We know him as the Killing Joke, Master of Laughs, Crown Prince of Crimes, and no we’re not talking about Ronald McDonald.
The Joker is one of, if not the, most recognizable Super villain on the planet. This iconic character has been played by great actors since his inception into media.
This notably includes Jack Nicholson, the late and great (incomparable in my opinion) Heath Ledger, and now Joaquin Phoenix! The Joker archenemies are as grandeur as he, and his crimes are his calling card long before he steps into the picture. So, to a man who needs no further introduction, this comic book spotlight is on the man with the red smile.
Name: Is a bit tricky as DC has kept the true man behind the Red Hood a bit of a secret. However, WB and DC have recently approved the name Jack Napier into the comic book canon as the Joker’s original name. This is the name used in Tim Burton’s version of Batman, so it seems we’ve known his true name all along.
Origin: In true comic book fashion, the origin story of the Joker seems to differ as we’ve heard several origin stories (3 from The Dark Knight alone) and will be receiving another new origin story in the upcoming Joker 2019 film.
However, one thing that has always been agreed upon is that the Joker came into contact with a harsh chemical from the Ace Chemical plant. In one version Joker is a simple lab worker who decides to steal from the chemical plant, and during his escape dove into the chemical waste that changed his features.
In the Killing Joke, he leaves his job at Ace Chemical to become a comedian at his pregnant wife insistence. But as he fails at a life in comedy, he turns to crime to pay the bills, and then tragedy strikes. He loses his wife, his heist is stopped by Batman, and dives into a lake with the chemical waste that again turns his features into the iconic green and white combo we know today.
Powers: Is also a bit debatable but Joker apparently, he is a mad genius and that’s literally. Everyone knows the Joker can be a bit off his rocker but those forget he is a master chemist, and in turn he conducted so many experiments on himself he is immune to all toxins.
His weapons also give him great strength, such as his Joker venom, not to be confused with Joker gas, and his throw cards. While all of these slice through his victims, the last powerful thing about Joker is that he is basically immune to all pain which after soaking in a vat of acid is understandable. But, more than that he’s…immortal?
In the Dark Knight #52 Scott Snyder has played around with this idea dating it back to Death of the Family. The Joker is one of three people who also survived an encounter with a meteorite gave him immortality. Talk about bad news bear. However, seeing as how the Joker is pretty much every DC’s hero worst nightmare it would make sense DC would make him the ‘gift that keeps on giving’.
Interesting Facts: #1 The Joker is…Monogamous: Or he expects that of his archenemies that is! Apparently, the Joker hates Dick Grayson more than anything on earth, and that’s saying something for a maniac such as he. The Joker likes it when only he and Batman would go toe to toe in the past and feels like Dick Grayson has weakened the caped crusader. None the less, the Joker has never succeeded murdering Robin but three times a charm.
#2: He was a Saber- Tooth Tiger: There was an odd moment in time for comics especially during the Death of Superman era when it almost bankrupts the entire industry. So, what do you do when your chips are down, and got everything to lose? Well both Marvel and DC took to morphing their heroes with other heroes, villains, beings – whatever was in their arsenal. The result of this is The Joker being morphed with Marvel villain Saber Tooth turning him into a Hyena. But of course, the Hyena was still the villain to Dark Claw who was Batman combined with Wolverine. Stranger things!
#3: He and Harley were Nuclear Family: You know that classic scene in Suicide Squad where Harley dreams of having the Joker’ baby (what lucky gal wouldn’t…), well apparently in the comic books that partially canon. In a multiverse – Injustice: Gods Among Us, Harley reveals to Black Canary that she indeed did have a baby by the Joker. However, she sent the child to live with her sister (who knew!). Then in another issue a woman named Duela Dent became The Jokers’ Daughter, although she isn’t biologically related, she does have his looks!
#4: He had Doctor Strange’s Power! Although this wasn’t in a crossover issue, there is a similar character in the DC universe that holds the same bending reality function Strange magic does. In true Joker fashion, he tricked Mr. Mxyzptlk into giving him the ability to bend the universe to his will. The Immortal Joker, sought to turn everything on its head as he ruled the world, turned the JL into Villains, and kept Batman in torturous mindset forever.
The fascinating bits behind the Joker can continue on forever and forever as the Clown Prince tries to outdo himself every time he arrives on a page, or on a big screen. His adversaries have to be just as crafty as he is in order to defeat him which brings to mind one hero who is as crafty as the rest of them.
To get the comic book spotlight out of the clutches of evil, it’s time to hop back into the Marvel universe and walk on the brighter side. Look out for next week’s Comic Book spotlight to feature