The Hidden Bat-Gem of YouTube: A Conversation with Kenny Wikblad A.K.A. The 'Gotham Rogues' Guy
Credit: DC Extended Universe Wiki
Gotham Rogues is exactly what a YouTube Channel should be all about to me. Just someone making videos about their life's passions, with very little incentive other than to educate newcomers and perhaps create a dialogue with the veterans.
Not only does Gotham Rogues succeed in format, but succeeds even more so in it's beautiful execution.
Kenny narrates the videos, in which a large array of Batman media are analyzed, reviewed or ranked, with an unbelievably fitting eerie voice and a well versed diction making each video itself as important as its content.
The channel is also really informative as the majority of his videos spotlight as many lesser known stories as possible. I was hooked from the first video and needless to say, you should definitely check it out too.
I thought it might be a good idea to spotlight his channel and also ask the man himself a few questions.
GONG: So, what drove you to make this labor of love?
KENNY WIKBLAD: I think that the Batman villains are the greatest set of characters in fiction, so I figured they deserved their own YouTube channel. Nobody else was really doing it, I mean there are some Batman themed channels and super villain channels, but none that focused on the bat rogues specifically.
At least not one that I could find. So I figured it was a fairly original hook too. I've always been a massive Batman fan, just like yourself, so talking about the world of the Dark Knight seemed like something really fun to do as well.
GONG: I heard you mention in passing during one of your videos that Two-Face is your favorite villain. This makes you and I very unique in that, I don't know anyone else that doesn't cite Joker as their favorite Bat- Villain. What endears you to him out of all the other Batman villains?
KW: Two-Face has always been my favorite, ever since I can remember. I love the visual design, a character who's a normal man on one side and a hideous freak on the other. I think it's brilliant, just like Joker's design. I'm also a big fan of villains who started out as heroes and then fell from grace, like Sinestro and Darth Vader. Two-Face was originally a good man, but not only that he was also a friend of Batman. That makes the character very tragic.
Then there's the heavy film noir vibe of the character, which I love, being a big fan of noir. There's also a touch of horror to the character, he was inspired by Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde after all, and I'm a big fan of horror as well. Of course many of the Bat rogues have these noir and horror vibes, but I think the combination of the two works the best with Harvey.
GONG: Speaking of favorite villains, I actually found your channel a couple of days ago as I began my research for a potential Scarecrow story which I intend to write and draw (as you said yourself "good stories of him are hard to come by"). Needless to say your Top 5 Best Scarecrow Stories video proved to be an invaluable resource.
I've read almost all of them to date. I think we see eye to eye on the character as we both see him as basically untapped potential at this point (for over 75 years now). This introduction served as a way to invest myself in the following question, Do you feel that some members of the Rogues Gallery suffer from there being just too many villains?
KW: I would love to read that Scarecrow story if you make it! Yeah definitely, it does kind of become a mess if your rogues gallery is too big. Both Batman and Spider-Man suffer from this. They just have soooo many villains.. Just look at the 'Forgotten Batman Villains' series I'm making - there's tons of rogues who's fallen into total obscurity, and some of them are great characters, or at least have the potential to be made into better characters.
I don't know if this is why Scarecrow is being neglected though, but it could be. If a writer gets to pick a villain to do a big story about, he's probably likelier to go with Joker, Riddler, Bane or Two-Face or something. They've kinda proved themselves already in classic storylines, while Crane doesn't really have a 'definitive' story.
GONG: Most underrated Rogues member?
KW: I guess out of the more well known villains I'd pick Mad Hatter. He gets so much flak and is considered by many to be a B-list loser rogue. The writers dont give him much of a chance either. I think the animated series proved that the Hatter can be a great villain, and very creepy at the same time as he's kinda sympatethic and tragic. I'd like to see him appear more in the comics, written the way he was on TAS.
As for the really obscure villains I'd say Preston Payne aka Clayface 3. He's an amazing character who's basically completely unknown to everyone who doesn't read older Batman comics. He had some great stories in the 70s and 80s but almost nothing past that. They even killed him off like ten years ago or something, and as far as I know he hasn't appeared again since then.
GONG: Recommendations for fans such as myself that have read the "must-reads" already?
KW: Wow that's a tough one.. There's just so many great yet neglected stories.. I'd say 'Blind Justice' from 1989 is one of them. It's a great Bruce Wayne story that was the first to really explore the character's past and his relationship to Wayne Enterprises. It was also the first Batman comic I read so it holds a special place in my heart. My favorite Two-Face story is 'Eye of the Beholder' from 1990. That one is also relatively unknown, yet I think it's the best version of the characters origin.
I actually vastly prefer it to 'Long Halloween'. Then we have 'Dark Knight, Dark City' also from 1990. It's a very dark and supernatural story about the spirit of Gotham itself possessing the Riddler, using him as a vehicle to make Batman jump through a bunch of hoops that are part of an arcane ritual. Lastly I think every Batman fan, or atleast the ones who love his rogues, should own a copy of Batman Annual #11. It's a perfect issue that contains two rogue centric stories - one written by Alan Moore actually, which is about Clayface 3, and the other is a very fun and charming Penguin story in the same vein as the TAS episode 'Birds of a Feather', the best Penguin episode on the show.
GONG: OK, Thank's Kenny!
KW: Thank you for letting me participate in this interview, and I look forward to reading your article!
"Gotham Rogues" can be found here: