Jervis Tetch was a lonely and socially inept neuroscientist who, thanks to constantly being cast out by others, became the rage-filled, Lewis Carroll-obsessed, hypnosis-utilizing enemy of Batman known as the Mad Hatter.
Jervis Tetch, while very intelligent and technically brilliant, coped with loneliness and apparently had difficulty with social integration and relating to others. In spite of this, Tetch was a shy and kindly neuroscientist working for Wayne Enterprises, specializing his studies on enhancing the brain's potential. However, he soon began experiments developing technology that would not strengthen the mind, but enslave it. Using a series of electric antennae and receivers, he actually succeeded. His initial tests allowed him to "civilize" lab rats, but he quickly developed technology that was advanced enough to control even human brains.
While at Wayne Enterprises, Tetch worked with the secretary named Alice. Though Tetch had an infatuation for her, he found out that she was already dating Billy. After a fight, it seemed Alice and Billy were through, and Tetch made his move. Donning a costume, he dressed himself as Alice in Wonderland's Mad Hatter, and armed with his mind control technology (which he had imprinted on to circuit cards encoded with the character's famous 10/6 logo), Tetch took Alice out on the town, and created the illusion that he was a celebrity within Gotham. Though the night went well, Alice only saw his actions as the kindness of a good friend, and when Billy apologized and subsequently proposed to her, she happily agreed.
Furious, Tetch took control of Billy's mind and forced the man to end the engagement. He then set forth to woo Alice into his arms, by filling her apartment with flowers, and may have succeeded if not for the intervention of Batman, who had discovered Tetch's secret. Seizing Alice, Tetch fled to Gotham's Storybook Land park, and turned the Alice In Wonderland exhibit into a lair of sorts. Using his mind control, Tetch had created a small army of drones (dressed in Wonderland garb) to detain the Dark Knight. Batman, however, evaded capture, and defeated the Mad Hatter. Alice and Billy were reunited, and the Hatter went to Arkham Asylum with a broken heart.
The Mad Hatter eventually escaped from Arkham. Luring Batman into a trap, he knocked the vigilante out and put him into a machine-induced coma. During this time, Bruce Wayne's entire reality was altered. In the 'dream world' created by the Hatter, Bruce's parents were never murdered, and he was engaged to Selina Kyle. Everything seemed so vivid that Bruce began believing it was reality. However, though he had never become Batman, Batman still existed in the dream world. Despite his incredible plan, the Mad Hatter was unable to predict that Batman and Bruce Wayne were the same man. As a result, Bruce was eventually able to discover the true nature of the trap. Batman escaped from the dream-reality, and captured the Mad Hatter, sending him once again to Arkham.
Months later, the Mad Hatter had been released from Arkham and had learned of Veronica Vreeland's trip to South America. Using what little funds he had left, he made his way to her site and (disguised, of course) used a heartwarming story to convince the wealthy lady to invest in miniature Worry Men dolls, and to give them out to her friends. Hidden within each doll was a tiny microchip designed to activate when the person fell asleep, making the person prone to hypnotic suggestion. Each member of Gotham's high society unknowingly gave a collective total of one hundred million dollars to the Mad Hatter. However, after realizing his participation in the event, Batman quickly followed the trail. The Mad Hatter was one step ahead, though, and laid another trap for Batman. Though significantly less effective than his previous attempt, he still managed to apprehend the Dark Knight. However, Batman managed to release the henchmen from the effects of mind control, and they quickly turned on the Hatter. He was once again arrested and sent to Arkham Asylum.
Along with many of Batman's other rogues, the Mad Hatter participated in the trial of Batman. He provided the tools that allowed the Arkham Inmates to control the guards and take over the Asylum. He served as a member of the jury as well.
Some time later, several Gotham comedians began acting as pseudo-super villains. Initially, Batman and Robin believed the Mad Hatter to be responsible, as mind control microchips were found on each celebrity. However, upon investigating, the Mad Hatter had become subject to his own devices. The Joker had stolen the technology and used it to exact revenge on the celebrities that wouldn't allow him to participate in a comedy competition the previous year, and as insurance, had planted one on the Mad Hatter to silence him.
Years later, the Mad Hatter infiltrated the Haley's Circus Tour, the circus troupe Dick Grayson participated in as a child. Dressed as a circus clown, he implanted mind control circuitry upon the animals of the troupe and had them perform robberies. When Batman and Nightwing arrived at the troupe's site to investigate further, he had controlled the troupe's human members as well. However, in a fit of arrogance, his hat was destroyed and he lost control of his mindless minions. Apprehended once again, the Mad Hatter was returned to Arkham.
In the nightmare of Barbara Gordon (infected by Scarecrow), he is appear on talk show for the subject of conflict between Jim Gordon and Batman (accused of murder for his daughter Barbara), he is with Scarface, Harley and Riddler.
When Batman had disappeared from Gotham, the Mad Hatter, the Riddler, and Bane planned a coalition to control Gotham City. However, Superman (disguised as Batman) and Robin prevented the group from ever beginning their regime. Using Tetch's technological expertise, they were able to discover that alien influences were somehow controlling Bruce Wayne, which eventually lead them to Brainiac.
Abilities and equipment
Though he's shown some aptitude for disguises, the Mad Hatter's true skill lies in mind manipulation. A leading scientist in the field, he created several variations of mind control circuitry, all with similar effects: the wearer loses conscious control to a source-host. Some circuits render the Mad Hatter's victims mindless drones, with increased strength but no decision making ability outside his or her "programming". Other chips provided hypnotic suggestion, while some rendered the victim in a dream-induced coma. Others still created an entirely different personality for the victim. He does not possess any fighting capability beyond an average person, and had no metahuman powers.
The Mad Hatter's gimmick is based around the novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He frequently spouts quotes from the book while he engages his schemes or faces his adversaries.
The Mad Hatter underwent the revamp most Batman: The Animated Series characters underwent when the show became The New Batman Adventures. His new look was similar, but slightly more comical. He became much shorter, and sported a dark green coat and matching top hat in lieu of the blue trench coat and black hat he'd worn previously. He also aged more, as his hair changed from a faint blonde to a light gray, and his ears also became slightly pointed.
- "Mad as a Hatter"
- "Perchance to Dream"
- "Almost Got 'Im" (Mentioned Only)
- "Joker's Wild" (Cameo)
- "The Worry Men"
- "Harlequinade" (Mentioned Only)
- "Make 'Em Laugh" (Cameo)
- "Black Out" (Cameo as mannequin)