JOKER NEW EARTH
Arkham Inmate/Cell ID Number: 0801 (but in Batman Confidential issue #25 the Joker’s cell number is 001)
Real Name: Unknown
Height: 6ft 5in
Weight: 192 pounds
Hair Color: Green
Eye Color: Green
Alliasses: Jack, Jack Napier, Jack White, Joseph ”Joe” Kerr, Clem Rusty, Mr. Rekoj, Oberon Sexton, The Domino Killer
By Any Other Name: Ace of Knaves, Arch Buffoon of Banditry, Bandit Buffoon, Brazen Buffoon, Buffoon of Crime, Burglar Buffoon, Brazen Buffoon of Crime, Clown of Crime, Clown Prince of Crime, Comic of Crime, Crafty Clown of Crime, Crime Clown, Crime Jester, Cunning Caliph of Crime, Cunning Crime-King, Fearsome Fakir, Fiendish Funster, Funny Man of Felony, Grim Jester, Grinning Gargoyle of Greed, Harlequin of Crime, Harlequin of Hate, Hilarious Harlequin, Hoodlum Harlequin, Jaunty Jester, Jeering Jackanapes, Jeering Jester of Crime, Jester of Crime, Jocund Jack of all Crimes, King of Jesters, Leonardo of Larcenous Laugh, Macabre Master of Mirth, Mad Buffoon, Mad Maestro of Mirth, Mad Manager of Menace, Madman of Mirth, Mad Master of Mirth, , Mad Merrymaker, Malevolent Mime, Maestro of Malevolent Mirth, Malicious Mountebank, Man of a Thousand False Fronts, Master of Mockery, Merry Madcap of Mayhem, Mirthful Mountebank, Mirthful Mountebank of Mischief and Menace, Mocking Mountebank, Prince of Pranksters, Public Luna-tic Number One, Ringmaster of Riotous Robbery. Spinner of Sinister Skeins, Tycoon of Teasing Terror
First Appearance: Batman #1, Spring 1940
Created by: Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane. Supposedly inspired by Conrad Veidt’s portrayal of a scarred man with a permanent smile from the 1928 silent film THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.
Origin: It is not clear which version of his origin is the real one, but two versions seem to prevail. The first one presents Joker as a gangster of unknown name (some references mention the gangster name to be Jack, but it is unclear if it’s a real name) who decided to take on the name of THE RED HOOD and steal from a Playing Card Manufacturer (In most versions is called Monarch Card Factory, but other names have been given to the actual company),and after an encounter with the Batman, falls into a vat of chemicals that bleached the skin of his entire body, green hair and red lips extended in a permanent Rictus smile and after discovering the damage, he went mad and took the personality of the clown card from the deck produced at Monarch, with a twist: A clown that kills. This version is supported in “The Man Behind the Red Hood” from Detective Comics #168 (Feb 1951), and later in “Case Study” from Batman Black and White vol 2( 2002). The animated movie Mask of the Phantasm, assumes this is the true origin of the Joker as well.
Another version of his origin presents him as a failured comedian married to a woman called Jeannie. With Jeannie pregnant, and unable to keep a constant job, he is forced to take on a job to steal the payroll from the Card Manufacturing company (Monarch Card Co.) disguised as the RED HOOD. The plan is foiled by the sudden appearance of the Batman and in a panic, the comedian throws himself off a rail and into a vat of chemicals and after escaping through the drainage, finds himself with bleached skin, green hair and blood-red lips stuck in an unnatural large smile. The disfigurement and finding out that his wife had died in a freak accident push the comedian into madness and a state of violent psychosis. This origin was mainly supported in The Killing Joke (1988) and since then has been the most widely accepted version of the Joker’s origin, probably for it’s melodramatic impact. Here Joker is no longer the cold blooded killer of the 40s but a victim of the circumstances.
Powers: Joker lacks any superpowers and his fighting skills seem to range in the average, but it is clear that whoever Joker was before was a person of above average intelligence. Joker is very creative and a brilliant chemist, having engineered the venom that carries his name (though it is suggested in Legends of the Dark Knight #50 that the venom was actually designed by a close relative of Joker and he just ‘inherited’ the formula). Joker’s resourceful personality along with his brilliant intellect gets demonstrated too by his ability to escape from Arkham Asylum whenever he feels like it, despite any security measurement installed to prevent his escapes.
Weapons: Depending on the version of Joker you read, the Clown’s weapons vary from the simple but deadly (i.e. guns and knives in TDK), to the utterly ridiculous (i.e. the comic stamping machine he tried to use on Robin to make him into a comic strip in one of the original Batman episodes from the 1960’s). In this wide range of weapons two are worth mentioning due to their recurrence in almost every version of Joker. The first is the Joy Buzzer that in Joker’s case discharges an excess of 100,000 volts killing its victim instantly. The second one is the acid-squirting boutonniere that Joker has filled with anything from sulfuric acid to water to versions of his Joker toxin gas.
- Joker article in Wikipedia HERE,
- Batman Encyclopedia by Robert Greenberger, Ballantine Books, 2008,
- “How the Joker Works” Origin at http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/arts/comic-books/joker1.htm,
CONTINUE TO: THE JOKER ARTICLE FROM THE ESSENTIAL BATMAN ENCYCLOPEDIA HERE!