Is the Joker cursing out of character?

#1 Posted by SupBatz (1727 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sure most people have read Snyder's Batman 17 by now. If you have, you likely recall that a large portion of the issue dealt with Joker taunting Batman as he worked his way through Arkham Asylum. The issue felt a lot like a giant monologue on the Joker's part (one which I enjoyed and think Snyder handled rather well). However, at the very end of the issue (literally the last panel before the bakup begins), the Joker tells Batman to "Sit [his] *%^ down!"

This actually bothered me a lot. I felt as though the Joker's entire game of cat and mouse with Batman and his skillful manipulation of all of the elements was sort of ruined by this ending. Maybe it's just the fact that the profanity appearing blocked out by symbols appears ridiculous. Or maybe it's just that I feel Joker is above the need for typical swearing to get his point across. Or maybe there's some other reason this irked me.

But whatever the reason, I felt like I was being shown a cliched unstable sociopath rather than the Joker we all know and love (to fear).

And if I recall correctly, this is not the first time Snyder has had Joker use a swear word blocked out by symbols.

Am I alone in this opinion or do other people also find that this makes the Joker feel out of character? Please share.

#2 Posted by Manhunter2070 (105 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think its out of character, and given the nature of comic books swearing doesn't seem to feature much in superhero books so its hard to judge. It was hardly a strong swear word to begin with, I'm not sure it even needed to be symboled out. 

#3 Posted by ngroove (321 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker is a criminal, bad guy, bad influence, thus bad influences may speak profane obsenities, does not care whom they offend.

#4 Posted by The_Tree (7250 posts) - - Show Bio

No, you're not alone. I thought that it felt odd and out of place. Can't really put my finger on why it felt that way, but I can't recall seeing an instance where Joker has cursed before. I don't doubt that he has, though.

#5 Posted by SmashBrawler (5601 posts) - - Show Bio

I already expressed my concern with this, but the example you posted is the most mild one. I don't have any problem with Joker saying "ass", it's the other instances I have problems with.

@The_Tree said:

No, you're not alone. I thought that it felt odd and out of place. Can't really put my finger on why it felt that way, but I can't recall seeing an instance where Joker has cursed before. I don't doubt that he has, though.

Ever read Winick's Ousiders? I think that's the first time I saw him curse, but I'm not sure if it is the first time a writer has done that.

#6 Posted by KnightRise (4785 posts) - - Show Bio

Snyder wrote the script and dialogue, but wasn't responsible for the lettering.

#7 Posted by gotwillpower (679 posts) - - Show Bio

@SupBatz said:

I'm sure most people have read Snyder's Batman 17 by now.

I wish I had read Batman #17 by now. Then we could find out how Death of the Family ends!

@SupBatz said:

And if I recall correctly, this is not the first time Snyder has had Joker use a swear word blocked out by symbols.

You do recall correctly. In Batman #13 he says some curse word (although I made a thread here about it and I don't think anyone could say which it was with certainty). I thought it suited the dialogue in #13, but as much as I like Snyder's writing, I didn't like Joker saying that in #16. Like you said, Joker was talking normally up to that point, and then he suddenly reverted to uncharacteristic language. Personally, I like Paul Dini's Joker most (especially in the animated series), so while swearing might fit a psychopathic killer, I don't find it suitable for the Joker. Although he is a psychopath, he is at a higher evolution of psycho than your average mental asylum inmate.

#8 Edited by Ultimate_Riddler (289 posts) - - Show Bio
#9 Posted by SupBatz (1727 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ultimate_Riddler said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiQix9Qfejo

At 0:24

He doesn't cuss like a sailor, but he cusses.

Fair enough. Though this one doesn't bother me as much because it feels more like typical video game background noise to keep the player on track and to set atmosphere. But still, you're right, he does swear mildly. Still don't feel it's completely in-character for him though.

@Manhunter2070 said:

I don't think its out of character, and given the nature of comic books swearing doesn't seem to feature much in superhero books so its hard to judge. It was hardly a strong swear word to begin with, I'm not sure it even needed to be symboled out.

@ngroove said:

Joker is a criminal, bad guy, bad influence, thus bad influences may speak profane obsenities, does not care whom they offend.

It's not so much the "offending" part that annoys me. I just feel like it's beneath him. Joker is all about being amazing with manipulation and misdirection. Batman 17's backup, for example, demonstrates this rather well by the way that Joker basically tears Two-Face apart with his words. Throwing in the swears feels like something I might hear from a typical psychopath and it feels like it takes away from some of Joker's more extraordinary dialogue. I don't care in the slightest if it's Two-Face, or Penguin, or some other rogue. Just Joker irks me.@gotwillpower said:

@SupBatz said:

I'm sure most people have read Snyder's Batman 17 by now.

I wish I had read Batman #17 by now. Then we could find out how Death of the Family ends!

@SupBatz said:

And if I recall correctly, this is not the first time Snyder has had Joker use a swear word blocked out by symbols.

You do recall correctly. In Batman #13 he says some curse word (although I made a thread here about it and I don't think anyone could say which it was with certainty). I thought it suited the dialogue in #13, but as much as I like Snyder's writing, I didn't like Joker saying that in #16. Like you said, Joker was talking normally up to that point, and then he suddenly reverted to uncharacteristic language. Personally, I like Paul Dini's Joker most (especially in the animated series), so while swearing might fit a psychopathic killer, I don't find it suitable for the Joker. Although he is a psychopath, he is at a higher evolution of psycho than your average mental asylum inmate.

Batman 16, my mistake. Thanks for the correction ^^'. And I especially agree with you that Joker comes off as some sort of "higher evolution of psycho" which makes random reverting to uncharacteristic language seem odd to me.

#10 Edited by Saren (25571 posts) - - Show Bio

The thing about a character like the Joker is that there are very few things that could definitively be said to be out of character for him.

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#11 Posted by NewComicGuy (130 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought it worked fine for me. It wasn't over the top and in fact, unlike a lot of profanity we get in movies and books today, it came at the right time to have an impact. There's a place where cursing(and like someone said, this was about as light as you could get) has its place because it gets the point across. I thought this was one of those times and it worked.

#12 Posted by dondave (35990 posts) - - Show Bio

Didn't mind

#13 Posted by ImmortalT1000 (3170 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought the ending was ok, but

I've seen better.

#14 Edited by Ultimate_Riddler (289 posts) - - Show Bio

@SupBatz:

What I'm about to say is not a definite, just a theory. Because of Mark Hamill's portrayal in the animated stories and animated movies, Joker cussing seems out of character since he never cussed in those instances. I can't even recall when Joker cursed in Tim Burton's or Nolan's flicks. Then again, lots of things don't get said or shown in a cartoon. Like people having intercourse, cussing, and gory violence - things we know happen in the real world. Like I said, this is more a theory than anything else, but it could just be nostalgia from the animated series that's making his cussing seem odd to you. What do you think?

#15 Posted by SupBatz (1727 posts) - - Show Bio

@Ultimate_Riddler: Admittedly, it's a possibility. TAS was my first exposure to the Joker. But since then I have read a fair share of Joker stories. Maybe it is just that I'm unused to hearing him swear. I just feel like he's usually so skilled at getting his point across in an intelligeble way without need for simple cursing. Either way, it's more of just a peeve than an actual bother.

#16 Posted by JohnnyGat (1562 posts) - - Show Bio

Way I see it if he conforms to a single mode of style of speech he loses that sense of a chaotic mind to him. The fact that it got you out of nowhere strengthens that this cursing that's out of character is in character. Meaning that Joker being out of character is him actually being in character to an extent.

#17 Posted by Reignmaker (2235 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker swearing feels pretty natural to me.

#18 Posted by Ultimate_Riddler (289 posts) - - Show Bio

@JohnnyGat said:

Way I see it if he conforms to a single mode of style of speech he loses that sense of a chaotic mind to him. The fact that it got you out of nowhere strengthens that this cursing that's out of character is in character. Meaning that Joker being out of character is him actually being in character to an extent.

This. I have studied Joker extensively in the last couple of years and I have come to this conclusion about him. True, it's really just different writers giving different interpretations of him, but the changes have been so drastic that it became a character trait in and of itself.

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