The Riddler is a comic book character, one of the most famous of Batman's Rogues Gallery, first appearing in Detective Comics #140 (October, 1948) as a nemesis to Batman. He was co-created by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang. Known as Edward Nigma, his motivation is that of a man who is obsessed with riddles, mysteries, and clue?cl҉u͢e cl҉ ̢?̴?? ▓ɑ~?
ᴳʳéᵉtings! I, the Riddler, h▓ve bypassed Arkham Asylum's pathetic security to gift your small website a glimpse of my famed and illustrious exploits! If only to ensure that the clown, or one of the many under-evolved cretins teeming amongst your readership, will not do it for me.
My first appearance was, aheh, "masterminded" by the writer Bill Finger and artist Dick Sprang, in Detective Comics #140. My origin was thus: after achieving high scores on several important tests in school, my pig-hearted father, blinded with rage and unable to accept my untempered brilliance, decided to....
...hrm. I presume even the MOST slow-witted of you can extrapolate the details yourselves.
Several of the so-called "professionals" ogling my cell believe this incident sparked an unavoidable compulsion to tell the truth, and prove I am right. Although granting these people's inane ramblings any credence will only encourage them, I have myself noticed an inability to commit a crime without the aid of my carefully-constructed conundrums. It... worries me, at times.
After a brief foray into the waters of crime through manning a crooked carnival contraption, I embraced it whole-heartedly, adopting my nom de plume and striking fear into the hearts of Gotham with a dazzling array of crimes, capers and deathtraps! Still, brilliance attracts nemeses, and the Batman eventually began using my riddles to thwart my crimes before FINALLY locating me, and sending me plunging off a pier to my doom.
...for those of you incapable of figuring it out, I lived.
Afterwards, I continued my clue-riddled crime waves! These ranged from the whimsical, such as daubing a charade-clue for the people of Gotham on the Gotham Museum so I could escape through the resultant crowds with stolen Egyptian artifacts, to the more unseemly, such as hijacking a bus, offering riddles to the passengers and killing and robbing any pathetic wastes who failed to solve them.
It was then, through a partnership with upcoming lesser villain Hush, that I solved the greatest riddle of all: the identity of the Dark Knight himself! ...unfortunately, I can't reveal it to you, or anyone else. After all, a riddle that everyone knows the answer to is worthless, as he so irritatingly pointed out.note Plus he also mentioned that if I revealed it, it would alert Ra's al Ghul and his League of Assassins that I used a Lazarus Pit without his permission and come after me. I suppose you'll have to set your tiny, lizard brains to deducing it yourselves, won't you?
After an ill-fated venture on behalf of the Society left me brutally beaten by the Shining Knight, and in a coma for the better part of a year, I elected to turn my vast and undefeatable intellect to solving crimes, rather than their proliferation. The cases were child's play, and in many cases annoyingly so, but they gave me an opportunity to prove my intellectual superiority to the Batman on a somewhat more acceptable playing field.
As of recent events, however, I have discarded this folly and returned to my old ways. Apparently, up to and including imprisonment. Only for as long as I see fit, of course.
It is worth noting that many of the ignorant masses were first made aware of my excellence through Frank Gorshin's portrayal, (To say nothing about his excellent fashion suggestion in costumes) as well as my stooping to engage with the so-called "menaces" in the Legion of Doom. Fortunately, John Glover later portrayed me with the proper intelligence as in a most satisfying Batman: The Animated Series story where I got my revenge on a former employer that even the Batman could not thwart. In 1995, Jim Carrey decided to ape Gorshin's performance in Batman Forever; while not completely faithful, he was close enough and theatrical enough to do me justice. Barely. In the world of video games, Wally Wingert has tried his hand at impersonating me in the Batman Arkham Series, with my affinity for death-traps intact. Cory Michael Smith is set to portray a more youthful variation of myself on Gotham.
And now, a riddle!
A nine-letter word, common as air,
When each letter's cut, a new word to pare,
Take a letter each round and continue to one.
Name the word and the path and then you'll be done.
Can you solve it? Need a hint? The answer's startling, I assure you! Oh, what am I saying? Of course you can't! Once you've admitted I'm better than you, leave any of your tropes related to me below.
Abusive Parents: Edward was brutally beaten as a child because his father believed that he cheated on a test, then continued to do so even as Edward told him he didn't because his father believed that he was lying. No wonder he developed psychological issues.
Ascended Extra: A rather minor villain until his first appearance on the sixties show. A combination of the series' popularity and Frank Gorshin's memorable performance saw Riddler become far more prominent in the comics.
Attention Whore: His justification for becoming The Riddler, as shown in Detective Comics Annual #8:
"It wasn't the money I wanted. It wasn't the action I sought. I just liked the attention."
His Diniverse version actually won in his debut episode. While Batman and Robin thwarted his attempt to kill the Corrupt Corporate Executive who screwed him out of the profits of the best-selling video game he designed, the Riddler still got a very nice Consolation Prize in that the executive's life was ruined because he now lived in paranoid fear of the Riddler's return.
As of the New 52 reboot, Batman's first year of vigilantism has once more been modified, and Eddie plays a big role in it. In Zero Year he tricks the GCPD into giving him total control of the city. And Batman isn't able to stop him.
Brains and Bondage: Occasionally referenced—his minions Query and Echo used to work at a fetish club.
Butt Monkey: Jeph Loeb's The Long Halloween and Dark Victory both portray him as this. Catwoman: When in Rome and Hush (both written by Loeb as well) avert this, however. Although, the aftermath of Hush shown him getting beaten up by everyone he used before, and he wound up worse than empty-handed in When in Rome.
Catch Phrase: Sometimes has a tendency to introduce his riddles with "Riddle me this."
The Chessmaster / The Dog Was the Mastermind: During the Hush arc. One of the cover arts even shows him playing chess with pieces looking like the characters, though Batman had dismissed him earlier since he hadn't updated his tactics like the others had.
Civvie Spandex: His trademark outfit. Now almost exclusively associated with the goofy, harmless trickster version of him; he's preferred the question-mark smoking jacket more recently.
Inverted, began as a relatively harmless, some-what ridiculous villain and escalated into a genuine threat.
Also kind of applied in universe; throughout his criminal career the Riddler has felt the need to pull bigger, more dangerous and more complicated stunts mostly out of a compulsive need to "play" with Batman.
Domino Mask: A green one is more or less the only thing consistent about his costume throughout his various incarnations. Well, when it's not purple...or black...or painted on...