about_faces (about_faces) wrote,

IMPOSTORAMA: The Fake Two-Faces! No. 1: Wilkins the Butler! ***REDUX***

I really jumped the gun with my "Two-Face Impostors" series... in more ways than one! Appropriate enough, I suppose.

When I first started off, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with all these Impostor appearances. Should I do full looks at each individual Impostor story? One big post with superficial looks at them all, and seeing how they match up? Or that same idea, but broken up over individual posts? It seemed that I initially opted for that last option, based on the wimpy treatment I gave to the very first Impostor Two-Face: Wilkins the Butler.

This, I now realize, was a grave injustice. Not only did I give the short-thrift to the very first of a long line of Impostor Two-Faces, but his own story has never been reprinted! While I've never read the whole issue myself, and the scans I have on hand are incomplete, I would be remiss in not chronicling that story here for posterity's sake! Batman #50 is notable not just for featuring the first impostor, but also the first time that Harvey Dent was named Harvey Dent, not Kent.

But more than that, I think it's actually the most interesting of the Golden Age "impostor" stories, largely because it creates a genuine psychological crisis for the real Harvey Dent in a story which simply could not be retold today.

Note: credit for finding these scans belongs to the great superfan1

By the way, if you haven't already read the original Harvey Kent trilogy (and why not?!), that story ended with Harvey turning himself in, serving his sentence, having plastic surgery, and marrying Gilda. It's almost unthinkable today, but Two-Face actually had a happy ending! Of course, in comics nowadays, such things are strictly short-lived, and the return of Harvey can only mean the return of his more infamous persona, right? Right?

Damn, Harvey, you have a butler? For an ex-con, you're living awfully comfortably! Interesting to know that he's landed a thriving legal career, even after his whole "criminal rampage of murder and theft" dealie.

Also, Mrs. Dent? Oooooh, they actually got married at some point after the Harvey Kent story! *hyperactive giggles and incoherent blather*

I don't know what happens next, as I've never read the whole story. The pages you see here are the only ones I have, and have thus read. I feel so out of the loop and unqualified to properly review this story! Ah well, fast forward a page:

As you may recall, this Two-Face's particular method of escape is something of a meme for ALL Golden Age versions of the character, real and impostor alike...

And here's where I'm missing a bunch of pages. I don't know what happens on pages 8, 9, and 10, but I think it's neat that we're dealing with the idea of someone framing Harvey Dent, and poor Harvey himself is so psychologically shaky that even HE suspects he might be the culprit!

Maybe I just find this interesting because I've also been finally getting up the nerve to review Batman: Face the Face. God help us all, it's going to be so huge and in-depth that it'll make my Joker's Asylum: Two-Face analysis look concise by comparison!

This issue's big confrontation features the return of Gilda Dent's bust of Harvey, which he mutilated back in their very first appearance. Here is is, in case you don't remember:

So it's cool to see this story remember the bust and the fact that Gilda was a sculptor. But at the same time, we are rapidly approaching the Silver Age, and so you know what that means: OVERSIZED PROPS FOR BATTLE!

Seriously, how the hell did Gilda sculpt that herself, and what the hell did Harvey use to deface the bust? Dynamite?

THE BUTLER DID IT! So Harvey had an evil Alfred! More importantly, he had another happy ending, as was able to stay sane and sickeningly in love with Gilda!

It's crazy to think that this couldn't happen today, when some unwritten rule of the status quo demands that Harvey Dent ALWAYS revert to Two-Face, no matter how hard he tries to stay reformed. He's an innocent victim of tragic circumstance, blah blah blah. Man, I'm sick of that story. I long for the brief period early on when the status quo was that Harvey stayed cured, even if we had to go through a string of Impostors before we got the real Two-Face back. Harvey honestly deserves a happy ending, but in this day and age, he's not allowed to have one.

There, poor Wilkins finally received the proper about_faces treatment. If Impostor #2 Paul Sloane can get a great modern age revision, I wonder if there'd ever be a way to bring back Wilkins in some capacity. It'd be even better if we could also throw Impostor #3 into the mix, whom I'll FINALLY be looking at in the next post or two.
Tags: dick grayson, golden age, impostors, reading list: gilda/grace dent

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