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Capes On the Couch - Where Comics Get Counseling

Oct 4, 2023

This episode, we focus on one of Gatman's most gafflingly grazen gad guys, the Ventriloquist (and Scarface!) Who's really pulling the strings? Listen now to find out!

  • Intro

    • Reminder of PuchiCon appearance

  • Background (3:00)

    • Important to note that in this version, the dummy was made from wood used in Blackgate’s old gallows, and there are conflicting reports whether the dummy is possessed or not

    • Ventriloquist (Arnold Wesker) created by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Norm Breyfogle in Detective Comics #583 (Feb. 1988)

    • Arnold Wesker is a meek man from a mafia family – originally developed DID after witnessing his mother’s murder

    • His origin was later retconned – imprisoned in Blackgate prison, he begins hearing voices from a dummy named Woody, and the voices convince him to murder his cellmate – during the fight, Woody is damaged, and takes on the name Scarface

    • In either version, Scarface becomes the controlling force, and Wesker is his “puppet” - to the point that Scarface becomes enraged if people insist on speaking to Wesker and not him

    • One telltale sign is that Wesker/Scarface is unable to pronounce the letter B, replacing it with G - Batman becomes Gatman, bullets become gullets, etc.

    • At one point Wesker was committed to Arkham Asylum, and upon escaping used a sock puppet named Socko - when Scarface learned he had been replaced, he and Socko had a gunfight, resulting in damage to Wesker’s hands #BecauseComics

    • After an earthquake nearly destroys Gotham, a new villain called the Quakemaster shows up demanding a ransom to prevent further earthquakes - Tim Drake is able to deduce it’s Scarface because Quakemaster refuses to pronounce words with the letter B

    • Has an on-again/off-again partnership with the Penguin, where they often break each other out of prison and work together on criminal enterprises

    • Murdered by Tally Man in an effort to frame Harvey Dent

    • Later resurrected during Blackest Night as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, and creates a construct of Scarface with his ring

    • New 52 - he was never killed, and was hospitalized for treatment of his DID

    • Briefly controlled by the Venom serum, but was taken down by Nightwing and Damian Wayne

    • Succeeded as Ventriloquist by a woman named Shauna Belzer, who had her own puppet Ferdie

    • He helped Batman defeat Psycho-Pirate, because his DID was able to override Pirate’s emotion control powers since Scarface was really in charge

  • Issues - the pawn who would be king (7:03)

    • Dissociation, Depersonalization, and Derealization

    • Subordination (14:03)

    • Masochism (21:04)

  • Break (26:01)

    • Plugs for Popcorn Psychology, Ocho Duro Parlay Hour, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson

  • Treatment (26:56)

    • In-universe - introduce ways to take Scarface out of commission

    • Out of universe - work on scaling down and away from coping mechanism (30:10)

  • Skit (34:06)

    • DOC: Hello Mr. Wesker, I’m Dr. Issues.

    • SCARFACE: Nope, you’re talking to ME, doc. Leave the dummy outta this.

    • WESKER: W-w-well at least l-l-let me say h-h-hello f-first.

    • SCARFACE: Shut yer yap and lemme do the talking. The less you talk, the faster we can greak outta here and get gack to gusiness.

    • DOC: I love Vaudeville as much as anybody, but

    • SCARFACE: *interrupting* that explains your practice

    • DOC: Hey! This is a serious establishment. Are you going to talk to me or not?

    • WESKER: I-I-I

    • SCARFACE: Aye Aye Aye is right! Sheesh! You gonna take the hint, shrinkydink? This mug is useless without me. I’m the grains of this operation. That’s how I keep making gread.

    • DOC: *flustered* Fine. Tell me, what can I do for you?

    • SCARFACE: Can you crack safes?

    • DOC: No

    • SCARFACE: Can you crack heads?

    • DOC: NO!

    • SCARFACE: Knockaround guy? Gagman?

    • DOC: No and No

    • SCARFACE: Is your office a good place to do laundry, if ya catch my drift?

    • DOC: I’m not doing anything illegal for you!

    • SCARFACE: Then you’re a waste of space like this guy over here!

    • DOC: He is the reason you can talk at all!

    • SCARFACE: waaaaatch your mouth, you’re on thin ice, capiche?

    • DOC: Mr. Wesker, are you going to stand for this?

    • SCARFACE: He doesn’t have to, that’s why he’s sittin down. And you’re gonna be layin down for a dirt nap if you don’t keep your eyes on me!

    • DOC: You don’t have any weapons. That tommy gun is a toy. I’m not stupid.

    • SCARFACE: My noggin is like taking a Louisville slugger to the jaw if you’re unprepared.

    • DOC: If you’re so bright,have you figured out a way to resolve your anger without resorting to violence?

    • SCARFACE: Resort? You darn right I resort. A hideout full of moola and the screams of my enemies make crime a vacation. 

    • DOC: Is that what Wesker wants?

    • SCARFACE: Who cares what he wants? 

    • DOC: I do. And if this is you, Arnold, then I’m willing to work with you in this…unique arrangement.

    • SCARFACE: I’m confused. Are you talking to me or to him?

    • DOC: Yes.

    • SCARFACE: *pause* Ooooh, you’re a slick one, aintcha? Gut there’s no one else you need to talk to. 

    • DOC: Thank goodness. So, I’ll make sure I only direct my questions to you, and you’ll answer, and I’ll make sure it’s documented in your chart, under your name. Just spell it for me so I get it right.


    • DOC: A-R-N

    • SCARFACE: *screaming* THIS AIN’T A JOKE! 

    • DOC: I’m not laughing. I’m talking to you. I’m looking at you. I know you run the show, and I’m giving you the attention you deserve. If the other part is not important according to you, fine. But I won’t let your reality get in the way of mine.

    • SCARFACE: YOU SICKO! Don’t toy with my emotions.

    • DOC: Don’t use your emotions as toys

    • WESKER: Please stop fighting

    • DOC: who said that?


    • WESKER: yes sir

    • DOC: You seem to have an issue with a part of you that is intimidated. What do you plan to do to strengthen it? 

    • SCARFACE: I’m not weak; that loser

    • DOC:*interrupting* You’re a loser; got it.

    • SCARFACE: I’m not here to be insulted!

    • WESKER: You usually leave that to me

    • DOC: Progress! Now if you could only get him to stop shoving his hand inside you to compensate, you wouldn’t be so uptight

    • SCARFACE: *pause* wait…are you actually trying to treat me here?

    • DOC: It wasn’t my first idea but if it’s the only way I can ultimately give you some peace and have fewer people hurt, I’ll make it work.

    • SCARFACE: *exaggerated wistful sigh* Maybe I can finally get a world without Dummy. A mafioso can dream.

    • DOC: Um…erm…something like that. Anyway, I noticed that I didn’t get my usual fee before the session, so I’m going to have to bill you for the balance.

    • SCARFACE: *deadpan* Oh…Dummy takes care of that 


    • DOC: WHAT?

    • SCARFACE: I MEANT THE CHECK’S IN THE MAIL. Now get me outta here before he makes me talk about my mother. *fake sob* I really miss her.

    • DOC: Pining?

    • SCARFACE: No, oak.

  • Ending (38:54)

    • Recommended reading: Batman: Broken City by Brian Azzarello & Eduardo Risso

    • Next episodes: Bigby Wolf, Eobard Thawne, Speedball

    • Plugs for social & GonnaGeek Network


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