Off My Mind: Whatever Happened to Joker's Parents?

Avatar image for madcomics
Posted by MadComics (272 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm sure we all know who the Joker is. A psycho who basically has no motivation, unless you can say him trying to kill Batman is a motivation. He is probably Batman's worst enemy, although none of us don't really no for sure his past, has it ever explained what happened to his parents? Now maybe he was an orphan of some sort. Maybe his Mother just gave him away. And was Joker really psychotic before he was dumped into chemicals? Maybe the chemicals really just triggered something that was already there.....anyway (off topic) So what do you guys think happened to Joker's parents? 

Avatar image for typingkira
#1 Posted by TypingKira (3555 posts) - - Show Bio

I think that he was raised by circus clowns after a tragic puppy-mauling incident that took the lives of his birth parents. 

Avatar image for innervenom123
#2 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29887 posts) - - Show Bio

He was raised by Hyenas, clearly. ;p

Avatar image for thecrowbar
#3 Posted by TheCrowbar (4397 posts) - - Show Bio
Only time I've ever seen his family mentioned.

Avatar image for xxsadisticsmilexx
#4 Posted by xxSadisticSmilexx (65 posts) - - Show Bio

There is a issue of Brave and the Bold that claims he burned them alive in their old homestead.

Avatar image for noj
#5 Posted by noj (1400 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker was an orphan. The last few issues of Streets of Gotham showed the Joker as a kid in flashbacks (at least it is heavily implied to be the Joker).

Avatar image for thejokerha
#6 Edited by TheJokerha (169 posts) - - Show Bio

There have been conflicting flash backs and different stories told in various titles. I don't think anything conclusive has been shown. It's a mystery like the rest of his past and pre-Joker identity.  SPOILERS AHEAD.

In the Super Powers mini series back in the 80's, Phantom Stranger entered Joker's mind. The Stranger saw an infant Joker, still looking like the Joker in a high chair, being abused and tormented by Jokerized parents.
In the "It's Joker Time" mini series, it showed a more detailed, gritty, realistic flash back.. In this version Joker was a shown to be a young boy about ten years old. He was abused a lot by his trashy mother and his step father. His crap sack life was a lot like Rorschach's child hood in the Watchmen. At one point the step dad hung him in a closet all night on a hook. Hanging in the dark he breaks out into his famous grin and starts quitly laughing to himself all night. Soon afterwords he kills his step dad with a joy buzzer he modified just enough to trigger the man's bad heart to go into a fatal arrest. After the funeral his mom got drunk and raged at him, saying she knew it wasn't an accident. She chased him and he ran down the stairs to his hiding place in the basement where he had half way sawed through some steps. She broke through them and the fall killed her. He ended up in foster homes.
In the book "The Further Adventures of The Joker" they have a couple of different child hood stories of him. One, "The Best of All"  has him killing his abusive Dad with an iron to protect his Mom and his self. The Mother was so horrified she gave him up for adoption. That lady changed her name and became Dr Leslie Thompkins . In the orphanage he saw a newspaper article about Dr Thompkins looking after a young Bruce Wayne when the boys parents were murdered and it helped push him further into madness. He started to forget who he had been and transform into The Joker he would become.  As the adult Joker he remembered her at last and blew up her clinic. He even told Batman she was his mom. But this story was not official canon.
And in a more recent issue of Brave and The Bold, it showed him as a quiet child he mostly kept to himself but when punched by a bully he wiped the blood from his mouth and smiled a little smile and beat the bully savagely. As he was sitting int he principals office he saw his reflection change into his future Joker self .In this version he  was shown with a loving mother figure, but she did not know how to deal with his violent outbursts. The father figure recommend more beatings. Joker later locked them in their home at night and set the house on fire.
Part of what makes The Joker so mythical and powerful is what an unknown factor he is. Part of what makes him a monster is he doesn't seem to have a solid past or motivation beyond madness and chaos for its own sake. What ever his past, DC wants to keep it a mystery. Most in not all his history and origins stories are told in flash back form inside his own broken and insane mind. As he once said "Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another. If I have to have a past I prefer it be multiple choice!" This is common in adults who suffered intense childhood trauma. It's rare it happens to the extreme of The Joker but it does happen. Prolonged exposure to danger and abuse will deform the hippocampus , an area buried deep in the forebrain that helps regulate emotion and memory. Real memories are lost or distorted and false memories and delusions and fantasies seem extremely real. And it affect impulse and emotion control.
So, seeing how extreme and almost super human Joker's insane brilliance is, and the fact that his former identity is unknown, it is doubtful his parent's fate will ever be decisively known.

Avatar image for fadetoblackbolt
#7 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23390 posts) - - Show Bio

No one knows the real answer, as any story from the Joker's point of view is considered to be written from an unreliable narrator perspective. 
"If I have a past, I'd prefer it to be multiple choice".
That quote sums up the Joker's past better than anything else possibly could. 
There's every chance that the Joker wasn't truly born anyway, he is simply Chaos taken human form, though that's getting a little too meta.

Avatar image for entropy_aegis
#8 Posted by entropy_aegis (18072 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
"No one knows the real answer, as any story from the Joker's point of view is considered to be written from an unreliable narrator perspective.   "If I have a past, I'd prefer it to be multiple choice". That quote sums up the Joker's past better than anything else possibly could.   There's every chance that the Joker wasn't truly born anyway, he is simply Chaos taken human form, though that's getting a little too meta. "

LOL at the last part,mordru has already occupied that position.
Avatar image for avenging_x_bolt
#9 Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt (16751 posts) - - Show Bio

is off my mind a franchise now? 
anyway i hope for their sake that they died of natural causes
Avatar image for the_jokes_on_you
#10 Posted by The_Jokes_On_You (77 posts) - - Show Bio

Well if they are still alive and not say Satan and Eries the Goddess of Chaos then they probably committed suicide. Especially the mother. Could you imagine being the person resposible for bringing something like him into the world?

If not, then he probably killed them considering that almost every Joker-past theory has them as being either the sole or part of the reason for his madness.
Avatar image for gambit1024
#11 Posted by Gambit1024 (10217 posts) - - Show Bio

My guess is that they either died or Joker killed them after he turned into the Joker. 

I'm one of the firm believers in the Killing Joke origin and if you saw who he was before he fell in the acid, Joker was actually a pretty decent guy. 
Avatar image for bopper_girl
#12 Posted by Bopper Girl (221 posts) - - Show Bio

Here's what I think.

Joker's parents were murdered when he was say 4-6 yrs of age the same as a Bruce Wayne when he was 8.
Then he was adopted by abusive foster parents whom he reluncently ran away from and started a new family life with a new one.
But when He killed an abusive father when he is only trying to protect himself and his carring mother that's when she gave him up for adoption again.
He then went to to the same orphanage as Bruce Wayne until he was old and educated enough to get a job as at a chemichal plant. 
Then he quite that job for a life of stand-up comedy as "Jo the Joke-Man. After failing miserably he agreed work with a couple gang leaders to work in the mafia as a new gand leader.
But when his wife found out about this she convinced him to quite so then they both start a Dr and nurse life under the name "Jack White". But then when his wife and unborn child were murdered as whitnessed by Edward Nygma, Dr. White then returned to his runt place at the mafia where, soon after original gang leader has been taken to custody (or passed away I can't decide), he himself took his place.
He worked his way up to the Criminal food chain until he was the leader of a powerful gang known as the "Red Hood". 
That's when he later meet "Batman" and made his final transition as "Joker"

So maybe his past was multiple choice.

names in order from boy to man.

Johnathan White - age 6/ orphan
Melvin White- 10/ foster child
Jack Nyper- 18/ chemichal worker
Johnny Jape -21/ comedian
Joe White - 23/ short turm gang member
Jack White - 23/Doctor
Joseph Kerr - 24/gang leader
Red Hood - about 24 or 25
Joker - then and now.

What more can I say then...

"Bad people aren't born, they're made."

Avatar image for stronger
#13 Posted by Stronger (5051 posts) - - Show Bio

Maybe he killed them or they died the same way Batmans parents died

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.