HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
The Joker, arguably the most feared super villain in the DC Comics Universe. Here is a man with no super powers yet he remains entirely powerful. He is completely illogical and irrational and creates chaos like none other. The Joker, Batman’s arch nemesis, the clown prince of crime was first introduced in Batman #1 (Spring 1940). The Agent of Chaos known for his malicious plots, wacky gadgets and insidious smile, has caused Batman more suffering than any other villain he has ever faced.
The Original DC Comic Joker (Batman #1, 1940)
The Joker has been Batman’s number one nemesis ever since his debut in Batman #1 spring of 1940, the dawn of the Golden Age of comics. This was the original Joker and I honestly can’t say (with a birth year of 1979) I know much about him. What I do know, through history, is that he was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. Thanks gentleman, you all have created a terror that will reign down on DC super hero’s for centuries to come.
The Joker 1966
Getting a little closer to my time line but not quite there. I vaguely remember the re-runs of this 1966 tv show. The original Kabaam, Pow, Thwapp and Bang series featured the killer clown in several episodes. Taking a look back, it’s tough to appreciate how ahead of the time it actually was. Imagine a Batman Show with no CGI, yikes!
In 1975, The Joker got his on comic book series. One of the first comic book series that featured a super villain. You really thought Suicide Squad was that ingenuitive? The villain ran a muck for 9 episodes, terrorizing Batman and Gotham City. However, the Comic series just doesn’t feature Batman, Joker also links up with fellow criminals such as Two Face, Willie the Weeper, Scarecrow and Lex Luthor. In episode #7 “Luthor — You’re Driving Me Sane!” an experiment goes wrong switching the Joker’s insanity with Lex Luthor’s genius. The series finale has The Joker and Catwoman competing for a movie actor’s trained feline sidekick. Catwoman’s victory leads to a two-way rivalry that puts an end to the comic series.
The Clown Prince has arrived on the Big Scree in the original Batman Movie. To this day some say that Jack Nicholson’s performance is still the best version of Jack Napier we have ever seen. I did appreciate it and must admit he had a few scenes that scared the crap out of a 10-12 year old me. However I’m not ready to Crown this version of the Clown.
How scary and psychotic do you think they would make a kids cartoon version of the Joker? The answer, he’s pretty nuts actually. He’s not featured in all of the episodes but the crime clown appears in enough to recognize his crazy self. This version of the comic is an image that will resonate in my brain forever. The series was great and a must see!
Does that face look similar? It should, because Batman Beyond was a Joker Reboot. In Batman Beyond Return of the Joker he showed up as the crazed killer clown once again. It was Batman that had the extreme make-over. Wasn’t a fan of that, however this blog is about the Joker so I will refrain giving you details of the putrid black and red suit. We even get a flashback scene prior to the reboot. We see the death of Jack Napier, murdered by his protege J.J., Joker Junior.
Some say Heath Ledger (deceased) delivered the most insane Joker portrayal in the history of Jokerdome. That’s right, I said Jokerdome. Supposedly this crazed Batman killer embraced the role so much that he couldn’t separate the role from reality. He passed away via drug overdose. Some speculate he was murdered, while others claim the role as The Joker was what lead Heath Ledger to meet his unfortunate demise. Whatever the case may be, he left us with one of the most impressionable performances of the Joker in history. This Joker had all of us at the edge of our seats in anticipation. Ledger truly embraced insane. He was downright amazing an delivered one of the best performances in the DC Universe, ever!
Jared Leto had a tough act to follow and reviews of his performance have been really critical. However I actually liked the Jared Leto version of the Joker. I was happy with how they showed him embracing the relationship with Harley Quinn. It was a side of the Joker that has been left out in pretty much every version of the big screen villain. You may think that he loves no one but himself but he really does love Harley. Leto was mostly believable and just crazy enough to make sense, if that makes sense!
Bottom line, The Joker has a million different portrayals and none of them have ever been terrible. I’m a huge fan of the Joker and hope to see more of him in the upcoming movies from the DC Universe. It will be interesting to see him and other villains in the Universe such as Lex Luthor interact and team up. Hopefully they return Leto, I hate when characters change actors. Thanks for reading and buh bye!