Off My Mind: Does the Joker Know Batman's Secret Identity?

  • 95 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by G-Man (29481 posts) - - Show Bio

There is no questioning the fact that the Joker is Batman's greatest enemy. Many say they are opposite sides of the same coin and others say they are actually more alike than either would care to admit. The Joker is Batman's deadliest villain and he's shown many times he won't hesitate to get nasty and make personal attacks against anyone that gets in his way.

Batman has tried to contain the dangers of fighting evil. Despite his many times being reluctant to allow others to stand by his side in the fight, there are many individuals that are part of the Bat Family. Their greatest weakness could be the danger of their secret identities getting revealed. This would allow their enemies to attack and catch them off guard.

The Joker's sanity is often called into question but his times of goofiness are by no means an indication that he is not intelligent. What does it mean when Batman's greatest enemy might be aware of his greatest secret along with the identities of those closest to him?

== TEASER ==

Jason Todd

Minor spoiler here. Starting with Jason, we saw in last week's RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #0 that Joker claims to have had a hand in creating the second Robin for Batman.

First of all, this account came directly from Joker so we know there might be some credibility issues with that fact alone. It does offer a conflicting view as to how much he knows about Jason and Bruce.

The idea is Joker realized that Batman needs a Robin. This must have been after Dick left to become Nightwing. Joker was in a situation where he was observing Jason's dad get a bullet removed with Jason tagging along.

When Joker selected Jason as the target of his molding, he made a point with his henchman that he didn't want to know Jason or his father's name.

Despite this, Joker apparently was able to manipulate Jason's life. He was able to observe Jason's dad get arrested, which means he knew where he lived. He dumped Jason's beaten body at Leslie Thompkins' clinic, somehow knowing she had a tie to Batman. And he also knew that all of his actions would lead Jason down the road to becoming Batman's new partner.

It seemed that Joker didn't want to know who Jason was or who the next Robin would be. But if he knew about the connections and followed his own trail of Jason moving in with Bruce and then Batman gaining a new Robin, it'd be all right there in front of him.

Batman

Batman is the big one. During BATMAN: R.I.P., there was a lot of people running around that knew Batman's identity. Bruce Wayne's girlfriend, Jezebel Jet, a famous model, was apparently kidnapped by the Black Glove. As she was being held "captive," Batman removed his makeshift mask as Jezebel was screaming out "Bruce!"

Joker was standing right behind Batman. Joker has had contact with Bruce Wayne before. Even if he didn't care about the romantic liaisons of Gotham's wealthy, he would have to put together that "Bruce" was billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.

Nightwing

Does Joker also know Dick Grayson's identity? First of all, as Nightwing, wearing a teeny tiny mask may not be the best means to conceal a secret identity. Also during R.I.P., Dick was captured by Black Glove and his little mask was removed. Joker was wandering around during all of this. Dick Grayson is also a prominent member of Gotham's elite. Of course if Joker knows Bruce, he could easily know Dick's relationship to him.

Batgirl

What about Barbara Gordon? We all know that when Joker shot her, he wasn't targeting her. He did it as a way to try to make Jim Gordon crazy. In the pre-New 52, Barbara stopped being Batgirl and retired before she was shot. In the post-New 52, that may not be the case. Since we're looking at a shorter time frame, she could have still been active as Batgirl and forced to retire when she was paralyzed. This along with her hair color and having a crime-fighting father could make reason for the lack of Batgirl running around obvious (no pun intended).

Joker Doesn't Care?

Joker isn't necessarily the most stable individual. Perhaps his greatest joy is in fighting Batman. These aren't the only instances where it appeared that Joker might know more than he lets on. The big argument could be made that he just doesn't care who Batman is under his mask. The game he's playing is against Batman, now the mild mannered individual underneath. This many not necessarily mean innocents associated with his target are safe as we saw Joker use the fact that he knew where Gordon lived and attacked Barbara to get to him. Why wouldn't Joker do the same to anyone close to Batman?

It may not make sense but when we're talking about the Joker and his reasons for doing what he does, there's just no way to make sense of it all.

Tony Guerrero is the Editor-in-Chief of Comic Vine. You can follow him on Twitter @GManFromHeck. He tries to makes sure certain enemies don't know all of his secrets.

Staff
#1 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

I hate how they draw the joker buff.He's usally portrayed as very lanky.

#2 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29332 posts) - - Show Bio

One of the upcoming Batman covers has Alfred on a monitor that Joker's watching, among others.

So it's safe to assume that he knows.

#3 Posted by Batmarcus (103 posts) - - Show Bio

I honestly think he knows and really just does not care. He is insane, but not stupid by any means. As I said he knows he just does not care as long as Batman and the others are around for him to 'play' with he's happy.

#4 Posted by Antarktischer_Ureinwohner (65 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's pretty clear that Joker knows what's going on, I mean seriously... from all the times Joker and Batman fought each other it's nearly impossible to not notice that Bruce Wayne is Batman. And even if he did not know about the other members of the "bat-family" before he "discovered" who batman is, he can easily find it out after. So I believe Joker just doesn't give a damn about the man behind the mask, Bruce Wayne, or anyone else, just isn't interesting enough for Joker, he needs someone who can counterpart him, and that's Batman not Bruce.

#5 Posted by Malonius (881 posts) - - Show Bio

Applying real life intelligence, it wouldn't take much effort at all to figure out that Batman at least was funded and equipped by Wayne Enterprises.

#6 Posted by Outside_85 (7173 posts) - - Show Bio

Usually I would say he doesnt care who is under the cape and cowl, it's Batman he wants, not the guy underneath.

#7 Posted by ssejllenrad (12792 posts) - - Show Bio

I bet he does. If not, he just doesn't care.

Didn't he immediately realize that JPV wasn't Batman back in Knightquest?

#8 Posted by Soldier zero (250 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that the key point of any argument about the Joker is "does he care?"

The Joker is - without any doubt - insane, he's also very clever and perceptive. While is very likely that either he knows, or can deduce pretty easily, Batman's identity, I think doesn't want to. For the Joker the battle is with Batman, not Bruce Wayne. As rich and famous Wayne is, he's no Batman. The Bat is a symbol, a myth and this is what the Joker aims to destroy. The man behind the mask is inconsequential to him, because there will be no pathos, no drama, no theatre in destroying him, even with the whole world watching. Crushing Bats instead will be the chance of lifetime, his way to have revenge and immortality in a single moment.

#9 Posted by Dernman (14051 posts) - - Show Bio

After RHatO 0 issue I don't see how he cannot know about it.

#10 Posted by UltimateSMfan (1172 posts) - - Show Bio

@InnerVenom123 said:

One of the upcoming Batman covers has Alfred on a monitor that Joker's watching, among others.

So it's safe to assume that he knows.

yup, was also wondering if he knew leslie thompkins has such a close tie to batman,how hasnt he killed her or done something else wit her yet...unless he's just as lucky as he is crazy.

#11 Posted by Teerack (4554 posts) - - Show Bio

I hope so. I kind of like when the arch villain knows who the hero is. It's what made Norman Osborn such a great villain, until marvel got bored with him and made him an avengers villain after one more day.

#12 Posted by onilink123 (4 posts) - - Show Bio

Could it maybe be that joker does care who Bruce is but only when he wears the cowl? I'm not sure if this still counts or not but in the black mirror when dick meets the joker, even though he is wearing the cowl he has no interest in him saying "your not my bat". So perhaps joker doesn't care who Bruce or Batman are, he's only interested when Bruce is Batman.

#13 Posted by wowylied (237 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think he cares.

I mean, most of the vilains who know or knew about bruce wayne turned to either joke or super vilains with tacticool plan ti kill batman but who will always fail because the batgod is selling strong.

#14 Posted by mrdecepticonleader (16932 posts) - - Show Bio

If he does know he doesn't care.His focus is on Batman not Bruce Wayne.

#15 Posted by DonFelipe (1089 posts) - - Show Bio

Keeping in mind the number of people who actually do know Batman's real identity it would be hard to imagine the Joker didn't. Well, we'll just have to hope Scott Snyder will hang around long enough, tell us all the stories about the Batman and the Joker and no questions will be left unanswered and no stories will be left untold. In fact we don't know anything about the Jokers background and real identity. The mask just never really comes off. Not even when he's imprisoned in the Asylum. The greatest taboo in comic books: Don't take the Jokers' mask off! Maybe i just don't know the story? Jk

#16 Posted by spiderturtle (66 posts) - - Show Bio

I always thought Joker knew, and to quote everyone else, he wants the man wearing the cowl not Bruce. I think of it like, when Bruce is not Batman he acts less like Batman (playboy, billionaire, philanthropist), if Joker were to attack Bruce where would be his challenge? But when the mask comes on, it's fair game.

#17 Posted by feebadger (1337 posts) - - Show Bio

I love that the Joker knows Batmans' identity but is beyond such trivial information. It places him as a higher class of villain, working on a different level and makes him truly, truly scary as an adversary and a character.

#18 Posted by DarthShap (874 posts) - - Show Bio

He knows but he does not care. He likes to fight Batman because he feels Batman is like him. He could not care less about attacking Batman without his mask on.

#19 Posted by Doubles (9 posts) - - Show Bio

Let me throw a complete different theory out there. Expanding on the idea that he helped direct Jason Todd to become Robin - take the 1989 Tim Burton movie as a vehicle. Jack Napier, pre-Joker, killed Thomas & Martha Wayne, thus helping, in a twisted sort of way (which is the only way the Joker would operate), create Batman.

Using this theory, not only does he know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person, he even helped create him. He did it to have someone to challenge him. Thus the reason why he will never destroy him. Both Batman & the Joker rely on each other and need each other too much to ever destroy the other. You can't have peanut butter without the jelly.

#20 Posted by MooseyMcMan (136 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker don't care.

#21 Posted by Lvenger (16075 posts) - - Show Bio

Even if Joker does know who Batman is, he doesn't care. To him, Batman is more important than Bruce Wayne and fortunately for Bruce, Joker's instability means no one would take him seriously if he told anyone.

#22 Posted by XEyesonlyX (1 posts) - - Show Bio

@Batmarcus: i agree with you!

#23 Posted by FoxxFireArt (3536 posts) - - Show Bio

Hold up, Joker was standing out there when Jason Todd's father was arrested and not one of those cops noticed him? This part seems to be more of an issue of DC's rather confusing time line.

The Nightwing mask issue doesn't mean that much. Remember that this is a universe where Superman can hide his identity with a pair of glasses.

Regardless of whether he knows, They give Bruce far too many girlfriends.

When did Joker start looking like Iggy Pop?

#24 Posted by kagato (244 posts) - - Show Bio

I dont think the Joker really cares, he forms his own reality from his demented mind and to him, Batman is the real person whilst Bruce Wayne is just a disguise he wears. I think if he does know its not something he would ever act on, if he kills Bruce Wayne it gets some headlines, if he kills the Batman the world sits up and takes notice.

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

I think one of the best panels that dealt with this issue was in the Arkham asylum graphic novel. Tweedle Dee and Dumm suggested they make a Batman take of his mask to save some hostages. Joker comments that IS his face.

Joker realizes Bruce Wayne died in that ally with his parents. Only Batman came out of there alive. And its as Batman he wants to battle and defeat his obsessed foe.

And in my opinion, Joker said it best in Rogers and Englehart's run.

Joker knows and not only doesn't want to exploit the information himself, he takes deadly steps to keep others from finding out.

Why go after Batman and not the easier, faster way by killing Bruce and his family and friends unaware? Because that would end the game, and be unworthy of Joker's brilliance.

#26 Posted by thespideyguy (2582 posts) - - Show Bio

I always thought he did or should.

#27 Posted by SlamAdams (172 posts) - - Show Bio

I remember seeing this somewhere, maybe the cartoons. Someone tries to sell Batman's real identity to Joker and he says something to the effect that he doesn't want it because killing the man behind the Batman is not the same as killing the Batman. I have always kind of hoped that he knew and didn't care. Same with Commissioner Gordan.

#28 Posted by erick_el_rojo (5 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker is like an insane child and Batman is his favorite toy that's all... He doesn't care about his identity...

#29 Posted by SupBatz (1494 posts) - - Show Bio

I always liked to think of it as the Joker doesn't know and doesn't want to know. As said in the article, Joker is playing these games with Batman, not the man under the mask. He rarely shows interest in the secret identity. And even if he were to find out all of the Bat-family's identities (as it seems he will in Death of the Family) I bet he'll lack any interest in the men and women behind the masks.

#30 Edited by fodigg (6094 posts) - - Show Bio

He knows, he doesn't care. He might think it's against the "rules" to go after Bruce instead of Batman, mainly because it wouldn't be as fun. He probably thinks of them as two different people.

#31 Posted by Manwhohaseverything (1443 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't take the time to go through all my comics, but there was one in the 80's where Joker and his henchmen have Batman down and out. One of the henchmen says "Boss, want me to take the mask off, so we can see his real face?" The JOker replies "That IS his real face!" Point taken, that Joker doesn't think it matters what Bats secret identity is, because whoever it is, (and I suspect he knows) is really the mask, Batman is the real person. Much as I doubt Batman cares who the Joker really is.

Then there was the scene in "Death in the Family" where Joker stares at bruce Wayne in the crowd. Lame as that story was on many levels, THAT scene was pure gold! Made the entire storyline.

#32 Posted by Karkarov (16 posts) - - Show Bio

Exactly. Lot's of people seem to keep forgetting the old adage... Clark Kent is Superman, but Batman is Bruce Wayne. Of course Joker cares who is under the mask and knows he is Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne is only pretending when he takes the Batman suit off, Batman is who he actually "is". Hence when Dick Grayson shows up as Batman the Joker doesn't care, because he isn't the REAL Batman he is Dick Grayson wearing a Batman suit.

The last thing the Joker wants is to actually defeat Batman. If he kills, unmasks, or permanently injures Batman then the game is over, and that wouldn't be any fun would it? The Joker literally lives for fighting Batman, and a fake pretend Batman just won't do.

Not to mention the saying "a rose by any other name is just as sweet" Batman's so called real name doesn't matter to Joker because it doesn't change who Batman is. This is also probably why he never uses or seems to even care about his own name, he is the Joker, not whatever moniker his parents threw on him.

#33 Posted by nappystr8 (935 posts) - - Show Bio

Like most others have said, I think the cool thing about the Joker is that he really doesn't care who Batman is. At this point it is very hard to believe that the Joker would not know that Bruce is Batman, but he loves the costumed game they play too much to ever act on that information. For one, the Joker is physically mutilated (not talking about his recent loss of face) and therefore not allowed a secret identity, accepting that Batman has a normal life that he can go to might be very painful to admit, and just not as fun. We've seen before that Joker didn't want to look under the mask. That's why I don't think he's ever gone after Bruce Wayne. Not because he doesn't know, but because it is unsportsmanlike in the bizarre game that Joker plays with old Bats.

All this seems like it might be changing with Death of the Family next month though. It will be very interesting to see how that story plays out.

#34 Posted by Dedpool (254 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm with the "He doesn't care" crowd! I mean it's all fun and games to him so the chaos is heightened even more. He just wants a worthy opponent and he's found them in the Batfamily. All of them. It's like Batman keeps giving him new playthings.

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

@Dedpool: I'm with you. Either it doesn't matter or he just doesn't care.

#36 Posted by ScarlettLynn (160 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think it's really a question of "does he know". He does. You'd have to do a really deliberately shallow reading of Joker stories to try to convince yourself he doesn't know. He knows. He just doesn't care. Obviously we haven't seen much of him in The New 52 yet, but I really don't foresee that changing much.

#37 Posted by douchewing (3 posts) - - Show Bio

i believe he just doesn't care.

#38 Edited by johnsry (2 posts) - - Show Bio

1. Joker is like the Honey Badger, he just doesn't give a f......

2. Bruce Wayne is the mask, Batman is the guy underneath!

3. Oh sh!t, but wait. Joker just removed his face, so maybe he wants to take the mask off (or put them on)?

#39 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (27716 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Joke has known for years who all the bat-family members are. 
 
But Joker, (just like China) dont care.

Online
#40 Posted by Casshern (138 posts) - - Show Bio

By now the Joker should know who Batman is.

Yes the crazy joke is he doesn't care, playing around with Batman is what makes it fun and knowing everyone's secret behind their mask makes the games even bigger.

I won't be surprised if Joker knows everything.

#41 Posted by The Stegman (20871 posts) - - Show Bio

He knows, it's just funnier not to acknowledge it.

#42 Posted by TDK_1997 (13740 posts) - - Show Bio

I think he knows but he just doesn't care.

#43 Edited by NightFang (9649 posts) - - Show Bio

it would be Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker all over again.

#44 Posted by GundamHeavyarms (701 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the joker does know, but he doesn't care.

#45 Posted by Mutie199 (131 posts) - - Show Bio

he knows but if he ever reveals it then there will be no Batman or Bat family to play with!

#46 Posted by TheCheeseStabber (7261 posts) - - Show Bio

@Manwhohaseverything said:

I can't take the time to go through all my comics, but there was one in the 80's where Joker and his henchmen have Batman down and out. One of the henchmen says "Boss, want me to take the mask off, so we can see his real face?" The JOker replies "That IS his real face!" Point taken, that Joker doesn't think it matters what Bats secret identity is, because whoever it is, (and I suspect he knows) is really the mask, Batman is the real person. Much as I doubt Batman cares who the Joker really is.

Then there was the scene in "Death in the Family" where Joker stares at bruce Wayne in the crowd. Lame as that story was on many levels, THAT scene was pure gold! Made the entire storyline.

I believe he says that in Arkham Asylum A serious place on Serious Ground ( I think thats it)

I think it was Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum who ask Joker, you only see the silhouettes of two guys connected by an odd head device and in the script in mentions them. ( I think)

#47 Edited by Novemberx2 (332 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker doesn't care.... But He will know and care in the new 52. to quote the scott "this is a joker we've never seen before" and "he gonna strike at the batman family" thus joker is about become a generic comic book villain who's only plan is too kidnap the hero's loved one

#48 Posted by StMichalofWilson (3412 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker knows, he's doesn't care. As long as he provides a challenge to his chaotic nature, he'll play this game. I mean, anyone watched that scene in the Dark Knight?

#49 Posted by JonesDeini (3616 posts) - - Show Bio

@mrdecepticonleader said:

If he does know he doesn't care.His focus is on Batman not Bruce Wayne.

Yeah, that's always been my understanding. As far as he's concerned Batman IS who Bruce Wayne. And Batman is all he cares about

#50 Posted by feargalr (1126 posts) - - Show Bio

China don't care

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.