10 Things DC Wants You To Forget About The Riddler

3. That Edward Nygma Is A Stupid Name

Frank Gorshin Riddler
20th Television

Look, Jack Napier isn't great either, but it's still a bit of a stretch to "jackanape". The short, single step from Edward Nigma to "enigma", though? That is just lazy. That is almost insulting to our intelligence, DC. With a name like that he was almost destined to a puzzle-based crime lifestyle, if you believe in nominative determinism. Which you should, if Batman's rogues gallery is anything to go by. You've got flippin' Harleen Quinzel in there, too. None of them are worse than Edward Nigma in our minds, however, and even the Zero Year change to spell it Nygma won't get us away from that.

Originally, he didn't have such a ridiculous name. Upon his debut The Riddler's alter ego was the much more ordinary and believable Edward Nashton, which so far as we can tell isn't anything approaching a pun. Unless Enashton is some old-timey version of a riddle that we haven't heard of because we're not a hundred years old.

Anyway, it wasn't long after that he got changed to Edward Nigma (because they played fast and loose with continuity back in the Golden Age), and it's the sort of goofiness that usually gets left behind in the silly olden days of comics. The days when there were Superbabies and Batbabies teaming up to defeat toddler Lex Luthor.

Except that is so much fun, and a dude called Edward Nigma is just stupid. Especially when you take him from that more fancy free days of superhero comics, when that sort of nonsense flew, and place him into the more grim and gritty world of the modern Batman comic. Modern Batman is supposed to be relatively grounded, to be less comic book-y, to have "realistic" heroes and villains. And whilst there are people called Bruce Wayne in the real world, we'd put good money on us flipping through the phonebook and not finding a single Edward Nigma. Nygma. Whatever.


Tom Baker is the Comics Editor at WhatCulture! He's heard all the Doctor Who jokes, but not many about Randall and Hopkirk. He also blogs at http://communibearsilostate.wordpress.com/