He’s not actually a crocodile man, but he played one in the circus! Who is this man who roams Gotham to take on Batman? Where did he come from and how did he get to looking like a missing link between human and reptile? Let’s find out together with this Character Spotlight on Killer Croc!
Waylon Jones was born with “Epidermolytic Hyperkeratosis,” a medical condition that gave him the appearance of a crocodile. His mother died during childbirth and his father abandoned him, leaving him to be raised by his aunt. Sadly, she was abusive and treated him as poorly as possible. It didn’t help that his appearance made other people treat him poorly, as well. Eventually, Jones would find that he had a talent with violence, and he killed his aunt and several of his tormentors before fleeing for the circus.
At the circus, Jones received his nickname of Killer Croc due to his features and his wrestling of crocodiles. He’d win by breaking the crocodiles’ backs; this goes to show you Jones’s level of strength is nothing to sneeze at. His knack for violence earned him ties to the criminal underworld, and he found his way to Gotham City. Batman had just gotten a new Robin in Jason Todd, and the two teamed to take Croc down after he tried to start his own criminal empire.
Jones spent most of his early career fighting Batman as much as he did other villains. Black Mask often being a frequent opponent in his attempts to control Gotham. He never managed to take hold of Gotham, and eventually realized his best bet may lie in team work with other villains.
Early on, Jones was a rather intelligent villain with his strength to back him up, but it seemed his condition would have him trading intelligence for strength, size, and toughness. He took on a more reptilian look, and with it his role as a leader diminished. He was often a great heavy for other villains; where once he’d had henchmen, he became a major one himself.
When Bane showed up in Gotham, Jones took a rivalry with him since he was the former strong, intelligent villain of Batman’s roster. They fought on several occasions, and usually ended in a draw. Jones without Venom could take on Bane with Venom; that is scary at how strong and tough this guy is.
Swamp Thing called upon Jones to come and live in the Green in a Louisiana swamp so that he could be free and wild. He stayed there for a while, until eventually his wild behavior became too much even for Swamp Thing, and he left when Swamp Thing struck him. Jones went on a train heading back to Gotham; he didn’t want to be bullied by anyone anymore.
In the New 52, Jones is working for Medusa and has gained a far more monstrous look, and powers that make him far beyond human. He has multiple eyes and is gigantic. He is an opponent of Batwoman in this time.
So that’s the story of Waylon Jones, the Killer Croc, a man who never wanted to be bullied again so he became the top bully. That’s really sad when you get down to the core of it. Too bad he became far more monstrous on the inside than he ever was on the outside.
Batman Chronicles #3