Character » Bookworm appears in 50 issues.

    A frustrated failed novelist, The Bookworm bases his crimes around the plots of classic literature.

    Short summary describing this character.

    Bookworm last edited by Blackmageleo on 09/21/21 04:59PM View full history


    The Bookworm was first seen in the Batman television series from the 1960s. A quite different character also called Bookworm was introduced in a Huntress comic book, but he was soon forgotten, as was a Deathstroke the Terminator character called Bookworm. Still later, a comic book version of the original Bookworm appeared in the Batman '66 comic book mini-series.

    The original Bookworm: in the Batman TV series and Batman '66 comic book

    Roddy McDowell as Bookworm.
    Roddy McDowell as Bookworm.

    In the Batman TV series, The Bookworm is a supercriminal obsessed with classic literature; for example, he wore a tight leather suit designed to look like the leather coverings of rare old books and a hat with a reading light attached. The man who would become The Bookworm was well educated, with a photographic memory and the ability to speed read at a superhuman rate. He plotted elaborate crimes based around quotes from literature and poetry and rare old books, such as the time he tried to kill Batman and Robin with a gigantic cookbook after finding a 16th-century recipe for bat soup. Like most of the Batman TV series master criminals, he avoids gratuitously killing or harming anyone -- except when he has a chance to kill either Batman or Robin!

    Archly played by Roddy McDowell, The Bookworm was unique among the TV series supercriminals in his cheerful practicality. For example, when he discovered a rare book in a locked glass case, he glanced at the lock, shrugged, and then simply shattered the glass to snatch the book without a second thought. Most supercriminals would be overcome by rage and confusion whenever Batman defeated one of their schemes, but in contrast, The Bookworm gave only a quick shriek of rage and then immediately calmed down and mused serenely about what could have gone wrong, frankly admitted he couldn't conceive of how The Batman had succeeded but added philosophically, "facts are stubborn things", and non-chalantly moved on to his next scheme. Bookworm only appeared as a villain in a two-part episode of the series' three-year run.

    It is not surprising that this version of The Bookworm made few appearances outside the series. Most of the appeal of the character came from Roddy McDowell's talent at theatre farce, excellent timing, and his ability to combine in one character dry intellectual wit with a certain punk vanity. Without Roddy McDowell's talents to animate him, the character is little more than an erudite variation on The Riddler.

    Batman: The Brave and the Bold

    Bookworm in B:TBatB.
    Bookworm in B:TBatB.

    The Bookworm, along with other villains, tried to escape in a massive prison break from Iron Heights but they were captured by Batman and Green Arrow.

    Bookworm II: in the Huntress comic book

    Alexander Wyvern never had a easy life. As a child his mother would lock him in closets so she could work on her puzzles. Once he even lit a match hoping his mother would open the door but it only worked after he was severely burned, and she beat him after this for being stupid. Having a mother like that it is no wonder why he turned out as disturbed as he did.

    Character History

     Bookworm trying to kill the Huntress.
    Bookworm trying to kill the Huntress.

    As an adult Alexander was described by others as looking like a ferret. He ended up being much worse as a mass-murdering, serial killer. He killed 106 people in a successful attempt to fool the police with his clues. He would leave a clue at each crime. Later he turned himself in when he was done to prove his crime and that he was smarter than the NYPD.

    While in prison, he killed two more men in the cells opposite of him and admitted to the murders but demanded that the police figure out how he did it because when they found him he was still locked in his own cell. After that he went to solitary confinement and stayed there until the NYPD asked him to solve a book written in code by the deceased Franco Bertinelli. Bookworm solved the book but fooled the detective into thinking it was something else. He then used the information from the book to escape prison.

    The Bookworm then takes the book and uses it to track down anyone who could be a threat to him, putting a stranglehold on New York City. After he kills three people he sets his sights on killing the Huntress. He develops a hallway rigged with guns and camera made to take photos and shoot victims as they trigger tripwires walking down it. He even has another woman walk down it just to test it out on a live victim.

    With the trap set, he lies and waits for the Huntress, but she comes prepared and she is able to avoid the trip wire and then dresses like Bookworm's mother in order to scare him. The plan works so well that he actually runs from her back down his rigged hallway and is killed.

    Bookworm III: in the Deathstroke the Terminator comic book

    A character called Bookworm appears in Deathstroke the Terminator. He is a man who sets up jobs for hired guns. He loves his book, and his house is filled with books.


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