Joker's Origin; How much of it should be explained?

#1 Posted by Dracade102 (8167 posts) - - Show Bio

So this question's been festering in my head recently... After the Joker's accident with the chemicals, and he washed up miraculously alive and mentally broken, how did he become the criminally insane mastermind that he is? Did anything from his past have any fallout? Was his memory just wiped clean or distorted beyond his ability to decipher? What made him so special and not just some lunatic giggling in the corner of a cell at Arkham? Where did his criminal career start out that put him at Batman's level after the circumstances that made him the way he was?

Has any of this ever been explained in detail, besides maybe his very first appearance?

#2 Posted by TheCrowbar (4286 posts) - - Show Bio

None of it. Nothing about the Joker's past and skills should be answered. He's a chaotic being, keep him that way.

#3 Posted by Kal'smahboi (3519 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker's origins has been told many times and none of them have ever been confirmed as true. I like that we may never know where he came from. It's one of the many things that Nolan got right in The Dark Knight.

#4 Posted by JonSmith (3996 posts) - - Show Bio

The most canonical source comes from the Killing Joke, where it's explained that the Joker was a bad stand up comedian. Wasn't making much, if any, money. His girlfriend verbally abused him day in and day out, and otherwise made him miserable. He loved her anyway. When offered a chance at some big money from a couple of gang members, all they asked was that he wear the Red Hood, an oblong glass mask that was the identity of the many individuals known as the 'Red Hood'. The night before the job, his girlfriend was in an accident and was hospitalized. The thugs were unsympathetic, and forced him to do the job anyway. They'd originally picked him because he had a cousin who worked in the chemical plant who told him the security that night would be faulty. He was wrong. Full security, but they went ahead with the job anyway. Batman showed up, the guy tried to run, Batman knocked him into the chemicals, behold the Joker.

However, even this is dubious. In the Killing Joke, Joker admitted himself that some days he remembered his past one way, sometimes another.

If he has to have a past, he'd prefer it to be multiple choice.

We'll likely never know his true origin, and frankly, that's the way it kind of should be.

#5 Posted by JohnnyWalker (821 posts) - - Show Bio

some bits and pieces here and there. but very small ones. never a whole picture. but to me it doesnt matter. hes supposed to be the opposite of batman. batman trained for years. it makes sense for joker his opposite to just appear out of nowhere no explanation.

#6 Posted by Joygirl (19984 posts) - - Show Bio

It will never be revealed. The only person that can divulge it is him -- and he's an unreliable source.

#7 Posted by Imagine_Man15 (1801 posts) - - Show Bio

I like there to be multiple stories, none of them ever confirmed, only fragments of each true. It really fits the character, IMO

#8 Posted by JokerFanHAhaHA (15 posts) - - Show Bio

@JonSmith:

...Did we read the same Graphic Novel? Seriously, almost everything you said was wrong.

His girlfriend loved him, and cheered him up when he was badmouthing HIMSELF, she never verbally abused him in that book, and I have NO idea where you're getting that.

His girlfriend wasn't hospitilised.. she was killed, electricuted by a faulty electronic (pretty sure it was a toaster, but I'm not 100% on that detail)

He didn't have a cousin who worked for the chemical company, HE used to work for the chemical company, thats why he knew the security and the codes.

And finally, Batman didn't even knock him in. The poor guy was trying to explain that he wasn't THE Red Hood, trying to get the helmet off while backing away, he tripped, and fell into the vat.

#9 Edited by JonSmith (3996 posts) - - Show Bio

@JokerFanHAhaHA said:

@JonSmith:

...Did we read the same Graphic Novel? Seriously, almost everything you said was wrong.

His girlfriend loved him, and cheered him up when he was badmouthing HIMSELF, she never verbally abused him in that book, and I have NO idea where you're getting that.

His girlfriend wasn't hospitilised.. she was killed, electricuted by a faulty electronic (pretty sure it was a toaster, but I'm not 100% on that detail)

He didn't have a cousin who worked for the chemical company, HE used to work for the chemical company, thats why he knew the security and the codes.

And finally, Batman didn't even knock him in. The poor guy was trying to explain that he wasn't THE Red Hood, trying to get the helmet off while backing away, he tripped, and fell into the vat.

We definitely read the same graphic novel, but it's been like five years since I read it, if not more, so it appears I got quite a few of the details wrong. My bad.

I recalled verbal abuse causing him to be miserable. I assumed it was from the girlfriend.

I recalled her getting injured, but was unsure of the severity of the wounds.

I'M not even sure how I got a cousin mixed in there.

Again, misremembered the details on the chase. Like I said, it's been a few years since I read it. Thanks for setting the record straight in place of my faulty memory.

#10 Edited by TheJokerha (161 posts) - - Show Bio

@JonSmith: This is sort of cool. What happened is you combined elements from three different telling of his origin. I think the version with his cousin Melvin was in a Legends of The Dark Knight annual. The horribly abusive girlfriend was in an issue of DC Showcase. They also showed his childhood in "It's Joker Time !" mini series. His mom and step dad were absolute monsters in that version. Maybe you were remembering that one.

But in The Killing Joke he did have a loving, caring wife who was pregnant. As an extra twist of the knife, she was killed while trying out a baby bottle warmer. It's faulty electronic electrocuted her and the unborn child, adding extra tragedy.

Years later, he retold the story to Penguin and Riddler during one of the Hush story lines. As he staggered home from the the failed robbery, newly minted in his Joker form, he saw his apartment on fire and the stretcher with his wife on it. But a corrupt cop had killed her for some reason and Riddler had seen it. So he was offering Joker the cops name in exchange for killing Hush. But as far as I know that storyline never went any where. They just sort of dropped it.

But Joker would be proud that you combined different versions of his shadowed and mysterious origin. As was quoted before "Sometime I remember it one way, sometimes another. If I've got to have a past I prefer it be multiple choice! Hahahaha!"

#11 Posted by Crash_Recovery (850 posts) - - Show Bio

Everything that needs to be said about the Joker's origin has already been explain. "The Killing Joke" doesn't really leave much to the wanting. He was a failing comedian with a pregnant wife who, in desperation, turned to crime. Failed robbery + Chemical vat = Twisted Perspective on Life

The Joker is a character perpetually evolving and moving forward, there's not really a reason to go back and revisit where he came from since it's not really relevant to who he is now.

#12 Posted by carcharodon (7 posts) - - Show Bio

None of his past should be explained. The whole vat of chemicals thing hasn't even been confirmed to be true, though it is in most of the "origin" stories that have been told. They should leave his past a mystery. It makes him all the more creepy.

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