Off My Mind: What Makes Joker Evil

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#51 Posted by Tudoh (16 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Mighty Monarch:  
I've read it, and I liked it for what it was; a fresh look on the origin of The Joker. I didn't like it as THE origin of The Joker. I said I didn't like the idea of Joker being 'evil' or just 'different' before he fell in the fat of acid, but I never said I chose the 'Killing Joke' as the origin I see as true. 
 
I like it as he explains it himself; 'If  I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice.' 
 
As you can see, many people prefer a different origin story for the Joker, and they would be hurt if one of them would be declared canon. Me myself, if I had to choose, it would have to be 'Killing Joke' (but I think I made that already clear). But I'd prefer to just not choose. I like Joker for who he is, not for what he was.
#52 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2242 posts) - - Show Bio
@Tudoh: I guess that's where we differ. I don't like to see the vat as the sole cataclysmic factor in his transformation. For someone as completely twisted as The Joker is, that he can be one of the most terrifying villains of all time despite having no superpowers, to be created simply from a bad day and a vat of chemicals is utterly baffling to me. And the 'fell into chemicals' excuse is just plain lame IMO. Considering how different he is, there has to have been some kind of seed in there beforehand to explain just how utterly evil he is. 
 
But yeah, having no TRUE canon origin is actually the best. I just personally accept Lovers and Madmen as it pretty much accounts for every flaw in every other origin I've seen, and frankly, I think it's more original. No 'childhood trauma' or 'freudian excuse' to be evil. This is The Joker, practically the very definition of evil. Trying to add sympathy to this devil is incomprehensible to me. Especially when so many villains, especially Batman's villains, already have all sorts of childhood traumas and sympathetic origins. Joker is just too damn evil for that IMO.
#53 Posted by Mainline (1129 posts) - - Show Bio

Too busy today to really break it down but there are a lot of different standards of insanity from colloquial ("Joe did the Ironman Triathlon, he's insane!"), to psychological (mental disorders; DSM IV psychopaths / sociopaths), to medical (brain chemistry; organic brain disorder), to legal... but it seems to me the essential question is whether it's Joker's "fault" or not... whether he chooses his behavior or cannot overcome and irresistible impulse towards evil. 
 
I could go into a long legal analysis of how the various tests have evolved over time and what the distinctions are, but it really comes down to the jury and whether insanity qualifies as an excuse for the behavior... in sum, "Do we pity, the Joker or do we punish the Joker?"  Generally, sociopaths and psychopaths do not get the benefit of the insanity defense, the ALI Model Penal Code states: "the terms mental disease or defect do not include an abnormality that is manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise antisocial conduct" (Section 4.01)... meaning irrespective of whether Joker is or is not willingly insane, someone with his habitual evil-doing is not entitled to the defense (at some point, society draws a line and says, "We don't care what the reason is, what you're doing is too evil to tolerate and it must be punished rather than pitied." 
 
So at least with respect to "criminal insanity", Joker is not and would be treated like any other criminal without the defense.  In the eyes of the law, he's done enough wrong that Joker is at fault even if he's crazy. 
 
Quick run through the others... colloquially, he breaks norms so whether willingly or not, he's insane; psychologically, he meets the DSM IV criteria for psychopathy / sociopathy; medically... it's ambiguous whether Joker was born that way, whether the chemicals made him that way, or a little bit of both.  Another past insight to throw into the mix would be JMS on Brave & The Bold crossing the unlikely Atom with Joker... whilst in Joker's mind he experiences some of Joker's childhood memories where the signs of psychopathy pre-accident were evident.  Given the amount of freewill action Joker takes I imagine he's still morally culpable irrespective of conditions predisposing him towards evil and he seems legally culpable too, so- to get back to the original question "Joker chooses to be evil."

#54 Edited by Noray (32 posts) - - Show Bio

Evil for evil's sake is not interesting. The reason Joker is such a great villain, and this is the case with a lot of great villains, is that they are the antithesis of the hero. Everything Batman stands for, Joker stands for its opposite. Chaos over order; anarchy over law; making people suffer as you did as opposed to trying to save them from that fate. The Joker is a man of convictions just as strong as Batman, they are just diametrically opposed. The Dark Knight explored this better than any Batman story I've read, including The Killing Joke (which comes very close). It showed that the Joker was incredibly methodical (even though he claims the opposite - "a dog chasing cars"), which depending on your definition of insane, may or may not make him insane, but he is definitely a sociopath of the highest degree. He did everything he did to prove his one point - anyone can become like him. Ultimately he lost, because even though he corrupted Dent, the people of Gotham proved that good exists.
 
I think The Comedian from Watchmen was inspired by the Joker. Both see the world for the crazy, demented place it truly is (in their eyes) and choose to revel in it.

#55 Posted by Dr. Detfink (460 posts) - - Show Bio

er, the fact he has little regard for life...

#56 Posted by suicidejocky (30 posts) - - Show Bio

Most people, every once in awhile have a crazy thought. Like seeing a person standing too close to the curb and thinking, " I could push him right now and he'd die from the passing cars instantly" . But luckily, most people have the restraint to stop themselves from acting on it. 
 
The Joker, however, doesn't. That little voice that tells sane people, that would be bad, doesn't exist for the Joker. Which is what I consider to qualify him as insane. The fact that most of his random thoughts that he acts upon involve the death of other people, makes him evil. 
 
I remember one comic (can't remember which) in which the Joker is walking along with some goons he hired. One guy doesn't laugh at his bad joke and the Joker just pushes him into traffic killing him.  
 
That to me is the essence of the Joker. and what makes his so evil. Having some random violent act cross his mind and him going about and doing it. Not caring about the result or consequences as they don't factor into his plans.
#57 Posted by SuperGamera (565 posts) - - Show Bio

I go with the super-sanity idea

#58 Posted by frogjitsu (481 posts) - - Show Bio
@yellowstar128 said:
" @nutzac4888:  (As a side note I've always thought it was interesting that the Joker is the bad guy and he's all white and brightly colored and Batman is the good guy and is all dark and shadowy. Completely opposite of the norm. I always thought it was an interesting commentary on Gotham.) "
Opposite of the norm?  A lot of villains wear purple and green.
#59 Posted by Superguy1591 (3380 posts) - - Show Bio

He kills with a smile. =)

Online
#60 Posted by HexThis (900 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe Harley was right....
 
I think Joker has dissociative personality disorder which would explain both his sadistic nature and his murky past. Now, having a dissociative personality disorder doesn't mean you're filled with apathy but it's more common amongst people who were severely abused as children which would, in turn, relate back to his sadistic nature seeing as how victims of abuse are susceptible to similar behavior to their abuser later on in life. Also, people with this condition also suffer an amnesia of sorts sometimes instigated by intense trauma which would explain why he started acting this way after he was deformed. 
 
Joker falling into that vat liberated him from the abuse and trauma that once plagued him and forced him to carry out his evil deeds under the protection of a mask. It wiped away his memory and sordid past and replaced it with a clean slate that enabled him to have control over his life that he couldn't previously.

#61 Posted by Ston3face (86 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker is by far the most complicated villain in any comic in my opinion.

#62 Posted by zoist (60 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the Joker is a portrayal of a man who is truly free. He has no conscience whatsoever and is not bound by societies rules of right or wrong. He does what he wants when he wants regardless of the consequences. 

#63 Posted by G-Man (34236 posts) - - Show Bio

 I just find "Case Study" by Dini and Ross to be interesting. There's no way of knowing if the file Harley wrote was accurate (before she became wacky herself) or if Joker planted that file to cast further doubt in the doctors' minds.    

Staff
#64 Posted by PeteyParker (21 posts) - - Show Bio

The real question is.........what makes Batman good?.....BOOM!!!!! Mind grenade, LOL.

#65 Posted by greenenvy (634 posts) - - Show Bio

He is an evil clown and evil clowns  personify the criminally insane or chaotic motivations. These kind of people don't have a symbol but I prefer the evil clown as a symbol for extreme behaviors in which is chaos and bizarre attitudes. Some villains or just meant to be the wild card set loose by mis unfortunate   events and there only mission is to see who can Taine  them by driving the world to hell. No explanation with  pure chaos and insanity sometimes makes one hell of a antagonist if you ask me. 

#66 Posted by LP (675 posts) - - Show Bio

Perfect G-Man.
 
Really, I think asking "where did Joker go wrong" is like asking how real life famous criminals (Ed Gein anyone?) "went wrong". There probably really was no single moment where they woke up and said to themselves "hey I think I'm gonna be a villain today!", it was a slow process that took place for most, during their childhood and eventually, the emotional strain took them over the edge. I really like the way the writers on Smallville handled LEX'S background (well they pretty much made one for him as he didn't have one other than being the embodiment of corporate greed in the comics). They realistically, believably described how sociopath like Lex could transform into the monster he is later from the innocent shy rich kid he used to be.

#67 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker should always be a big mix of plain crazy and calculator :P
 
I liked the Dark Knight, like I imagine 98% of you guys here, but the movie's Joker, despite how good and great Heath Ledger was, comes to me a bit too much "emo".
Not a real threat, and come on, people on a boat with explosives isn't that much of a threat for the goshdarn Batman!!
Like when he was in the street screamin' "Hit me!! Hit me!! HIT ME!!" . Just a punk-take on the Joker asking for people to kill him..? (wouldn't a cop or some Gothamite with a gun just kill the guy at that point?), that came off a bit too suicidal to me.
 
 Anyway, there's been plenty o' exemples of good written Joker stories. In Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale run, in Batman: The Man Who Laughs, in most of his post-1 Year Later appearances..

#68 Edited by THEBlaqueBasterd (384 posts) - - Show Bio
@Eyz: Dude I dont think you GET it.. to date Ledgers Joker in my &countless others opinions is/has been THE DEFINITIVE portrayal...To the Point the comics have automatically adjusted to it
 
 I dunno what you'd constitute as a threat.. But the man thrives on chaos and above all corruption.. not the standard money uinder the table stuff.. But corruption of the very SOUL itself.. He WANTED Bats to hit him to corrupt Bats unshakeable code of ethics..his resolve.. He did what he did with the boat bombs to show that EVERYONE is  in the right circumstance completely morally bankrupt..Like him!! 
 
Im afraid the characterisation went way over your head there..coz theres nothing "emo" about THAT 
#69 Posted by THEBlaqueBasterd (384 posts) - - Show Bio

"He's not a Monster... He's just.. Ahead of The Curve.... "

#70 Edited by Deadcool (6810 posts) - - Show Bio

There is no such thing as evil, and good, both are just perspectives, none of those are real, If the evil is real, in some points of view we all are evil and sick...

#71 Posted by DarkSyde79 (214 posts) - - Show Bio

The Jokers a nutcase who would shot you with a real gun as easily as he would with a water gun. In the end, tha's what makes him evil. 

#72 Posted by IBurningStar (2 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker isn't insane. He just knows something that no one else does. He knows he is in a comic book. And he takes full advantage of that. The entire world is a playground for him and none of his action truly matter. Jason Todd dies, oh well. He will come back to life eventually. No big deal. And if they don't, then no major loss. It isn't like they were real to begin with.

#73 Posted by SneakyPenguins (55 posts) - - Show Bio

I always liked the decision to keep the joker's past a mystery. Just adds that extra level to him. 

#74 Posted by Eyz (3095 posts) - - Show Bio
@THEBlaqueBasterd: I guess it all depends on everyone's taste.
But as much as I love the movie, and believe me, I do, a lot, Christopher Nolan's take on both Batman  and the Joker always come to me as "emo-ysh".
So...dark..depressing..and not in a film noir-like aspect, but just... Ugh... 
Just look at Joker's make-up, look, costume...
 
And I read a lot of Bat-books and I don't recall any adjusting to Heath Ledger's Joker.  Maybe in the not-canon "Batman: Lovers and Madmen", a bit of Ledger there, but that's all.
Comic book Joker's been pretty consistent, a crazy madman who would shot random people in the streets, after asking there name and finding someone with a first nam-ysh sounding family name.
Ledger-Joker would threat the guy, make magic tricks and threat the guy...and give the gun to someone else to shot that first guy or he'd kill his daughter or something.
 
Different levels of madmen. One's a lunatic killer, the other an anarchist.
I'd say both are equally good, but different people would prefer different Jokers.
#75 Posted by TheJokerha (161 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis: That makes the most logical sense out of any of the theories I've heard. It makes sense and explains so much. Wish I had thought of it! lol
#76 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio

Jokers evil lies in one simple fact, he just doesn't give a frak, and that's the scariest thing about him. He does what he does because he follows his every whim and inclination with no filter. He is paradoxically chaos incarnate while embodying order, his own since of it that is. Joker seems random to readers and other characters, but in his head it all makes since to him (ex. his activities as Gravedigger). One of the best examples of this is the Joker Fish episode of Batman TAS. Also I think knowing that he's a comic book character made that natural tendency of his exponentially more. 

#77 Posted by Alfiebo (40 posts) - - Show Bio

The joker is the only DC character I like and is my 3rd favourite villain, I think he's not insane, just a genius, the way he delves into the minds of others so deep is probably why others thinks hes crazy.

#78 Posted by ARTIMUS WALKSTRANGE (31 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker's ultimate goal is for Batman to kill him.   
 
 

#79 Posted by justafan (133 posts) - - Show Bio
@PeteyParker said:
" The real question is.........what makes Batman good?.....BOOM!!!!! Mind grenade, LOL. "

This
#80 Posted by UnHolyBatman666 (9 posts) - - Show Bio

insane genius.has no concern for human life and he doesn't give a fuck.straight up doesn't care. does what he likes his way.


#81 Posted by JOKERCATEXE (408 posts) - - Show Bio

Sugar, spice and everything wrong.

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