The Eraser

The Eraser
The comic book history of the Eraser, a villain of Batman from DC Comics

Lenny Fiasco had a difficult time in life. I mean, his name was Lenny Fiasco, for one. But...he just kept making mistakes. We first meet Lenny in college, where he just can't get anything right, in class or in love.

The Disappearing Act

I can't speak to his academic efforts, but when it comes to love I can kind of see what he's doing wrong. I'm not some Don Juan, but I do know staring intensely at women until they wonder what's up with you is not the best way to find love. Actually, I do have kind of funny story. After I first met my wife, Carissa, I kind of zoned out and didn't realize I was looking off into the distance directly at her. In my defense I had just been up all night on a 90 degree bus, but she totally thought I was a weirdo.

It didn't go so well for Lenny Fiasco, though, because he didn't actually talk to the woman he was into but harbored a deep hatred toward her for not wanting anything to do with him and for the guy who ultimately took her on a date: Bruce Wayne.

Lenny Fiasco soon failed out of school and passed out of Batman's memory, but Lenny... Lenny wasn't about to let a little thing like constant failure set him back. If he couldn't make it in society by their rules, he was going to make his own. He embraced the fail. He became...the eraser.

The cover of Batman #188, where a man dressed like a giant pencil is literally erasing Batman and Robin.
This makes the Eraser look way cooler than he actually is. Also, Batman comics burying the lede with "The Ten Best Dressed Corpses in Gotham City!" Image copyright DC Comics.

Which, yes, it has the potential to be a very cool name. His whole thing was that after a crime was committed, he would follow up to ensure that no evidence remained. Eraser was succinct, descriptive, personal without being revealing. It would have been cool...

...if he wasn't wearing a yellow and black pinstripe suit, pointy black shoes, and an actual eraser on his head, with eyeholes punched in the metal part. Yeah. He was dressed like a giant eraser. He can't be like Mike Ehrmantraut and be a cool fixer or something. Lenny Fiasco had to go super literal and actually dress like an eraser.

The Organ Grinder

And he advertised, too. Like, actual print advertisements. He coated them in something so that if the wrong, untreated, non-criminal hands touched them they would instantly burst into flames. This didn't stop batman from reconstructing them and reading text off a paper that was ash. I guess he takes fingerprints off a shattered bullet in 2008's The Dark Knight, so even one of the best versions of Batman is not without a little ridiculousness.

Batman and Robin looking at an advertisement for the Eraser's services that reads "Don't take Chances! Let 'The Eraser' erase every clue from your crimes! Only 20% of job -- before taxes! Write to box 19611 -- general delivery!"
"Before Taxes" Image copyright DC Comics.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you're building your criminal client list, you have to make sure that organ grinder with the mustache isn't actually Batman. That's rookie stuff. I mean, mainly because are there even organ grinders out there anymore? And an organ grinder isn't, like, someone who makes sausages. It's a person on the street who plays a hand-crank street organ. They often had a monkey with them for some reason. Anyway, Bruce thought the least suspicious way to infiltrate Eraser's client list was to dress like a street musician...a street musician that looked exactly like Bruce Wayne wearing a mustache. Regardless, it worked, and Lenny got in contact with Bruce, and Organ Grinder Batman told the Eraser about his planned crime.

Batman learned two things on the outing.

1. That Lenny was the Eraser because

2. Lenny had to take off his eraser mask to erase evidence from the crime scene, which completely nullifies the point of wearing a mask.

Bruce Wayne, dressed as an old-time organ grinder, surprised that the Eraser showed up early at a crime scene. He says, " YOU-- MUST BE THE ERASER. I EXPECTED YUH HERE AFTER TH' JOB WUZ FINISHED..."
I know Bruce is a master of disguise but I think the accent is stretching it a bit. Image copyright DC Comics.

Bruce, though, made a costly mistake. He...wore aftershave. Lenny immediately guessed it was Bruce and hit the then-millionaire with knockout gas...that was in his pointy shoes (which is the best place for knockout gas), and the eraser took Bruce back to his hideout.

To show that he wasn't creepy and mad about not dating that girl back in college, Lenny recreated Bruce Wayne and his date, Cecilia, in ice (they had been announced Ice King and Queen at a dance back in college). He entombed Bruce Wayne in ice, and that was that.

Bruce Wayne was Batman, though, and simply flexed, shattering the ice. Robin had followed and brought his Batman suit, and several punches to the head later, Lenny Fiasco, the eraser, had been subdued.

It's Better to Be A Rubber Than a Robber

Batman visited Lenny in prison with Robin, and they had something for Lenny Fiasco: A three-foot-long giant eraser. Batman says that by the time he erases all he did wrong, he'll be out, which I know it's supposed to sound folksy and nice but it just kind of sounds like gloating. Robin tells Lenny that he'll start in life with a clean slate which, sadly, is not how criminal records work, Robin. Lenny comes away with the most poignant observation while holding his eraser. It's better to be a rubber than a robber. Which...also probably not.

In a podcast where we see so many reinventions of terrible villain ideas, sometimes to great and chilling effects, The Eraser, despite having a potentially cool name...this is it for him. I guess the writers thought they nailed it the first time and Lenny truly chose to be a rubber, not a robber.

Lenny Fiasco, looking at his giant eraser, saying "I get the message -- it's better to be a rubber -- than a robber."
That bit of sage wisdom we all say all the time. Image copyright DC Comics.

Want more of the worst comic book villains of all time? Subscribe to the podcast!

Disclaimer: The Eraser and every other character mentioned in this post are owned by DC Comics. "Best of the Worst" (the blog and podcast) and Nextpod are not affiliated with, or endorsed by, any publisher or media company.

Concerned that this infringes on your copyrights or trademarks? Please contact us using the following form: