June 6, 1835 — John Batman makes a treaty with the Wurundjeri people

John Batman was a Tasmanian who organised a syndicate of investors to fund him and some other settlers to build a new village on the banks of the Yarra River. Of course, this land was already occupied by the tribes of the Kulin nation, primarily the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung, each of which greatly outnumbered the small group of settlers Batman led. Thus, Batman made a deal with the chiefs of the Wurundjeri, purchasing a small stretch of land. In time, the village would become Melbourne (today a metropolis of more than four million people, very few of them members of the Wurundjeri or other Kulin peoples).

However, there are many grounds on which to dispute Batman’s treaty. It is a matter of some dispute whether the tribesmen Batman dealt with understood the deal they were making in the same way Batman did – among the Kulin people, as among most Australian Aboriginal peoples, land was not owned by individuals in the same way it was by Europeans. Legally, even by the standards of colonial empires, Batman was also on shaky ground, as he had no authority from the Crown to make such a deal. And while it does appear that, at least to start with, the colonists made efforts to deal in good faith with the various Kulin peoples, misunderstandings were inevitable between two such disparate peoples, leading to bloodshed on several occasions. Later colonists, who were not party to the original deal, treated the Kulin (and in time, the other native peoples of Victoria) much worse. Batman, like so many of the natives, was dead by then.

Batman signs treaty artist impression

As mentioned in:

Solid Rock — Goanna

Chuckles

Chuckles is the street name of a mixture of Joker Venom and regular ecstasy, created by the crime boos Maxie Zeus. It’s name derives from the ‘giggly’ high it produces.

It quickly became popular in the inner city nightclubs of Gotham City, and like most drugs that this is true of, it spread to the suburbs. As the use of Chuckles spread, its side effects became widespread – including lockjaw, paranoia and psychosis. It becomes considered the worst drug epidemic since crack in the late ’80s. The Joker was infuriated by someone turning his trademark Joker Venom into a recreational drug “rocked at a kegger.”

The Elixir

Created by Ra’s al Ghul and brought to Gotham City by his servants, Whisper A’Daire and Kyle Abbott, the Elixir was intended to be sold as an expensive longevity drug, keeping those who took it young and healthy for as long as they did. It was also a potent mutagen, causing each user to develop the traits of a different animal. It was intended to sow chaos and disorder throughout Gotham, and might well have done so if no one intervened.

The Batman is, of course, all about these kinds of interventions. He identified the source of the drug, its alchemical origins, and its effects, and managed to bring A’Daire and Abbott’s plans to a stop while destroying all supplies of the Elixir before it hit the streets. And a good thing too.

Hyderdroxipine

A long-lasting hallucinogen that is extracted from a fungus growing only on beaver pelts, Hyderdroxipine is more obscure now than it once was.

When the American frontier was still wide open, and fur traders and trappers were among the first to explore its wilds, Hyderdroxipine was better known (although not under that name – the names given to it by trappers and traders are unfortunately lost to history). However, as the demand for beaver pelts diminished, so too did the availability of the drug.

Potentially deadly in its effect, Hyderdroxipine was extracted only after the removal of its source fungus from the beaver pelt, which usually caused the fungus to become impregnated with the prussic acid used for the job. In addition, the half-life of the drug is said to be 72 hours, and only the most strong-willed of individuals are able to function well while on it. Even Batman found it difficult.

Smilex

Perhaps more indicative of the insanity of the Joker than anything else about him, Smilex is a deadly poison that causes horrific facial deformations, usually in form of a rictus grin.

Smilex is made in both liquid and gaseous forms – the gas resembles a green smoke. The liquid can be mixed into almost any foodstuffs.

The puzzling thing about Smilex is the business plan behind its distribution. The Joker gives it away, seeking the widest possible range of people in Gotham, with the intent of killing them. Surely, this is insanity by any modern standard: the total absence of anything even resembling a profit motive – in fact, the Joker probably took a loss on the deal.

Titan

A derivative of Venom, Titan combines that drug with other chemicals derived from the plants of Poison Ivy. Created by Dr Penelope Young, it was primarily used by the Joker in one of his periodic takeovers of Arkham Asylum. The Joker dosed numerous henchmen with Titan before finally taking it himself. Batman defeated them all handily anyway. Later, the Dark Knight joined forces with fellow former Venom addict Bane to destroy all remaining supplies of Titan, although it appears that Harley Quinn may still have some.

The effects of Titan are an exaggerated version of those of Venom, including massive and swift increase of musculature and strength, but also mental devolution into a berserker state. In addition, the effects of Titan are disfiguring, leading to distorted facial features and exposed spinal columns among users – the effect are also permanent.

Related Drugs: Venom.

Venom

One of the most addictive and dangerous of steroids, Venom first appeared on the streets of Gotham City early in the self-appointed mission of the Batman. In fact, Batman himself was one of its most prominent users for a time.

Unfortunately, in addition to enhancing strength to a superhuman degree, Venom had a number of side-effects, including muscular dystrophy (when not in use) and a capacity to addict users stronger than most drugs short of crack. Batman quickly realised this, and went cold turkey, a process that took about a month (and which was accompanied by incredible physical pain and vivid hallucinations). He never used the drug again, although villains such as Bane and Lex Luthor did.

Related Drugs: Titan.