Real Name: Deboroh La Roccia / Deboroh Valker (after being adopted by Jan Valker)
Identity/Class: Normal human (34 years old)
Affiliations: Arcibaldo (his butler), Cinzia (The Hooker of Quinta Strada [5th Street]:a former postman, now a transgender who fell in love with him), Krik (police captain), Thadeus Brakko (moron police officer, his best friend) and his bizarre dog Svarzeneggher, Piccettino (his teddy bear), Thea (the girl who Rat-Man loved, had died during her first appearance), Il Pipistrello ("The Bat", a member of the former "Squadra Segreta", was MarvelMouse's master for a brief time before he became Rat-Man) and others.
He also was part of a superhero group, La Squadra Segreta ("The Secret Squad"), where he took Nottolo (who left early and became Il Buffone)'s place, and whose members included Karpa, Tresh, Spettro, and Lupo ("Wolf"), their instructor.
Enemies: Il Buffone (The Buffoon), Il Ragno (The Spider), Jan Valker
Known Relatives: Jan Valker (putative father), Mr. and Mrs. La Roccia (his parents, seen only once)
Aliases: Rat-Boy, MarvelMouse (both when his early days are revealed), Zappo l'Uomo Imbarazzante ("Zappo the Embarassing Man" - he gained this alias after a brief loss of identity, in a sort of X-Men spoof)
Base of Operations: Città Senza Nome ("City Without Name", an obviously non-existant metropolis). All his adventures take place in cities with such names, for example "Città Molto Grande" ("Very Big City").
First Appearance: Unspecified title (1989), but the regular series began only in 1997 ("Rat-Man Collection") after some auto-productions and reprints of first stories.
Powers/Abilities: none (the bad luck? :) Sometimes he uses darts as weapon.
History: After the Loss of his parents in a brawl in a store, Deboroh La Roccia vowed to get justice, and adopted the costumed identity of Rat-Man.
Comments: Rat-Man is one of the most succesful Italian comics in latest years: it depicts the adventures of a stupid, unlucky, childish hero in a goofy looking yellow rat-like suit.
Rat-Man was created by Italian comic writer Leonardo (Leo) Ortolani in 1989, while attempting to create a parody of Tim Burton's "Batman", appeared in theatres the same year. In fact in his very first adventure Rat-Man decided to become a superhero in order to avenge his parents' death (as the result of a brawl in a convenience store!) and fought against Il Buffone (The Buffoon, clearly a parody of The Joker) who had kidnapped an orphan child (holding him to demand a ransom from his parents!!). Rat-Man saves the child, who became his companion Tòpin the Wonder Mouse (Tòpin is a pun between Robin and "topo"=mouse), and reappeared later in the series after some small cameos, and later became Il Pagliaccio (The Clown), Il Buffone's aide.
Of course there are also other similarities between Rat-Man and Batman: both of them have a butler (Rat-Man's is called Arcibaldo), and Rat-Man drives the Ratmobile, hidden in the Rat-Caverna (Rat-Cave). It should be noted that unlike Batman, Rat-Man's "loss" of his parents doesn't mean they died in the convenience store. It was Deboroh (Rat-Man) himself that lost them! Since his parents are both morons, they never bothered to look for him
However, Leo Ortolani has never been too happy with the Batman spoof, because he thought his character had more points in common with Spider-Man, for the metropolitan setting of his adventures and other aspects.
In fact, Rat-Man seldom uses the Ratmobile (he even got it crushed some times!), rarely uses gadgets and in general doesn't act at all like Bruce Wayne. Leo even planned to portray Rat-Man's fall: from millionaire (this aspect of his life however is never clearly shown) to poor.
Rat-Man's stories are an amazing mixture of over-intricated, serious Marvel-like plots (involving mysterious experiments, vanished heroes, evil creatures, clones and lots more) and tons of humour of every kind, from the wackiest slapstick gags to the darkest humour. His stories also make fun of a variety of things, including superheroes (Spawn, X-Men, etc.; One of his foes, Il Ragno, is a spider bitten by a radiation-struck man!), films and tv shows (The Terminator, Star Trek, Titanic, Conan the Barbarian, The Ring, The X-Files...) and even Japanese manga (Mazinger, Dragon Ball) and videogames (Tomb Raider).
Rat-Man includes also so many references to Fantastic Four, which is Leo's most beloved comic of all time, especially Jack Kirby's version.
There is an official Rat-Man site.
Profile by Federico "Boyakki" Tiraboschi.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Batman, who he is a parody of
Ratman, from the Elementals universe
RatMan, from Continuity Comics
Ratman, member of SLOSH.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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