You are trying to understand madness with logic. This is not unlike searching for darkness with a torch.
~ Mad Hatter
Joker. Scarecrow. Two-Face. Each has their own private madness that drives them. Each has an unpredictable violent nature which makes them dangerous. But, facing them does not disturb me...the way Hatter does...
~ Bruce Wayne/Batman
(Singing) Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?
~ Mad Hatter to Alice in Batman: The Animated Series.
Jervis Tetch, better known as the Mad Hatter, is a villain from DC Comics, most commonly appearing as an enemy of Batman. He is a criminal in possession of mind-control technology that themes himself after the character from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Mad Hatter made his first appearance in Batman #49 (October 1948) in which he attempts to steal a trophy from the Gotham Yacht Club but is foiled by Batman. This version of the Mad Hatter would be absent for nearly three decades, and in that time an Imposter Mad Hatter appeared.
Upon the real Tetch's return, in which it has been revealed has spent several years in Arkham Asylum following his arrest at the hands of Batman in his debut, he has "disposed" of the Imposter Mad Hatter and taken back his name.
The Mad Hatter began being depicted as a former scientist who researched mind technology and has developed a way to control humans with the use of microchips in their hats. He is also shown to have an obsession with Lewis Carrol's Wonderland books and believes himself to be the real incarnation of the Mad Hatter.
Tetch also has a fixation with female children and women, sometimes viewing them as the titular Alice from the books, often kidnapping ones that happen to have the name Alice, and some versions of the character suggest he may be a pedophile.
The Mad Hatter's origins weren't properly explored in the comics until the New 52 initiative which rebooted the DC Universe continuity. In the story, he was in love with a girl at a school named Alice and suffered from a disorder in which he was unable to grow. Tetch began taking experimental drugs in the hopes of enhancing his height, however, he began to lose his mind and grip on reality, which caused him to believe he was the Mad Hatter, resulting in him being committed by Arkham Asylum by his devastated parents.
Mad Hatter appears as a recurring villain in the series, in which he was played by David Wayne. He is based on the version in the silver age which would be revealed as the Imposter Mad Hatter, such as having an obsession with hats.
Batman: The Animated Series
In Batman: The Animated Series, Jervis Tetch (voiced by the late Roddy McDowell) is given what may be his definitive origin story. He was a neuroscientist experimenting his mind control devices on mice. He fell in love with a colleague named Alice, but being a naturally shy and socially awkward man, he felt unable to tell her. When he heard she and her boyfriend were fighting, he decided to step up and successfully asked her out. He dressed up as his favorite character from Alice in Wonderland to give himself confidence and used his mind control chips to make Alice believe he was a well-known man about the town. Alice was impressed by him and they enjoyed their date. However, Alice's boyfriend Billy proposed to her, Tetch snapped and resorted to using mind control to bring her to his side. At one point, he lamented on his choices but remain steadfast to keep her. Batman was able to stop him and free Alice from the mind control, but The Mad Hatter's sorrow drove him to become a criminal.
During Batman's mock trial, he proves how irredeemable he is when the captive D.A. asked why he couldn't respect Alice's wishes and left her alone and he declared he'd have killed her first. This comment earned shocked from the jury, as he asked Judge Joker to strip that from record.
Mad Hatter was originally planned to appear in the 2004 animation series, but for unknown reasons, he didn't appear in the series.
The Mad Hatter doesn't appear in the video game Batman: Arkham Asylum. One of the Riddler's riddles revolves around him.
Obsessed from a young age with Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Jervis Tetch, an expert hypnotist, embraced a delusion that he was the incarnation of a character in the story, the Mad Hatter.
Using his skills for mesmerism, the Mad Hatter has committed many crimes, often themed around the book that inspired him and his love of hats and headgear going so far as to implant his hats with mind-control chips to amplify his hypnosis skills.
Above all other headwear, however, he covets Batman’s distinctive cowl and will stop at nothing to acquire it. Mad Hatter makes his first appearance in Batman: Arkham City. After this, he also appeared in Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight as an antagonist, each time hypnotizing Batman to try to make him his mindless soldier. He is defeated each time and ultimately incarcerated at the GCPD.
Jervis Tetch appears in the FOX Batman origin series Gotham as the main antagonist during the third season and is portrayed by Benedict Samuel. In this interpretation of the character, he is an unstable hypnotist who comes to Gotham City to look for his missing sister Alice, who he has an unsettling fixation with.