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Joker
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The Joker is Batman's greatest adversary. He's a homicidal clown, and he's really, really super crazy. Really.

The Joker as he appears in most modern DC Comics.

Contents

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Other Versions of the Joker

Alternate Universes

Other Media

See Also

Publication History

The Joker's history is largely unknown. Many writers have delved into various theories regarding his origin including Paul Dini, Denny O'Neil, and co-creator Bill Finger. The Alan Moore one-shot "Batman: The Killing Joke," for example, claims he was a failed comedian who turned to crime following the sudden deaths of his wife and unborn child. Only the Joker knows whether or not this is true. Current issues of Batman: Confidential #7-11, 2007-08, penned by Micheal Green, delve into the theory he was a genius criminal without purpose until discovering Batman, and later becoming the Joker. What is suggested and largely accepted, however, is he was a petty thief duped into wearing the mask of the Red Hood to act as a costumed figurehead for thugs bent on robbing the Ace Chemical Processing Plant in Gotham City. Thwarted by Batman, the Red Hood fell into a vat of toxic chemicals that bleached his skin bone white, turned his hair green and left him with a crazed, ruby red, malignant rictus for a smile. Driven utterly insane, the Joker fixated upon Batman as his arch-nemesis. Depending on the writer, Joker heavily drinks and smokes, but still he has not suffered any ill side effects.

The definitive origin and actual name for the character was never established in the comics, although in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #50, 1993, penned by Dennis O'Neil, a retelling of the Joker's origin (including revealing exactly who invented the gas that gives its victims the Joker's telltale grin) the Joker's own cousin Melvin Reipan, an idiot savant, makes the mistake of referring to the Joker by his real name, but the Joker interrupts him before he is able to say any more than "Cousin Ja--," telling his cousin that he's now "Cousin Joker."

In the Warren Ellis-penned one-shot, Planetary/Batman: Night on Earth, a parallel-universe Gotham City has a Planetary cell staffed by a man named Dick Grayson and his partner, Jasper. Jasper has an awkward laugh, pale skin, green hair, and brightly-colored lips, but no overt connection between him and the Joker is made. The canonicity of the Joker's name being "Jasper" is, of course, not established in this comic.

His complete origin is not truly known and who he was before he became the Joker has been a matter of much speculation among fans. The Joker himself does not even remember much of his past (one comic book, Batman: Shadow of the Bat #37, revealed that his name was possibly Johnny Jape, but this may have been an attempt at sarcasm.)

In Detective Comics #168, "The Man Behind the Red Hood," 1951, Batman and a college class he is currently instructing in detective work are suddenly siezed with the mysterious goings-on of what can only be the Red Hood, having reappeared after a 10 year hiatus. After much detective work, they catch him, only to disover it is the Joker under the hood, an apparent mystery to both Batman and the public. He then reveals he was once a lab worker who decided he was going to steal 1 million from the Monarch Playing Card Company and retire. He reached this goal, but his only escape was to swim through chemical wastes, the oxygen tube in his red hood allowing him the ability to breathe. However, when he returned home, he found the chemicals had turned his skin white, his hair green, and his lips red. He then realized this new face could be more terrifying. Because the playing card company gave him his new face, he adopted the name of the one card portraying a clown on its face: the Joker.

This origin was greatly expanded upon in the 1988 graphic novel, Batman: The Killing Joke written by Alan Moore. In that story, the Joker was an unnamed engineer who quit his job at a chemical company to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail, miserably. Desperate to support his pregnant wife, he agreed to guide two criminals into the plant for a robbery. During the planning, the police came and informed him that his wife had just died in a household accident. Grief-stricken, the engineer tried to withdraw from the plan, but the criminals strong-armed him into keeping his commitment to them.

At the plant, the criminals made him don a special mask to become the infamous Red Hood. Unknown to the engineer, this was simply a way to implicate any accomplice as the mastermind of a crime to divert attention from themselves. Once inside, they almost immediately blundered into security personnel and a violent shootout and chase ensued. The criminals were gunned down and the engineer found himself confronted by Batman, who was investigating the disturbance.

In panicked desperation, the engineer escaped by diving into a toxic waste vat and swam through a pipe leading to the outside. Once there, he discovered, to his horror, that the chemicals permanently stained his skin chalk white, his lips ruby red and his hair bright green. This turn of events, compounded by the man's misfortunes on that one day, caused him to go completely insane and resulted in the birth of the Joker.

In Batman: Gotham Knights #50-55, 66, "Hush Returns," 2004, penned by A.J. Leiberman, it was heavily implied that much of the above origin was in fact true (and that the Joker's first name was Jack), with details of it being backed up by a witness to the death of the Joker's wife. In this version, however, his wife was kidnapped and murdered by those same gangsters, in order to force his cooperation in the Red Hood robbery. The witness was none other than Edward Nigma, who would eventually become the Riddler.

In the short story "On a Beautiful Summer's Day, He Was," by Robert McCammon, featured in the anthology The Further Adventures of the Joker, the Joker is suggested to have been born a monster, not made one by bad luck. The story concerns him as a young boy who derives pleasure from killing small animals (considered the hallmark sign of a budding sociopath) and collecting their bones. The story notes that his father is also insane and, in a chilling scene, beats his mother while the boy listens through the wall, grinning. The end of the story has him graduating to murder, killing a neighborhood boy who discovers his makeshift graveyard. The story identifies the Joker's last name as Napier.

In "Best of All," another story in the anthology, the Joker murdered his abusive father as a child. His mother was revealed to be Batman's old friend and confidante Leslie Thompkins, which he revealed to Batman to torment him.

Any recountings of the Joker's origin are largely unreliable, however, as they are taken directly from his own memories, and as he himself puts it in The Killing Joke, "I'm not exactly sure what happened. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!"

Part of the Joker's prominence among Batman's enemies likely derives from the fact that he, more than any other villain, represents the antithesis of Batman's personality and methods. Batman is almost always depicted, even in the campy 1960s television show, as a serious, stoic man who pursues his campaign against crime with utter earnestness and a disciplined, focused mind. In the darker portrayals of the comics and more recent films and television, the Dark Knight is further depicted as a brooding and humorless avenger who pursues justice as an enigmatic shadow striking from the dead of night. The Joker, by contrast, is literally a killer clown, driven by a disordered mind to pursue destruction and chaos with as much panache as possible. His appearance and actions suggest the bright and garish pomp and circumstance of the circus. Nightwing has stated that he believes the Joker and Batman exist because of each other, that Batman represents order and Joker the chaos that challenges it. Like Superman and Lex Luthor, it has been suggested that Batman and the Joker need each other.

The Joker's victims have included men, women and even children. An issue of "Hitman," in 1996, stated that the Joker had once gassed an entire kindergarten class. Despite the fact he has killed enough people (while not stated, it's believed his personal death toll is well into four figures) to get the death penalty hundreds of times over, the Joker is always found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is then placed in Arkham Asylum, which he appears able to escape from seemingly at will. In fact, it is hinted the Joker will deliberately allow himself to be captured so he can "unwind" at Arkham before his next scheme. The 1996 special "Devil's Advocate," had the Joker captured and the District Attorney using a once-in-a-lifetime loophole to have him found guilty and sentenced to death. However, Batman found the fact that the Joker did not take credit for the crime in question out of character and soon discovered the bitter irony: the Joker was about to be executed for the one series of murders he didn't commit. The Joker was in the electric chair and about to be killed when Batman managed to bring the true, guilty party to justice.

Batman: Black and White, Volume 2, "Case Study," penned by Paul Dini and penciled by Alex Ross, suggests that the Joker isn't a madman at all, but a rational, sane man who cleverly "hides behind a mask of madness to carry out a very calculated campaign of revenge." After recovering past reports, unofficially filed, Arkham doctors speculate the truth regarding the Joker's sanity, only to find the theories were compiled by Dr. Harleen Quinzel (Harley Quinn) during her internship. Knowing Quinzel is mad, the files are unadmittable into evidence against him. The doctors even suppose the Joker planted the records for them to find, only to "yank the rug out from under them." Again, he returns to Arkham.

There have been times when Batman has been tempted to put the Joker down once and for all, but has relented at the last minute. After capturing the Joker in one story, he threatens death, but then says: "But that would give you the final victory, making me into a killer like yourself!" In a short story from the book "Alex Ross: Mythology," Batman, about to shoot a brainwashed Superman with a Kryptonite bullet, thinks "The one vow I made. No one has ever made me break it. Not even the Joker. But for you, I'll do it."

The Joker's obsession with Batman, and vice versa, is somewhat unique to other super heroes and villains. In the movie Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Terry McGinnis, the successor to the mantle of Dark Knight, said to the Joker that the only real reason he kept coming back was because he never got a laugh out of the original Batman. The Joker has also said that without Batman, his life is nothing. In "The Dark Knight Returns," a catatonic Joker becomes animated only after seeing a police report that Batman has returned to action, setting in motion a final confrontation. In an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, when it was thought a young upstart in the crime syndicate killed Batman, Joker held his own funeral for his old foe at the very place Joker had his accident (see "Character history"), and nailed the man who supposedly killed Batman in the coffin and dropped it in a vat of acid. In "Going Sane," a story featured in "Legends of the Dark Knight," The Joker thinks he finally succeeded in his ultimate goal of killing Batman, reverts to sanity, and gets plastic surgery in order to look like a normal human being. He tries to lead a normal, honest life, donning the name Joseph Kerr (a pun on his criminal moniker) and engaging in a small romance with a neighbor. Normalcy did not last for the Joker, however, as he discovered the Batman to be alive; he once more went insane, mutilated himself to restore his trademark white skin, green hair and crimson lips, and resumed his quest to destroy Batman.

In Batman #251, "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge," 1973, penned by Denny O'Neil, the Joker knocked Batman out and considered unmasking and killing him. He decided not to, however, his logic being that his victory over Batman had to be public and astounding, rather than a random accident. In Detective Comics #475, "The Laughing Fish," 1978, penned by Steve Englehart, the Joker threatened to kill crime boss Rupert Thorne if he uncovered Batman's secret identity. Thorne had Hugo Strange discover Batman's identity, but, when Strange would not tell him who Batman was, had him killed. The Joker, who was also bidding for Batman's identity alongside the Penguin, told Thorne he was lucky Strange took whatever secrets he held with him to the grave; he explained that he was destined to defeat Batman in a manner worthy of his criminal reputation, and that no one else had the right. In Arkham Asylum, however, when the other incarcerated criminals suggest unmasking Batman, Joker tells them that the mask is his real face. This distinction doesn't extend to the DCAU Joker. During Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, it is revealed that the Joker tortured Robin into revealing Batman's identity. He, however, finds this information "sadly anti-climatic," as he now thinks Batman is "a child in a playsuit crying for Mommy and Daddy."

The Joker is also renowned as Batman's most unpredictable foe. While other villains rely on tried-and-true methods to commit crimes (such as Mr. Freeze's freeze gun or Poison Ivy's toxic plants), Joker has a variety of weapons at his disposal. For example, the flower he wears in his lapel sprays, at any given time, acid, poisonous laughing gas — or nothing at all. Sometimes he commits crimes just for the fun of it, while on other occasions it is part of a grand scheme. Batman has been noted to say that the Joker's plans make sense to him alone.

Animated Series

Batman and Joker from Batman:The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series (primarily in the episode "Beware the Creeper" and the spin-off movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm) offers another version of the Joker's history: he is portrayed as a former anonymous hitman for the Mafia with ties to the Beaumont family, later responsible for the death of Carl Beaumont. As in the 1989 movie, he was not wearing any disguise when he made his fateful attempt to rob the chemical factory. Unlike the movie, no attempt has been made to connect him with the death of Bruce Wayne's parents (although "Jack Napier" has been mentioned as one of the hitman's aliases.) This version is often thought to be the best incarnation of the Joker in any form of media, as it combined a wacky sense of humor with a psychopathic violent streak. The most notable piece is Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, in which the Joker mysteriously returns to Gotham after forty years and believed to have died. It was heavily influenced by A Death in the Family and The Killing Joke, and it shows just how psychotic the Joker really is. The movie shows that even though he can be funny and come up with ridiculous plans, he is truly evil and is quite willing to do anything to get what he wants.

On BM:TAS, the Joker made easily the most appearances of any villain in Batman's rogues' gallery, helping solidify his presence as the Batman's arch-foe. The relationship between Batman and Joker in the animated universe is one of a constant back-and-forth as to who is really angering the other. Often, it is the Joker that aggravates Batman, with the Joker thrilling at Batman's glowering inappreciation of his actions and "comedy". Once in a while, though, Batman or Robin manages to get the upper hand on the Joker, like in "Mad Love" or "Harlequinade", forcing the Joker to reveal his inner rage more readily. (It is this kind of provocation that ultimately allows Terry to succeed against the Joker in Return of the Joker.) This version of the Joker is famously adherent to the Batman-obsessive qualities of the character as seen in various incarnations. On multiple occasions, he expresses his desire to be the only one to take out Batman, halting those who try (like Harley Quinn in "Mad Love") or punishing those who it is thought beat him to it (Sidney Dupree in "The Man Who Killed Batman"). In fact, when the Joker finally joins several supervillains as a group (in the Justice League episode "Injustice for All"), he does so by proposing a plot that allows Batman to be removed from the other supervillains so that the Injustice Gang can kill the rest while Joker gets Batman all to himself. When he offers his services, Lex Luthor wants nothing to do with the Joker but the Joker points out he's needed as he can offer what none of the other villains can: "I know how the Bat thinks." When the gang does have Batman captured, the Joker is amazed that they're leaving him alive, knowing he'll break free.

Mark Hamill is the most famous, and most acclaimed, actor to supply the character's voice, in Batman: The Animated Series and its various spin-offs, including Justice League and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Hamill also provided the voice for the character in an episode of Birds of Prey.

This version of The Joker also appears in the Static Shock episode, "The Big Leagues." Joker traveled to Dakota, home of Static, to re-circuit a few bang babies for assistance in battling Batman, Robin, and Static Shock. In the end, Static defeated Joker, who was taken back to Arkham Asylum.

Joker of the previous animated series had his death become part of a large conspiracy under investigation under Batman (Terry McGinnis) when about forty years after his mysterious death, he reappeared in Gotham, looking no older then forty years old, in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. It was eventually discovered by Terry that Robin (Tim Drake) had been captured by The Joker and Harley Quinn, then after constant torture, became the image of the Joker. During his rescue, Batman and Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), duked it out with Joker and Harley. Harley fell into a chasm, but no body was found afterwards. When Batman was beaten and injured, Tim Drake was forced to make a choice. To shoot Batman or shoot Joker. Fortunately for Batman, he shot the Joker with one of his BANG! Dart guns. But before Joker was killed, he planted a chip on the back of Tims neck, which contained all the genetic and information on Joker. It triggered and Joker was "reborn". He was stopped and the chip was fried by Terry McGinnis.

A very different version of the Joker appeared in the animated series The Batman. It's been implied that the origin of this Joker is the result of falling in a vat of glowing green goo. His appearance and costume are decidedly different; he sports a purple and yellow straitjacket, fingerless gloves, bare feet (which are white with green toenails), wild green hair, red eyes, and athletic prowess that clearly mark him as different from his predecessors. In the end of the first episode, "The Bat in the Belfry," however, he vaguely implies that Batman was somewhat responsible for creating him. Later in the series, he regressed back the more traditional garb of a purple business suit, but still had wild hair and wore no shoes. The Joker also moves and fights with a monkey-like style, using his feet as dexterously as his hands, and often hangs from the walls and ceilings (as the series progresses, these abilities do not appear as much). He is still recognizably the Joker, and he seems to have no motive for his crimes other than enjoying them. He employs the signature Joker venom in the form of a laughing gas. His voice is supplied by Kevin Michael Richardson. This version of the Clown Prince of Crime is often criticized to have discarded very important aspects which mark him as Batman's greatest nemesis. Critics aside however, there was one episode of The Batman which had a little touch of The Killing Joke, in which Joker was torturing a police officer, and quoted the comic ("all it takes is one bad day to make a normal man go insane"). The episode also showed the building hatred and jealousy that the Joker began feeling towards Batman as the police force was focusing more on capturing Batman than him ("You mean to tell me you consider this vigilante more dangerous than me, the Clown Prince of Crime?"). Other than these slight resemblances, this version of the Joker most resembles the 1950s and '60s incarnation, in that he is more a comical nuisance than a real threat at most times.

Trivia

Conrad Veidt as Gwynplaine
  • Artist Bob Kane based his visual interpretation of the Joker on the character of Gwynplaine, from the 1928 silent film, The Man Who Laughs. Gwynplaine was played by German actor Conrad Veidt. The movie was based on a story by French novelist, Victor Hugo.
  • Voiced by Larry Storch in 1968's "The Batman/Superman Hour" animated series.
  • The Joker was voiced by Lenny Weinrib in 1977's New Adventures of Batman. In the series, the Joker had a pet hyena named Giggles as a sidekick. True to his name, Giggles was consistently giggling as he assisted the Joker in his various schemes.
  • Voiced by Frank Welker in 1986's "Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians" animated series.
  • In 1989, Tim Burton's "Batman" was released with the Joker as the main villain. Burton wanted to play around with the Joker's origin story, so to tie it in with the origin of the Batman, Burton made Jack Napier the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents instead Joe Chill. However in the comics, The Joker's name before becoming the Joker was unknown at the time. The name Jack Napier is taken from "Jack" for the actor whom played the character in the film, Jack Nicholson. And "Napier" for Alan Napier, The man who played Alfred in the Adam West series, who had died a few weeks before production started.
  • Voiced by Mark Hamill in "Batman: The Animated Series" and related projects.
  • Played by Roger Stoneburner (with voice work by Mark Hamill) in 2002's "Birds of Prey" live-action TV series.
  • Voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson in "The Batman" animated series.

This article uses material from the "Joker" article on the DC Comics wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

eWrestling

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From the eWrestling Encyclopedia.

The Joker
Image of The Joker
Billing information
Ring name(s)
Height 5 ft 11 in
Weight 190 lb
Born October 10, 1983
Hometown Circus Smirkus
Theme music "Joker & the Thief" by Wolfmother
Affiliation(s)
Federation(s) Wrestling Society X
Brand(s) Smackdown
Previous federations
Wrestling information
Role {{{role}}}
Gimmick
Alignment Heel
Wrestling style
Finisher(s) Joker Driver
Joker-Plex
Professional career
Debut {{{debut}}}
Accomplishments

Heath Ledger (born October 10, 1983) is an American professional wrestler. He currently wrestles on the Raw brand of Wrestling Society X (WSX) as The Joker.

Wrestling details

  • Primary Finisher
    • Joker Driver (Electric chair piledriver, sometimes from the top rope or the top of a ladder)
  • Secondary Finisher
    • Joker-Plex (Three-quarter facelock leg hook back suplex)
  • Signature Moveset
    • Lariat
    • Anaconda vice
    • Diving double foot stomp
    • Diving headbutt
    • Cannonball senton
    • Victory roll
    • Kneeling belly to belly piledriver
    • Exploder suplex
  • Theme Music
Intercontinental Championship
The JokerWicked
Wrestling Society X<span/> roster
Tag Teams and Stables The Arabian AllianceBlake Heat and Mitch VoltageThe Dark SideD-Generation XThe GangstasThe Hart DynastyInsane Clown PosseMillion Dollar CorporationThe Nasty BoysnWoTeam 3DThe Rock 'n Rave InfectionSpirit SquadSteel ForceUltraviolent Connection
Smackdown
Male wrestlers 6-PacAbyssAntonio BanksBen StormBlade HartBubba Ray DudleyCody WhiteDavid Hart SmithDylan RaveD-Von DudleyEamon KellyThe GiantHollywood HoganHurricane HelmsJack PhoenixJamalJames WhiteMatthew RockMC PunkMC SteelNew JackNathan JonesPitbullPsicosisRandy WilliamsRejectShawn YoungTwister
Female wrestlers MollyEllie
Other talent Amando EstradaDave Collins • Joan Brooks • Mark Feeney • Shorty Brooks • Nick HaddanPete SteelStevie Richards
Raw
Male wrestlers 2-PacAbu DhabiAli GBlake HeatChad AdamsCheechCloudyDarth VaderEugeneGrizzly RedwoodThe Iron SheikJohn MorrisonThe JokerLil WayneMike CageMitch VoltageMonty BrownMr PerfectReece RichardsScotty 2 HottyShredderToby MahoneyTroy MastersVampiroWicked
Female wrestlers Abbey Rose
Other talent HornswoggleJack SparrowJohn StabMulletTim SydalTraci Brooks
FCW
Male wrestlers APABrian KnobbsChris HaftCrossbonesHarlem HeatJack EvansJason KnoxJerry SagsKofi KingstonMikeyMr TNickyRandy RobinsonRoad DoggThe Road WarriorSantino MarellaShaggy 2 DopeShingoSuicideTriple XViolent JX-Pac
Female wrestlers Awesome KongTaylor Swift
Other talent Joey RamoneKing HarryMr FujiLilian GarciaShane McMahonTazmaniac


This article uses material from the "The Joker" article on the eWrestling wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.







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