The Kidder's Autobiography
(Last updated April 13, 2004)
My ancestors, on my father's side, came from Ireland. Some of them, shall we say, emigrated to Australia, several generations back. A few generations later (a couple generations ago), a small portion of my family there moved to America; specifically, to Gotham City. My mother's ancestors also came from Ireland. They moved to America directly (some to New York, some to Boston, some to Gotham). My mother's great-grandparents were among those who settled in Gotham. Sadly, I am the only currently living member of my family here. I have never felt the need to contact any of my family in other countries (or other cities). But I have visited both Ireland and Australia, as well as many other places in the world. Truly beautiful places, Ireland and Australia. But at heart, I am proud to be an American, and a Gothamite.
I was born in Gotham City in 1975. This much is certain. I grew up in the Uptown district, living with my parents, and attending grade school, until the age of ten. I was a bright student, the best in my class. I regret that I can't say much more of my early years, because, hey... I'm still trying to maintain a secret identity, here. I had a few friends, but I can't tell you anything about them. Other kids either bullied me or simply took no notice of me. I liked art and science, and various entertainments (video games, TV, movies, comic books, etc.) We didn't have much money, my family, but my parents loved me and did the best they could for me. And I loved them. Then one night, they were killed by a mob boss, and my life would never be the same. Some time later I would kill their killer, but that's... well, later. Before that, I bounced from foster home to foster home, for a time, but none of them worked out. After that, I lived on the streets. There I learned many useful skills, such as pick-pocketing, petty theft, street fighting... You know, your basic classical education. At the age of 12, I joined a small gang. With them, I continued to learn. I now had some spare time and spare cash. At age 13, I killed my parents' killer. (Actually, I killed the mob boss who ordered the kill as well as his employee who actually pulled the trigger.) It was at this point that my old friends finally abandoned me outright. Up to this point, they had, of course, felt sorry for me, but had already disapproved of what I'd been doing with my life for the past few years, and I'd seen little of them during that time. But once I committed my first murder... that was, naturally, the absolute end, for them. This hurt me, but I understood. More than I can tell you. And I would soon come to more than half regret at least one of the two murders. ...To distract myself from these matters, I threw myself into various new studies. I started training with some professionals. I learned various martial arts, escape, western combat techniques, mechanics, art history, even feng shui; all sorts of things useful for advancing my criminal career, as well as bettering myself culturally. Oh, I studied academics, too. It would be rather a shame if I had not done; I am quite brilliant, you know, and as they say, quite correctly, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.
At the time I joined the gang, it was being led by a fine fellow named Bob, who was a few years older than me. He took to calling me 'the Kid,' not that I was by any means the youngest member of the gang. Bob... was not quite as bright, perhaps, as I was, but no dummy. And he wanted what was best for his gang. We were a nice little family, and all of us friends- or at least friendly with one another. I came to consider Bob a very good friend, which was nice, because as I've mentioned, I didn't have contact with my few old friends, from before my life changed, anymore. Anyway, Bob was always an impeccable judge of character, as well as of other qualities. And so, finally, he realized I could lead the gang better than he could, so he handed it over to me. The others trusted his judgment, as he had never steered them wrong before. This was when I was 15.
Then I merged it with several other gangs about town. My gang became quite something, in Gotham. We were still what you might call small time, but we were very good for what we were. At 16, I met the Joker. I had long been an admirer of his. I went to him and offerred him my gang. He took it. And he took me under his wing. I became his prize pupil, his apprentice, and he, my mentor. You might call me "the Joker's Robin." When I joined him, I changed my name to the Kidder. I should, however, mention that my memories from this point on are not altogether trustworthy. What I remember is having been his apprentice for a couple of years before striking off on my own at age 18. I remember working with Joker until then, and sometimes afterward. I remember befriending and sometimes working with some of Gotham's greatest villains. I would later discover these memories to be... exaggerated, even delusional. In fact the Joker taught me for a few months or so, then got bored with me. I hung around for a couple years, but he and his associates took little notice of me. Other supervillains took even less notice of me, despite my thinking that we were friends.
Shortly before turning 17, I entered Gotham University, using a false identity I'd created, and a false face which I'd had created for me, by a master of the art. Can't tell you anything about that, or what I called myself. But I studied lots of interesting subjects, met interesting people, had a fine old time. It was nice to be normal, for awhile. I particularly enjoyed Professor Crane's class, until he was fired. But I'd see more of him, later, though I never told him I'd taken his class. ...Now that I think about it, it's odd that it never seemed strange to me that I had time to attend college while still believing I was working with the Joker. But I suppose the mind is capable of incredibly elaborate ways of deceiving itself. Especially a mind as cunning as my own. In any event, I don't remember much about my time at college. It's a bit of a blur, mixed with reality and delusions. I know I spent alot of time outside of school, both doing things and imagining things. I can tell you I graduated in the Spring of 1996, I have a diploma to prove it, even if it has a made-up name on it. It's real, not something I made, or had made. It's a shame I don't remember actually attending college for four years....
Whatever, at age 18 (in early '94), I finally left Joker, to start my own gang, become my own supervillain; sort of like the first Robin eventually left Batman to become Nightwing. Anyway, I took part of my gang back... mostly those I'd originally started with, before Bob had made me leader and I started amalgamating with other gangs. Though many of them had by this point either died, gone to jail, gone straight, or moved on to other gangs. Some of them stayed with Joker's gang when I left; but a few folks from his gang decided to go with me, being tired of never knowing whether their boss might kill them on a whim. It wasn't much of a group, to start with, but I did my best to build it up. I also took some money and business holdings from Joker, which I thought of as a parting gift from him, but in reality, it was stuff he had no use for and barely noticed was gone. Again, not much to start with, but I decided to build a legitimate company of my own, out of it. I called my company GJK Enterprises. I believed it to soon become a major competitor of Wayne Enterprises. Sigh. In reality, it was fairly minor. Oh, it kept me comfortable enough that I had no need of committing crimes, or anything; no financial need, at any rate. And it kept me in touch with the part of myself that wanted to be a decent, law-abiding citizen. I did do some charitable work, you know. Made contributions through GJK (because few charities would accept money from any of my less reputable endeavors). I always kept GJK perfectly clean, not even using it for something as simple as laundering. (I told myself I started a separate chain of laundromats for money laundering, but it turns out that never happened. I still like the joke, though.) What did GJK do? Manufactured things. Little things, mostly. Playing cards, for example. I tried to get the rights to the name "Monarch" for that, but to no avail. Also manufactured a product called "Bat-Off," which was actually Joker's formula for Smilex. Ah... but anyway, there's no point giving a full list of our products. Boring. Sorry.
Meanwhile, I did engage in some criminal activities, from time to time. I planned big jobs in my head, but rarely went through with them (more rarely, at any rate, than I thought I did). I also thought I associated with other villains, occasionally, thought I was friends with them. I thought I was in something called the "FOB Club." That stands for "Foes of Batman." We would sit around, talk, play poker, eat and drink, listen to music, go out to movies, go bowling, have parties for holidays or birthdays or what have you. Just like any friends. Only difference was, half the time we held our meetings in Arkham. The club included me, Joker, Pengy, Riddly, Harv, Hatsy, Clay, Croc, the Perfesser, Ivy, Harley, and occasionally Catsy would drop by. Others also joined in, once in a while. We kept out the real loons, like Scarface and that Ventriloquist, and Bane we definitely kept out. And Lock-Up. I really hated that guy. Well, I considered myself quite the high-class guy. In many ways I thought myself closest to Joker and his gang, especially Harley, who I really had a thing for, for awhile, and didn't like how Joker mistreated her, but I still respected... their relationship, and never would have dreamt of making a move, or anything. But... in other ways, I considered myself closer to some of the villains I considered more sophisticated, like Temple, Riddly, and the Perfesser. I even remember having a gentlemen's night out with them. Funny thing is, it turns out none of this ever happened. No FOB Club (at least none I was ever involved in), no friendships with any of these people, no night out, no working with any of them, nothing. Our paths did cross, from time to time, especially since we all spent so much time in Arkham... so they were at least nominally aware of me, but disinterested, perhaps even sometimes annoyed or disdainful of me. I dunno.
But I always really liked most everyone in Gotham, good guys and bad guys, alike. We're all just people, I told myself, living in whatever niche destiny throws our way. Certainly I respected all the people who ran in (what I considered to be) my circles, like the fine folks in the FOB, but also the do-gooders, like Batsy, the other superheroes, even Jim Gordon. I always knew they didn't like me, but I didn't really understand it, entirely. I understood that we had to fight from time to time, but... that was just what we did. It was kind of like those WB cartoons where the sheep dog and the coyote punch in and out each day to do their jobs, which happened to pit them against each other, but at the end of the day, they were just coworkers, really. Not enemies. But whatever. I think, though, as with my so-called friends, my enemies didn't take as much notice of me as I imagined they did. Largely because I didn't commit as much crime as I imagined I did. But lord knows I planned countless ways to kill Batman, even though I never actually wanted to, and therefore never put any of my plans to the test. However, to this day, despite everything, I still believe most of my plans probably would have actually worked....
Let me tell you about Arkham. I considered it my home away from home. Even though I always thought myself considerably less insane than the others around there, I loved the place. The first time Batman ever caught me and handed me over to the police, they put me in Blackgate. Or is it Stonegate? With all my interdimensional travel, I've heard it go by both names, and it gets so I can hardly remember which it's even called in my own home dimension. But whatever. In any event, I considered it a great insult. Sure, there are some decent joes in Blackgate. I'm friends with various members of various gangs in Gotham, even rival gangs. Rupert, Stromwell, whoever. As long as no one does anything to offend me, it's all good. But I couldn't stand the idea that I wasn't crazy enough (or great enough) for Arkham Asylum. So I killed a guard, wounded several others, started a riot. Well, it was a bit of a mess. Generally I'm against such things... be it murder or simply nondecorous conduct. But I felt a point needed to be made. I was insane. Now, the legal system often considers the definition of insanity to be not knowing the difference between right and wrong. That's ludicrous. I think it's far crazier to know the distinction and just not care. Although usually I do care, I'm perfectly capable of flipping a switch in my head. Luckily, the system agreed with me: I was crazy, and needed treatment. So they sent me to Arkham, from then on, every time I was captured. Pathetically easy place to escape, but like I said... it's nice. My head does tend to get straight, while here. It's very peaceful, relaxing. Fun.
It is also, of course, where I met Dr. Bart (which is what I always called Dr. Bartholomew). He was my shrink. I enjoyed playing with his head, alot of the time. But occasionally I told him true things, such as my middle name. I won't repeat that or other things here, for it would diminish the meaningfulness of our relationship. An interesting one it was, too. Alas, I haven't seen much of him since the time in 2000 when I tried to kill him. They gave me a new shrink after that. I've never really cared for any shrink but Bart, I'm afraid, and never worked seriously with any of them. It's hardly even worth playing with them. Sigh.
Now the part you've all been waiting for. My love life. well... I'm afraid I ain't got one. Never did, exactly. In my younger days, I used to joke of my love for various of the many gorgeous heroines and villainesses about town, but that was never serious. Normal, youthful fantasies, nothing more. ...I mentioned earlier in this bio that I had a sort of crush on Harley Quinn... fun-loving, funny (in, as they say, an off-beat way), much cleverer than some give her credit for, beautiful, and- best of all of all of all!- quite mad. But she barely knew I was alive. I once imagined that I went on a couple dates with Roxy Rocket, but apparently that was all in my head. One thing that wasn't in my head was that Ivy kissed me once (though not nearly as passionately as I remember it); but of course, she was only trying to kill me. Which I knew, and had the antidote to her poisoned lips. I never would have dared allow her to kiss me if I did not. Anyway, it's funny, I can't even remember now what I'd done to make her want to kill me, but... it hardly matters. We haven't spoken of the incident, which is hardly surprising, considering, as I've learned, we've never been friends. Well, this is all I can say of women, I'm afraid. I once dreamt I was in love with someone who shall remain nameless, and never shall I utter another word on the subject to any living soul. It was a long dream, though. As dreams go.
On to happier (and more public) matters. In my spare time, I fancy myself a bit of an artist. I do sculptures. I write. I paint. Mainly, I paint murals. Murals. Can't you just hear Eldin say that word, "murals"? Oh, I used to paint huge murals on billboards, the sides of buildings, wherever. Mainly as greetings to all my so-called friends and enemies in town. (Check out this doodle I did on a notebook cover once while planning a mural to paint on a billboard later.) I don't think I'll do that anymore. The artist in me has become... less outward, more inward, in recent years. But it will never disappear entirely.
Back to business. I hold a modestly impressive number of shares of various corporations, including LexCorp and StarLabs. I thought I was a major shareholder of these companies, and on the board of directors of both. Not to mention being a good friend of Lex Luthor. Metropolis, in fact, I considered to be my other home away from home. However, it turns out I've never been involved in running either company, in any way, and don't know Luthor very well at all. I used to think I was friends (or enemies) with many folks from Metropolis, as well as other cities having both superheroes and supervillains. More delusions, I'm afraid. I've very rarely (but not never!) come up against any heroes other than those here in Gotham, nor associated with other villains. Although I actually am friends with one of Supes's enemies, Tempus. I completely failed to imagine a time travel adventure I shared with him, because, wonder of wonders- it actually happened! Don't see much of him, though. Maybe I should've been born in the future.
As for the StarLabs thing, to be honest, I always thought that one was kind of odd. I allowed myself to be aware that most of them didn't approve of my being on the board, what with my being a criminal and all, but I got away with the delusion because I am a brilliant scientist, you know. Although some of my inventions I don't think the world is ready for, so I withhold them.... Sigh. But anyway, I never was on the board. Which makes sense. But, I have occasionally worked with them, submitting inventions or working on various projects. And, yes, sometimes I stole certain items, or information. Sorry about that, guys! No hard feelings, right? Well... I haven't been allowed to any of their facilities, anywhere around the world, for quite some time now. So my association with them is quite over. But I do still have some stocks....
Speaking of which, I've always thought of myself as a multi-millionaire, both from my legitimate business and my criminal endeavours. Turns out I'm not that rich. But, I'm still pretty damn well off. And I'm still making money from GJK. Working on expanding it. Maybe someday it'll really be as big as I used to imagine it was. Crime, on the other hand, has tapered off a bit. At least in this dimension. I try to keep my hands clean. The closest I come to hobnobbing with a bad element these days is hanging out at Pengy's club. Heh. For the most part.
Well, I've always tried to keep my less reputable activities to a minimum. Tried to behave, tried to be a model inmate at Arkham, set an example for the others. Certainly I always tried to avoid killing, whenever possible. I tried, to no avail, to get my friends to cut down on it, too; it is such a nasty habit. However, they just found this an annoying habit of mine, pestering them about such things. Which makes more sense, now that I realize we weren't even friends. But believe you me, I always made damned sure all my employees or members of my gang understood just how firmly I feel about this: no fatalities unless absolutely necessary. If you have to, let the job go bust, rather than kill a guard or innocent bystanders to pull off a successful job (and if you get busted, my lawyers'll get you out soon enough). I am most gratified to learn that that's another thing I didn't imagine. No one who worked for me killed anyone except to save their own life. The job is never important enough to kill for, but life is. And whenever innocents did get killed because of one of my crimes (or the crimes of those in my employ), I made restitution to the families of the victims. Small comfort, but... what else can be done? I ask you? ...Although, yes, sometimes I have killed either for fun, to relieve stress, or to prove a point. Or if someone, in my considered opinion, just needed to die. But not while on a job, only on my own time. And very, very, very rarely.
That about catches you up with what my life was, or what I thought it was, until the year 1998. It was late in that year that I perfected an invention I'd been working on for some time: an interdimensional portal. I should mention that by that time I'd long had a secret lair which to this day no one has ever found, and hardly anyone has ever been there. No one at all, without my invitation. And that doesn't mean they know where it is. But it's nice. It has living quarters with every conceivable amenity, every luxury; or at least, every one I have any interest in. It also has my primary laboratory and artist studio. It's a great base as well as the perfect hideout. It's also where I have my temporal portal, which I designed to look like a tardis. But the ID portal, that one eluded me for a surprisingly long time. Now when I say I perfected it in 1998, that may be a bit misleading. Yes, I finally got it to work one night that year... sort of. Actually, it blew up, and put me into a coma that lasted roughly a year. But that was... as I would later discover... due to certain outside influence. Okay, sabotage. (Perhaps it's misleading to say no one ever found my lair. Let's say no one from this dimension... and no one who'll ever find it again.) Maybe I'll tell you sometime who's responsible, maybe not. It's not important; it's been dealt with. Anyway, oddly enough, a year after the explosion in my lab, I awoke in the Infirmary at Arkham, in late 1999. How I got there is also a tale for another time... or not. The months after I awoke were very troubled ones for me, the period during which, in early 2000, I learned the reality of my life up to that point. Terribly disillusioning. And it started with learning that the evening leading up to the breakthrough in my work on the ID portal... was, as usual, another delusion. It hadn't happened at all as I remembered it; but rather, my delusional memories became the first part of my coma-dream. And influenced all the dreams I would have for the coming year, which were about various things. Mostly in keeping with the delusions I'd been having for so many waking years, already. Except for a couple things, one of which was imagined trips to alternate realities, where I did many things, met many people, including alternate versions of the people I thought were friends (and enemies) back home. Even other Arkham Asylums and Dr. Barts! But, eventually I woke up, and learned it had all been a dream. Later, I learned most of what I thought I knew about my life was wrong. It was around this time that I tried to kill Dr. Bart, and failed. It was my failure, more than anything, that surprised me and lead me to search for answers, for the truth... lead me to doubt myself. And learn I did. Many things. Some of what I remembered was just plain wrong, some was merely exaggerated memories, and some was quite real. It was all a jumble. I went back to my lab, figured out what had gone wrong with the portal, and... took steps to prevent the problem ever happening again. I repaired the portal, and actually visited other dimensions, for the first time in real life. I... don't feel like talking about any of that. Most of it's too painful. But I still explore other realities. From time to time. But... after my first trip, which lasted about a month, I returned home. Went crazy. Er. But eventually became saner than I'd been since I was a kid. And basically took a good, hard look at where my life had been, where it was, and where I wanted it to go. I can't claim I've got things fully together now. Nor that I really want to ever be fully sane. But I am saner than I was. And I've decided I like it.
But that doesn't preclude a little illegal fun, now and again, does it?
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