Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Mad Hatter Day: My Favourite Portayals of the Eccentric Tea Party Lover

There's a lot of random days dotting around the internet, but today's one I definitely had to get on board with...it's Mad Hatter Day!

Today is the chance for fans of Alice in Wonderland to celebrate this hat-wearing eccentric, whether it be in comics, films or the original books. 

So join me as I share some of my favourite portrayals/depictions of the Mad Hatter to date. Did your favourite make the list? 



Modelled after the Mad Hatter in the Lewis Carroll novel, this villain made his d├ębut in Batman #49 in October 1948 as a scientist who invents and uses mind-controlling devices to influence and manipulate the minds of his victims.

An alter-ego to his real-life persona Jervis Tetch, like a lot of Batman villains, he is definitely unhinged. His fascination with hats seems a little tame in comparison to the rest of it. He has a deep-seated obsession with Alice In Wonderland and it's sequel, particularly finding interest in the chapter 'A Mad Tea Party' where Alice first meets The Hatter. He often speaks in rhymes and quotes from Caroll's Wonderland novels. At some point, the lines between fiction and reality blurred, morphing Tetch into a real-life Hatter himself.

Check out this creepy rendition of the Mad Hatter in the video game "Batman Arkham City"

Alice In Wonderland, 1951

Undeniably one of the most popular versions of the Mad Hatter, Disney's animated classic depicts him as a short, eccentric and comical man. Alice meets the Mad Hatter when she stumbles upon him and the March Hare having an "un-birthday" party. They pull her up a chair and sing her the 'Unbirthday' song, one I am sure plenty of you would be familiar with. If you're not, give it a listen below.

 Alice In Wonderland, 2010

The previous film leads on nicely to another Alice in Wonderland adaptation by Disney. Gothic director Tim Burton, recognised for films such as Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands helmed this live-action version.Whilst the film had its flaws (it wasn't as well received as expected too), Johnny Depp's depiction of the Mad Hatter was generally well rated by critics. 

Not shy of taking on roles of weird eccentrics in the past (to this day, it's still a Johnny Depp trademark), Depp littered his performance with kindness, offering a kindred spirit for Alice who herself felt strange and alone. If we can all just forget that dreadful 'Futter Wacken' dance at the end, then it's really a pretty good portrayal of this famous character. 

American McGee's Alice (2000) 
& Alice Madness Returns (2011)

Working as an unofficial carry-on from the Lewis Carroll novels, American McGee painted a much more macabre tale. In both video games, the Mad Hatter adopts a steam-punk look, resembling a robot rather than a living human being. Here he is psychotic, mad and is obsessed with time and clockworks. Considering himself to be a genius, the Mad Hatter invents mechanical devices, often using the bodies of living animals as the foundation of his experiments. 

Dressed in a loosened straightjacket with a cog portruding from his back, creator American McGee has explained that the Mad Hatter is "the embodiment of Alice's emotional state", which may explain his change in temperament across both games if he is reflecting Alice's mood.

Before you go...check out my post on this year's 150th anniversary of Alice in Wonderland!

Who's your favourite Mad Hatter? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. I'm a massive Batman fan but you've got to go with the classic Disney on this one!


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