Niccolai Tepes, the Mad Monk, was a vampire and one of the earliest enemies of Batman.
The Monk was a vampire who wore a red, monk-like outfit, with a hood that bears a yellow skull and crossbones on it. He had an assistant named Dala, who lured Batman to their lair using Bruce Wayne's fiancee, Julie Madison, as bait.
The Monk placed Julie in a hypnotic trance, but Batman managed to rescue her and afterwards, Batman killed the Monk and Dala by shooting them with silver bullets as they lay in their coffins.
Niccolai Tepes, also known as The Monk, was the vampiric leader of a cult called "The Brotherhood", based in the abandoned Rallstone castle/manor house on the outskirts of Gotham City. His followers, among whom is the gothic Dala, feed upon the blood of captured victims. Julie Madison is turned into the Monk's pawn when she is lured to the castle by Dala under the guise of the Monk being some sort of self-help guru. Batman discovers that the last surviving heir of the Rallstone family, Richard, had spent time traveling Europe, treating war-torn countries as "his own personal playground", and assumes that Richard was the Monk, and was only pretending to be a vampire. The Monk is shown to be very strong and have fast reflexes, as well as the ability to hypnotize others, but neither his identity nor true nature were revealed, as he was electrocuted and seemingly incinerated by a bolt of lightning and presumed dead during a fight with Batman. During the course of these events, it was revealed that Dala was not a vampire, but she hoped to become one so she could serve as Niccolai's right hand.
- Vampirism: In addition to the various mental and physical benefits that vampires are heir to, they also possess the ability to turn others into vampires as well. Each new vampire is traditionally subservient to the one who "turned" them, but some strong-willed vampires have been known to rebel against their masters.
- Enhanced Senses: A vampire's senses are enhanced far beyond those of a normal human being.
- Immortality: So long as vampires continue to consume blood, they will not age beyond the physical state they were in when they first became a vampire.
- Invulnerability: Vampires are invulnerable to most forms of injury (certain exceptions apply). Bullets, blades and blunt objects do little to no damage to a vampire's body.
- Regeneration: In addition to being virtually indestructible, whatever damage a vampire does in fact suffer can be healed through the consumption of human blood.
- Superhuman Strength: A vampire's strength level is several times that of a normal human being and they are considered superhuman.
- Superhuman Stamina: So long as they continue to consume human blood, a vampire can function tirelessly without rest or relaxation. However, a vampire's stamina wanes the closer it is to sunrise.
- Psychokinesis: Most vampires possess some form of psychokinesis. Some are clairvoyant, others can communicate telepathically, some possess mind control. Particularly powerful vampires can control the minds of several people at once.
- Transformation: Vampires often possess the ability to transform into a variety of creatures or effects such as bats, wolves, rats or even mist. While their physical attributes may fluctuate during such states, a vampire's mental acuity is the same as that when they are in their human shape. A vampire who transforms into an animal may also benefit from that particular animal's attributes including razor-sharp claws, fangs or the ability to fly.
- Metamorphosis: Vampires often demonstrate the ability to alter their appearance at will.
- Hypnosis: The Mad Monk is a master of hypnosis.
- The Mad Monk was originally created by Gardner Fox, Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff. In 2006, Matt Wagner re-imagined the character for modern times in the six-issue limited series, Batman and the Mad Monk.
- In his initial appearance in Detective Comics #31 and #32, the Monk is interchangeably described as both a vampire and a werewolf. In future stories, he is simply a vampire.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- 10 Appearances of Niccolai Tepes (New Earth)
- 3 Images featuring Niccolai Tepes (New Earth)
- 2 Quotations by or about Niccolai Tepes (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Niccolai Tepes (New Earth)