Polka-Dot Man: “The Dumbest DC Character of All Time?”

If you’ve been keeping up with my articles for Dark Knight News even a little bit, you know that I’m excited for The Suicide Squad. You also definitely know that my favorite character, and one I can’t wait to see is Polka-Dot Man. I genuinely know nothing about the character, and up until I did the research for this article, I didn’t even know whose villain he was in his first DC Comics appearance. All I knew was that he’s colorful, will be played by a great actor, and is somewhat reminiscent of Mike Teavee from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

So where did this fabulously fashionable and depressed man come from? Polka-Dot Man (AKA Abner Krill) started off as a minor villain who faced off against Batman, way back in Detective Comics #300 (1962). The character was sadly ridiculed and is still known to this day as one of the silliest characters created in the DC canon. Polka-Dot Man hasn’t even been seen on the big screen, other than in the background of The LEGO Batman Movie.

Enter James Gunn

Gunn decided when he was placed at the helm of The Suicide Squad that he wanted to include a variety of villains in Task Force X. Specifically, Gunn wanted someone who had previously only been thought of as “one of the dumbest ever”:

Polka-Dot Man is great. I went and looked online, ‘Who’s the dumbest DC character of all time?’ and it was Polka-Dot Man. We’ve turned that character who’s a sad, pathetic character into a character who’s depressed because people think he’s stupid. He has a very tragic story that you learn about throughout the film – to be able to add depth to characters who are thought of as the silliest is a fun thing for me to do.

This might sound like a condescending view to have of the colorful fiend. However, Gunn also Tweeted a picture of Polka-Dot Man at the start of July. This Tweet seems to show Gunn’s love for the eccentric character.

The Man Himself

James Gunn isn’t the only person showing some love to Polka-Dot Man. The actor set to portray the anti-hero, David Dastmalchian, also has been sharing his thoughts on his character. Dastmalchian explained how Polka-Dot Man was brought to a live-action film, as well as what audiences should expect to see from the spotted protagonist.

I can tell you that my character Abner is someone who has lived a lifetime with a lot of pain, a lot of shame, a lot of solitude because of a condition that he has. That condition was something that he decided at a certain point in time would be best suited to hurt other people or at least perform acts of crime, so that he could get some vengeance against a cruel and unfair world. Things haven’t gone great in Abner’s life basically since day one, so as we find him entering this story, he’s somebody that has never been a part of anything, so even in a bunch of really broken misfits and criminals, he’s maybe found one of the first moments in his life where he’s a part of something.

Talk about intrigue! Polka-Dot Man will seemingly be presented as very complicated. At the very least, James Gunn’s comment of “don’t judge a book by its cover” definitely rings true. It’s also exciting that a ‘heroic’ character with low self-worth and belief is being presented in such a major film. Representation is definitely increasing in Hollywood. However, the last type of representation I would have anticipated in a superhero movie would be of the mentally ill.

Why Polka-Dot Man?

This might sound weird and be a bit personal, but I’ve also suffered from depression throughout my life. I too was made fun of for just being myself (and I’m sure others can relate!). Getting to see someone onscreen get accepted for the first time in their lives is something I am beyond excited to see. Seeing someone with depression and a lack of self-love receiving acceptance and appreciation? That makes me happiest of all.

I am super stoked to get to see Polka-Dot Man brought to life in live action. Even more so, I’m glad a character who was always the subject of ridicule is being given a second chance.

The Suicide Squad will debut in theaters and on HBO Max on August 6, 2021.

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