Case Files - The Joker

Posted by MrUnknown (1727 posts) - - Show Bio

There’s been a lot of focus on the DC Universe reboot over the past month or so, so much so that it seems like it’s been the only focus of attention. However despite all the attention the reboot has received, most of it has been towards the new titles and heroes starring in said titles. There has been very little focus if any at all towards the villains of the Universe.

I’d like to take this time to consider the fate of not only DC’s greatest villain nor comics’ greatest but perhaps the greatest villain in all of fiction. The Clown Prince of Crime, the Harlequin of Hate, ladies and jerks, The Joker!!

Where all the news concerning the reboot has been focused on Batman, Nightwing, Batgirl (the Bat-family), there has been no news about the character that has been most responsible for the success of the franchise. I would even boldly say that without the Joker, Batman would only be at the level of popularity of Moon Knight or Mister Terrific.

Now there’s a lot of things that could be changed with regards to the Joker but I think the less that is changed with him the better. I mean why try to fix something that doesn’t need any fixing? Well the whole DC Universe can be put in this same situation yet parts of it are getting a reboot. So let’s see what they should keep and what could possibly be improved with regards to the Joker.

For starters, I think it is best that we don’t have a certain origin for him. I wouldn’t mind writers thinking of more creative ways of how the Joker became what he is, but only if they don’t try to make it definitive. The fact that the Joker changes his origin every time he’s asked of it, refers to his own chaotic state, and whether or not he even remembers what happened. It’s not important, per se, that we know his origin, but the Joker represents that all it takes is one bad day to generally ruin a good person.

Joker’s powers stay relatively the same; they could try to get more scientific about how his venom works but they should keep him as the Joker rather than say as a martial artist or something else.

If Barbara is de-aged and the Killing Joke is still canon, it’s very likely that the Joker would have been a pedophile. I don’t have a problem with this, someone as crazy as the Joker would certainly have gotten involved in something like this some time or another. But, I don’t want this to be a common theme for him, where any writer just writes him as a pedophile. Once or twice is fine, but constantly would just harm his character and reputation.

Also, since we know that Harley Quinn would be in Suicide Squad, it's almost certain that her and the Joker would be distant. It’s possible that they may have never even met. Although this is a bit disheartening, it could be for the better. Lately with Sirens (until it did a total back flip on itself), the two were beginning to cope without each other where Harley was learning to get along without the Joker, while the Joker was doing his own stuff and having fun as Oberon Sexton.

The most important thing to consider is how serious should the Joker be? Sure he needs to be comedic and needs to make use of his iconic laughter but he also needs to be sinister enough to classify as the greatest villain in all of fiction. There needs to be a good balance, otherwise part of what makes him great will be lost. Same thing with the costume, I was thinking of recommending his black robes in Batman and Robin and him being a symbol of death in that story but his iconic look is just too nostalgic to leave behind. So for the most part, the less they change the better. But is there anything I missed that you wouldn’t mind being changed about the Joker?

#1 Posted by The Myth (597 posts) - - Show Bio

Basicly you said it 'Don't fix what ain't broke!'
#2 Posted by MisterJ (29 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think Harley is essential. Sure, she's fun, but the Joker is such a strong character that he doesn't need any sort of sidekick.

#3 Edited by Grubich (395 posts) - - Show Bio

I honestly think the Joker should be written more or less like how he's portrayed by Mark Hamil. I just haven't found any comic version (except the killing joke version) that remotely resembles that. Don't get me wrong, I just think his latest versions aren't as funny, theatrical, or as dangerous as he used to be.

#4 Posted by Mr.Q (1050 posts) - - Show Bio
considering it's popularity and the whole 'darker and edgier' thing they want to do he will most likely be the Heath Ledger version. only without the charm. which as much as I like the film, I'm getting tired of it. it worked in that one movie and it should stay that way. if it ain't broke, don't fix it. but it seems to me that the powers that be, across the board, are set on fixing everything until it breaks.
#5 Edited by MrUnknown (1727 posts) - - Show Bio
@Grubich: I think he's been written serious with writers like Grant Morrison but I agree about funny and theatrical! It's too bad that Paul Dini so far doesn't have any part in the DC reboot because the Joker he's writing in Arkham City feels a lot like Mark Hamil's.
@Mr.Q: Well said and I agree with you regarding how Heath Ledger's Joker is starting to get tiresome.
#6 Posted by VaizD (256 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the Joker is absolutely fine the way he is right now, especially the Scott Snyder or Grant Morrison varieties. Just because the relaunch is happening doesn't mean every character is going to get a dramatic once-over. That would be like making Batman come from Bolivia.

#7 Posted by RazzaTazz (11939 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the depiction in TDK is basically the epitome of the villain.  He is the immovable object to Batman's unstoppable force.  I get what you mean about not necessarily liking the Heath Ledger Joker, but really he has done a lot darker things than in the movie.  For instance killing Sarah Gordon is one of the outmost acts of villainy ever (as he kidnapped and threatened babies beforehand).  

#8 Posted by AMS (1357 posts) - - Show Bio

Does anyone remember when they where playing with the idea of making Joker an abstract, long before Emperor Joker or anything came along i'm going way back early 90's, even Bruce Timm was starting to make allusions to it in the Animated Series?

#9 Posted by CaptainCockblock (3835 posts) - - Show Bio

I think what's great about the Joker is that we don't need to argue over how he should be written or portrayed. The character is in a constant state of chaotic flux and, therefore, can be almost a completely different Clown Prince of Crime from one issue to the next with no consequence. It's that quality that has given so much free reign to creators and captivated readers over the years. Even if you don't like how he first appears in the new line of DC books, give him a month. I love Mark Hammil's portrayal, but also Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger. You can have any number of wonderful interpretations of the Joker, why must everyone subscribe to one and only one?!

#10 Posted by ghost_runner (303 posts) - - Show Bio

for some reason the idea of pedophile joker is more scary then normal joker and that's really saying something. 
PS. dont like that idea, to me he always seems like he's not interested in sex, and to suddenly make him a pedophile would pervert a character that is already so sick twisted and wonderful.

#11 Posted by MrUnknown (1727 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz: @CaptainCockblock: I don't dislike the Heath Ledger portrayal. It's definitely a masterpiece in its own right but there are other equally interesting portrayals as well. For example, with Iron Man you know his best portrayal is by RDJ but with the Joker it isn't quite clear cut. Joker's character actually even allows to mix things up as one day he could be a pedophile, another a serial killer, and yet another where he might even seem sane. The only thing I have against the Heath Ledger Joker is that I don't want it be the definitive one; there's way too much creative potential with the Joker.
@ghost_runner: Not in terms of sex, but when he took those pictures of Barbara in the Killing Joke, and if Barbara is much younger than he would come across as one. I don't mind him having done such things, and considering his history he might even have already done so but I don't want it to be the first thing people think of when they think of the Joker. That would be a huge waste, disappointment and ruin.
#12 Posted by Outside_85 (11519 posts) - - Show Bio

I prefer him as he is now, because there's nothing wrong with him being malleable both in deeds, personality and origins, since it all fits his chaotic person. And it would make him predictable if he wasn't and in the end; not a match for Batman if he became predictable. 

#13 Edited by JonesDeini (3856 posts) - - Show Bio
@Grubich said: 

I honestly think the Joker should be written more or less like how he's portrayed by Mark Hamil. I just haven't found any comic version (except the killing joke version) that remotely resembles that. Don't get me wrong, I just think his latest versions aren't as funny, theatrical, or as dangerous as he used to be.

The one thing I absolutely don't want to see is them making him into Ledgers Joker (as much as I like his depiction). When I read good Joker writing I immediately hear the Hamil voice. I think Dini et al who worked on Batman TAS created the definitive Joker which drew on all the right elements which came before the show. I think it's best to leave Joker as he's been written by Moore/Morrison. Those guys really get it and if if ain't broke don't fix it. I like Deini's idea of his "Super Sanity" and how Morrison has him be "reborn" appearance to appearance. He should continue to have the relationship to Batman similar to that which was explored by Miller in DKR, Morrison's B&R,& Snyder's recent Detective run.  
I'm not feelin' your idea of the Joker being a pedophile. Killing Joke isn't about him attacking Barbara out of some sexual fixation, it's about him wanting to corrupt a man he saw as pure, destroying the beliefs of others which he saw as lies. Injuring her was a means to an end not an end. Also, he's never shown to have sexually assaulted her plus the Joker's always been an asexual entity, I truly believe that the only time he feels some form of sexual gratification/desire is when it comes to Batman. Likewise for Bane, but that's a whole other conversation I won't delve into here. It's not that villains being pedophiles bugs me so much as it not fitting the Joker. Now Mad Hatter, yeah, totally down with that character trait being integral to his character.  
#14 Posted by Harlekin (723 posts) - - Show Bio

Off topic but who did the art on the 2nd to last pic, really nice looking.

#15 Posted by MrUnknown (1727 posts) - - Show Bio
@JonesDeini: In the Killing Joke when he took those pictures of Barbara and if she was 14 or something then it would be considered as pedophilia, I think. I agree that it would definitely suit the Mad Hatter!
@Harlekin: Yes it is awesome isn't it? It's fanart though I can't make out the signature on the left side of Joker's coat.
#16 Posted by Harlekin (723 posts) - - Show Bio
@MrUnknown: After going through many adult themed pieces of fan art I did some searches and found out his name is Adam Law who looks very talented just by looking at his DeviantArt account.
#17 Posted by JonesDeini (3856 posts) - - Show Bio
Yeah I get what you're saying, but the pics were to screw with Gordon, not for sexual gratification. If they retconned it to make it so, I think that'd be wrong and disrespectful to Moore's story. I know they'll have to make changes so it fit this new timeline but, adding that element to the story improves it in no way to me. I'm all for the Joker doin' horrific things, but him being a pedophile just seems like a cheap shock tactic to me. I hate when writers use sexual assault or deviancy to make a villain seem more evil/threatening.  
What I am interested in seeing is them explore the Joker as an immortal/abstract personification of chaos. That's something I think some of the best writers have explored in some form or another without outright stating so.   
#18 Posted by AmoralBatman (38 posts) - - Show Bio

I really hope there's still a connection between the Joker and Harley. However I not sure about the paedophile bit, Joker's never been known to have any sexual desires so it's not entirely accurate to label him as a paedophile simply because he took photos of Barbara to freak the sh&t outta Gordon. Personally they should just forget about that bit and focus on his unpredictable nature. 
Also I'd like to see some really intelligent plans come out of him. I don't mean Riddler-esk plans but I want to see layered plans where he tests Batman's brain not jsut his nerve. =)

#19 Posted by Rudyftw (996 posts) - - Show Bio
@MisterJ said:
I don't think Harley is essential. Sure, she's fun, but the Joker is such a strong character that he doesn't need any sort of sidekick.
Shes more than a sidekick; shes like his abusive play thing. I think she adds so much character to Joker.

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