctioning his criminal skills in the newspaper.This brought him to the attention of Batman who investigated him disguised as an organ grinder (Robin was dressed up as the monkey). Batman gets captured and brought back to the Eraser's hideout which is a recreation of the ice festival Bruce Wayne took Lenny's crush to (this is possibly the most insane thing any supervillain has ever done). Batman escapes, the Eraser goes to jail, and is promptly forgotten about by everyone except for a couple supervillain crowd shots.....until today.

I am actually unsure why the Eraser has not gotten more play than he has. Sure the costume is pretty lame, but there are worse out there and a talented artist could always do a redesign. Admittedly his origin is somehow bizarre and tame at the same time and a psuedo-magical evidence erasing helmet is weird, but who cares. The Eraser makes crimes impossible to solve in a city protected by the World's Greatest Detective. That's impressive and certainly more of a thematic tie to Batman than either Kite Man or Calendar Man ever had, even though both have had many more appearance than the poor Eraser. I don't want to overstate my case here, the Eraser is not and should not be an A-List villain like the Joker or Two Face, but if the Crime Doctor can go from a mob healer to go to torturer for the supervillain set and the Calculator can evolve from a guy in a silly costume into an evil information broker, why can't the Eraser be a B- or C-list villain who pops up every now and again? All that would really need to be tweaked are his origin and his costume.

Lenny Fiasco was the best forensic scientist the Gotham City Police Department had ever had, spotting clues that everyone else missed and cracking cases long thought cold. He was so good that no one even questioned it the few times he couldn't find any leads at a crime scene, 'if Fiasco couldn't make the case no one could' they'd say. And the first couple of times it happened that was true. But he had a taste for the finer things in life and soon all of the praise went to Lenny's head and he felt he deserved more than he was earning on his lab tech salary. So he started making evidence disappear for the mob and altering the results of tests to frame someone else, all for a fee of course. He didn't do it too often, and there were so many dirty cops in the GCPD it wasn't likely Internal Affairs was going to turn it's sights on the forensic scientist with the highest conviction rate in the City. And for a long time it worked, but eventually Batman dangled the wrong mobster off a building and Lenny's secret life was unveiled. Of course there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute, Lenny had made sure of that, but it was enough to get Commissioner Gordon to fire him. Unemployed and with no hope of getting new work in his field, he decided his only option was to embrace the satisfied criminal customers he'd done business with in the past. For 20% of the score, Lenny would follow the criminals on their heists and clean up after them. He shaved his head so he'd leave behind no hair and scoured his skin until it shined pink every day so there wouldn't be a speck of dead skin at a crime scene. In fact neither the police nor Batman could find anything at the crime scenes except for a business card with two words on it. Two words the press wouldn't be able to resist publishing, two words that would make sure Lenny Fiasco would have all the customers he could ever want: The Eraser.

Concept Art Provided by JJ Conway.

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