Batman´s Joker Through The Years
There can be only one, or actually very many…So, now when we just seen the latest take and look of The Batman Master Villain The Joker via Jared Leto (sigh). Why don´t we have a look of all the many different versions of the possibly best Comic Universe Villain of all time?!
Have you heard this one? It’ll KILL you, Batman! A joke a day, keeps the gloom away!
In an interview about his role, Cesar said “Why Dozier wanted me I’ll never know because I asked his wife, Ann Rutherford, Why did Bill think of me for this part? She said I don’t know. He said he saw you in something, and he said, He’s the one I want to play the Joker. I haven’t the slightest idea what it was that he saw me in, because I had never done anything like it before.”
1997 Superman: The Animated Series (character appearance)
1998 The Batman/Superman Movie: World’s Finest
1997-1999 The New Batman Adventures
2000 Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker
2001 Batman: Vengeance (video game)
2002 Static Shock (character appearance)
Birds of Pray (voice only)
2005 Batman: New Times (short video)
2005-2006 Justice League
2009 Batman: Arkham Asylum (video game)
2010 DC Universe Online (video game)
2011 Batman: Arkham City (video game)
Hi-ho couch potatoes. I’m interrupting the Toilet Bowl to bring you my very special New Year’s resolution: ahem, starting tonight at midnight, I, your loving uncle Joker, do solemnly vow not to kill anyone for a whole year. Which means I’m going to have to work extra fast to bump off a few more of you today.
The Joker is a fictional supervillain who appears in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane, and first appeared in Batman #1 (April 25, 1940). Credit for the character’s creation is disputed; Kane and Robinson claimed responsibility for the Joker’s design, while acknowledging Finger’s writing contribution. Although the Joker was planned to be killed off during his initial appearance, he was spared by editorial intervention, allowing the character to endure as the archenemy of the superhero Batman.
In his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a criminal mastermind. Introduced as a psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the character became a goofy prankster in the late 1950s in response to regulation by the Comics Code Authority, before returning to his darker roots during the early 1970s. As Batman’s nemesis, the Joker has been part of the superhero’s defining stories, including the murder of Jason Todd—the second Robin and Batman’s ward—and the paralysis of Batman’s ally, Barbara Gordon. The Joker has had various origin stories during his over seven decades in publication. The most common story is that he falls into a tank of chemical waste which bleaches his skin white, turns his hair green and his lips bright red; the resulting disfigurement drives him insane. The antithesis of Batman in personality and appearance, the Joker is considered by critics to be his perfect adversary.
One of the most iconic characters in popular culture, the Joker has been cited as one of the greatest comic book villains and fictional characters ever created. He appears in a variety of merchandise, such as clothing and collectable items, real-world structures (such as theme park attractions) and references in a number of media. The Joker has been Batman’s adversary in live-action and animated incarnations, including the 1960s Batman television series (played by Cesar Romero) and in film byJack Nicholson in 1989’s Batman and Heath Ledger in 2008’s The Dark Knight (earning Ledger a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor). Mark Hamill, Brent Spiner, Michael Emerson, Richard Epcar, Troy Baker, and others have voiced the animated character.
The Joker has undergone many revisions since his 1940 debut. The most common interpretation of the character is that he is disguised as the criminal Red Hood, and pursued by Batman. The Joker falls into a vat of chemicals which bleaches his skin, colors his hair green and his lips red, and drives him insane. The reasons why the Joker was disguised as the Red Hood, and his identity before his transformation have changed over time.
The character was introduced in Batman #1 (1940), in which he announces that he will kill three of Gotham’s prominent citizens (including Mayor Henry Claridge). Although the police protect Claridge, the Joker poisoned him before making his announcement and Claridge dies with a ghastly grin on his face. The Joker tries to poison Robin with the same Joker venom, Batman defeats him, sending him to prison. The Joker commits whimsical, brutal crimes for reasons that, in Batman’s words, “make sense to him alone.”Detective Comics #168 (1951) introduced the Joker’s first origin story as Red Hood: a criminal who, during his final heist, vanishes after leaping into a vat of chemicals to escape Batman. His resulting disfigurement led him to adopt the name “Joker”, from the playing card he now resembled. The Joker’s Silver-Age transformation into a figure of fun was established in 1952’s “The Joker’s Millions”. In this story the Joker is obsessed with maintaining his illusion of wealth and celebrity as a criminal folk hero, afraid to let Gotham’s citizens know that he is penniless and was tricked out of his fortune. The 1970s redefined the character as a homicidal psychopath. “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge” has the Joker taking violent revenge on the former gang members who betrayed him; in “The Laughing Fish” the character chemically adds his face to Gotham’s fish (hoping to profit from a copyright), killing bureaucrats who stand in his way.
Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) built on the Joker’s 1951 origin story, portraying him as a failed comedian pressured into committing crime as the Red Hood to support his pregnant wife. Batman’s interference causes him to leap into a chemical vat, which disfigures him. This, combined with the trauma of his wife’s earlier accidental death, causes him to go insane and become the Joker. However, he says that this story may not be true and prefers his past to be “multiple choice”. In this graphic novel, the Joker shoots and paralyzes Barbara Gordon and tortures her father, Commissioner James Gordon, to prove that it only takes one bad day to turn a sane man into a psychopath. After Batman rescues Gordon and subdues the Joker, he offers to rehabilitate his old foe and end their rivalry. Although the Joker refuses, he shows his appreciation by sharing a joke with Batman.
“See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum…and one night, one night they decide they don’t like living in an asylum any more. They decide they’re going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moonlight…stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daren’t make the leap. Y’see…y’see, he’s afraid of falling. So then, the first guy has an idea…He says ‘Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I’ll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk along the beam and join me!’ B-but the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says… he says ‘What do you think I am? Crazy? You’d turn it off when I was half way across!'”—– The Joker shares a joke with Batman in The Killing Joke (1988)
The character’s maiming of Barbara arguably turned her into a more-important character in the DC Universe: Oracle, a data gatherer and superhero informant who has her revenge in Birds of Prey by shattering the Joker’s teeth and destroying his smile. In the 1988 story “A Death in the Family”, the Joker beats Jason Todd with a crowbar and leaves him to die in an explosion. Todd’s death haunts Batman, and for the first time he considers killing the Joker. The Joker temporarily escapes justice when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini appoints him the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, giving him diplomatic immunity. However, when he tries to poison the UN membership, he is brought down by Batman and Superman.
In the 1999 “No Man’s Land” storyline, the Joker murders Commissioner Gordon’s second wife, Sarah, as she shields a group of infants. He taunts Gordon, who shoots him in the kneecap. The Joker, lamenting that he may never walk again, collapses with laughter when he realizes that the commissioner has avenged Barbara’s paralysis. This story also introduced the Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn.
The 2000s began with the crossover story “Emperor Joker”, in which the Joker steals Mister Mxyzptlk‘s reality-altering power and remakes the universe in his image (torturing and killing Batman daily, before resurrecting him). When the supervillain then tries to destroy the universe, his reluctance to eliminate Batman makes him lose control and Superman defeats him. Broken by his experience, Batman’s memories are erased by Superman and Spectre so he can heal mentally. In “Joker’s Last Laugh” (2001), the doctors at Arkham Asylum convince the character that he is dying in an attempt to rehabilitate him. Instead, the Joker (flanked by an army of “Jokerized” supervillains) launches a final crime spree. Believing that Robin (Tim Drake) has been killed in the chaos, Dick Grayson beats the Joker to death (although Batman revives his foe to keep Grayson from being a murderer) and the character succeeds in making a member of the Bat-family break their rule against killing.
In “Under the Hood” (2005), a resurrected Todd tries to force Batman to avenge his death by killing the Joker (who enjoys their conflict more than killing Todd). Batman refuses, arguing that if allows himself to kill the Joker, he will not be able to stop killing other criminals. The Joker kills Alexander Luthor in Infinite Crisis (2005) for excluding him from the Secret Society of Super Villains, which considers him too unpredictable for membership. In Morrison’s “Batman and Son” (2006), a deranged police officer who impersonates Batman shoots the Joker in the face, scarring and disabling him. The supervillain returns in “The Clown at Midnight” (2007) as a cruel, enigmatic force who awakens and tries to kill Harley Quinn to prove to Batman that he has become more than human. In the 2008 story arc “Batman R.I.P.” the Joker is recruited by the Black Glove to destroy Batman but betrays the group, killing its members one by one. After Batman’s apparent death in “Final Crisis” (2008), Grayson investigates a series of murders (which leads him to a disguised Joker). The Joker is arrested, and then-Robin Damian Wayne beats him with a crowbar (paralleling Todd’s murder). When the Joker escapes, he attacks the Black Glove, burying its leader (Simon Hurt) alive after the supervillain considers him a failure as an opponent; the Joker is then defeated by the recently returned Batman.
In DC’s New 52, a 2011 relaunch of its titles, the Joker has his own face cut off. He disappears for a year, returning to launch an attack on Batman’s extended family in “Death of the Family” so he and Batman can be the best hero and villain they can be. At the end of the storyline, the Joker falls off a cliff into a dark abyss. The Joker returns in the 2014 storyline “Endgame”, in which he manipulates the Justice League into attacking Batman, believing he has betrayed their relationship. The story implies that the Joker is immortal, having existed for centuries, and has developed a means to regenerate from mortal injuries. “Endgame” restores the Joker’s face, and also reveals that he has discovered Batman’s secret identity.