Who is the Mad Hatter? Why do we call some people’ Mad Hatter’? This article will tell you all about the iconic character from ‘Alice in Wonderland’.
Mad as a Hatter is a commonly used etymology, and it owes its origin to Lewis Carroll’s internationally renowned fantasy fiction novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The Mad Hatter first shows up at the Mad Tea Party and poses a heinous and eccentric character in the story. This character was later adopted widely as a supervillain in DC Comics and other movies too.
Now, let us look at some interesting trivia about the weird character.
The Mad Hatter: Top 10 Weird Facts
1. The Mad Hatter
Though this character is popularly known as the Mad Hatter, Lewis Carroll never used this locution even once in his entire novel. The word Mad tagged along following the aberrant demeanor of the character.
The phrase, ‘Mad as a Hatter‘ became famous after the novel’s publication. Still, the phrase was already known before the novel’s release in England. It was used to refer to people who worked in the Hattery domain in Bedfordshire. The people were susceptible to mercury poisoning during the hat-making process, and a long duration of exposure to mercury caused damages to the brain and nerves that made the people behave whimsically.
2. Theophilus Carter
This furniture dealer from England is believed to be the impetus to the depiction of the Mad Hatter in both the novels of Lewis Carroll. Theophilus Carter’s actions justify the resemblance to the Mad Hatter, for he is known to stand in front of his shop in Oxford wearing a similar hat to that of the Mad Hatter.
Though this notion hasn’t been officially revealed, witnesses and facts give us more than a reason to believe this theory. Sir John Tenniel is rumored to have visited Oxford to sketch him, but surprisingly, Carter revealed that he never knew that he had been a model for the Mad Hatter.
3. October 10
In the comic illustrations and the movies, the Mad Hatter wears a top hat with a fascia reading ‘In This Style 10/6’. The inscription 10/6 represents the cost of the hat, which is 10 shillings and 6 pence. Now this date is celebrated around the world as Mad Hatter Day.
4. DC Supervillain
The Mad Hatter found his way into the DC Comic Universe in 1948. He is portrayed as a brilliant and vivid scientist specialized in neurotechnology. The Mad Hatter turns out to be the antagonist in Batman Comics.
The Mad Hatter begins by performing neurological experiments on rats and other animals, and later, he invents a powerful chip that provides him access to control animals and also humans.
According to the comics, he is first forced to use the chip on two robbers he encounters while he was with Alice. Then he commands them to jump off a bridge with his chip, and that’s when Batman comes to their rescue, and Mad Hatter evolves into his arch-rival.
From the DC Batman Comics published in 2001, one could interpret the insanity of the Mad Hatter. In these comics, Batman comes across a huge number of robberies and thefts throughout the city, and when he finds out the reason, he is dumbstruck. The thefts were reportedly carried out by the policemen who were controlled by the Mad Hatter. It is later revealed that the chaos was caused by him, not for money but only to wreak havoc around Gotham city for no reason.
Another issue of the DC Comics featuring the Mad Hatter published in 2010, reveals his fetish love for teas and his obsession with Alice. In this issue, he attempts to write a book, and in the meantime, he works towards overcoming his cravings like wearing hats and drinking tea.
He is also obsessed with every blonde woman in the town and wants them to be named Alice. This story elucidates his desire to be loved, but by the end, he succumbs to his obsessions of wearing hats and drinking tea.
The Mad Hatter can often be spotted around Fantasyland in Disneyland Park, wearing his signature top hat. The Fantasyland is a part of Disneyland Park, where you can meet all your favorite characters from storybooks. The Mad Hatter is mostly found along with other significant characters like Alice, Peter Pan, and Tinker Bell. The Cheshire Cat and March Hare from Alice in Wonderland can also be spotted in the Park.
The Mad Hatter is also the name of a shop in Fantasyland. The shop sells a multifarious range of Disney themed hats and a trendy place for you to find a souvenir when leaving the Park. There is also a street named after the Mad Hatter.
If you look into the large mirror at the Mad Hatter shop in Disneyland Park, you would probably confront the Cheshire Cat wearing his signature, impish grin on his face.
A conversation with the Mad Hatter will be one to cherish and perplexing. He is known to celebrate every day, that isn’t his birthday, so you could cheers up when you say it isn’t your birthday. How can you not discuss Tea, for the Mad Hatter loves Tea Parties? You can also talk about other significant instances from the novel, like the Riddle and Hats.
6. The Raven Riddle
One of the most famous instances from the Novel is the riddle posed by Mad Hatter to Alice, ‘Why is a raven like a writing desk?’ After giving it a decent try, Alice cedes only to find that the Mad Hatter himself is clueless as he quotes, “I haven’t the slightest idea!”
This riddle went on to become the reader’s brain twister as they came up with plenty of satisfactory answers and also urged the author to reveal the true answer. Carroll later came up with this answer: “Because it can produce a few notes, though they are very flat; and it is NEVAR put with the wrong end in front!” Ironically, he came up with the word ‘nevar’ instead of never, for it pronounces Raven when reading backward.
Still, this answer didn’t satiate the readers and fans of the book. So they came up with more exciting and reasonable responses. Some of the best responses are as follows:
- ‘Because one is good for writing books and the other better for biting rooks.’
- ‘Because a writing desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens.’
- Puzzle geek Sam Lloyd answered, ‘Poe wrote on both!’ Edgar Allan Poe is an American writer and poet who wrote a poem titled The Raven, which was published in 1845.
There were plenty of other answers too and perhaps you could try your hand in it!
7. The Mad Counterpart
Another substantial character from the book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is the March Hare. The prominent member at the tea party, along with Mad Hatter, is known to be as mad as the Mad Hatter but is overshadowed by the former.
In the early chapters, when Alice confronts the Cheshire Cat asks her way in the Wonderland, the Cheshire Cat responds, “In that direction lives a Hatter, and in that direction lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: They are both Mad!”
The phrase ‘As Mad as a March Hare’ was a common saying even before ‘Mad as Hatter’ became famous. The month of March is known to be the breeding season for most animals, including hares, and so they tend to behave outlandishly during this time. That’s how they caught up on this phrase.
Incidentally, the Mad Hatter had an imposter who featured in several issues of the DC Comics. In one of the issues, he is found collecting several kinds of hats, suits, and masks, and he seeks Batman’s Cowl to complete his collection. He goes to every extreme to acquire it.
The exciting thing about this is the harmless motives of the Mad Hatter as well as his imposter, thanks to his eccentricity and outlandish obsessions.
8. Tarrant Hightopp
The Mad Hatter featured in the following films of the Disney Franchise: Alice in Wonderland (1951), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972), The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland (1987), and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016). In the novels and films, his actual name was Tarrant Hightopp and was known as the Hatter.
There is also a Disney film with the title The Mad Hatter, which released in 1948, but this features a character from the Mickey Mouse franchise, namely the Woody Woodpecker.
The Mad Hatter appeared in several TV Shows and Comics under a profile different from the origins. But his craziness towards tea parties never changed, for you could find plenty of their references in the DC Comics.
One such issue is from 1993, written by Doug Mench from the Knightfall storyline. In this issue, the criminals from the Arkham Asylum are set free by Bane in Gotham to make Batman’s work harder in making the city crime-free. But suspicion arouses in the Mad Hatter’s mind regarding the reasons for their release, and he wonders if the specialist in mind control himself is being controlled by someone anonymous.
He tries to unriddle this by organizing his signature Mad Tea Party with plenty of the rogues who were set free and plays his cards by taking command over them with his unique hats. He then uses them to find out the person responsible and uncover the mystery.
9. Jervis Tetch
The Mad Hatter also featured in the 1960s Batman TV Series as the antagonist where he uses his special hat for hypnotizing people and also pull out other tricks from it. Contrary to the comics and film, Mad Hatter remains dispassionate about the character, Alice from the novels. He appears in 4 episodes of the series under the name Jervis Tetch and portrayed by David Wayne.
In the same TV Series, Mad Hatter is known to have a brother called the Clock King. This character eventually turns out to be yet another antagonist of Batman and ends up scheming vicious plans with his brother Mad Hatter and other associates.
The Batman Animated Series also featured the Mad Hatter, but this time, the plot was based on the comics, and he was obsessed about Alice just like he was in the novels. He was a genius scientist working on mind-controlling devices that he experimented on animals and predictably used them in the wrong way to end up as the bad guy.
Another instance of the Mad Hatter’s obsession with Alice can be construed from the 1994 edition of the Batman Comics. In this edition, the Mad Hatter abducts a bunch of kids, including the Batgirl, Barbara Gordon. He then dresses her up as Alice from Wonderland and forces her to join him in a tea party along with the other kids dressed as his Mad Tea Party members.
10. The Batman Film
The DC Comics are set to produce another solo feature film of the Batman after the successful Dark Knight Trilogy. This film is gearing up to be the biggest movie of the franchise and is directed by Matt Reeves. The film is prepped for a release in October 2021.
The film is rumored to feature at least six supervillains from the DC Comic arsenal. The Mad Hatter, who turned out to be a recurrent villain in the Batman Comics, as well as the TV Series, is reportedly cast in the vile villain roster of the film.
Since the first publication of the novel, there have been about 40 movie and TV show versions of Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece. Alice in Wonderland is one of the most impactful fantasy novels ever, and the characters too left behind an impressive impression. Mad Hatter’s journey from being the deuteragonist of a fantasy novel to a prominent Villain in the DC comics and Batman shows define the impact of the character.
Despite being portrayed as the antagonist, the Mad Hatter has never been a significant threat, unlike other supervillains. He has evolved as an eccentric human being psyched by his inability to garner people’s love and attention and often freaks out due to this. His obsession with tea parties and top hats has been one of the spotlights of his quirky character.