JOKER: The Clown Prince of Crime

JOKER: The Clown Prince of Crime JOKER: The Clown Prince of Crime

Kid... I'm the JOKER. I don't just randomly kill people. I kill people when it's funny. What would be conceivably funny about killing you? --JOKER

Feature Opinion
By PollMaster - May 20, 2011 03:05 PM EST
Filed Under: DC Comics
Source: DCMU

Who is the JOKER?
The JOKER is an agent of chaos known for his purple three-piece suit and insidious smile, he has caused Batman more suffering than any other villain he has ever faced. His origin and true motivations are shrouded in mystery.

The JOKER is a serial killer and a super-villain, a dangerous madman who dresses like a clown and commits violent crimes. In addition to being a deadly and unpredictable physical combatant, he is a brilliant and ruthless criminal mastermind. His crimes require no motivation other than his sadistic desire to show people the meaninglessness of life through pain and death, and the narcissism to see the world remade in his own image. He is constantly adapting his personality and his psychosis to respond to the world around him, sometimes a harmless trickster and at others a brutal mass-murderer. The JOKER was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, first appearing in Batman #1. (1940)
JOKER's first appearance:

JOKER's look was based on Gwynplaine, a character from the 1928 silent film, The Man Who Laughs. He was played by German actor Conrad Veidt.

It will take a decade later before we get an origin tale for the JOKER. In his origin it was revealed that the JOKER started his criminal career as the man known as Red Hood, but little is known prior to that.

By the 1970s, the JOKER had become pretty much toothless. In part due to the effect of the 1966 TV show on the comics, the JOKER was no longer an insane figure of fear and menace, but rather an outlandish buffoon out to carry out larger-than-life spectacles of crime.

But by 1973 the JOKER returned to his roots as a homicidal maniac who murders people on a whim, while enjoying battles of wits with Batman. This is the time we see his "greatests hits": the crippling of Batgirl, Barbara Gordon and the fatal beating of the 2nd Robin, Jason Todd.
In the "Killing Joke" - JOKER shot Barbara, hitting her spine and making her wheelchair bound

In "Death in the Family" - The JOKER murdered Jason Todd

Emperor Joker

In a guess stint at Superman comics, the JOKER stole technology belonging to Mr. Mxyzptlk which could distort reality. With his new found powers, he depopulated China and killed Lex Luthor over and over again for his own personal entertainment. He also killed Batman every day in order to bring him back and do it over again. He eventually was defeated by Superman.

In Batman #655 the JOKER was shot in the face by a deranged police officer who was impersonating Batman. This left JOKER disabled for a time.

The JOKER did return, to wreak havoc many more times. And in one of this times, he went under the guise of British journalist/detective Oberon Sexton, and at the same time he operated as the Domino Killer.


The JOKER - Giving you one more reason to fear Clowns

Cesar Romero
Cesar Romero portrays the character in the 1960s Batman television series. The JOKER of this series is characterized by a cackling laugh and comedy-themed crimes.

Jack Nicholson
In the 1989 film Batman, the JOKER was played by Jack Nicholson. In the film, the character is a psychopathic gangster named Jack Napier, the right-hand man of crime boss Carl Grissom. Napier is disfigured during a confrontation with Batman in a chemical factory; he is shot in the face by a ricochet from his own pistol, which severs the nerves in his face muscles, before falling into a vat of chemicals. Although there are many versions of the JOKER's origins, the filmmakers decided to use one loosely resembling the origin established in the 1988 graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke. The chemicals bleach his skin and turn his hair green and lips red. His trademark grin is the result of botched plastic surgery in the immediate aftermath of the accident.

Curtis Armstrong
During the OnStar "Batman" ad campaign, the JOKER appears in one commercial, played by Curtis Armstrong.

Roger Stoneburner
JOKER made a cameo in the TV series Birds of Prey, he was played by Roger Stoneburner with Mark Hamill voicing the character.

Heath Ledger
In the 2008 film The Dark Knight, the JOKER is portrayed by Heath Ledger. Ledger played the character as a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy." In this film, he is a bank robber targeting Mafia-owned banks, whom Gotham's crime families reluctantly hire to kill Batman after he brazenly offers them his services. It is gradually revealed that he desires to upset social order through crime, and that he defines himself by his battle with Batman.

Note: Due to the nature of comicbooks being an on-going tale, the character's powers along with his appearance, is in a constant state of flux.

The JOKER possesses no known superhuman powers.

Though some state he has adapted certain beyond average endurances due to his original chemical submergence. The following are such noted enhancements:

Pain Resistance: It is speculated that the JOKER's exposure to chemicals may have heightened his resistance to pain. It is also implied that he is masochistic in nature, and thus enjoys any pain received, making it an ineffective way of dealing with him.

Tainted Blood: JOKER's blood is tainted. It has been said that "being an avid consumer of his products, JOKER's immunity to poisons has been built up over years of dedicated abuse.

Enhanced Intellect: Due to his chemical submergence.

Cheating Death: The JOKER has cheated death numerous times, even in seemingly inescapable and lethal situations. He has been, among other things, caught in explosions, electrocuted, shot repeatedly (including point-blank in the face by a corrupt police officer masquerading as Batman), and dropped from great heights, but he always returns to once again wreak havoc.

"Comic Awareness": The JOKER has, at times, shown to be fully aware of being a comic book character, even directly talking to the reader. However, most characters ignore this, due to the fact that he is criminally insane.

AbilitiesInventive Skill: The JOKER commits crimes with countless "comedic" weapons (such as razor-sharp playing cards, acid-spewing flowers, cyanide pies, and lethally electric joy buzzers) and JOKER venom.

Genius-level Intellect: The JOKER is also very skilled in the fields of chemistry, genetics, and nuclear engineering. He also seems capable of mastering whatever he puts his twisted mind to when he wants to.

Skilled Combatant: Although he pales in comparison to any real fighter like those of the Batman Family, the JOKER has frequently proven himself to be an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. While apparently of frail body, his ability to withstand seemingly any amount of pain, and the agility granted him by his insanity and willpower makes him a fearsome physical foe. He fights nearly completely unpredictably, and always has tricks up his sleeves for if he's losing.

Sources: : : : : :

This is the 66th article in my Know Your CBM Character series. Any requests and suggestions for an article for this series write it down in the comment section BELOW.

Build up your GEEKCREDS by answering this:

Message to the CBM community:To those who are making requests, check first [here] because I might have done an article on the character already. If I have not please be patient, I will get on it as soon as possible (but consider the fact that I spend hours writing one of these articles). Try to limit your request to characters that already have been adapted to live media, so that the feature will at least be relevant to the site – Comic Book Movie(though I include TV characters). Characters in Manga or Anime’, I am not particularly familiar of, I am not discounting these characters but it will probably take some time before I write a feature on them because I have to read up on these characters. Thank you for reading these articles! If there are errors on the feature article above, blame it on my age, humanity and ignorance. Just be sure to check the comment section for the corrections, any error I made will surely be pointed out and corrected by much bigger geeks (because there will always be a bigger geek out there). -This has been PollMaster inviting you to the geekside. MABUHAY CBM and Godspeed!


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RadicalDuck - 5/20/2011, 3:55 PM
Great article PollMaster! :-)
TayDee - 5/20/2011, 3:57 PM
I thought you already did one on the Joker. Eh I guess not
TayDee - 5/20/2011, 3:57 PM
And what do you call that joker-loki creature?
nuck82 - 5/20/2011, 4:02 PM
id say more of the king, then prince. but yes he is one of the best
Blackmatter - 5/20/2011, 4:02 PM
This town needs an enema!!
sound217 - 5/20/2011, 4:05 PM
Didn't like Heath Ledger's Joker, he wasn't funny.
vermillion - 5/20/2011, 4:15 PM
That Joki picture is amazing!

Good article.

nuck82 - 5/20/2011, 4:20 PM
@kc the magic trick he did with the pencil cracked me up lol, but yeah he needed to be alittle more funny
ElColmillo - 5/20/2011, 4:26 PM
I must be weird, but i find Ledger's Joker funny.

Anyways, best villain ever, IMO
ElColmillo - 5/20/2011, 4:26 PM
I must be weird, but i find Ledger's Joker funny.

Anyways, best villain ever, IMO
Winthrop281 - 5/20/2011, 4:26 PM
Froggy that is a really cool pic
awesome article even though I'm terrified of clowns
Blackmatter - 5/20/2011, 4:29 PM
Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!
Gotta love the Joker,,Definitely a top 5 or 10 CB villian
reverendjonnynemo - 5/20/2011, 4:48 PM
I think Andrew Koenig deserves honorable mention for his short stint as The Joker in Sandy Collora's "Batman: Dead End".

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GrayFox1025 - 5/20/2011, 5:02 PM
Mark Hamil will ALWAYS be THE Joker and is by far the best, much like Kevin Conroy will ALWAYS be Batman
reverendjonnynemo - 5/20/2011, 5:14 PM

wow - you're totally right. I can't believe hes not on the list. Come to think of it, they're missing a couple:

- Jeff Bennett - ("Brave and the Bold")
- John DiMaggio - ("Under the Red Hood")
- Kevin Michael Richardson - ("The Batman")
... just to name a couple.

I realize there weren't any animated references, but Hamill set the defining portrait of the guy in the 90's/ 00's

Wizard Magazine called the Conroy/ Hamill pairing "...the definitive characterizations of two of the most recognizable icons in comic book lore."
Freshkicks1212 - 5/20/2011, 5:27 PM
Mark Hamil THE BEST JOKER PERIOD!!!...It would be so nice if he just reprized his role in Young Justice
SageMode - 5/20/2011, 5:59 PM
That Batman Dead End was pretty good.
Blackmatter - 5/20/2011, 6:52 PM
xizorkatarn - 5/20/2011, 6:56 PM
I agree with GrayFox and Freshkicks, Mark Hamill will always be THE Joker for me. Heath was great at Nolan's concept of the Joker, but when it comes to the source material itself, the Force was strong with Mark Hamill.
superbatspiderman - 5/20/2011, 7:09 PM
The Joker is by far one of the greatest villains ever. I think that Mark Hamill is the Joker whenever I read a comic book I imagine Mark Hamill voicing him. Might I ask you to do a Punisher article that would be awesome?
Blackmatter - 5/20/2011, 7:41 PM
One of the greatest ever, but this guy has to #1...
LOL - 5/20/2011, 8:10 PM
sheesh, Poll you forgot Mark Hamill as the animated Joker. You should really include some animated works - especially the comic book animated movies. This site does provide news to comic book animated movies too from time to time and are considered part of CBM regardless of not being live action. Some of the bios/wiki would be better (and longer) when you add those in.
supersalt32 - 5/20/2011, 8:52 PM
Great article! I really wish they'd give us an origin for the guy!

Do Steel next PLEASE!!!!
JohnTom88 - 5/20/2011, 10:04 PM
Darth Vader was inspired by Dr Doom
Peteyparker - 5/21/2011, 1:54 AM
Um......have u done a Spidey article already becuz kinda hurts the Spider doesn't get a shout out....:(
reverendjonnynemo - 5/21/2011, 2:54 AM

They did:

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The man who will become the Joker, an unnamed engineer, quits his job at a chemical company to become a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperate to support his pregnant wife Jeannie, he agrees to guide two criminals through the plant so that they can rob the card company next door. During the planning, the police inform him that his wife has died in a household accident. Grief-stricken, the engineer tries to withdraw from the plan, but the criminals strong-arm him into keeping his commitment to them.

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At the plant, the criminals make him don a special mask to become the infamous Red Hood. Unknown to the engineer, the criminals plan to use this disguise to implicate any accomplice as the mastermind and to divert attention from themselves. Once inside, they almost immediately blunder into security personnel, and a shootout ensues. The criminals are gunned down and the engineer finds himself confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance.

Terrified, the engineer jumps into the chemical plant's waste pound lock to escape Batman, and is swept through a pipe leading to the outside. Once outside, he discovers, to his horror, that the chemicals have permanently bleached his skin chalk white, stained his lips ruby red and dyed his hair bright green. This revelation, compounding the man's misfortunes of that one day, drives him completely insane and marks the birth of the Joker.

Ichaos - 5/21/2011, 3:32 AM
Darth Vader might have been inspired by Doctor Doom but Doctor Doom in the live action Fantastic 4 movies was inspired by a dooshy baggy
Ichaos - 5/21/2011, 3:35 AM
Mark Hammil also did a great live action Trickster in the old Flash tv series
DetBullock - 5/21/2011, 3:41 AM
@Ichaos: Yes, that's where it all started, they chose him for voicing the Joker because of that performance, one of the best casting choices ever.
BigMas1979 - 5/21/2011, 8:08 AM
imo jack is the best joker ever
TheSecretAvenger - 5/21/2011, 1:24 PM
Best comicbook villain.
Edwin415 - 5/21/2011, 10:49 PM
Mark Hamil is the Joker
darkclarkent - 5/22/2011, 11:14 AM
Best Villain EVER.
IndigoDevil - 6/13/2011, 6:39 PM
JackDexx - 7/16/2011, 12:35 AM
i love how they play off each other. they wouldn't be as good separate. it's like...they were made for each other.
watchbatman - 9/21/2011, 1:57 PM
Hey, Pollmaster, your "here" link isn't working anymore. Where can we check now? Otherwise, great article, as usual.
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