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

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.

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.