WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for the story “The Devil You Know” in Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1, by Dave Wielgosz, Christian Duce and Romulo Fajardo Jr., on sale now.
There’s no two ways about it: Solomon Grundy is terrifying. He’s a massive, shambling undead creature who takes his name from a super creepy 19th Century nursery rhyme. First introduced as a Green Lantern villain in 1944, Grundy has since encountered a huge swath of DC’s superhero pantheon. From Batman to Swamp Thing, there aren’t too many costumed defenders he hasn’t tussled with. Possessing limited mental faculties and a horribly short memory, one would think the hulking juggernaut wouldn’t even be capable of processing fear. But in the tale “The Devil You Know,” in the spooktacular horror anthology Cursed Comics Cavalcade #1, we learn even the scariest villains are afraid of something.
Batman‘s rogues gallery has no shortage of characters influenced by the horror genre. Villains like Solomon Grundy, Man-Bat, and Scarecrow operate so well in the various tropes of horror, they can often feel like dark diversions in what are traditionally seen as superhero and crime stories in the pages of books like Batman and Detective Comics. While these aforementioned characters still hold tightly to a scrap of humanity for readers to connect to, something which makes them seem less monstrous, there is one terrifying villain who makes our skin crawl more than anyone else. As it turns out, Solomon Grundy feels the same way.
That character is Professor Pyg, the pig-masked, maniacal surgeon with a proclivity for lobotomizing victims and grafting grotesque masks to their faces. Pyg might be the most terrifying villain in, not just Batman titles, but in comics altogether. The guy is basically Hannibal Lecter on steroids and is a reminder that not all superhero comics are for kids. Unlike flagship villains such as the Joker and Two-Face, you won’t see a lot of six year old kids sporting Professor Pyg costumes this Halloween (unless they have parents with sick senses of humor).
Originally created by legendary comic scribe Grant Morrison and art virtuoso Andy Kubert, Pyg first appeared (rather appropriately) in Batman #666. The villain was designed to be, as Morrison described it, “one of the weirdest, most insane characters that’s ever been in Batman.” Well, good job, Grant. Mission Accomplished.
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