Riddle Me This...Riddle Me That
May 6, 2023
It's fascinating how a few basic words can conjure up images of a green-tighted man covered in black question marks, causing chaos in Gotham City. Since his introduction in 1948, The Riddler has been a prominent figure in the Batman universe. Detective Comics issue #140 introduced him to the world, brought to life by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. Although he enjoys riddles and puzzles, his ultimate obsession lies in uncovering the real identity of Batman.
The Riddler's popularity skyrocketed in the Batman TV series after Frank Gorshin's live-action debut in the role. Gorshin played the character in seasons 1 and 3, while John Astin (also known for his portrayal of Gomez Addams in 1964) took over the role in season 2. The Riddler made a later TV appearance in Gotham (2014) with a completely different appearance, portrayed by Cory Michael Smith.
Frank Gorshin as The Riddler
Photo via IMDB
John Astin as The Riddler
Photo via IMDB
Cory Michael Smith as The Riddler
Photo via Charity Buzz
In Batman (1966), The Riddler played by Frank Gorshin was the first to make the leap from the small screen to the big screen. Gorshin played the role in both the TV show and the 1966 Batman movie of the same name. The character then underwent two very distinct iterations, with Jim Carrey portraying him in Batman Forever (1995) and Paul Dano in The Batman (2022). Carrey's portrayal of The Riddler shared some similarities with Gorshin's interpretation, with exaggerated movements and exaggerated behavior. However, Dano's portrayal took a different approach, drawing inspiration from Batman: Hush in the comics and real-life events surrounding The Zodiac Killer.
Jim Carrey as The Riddler
Photo via Cinemablend
Paul Dano as The Riddler
Photo via Polygon
While the portrayals of the character by Gorshin, Astin, and Carrey may be remembered for their showy antics, The Riddler’s true weapon is his use of riddles and puzzles to outsmart his enemies. He doesn't hesitate to commit any crime, as long as it can be wrapped in a puzzle or riddle. This approach is a dangerous mindset indeed. When you reflect on the actors who have brought the man in green and black to life, which portrayal stands out to you? Do you appreciate the flamboyant, spandex-clad version of The Riddler? Or do you lean towards the serious, true-crime inspired depiction of the character?