Anarky: The Anti-Villian In DC Comic Books
“In the age of the anti-hero, it only makes sense to have the occasional anti-villain as well. But unlike sociopathic vigilante anti-heroes like the Punisher, an anti-villain like Anarky provides some interesting food for thought. Sure, he breaks the law, but what he really wants is to save the world… and maybe he’s right." - Beek’s Books
Anarky first appeared in “Anarky in Gotham City”, a two-part comic book story arc which appeared in Detective Comics No.608, in November 1989, and was continued the following month in Detective Comics No.609.
In “Anarky in Gotham City Part 1: Letters to the Editor”, Batman discovers the drug dealer he was tracking, assaulted and unconscious next to a Circle-A spray painted on the ground, announcing the arrival of a new vigilante, Anarky.
Later in the comic, Anarky targets a business owner dumping pollutants in a river. Batman recognizes his M.O. and realizes he is attacking people based on the complaints raised in letters to the editor in a local newspaper.
In the second comic, “Anarky in Gotham City Part 2: Facts About Bats”, Batman alerts the police, who plan stake-outs at several events based on the letters.
When Anarky strikes next, however, it is at a construction site unlisted in the paper. Anarky rallies the homeless to riot in response to the destruction of their “Cardboard City”, which has been bulldozed to build a new bank. Batman arrives but is attacked by the homeless mob so that Anarky may flee.
The narrative climax unfolds as Anarky and Batman come to blows, and during their brief fight, Batman deduces that Anarky is too fragile to be an adult. Homeless rioters come to Anarky’s aid, allowing his escape. Batman ultimately tracks Anarky’s hidden location, revealing him to be a disguised, 15 year old paperboy named Lonnie Machin.
In 1994, Anarky reappears in “Batman: Shadow of the Bat Annual No.2” also titled “The Tyranny”. In the comic, Batman, under the influence of the scarecrow, uses his wealth and power to institute a police state and suppress Gotham’s population.
Anarky becomes a resistance leader, undermining the centers of Batman’s power and ultimately overthrowing Bruce Wayne’s tyranny. The story ends with a quote by anarchist Mikhail Bakunin: “For reasons of the state black becomes white and white becomes black, the horrible becomes humane and the most dastardly felonies and atrocious crimes become meritorious acts.”
Nearly a decade later, a limited series comic dedicated to Anarky was published but his characteristics and motive was changed due to the author’s shift in philosophy.
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