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#1 Posted by Anjales_II (1026 posts) - - Show Bio

There are certain aspects of the Batman mythos that fans hold very dear and believe that they should always be constant. Bruce's parents are really dead and they stay dead. Batman doesn't kill.

However, one such aspect is the Joker's origin, or the lack thereof. The only aspect that is generally agreed upon is that Joker was once the Red Hood, and during a confrontation with Batman, he fell into a vat of acid in ACE Chemicals and ended up turning into the Joker. Whenever a writer even attempts to give a hint as to who the Joker is, it usually frowned upon by fans, as it is believed that Joker's mystic is part of the character's appeal. Whether it's "Jerome", "Jack Napier", "Red Hood One" or "Joe" the mobster or the nameless struggling comedian and widower, many fans believe that Joker should not have a definite origin because it takes away from the character, and that is attributed to one infamous line from the acclaimed The Killing Joke story (which ironically also hinted at an origin) "If I'm going to have an origin story, I'd prefer it be multiple choice!". Adding fuel to that line thinking was Nolan's Dark Knight where Joker tells two different stories of how he "got his scars" and even attempted to tell one more.

My question is, if for some odd reason someone finally decided to give Joker a definite origin, will it negatively impact the character? And unless they repeatedly hit us over the head with it, does it really matter? Some believe that Joker's lack of origin makes him that much scarier but when I think of the Joker, his threat as a villain appears to me because of his grotesquely grinning victims, because of the menacing laugh, because of the fact that he'll kill and maim many innocents just for fun, because of the fact that he pushes Batman to his limit everytime they fight, because of the fact that he is so obsessed with Batman he's willing to burn the entire city just to prove the point that they're both crazy. I'm speaking for myself of course, but when I think of the Joker, those are usually the things that show why he is such a menacing villain, not because he has a mysterious origin.

Other arguments I've seen include Joker's origin being the only case Batman, the detective, could never crack, which adds to the complexity of their relationship. While that is appealing, outside of the recent Death Of The Family and Endgame, is rarely addressed in storylines and it's even rare to see Batman even attempting to figure it out.

Another argument is that giving Joker an origin make him a sympathetic character, and Joker is an amoral murderer who should not be given any sympathy and therefore, should not be given an origin. I've seen comparisons with Marvel's Wolverine who, after many years of having a mysterious past, was finally given an origin story, and many fans claim that by doing that, Logan lost his appeal. However, Logan is considered a hero and so him becoming more sympathetic is more appropriate than Joker. In Joker's case, if his origin actually didn't make him more sympathetic, will that still affect the character negatively?

So, in conclusion, Joker's mysterious past, does it play apart of the character's appeal? When you think of the Joker, is his lack of origin one of the first things you think about? Will Joker become less intriguing if he was given one? Sound off in the comments.

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#2 Posted by Spidey_Jackson (6359 posts) - - Show Bio

I actually except that he was the Redhood who fell into the chemical waste. Everything before that is up in the air thou.

Beata

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#3 Posted by ArkhamWrath (723 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker true name isn't matter... he dont hide behind the mask as Catwoman, Black Mask, Killer Moth, Ratcatcher... he is just The Joker :) But if u wanna to know his real name, i will tell u... His real name is Alfred Stryker... many peoples don't wanna to believe in that, but i gonna now to make a thread to explain it !!!

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#4 Posted by Redatom1234 (2813 posts) - - Show Bio

I think him not having a set origin adds intimidation to the character.

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#5 Edited by Rpgesus (5380 posts) - - Show Bio

joker should never, ever have a full origin story. one of the greatest parts of his character

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#6 Edited by deactivated-57dd84d2af8d3 (615 posts) - - Show Bio

Joker's origin has no bearing on the character. The fact that there are multiple origins just fits with the character, especially the Joker from Morrison's Arkham Asylum.

"Unlike you and I, the Joker seems to have no control over the sensory information he's receiving from the outside world. He can only cope with that chaotic barrage of input by going with the flow. That's why some days he's a mischievous clown, others a psychopathic killer. He has no real personality. He creates himself each day."

That is, of course, one take on the character from one story, so it may not always be applicable.

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#7 Posted by _Mongul (1855 posts) - - Show Bio

Of course. It's one of his signatures.

He WAS the Red Hood. But who was the Red Hood?

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#8 Posted by ArkhamWrath (723 posts) - - Show Bio
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#9 Posted by GustavoBurciaga1 (652 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think adding a name to him would really affect the character because the thing about the Joker is more than just a lack of origin, it's how he's ever changing and only keeping one thing constant, wanting to push Batman. In Endgame (Spoilers) calls Batman by his real name, showing that he was willing to cross that line and take off the mask in so "killing" Batman, by stripping the idea that he is more than just a man from not only Bruce but himself as well. I mean Joker's real name is Alfred Stryker but that's something Batman doesn't know, until recently maybe cause of what happened in Justice League. But him having a name doesn't give him an origin, it's just a name, it doesn't change the fact that he's possibly crazy and doesn't remember what used to be his name of past life before he became the Red Hood and fell into the chemical vat. the thing about most Batman villains is that, they know who they are themselves, but Joker doesn't really remember anything about himself. That's why he chooses his "origin" to be multiple choice.

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#10 Edited by deactivated-5a60370ee1024 (192 posts) - - Show Bio
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#11 Posted by Cap4thewin (22 posts) - - Show Bio

No origin for joker is a big part of the whole character for me. Adding an origin now would to me take a lot of credibility away from the character BUT on the other side of the coin I guess it would finally give comic book readers one of the biggest unknowns which could sell copies out the a**. But I'm still sticking to no origin like all you have said gives him that mean intimidation factor.

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#12 Posted by Blade_R (6470 posts) - - Show Bio

It should stay a mystery, some things are left better without an explanation. Trying to explain who he was and why he does what he does would make him far less interesting IMO.

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#13 Posted by Juke (855 posts) - - Show Bio

My favorite part about The Joker is his lack of proper backstory. It makes the character mysterious and presents the man as more of an "idea" or a piece of dark, unknown symbolism instead of being your typical villain.

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#14 Posted by judasnixon (12663 posts) - - Show Bio
No Caption Provided

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#15 Posted by jayc1324 (26431 posts) - - Show Bio

I could care less. That's the absolute least appealing part of his character. That's not what is so cool about him.

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#16 Posted by TakeLuutzen (230 posts) - - Show Bio

If a writer gives a plausible origin story and in the end of an arc, they completely discard that story, i like it. In my opinion, a writer can give the Joker an origin story. I'll consider it as one of the multiple choice origin stories.

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#17 Posted by HarlequinOfHearts (94 posts) - - Show Bio

“If I have to have a past, then I prefer it to be multiple choice.” - The Joker, The Killing Joke

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#18 Posted by captain_batman_FTW (8905 posts) - - Show Bio

An origin story would ruin the entiee character for me. He's a maniac, but he's a unique maniac, and an origin story would take away all the mysterious parts about him. A name would also ruin the character for me.

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#19 Posted by Batmanx2005 (1588 posts) - - Show Bio

Well since the comics never reveal his real name. For now let assume his real name is Jack Napier. Sometimes when someone from Arkham ask him what his past was. He always never gives an exact past due to not able to remember his past. Even if he is telling the exact one. The people still think he is not telling the truth due to not remembering his past.

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#20 Edited by SCOLTON97 (234 posts) - - Show Bio

You sort of said everything I would have answered you with in your own post. So, read what you said and pretend it came from me.

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#21 Posted by jb681131 (3124 posts) - - Show Bio

@jayc1324 said:

I could care less. That's the absolute least appealing part of his character. That's not what is so cool about him.

Yes that is why he's so cool ! Because he has no fixed origin and can tell anything he wants to explain his madness.

@anjales: Well, him having no clear history matters. Because it helped make some of the best joker sories : The killing joke, The dark knight (movie)

But I think it would make a very nice and gruesome story to see how he got those scares and how he became that deranged.

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#22 Edited by ghinzdra (57 posts) - - Show Bio

It would be a huge mistake.

I m talking Star Wars prequel level mistake here and how darth vader who used to be this terrifying foe turned out to be a self pitying whiny teenager. The character lost majesty and never completely recovered from it.

The greatest villains have some kind of irrational power : basically you don't fully understand them so you love to hate them and always fear something unexpected. Explaining them takes away the irrationality and the fear, the knee jerk- pants soiling reaction " OMG it s this f.... Guy. What are they gonna do ?????"

By the same mechanism explaining them make them more human and create empathy. That s one of the things that make change a character from full blown villain to antihero. You really should keep that for specific case : magneto would be a good case.

BTW this is is one of the many indicators that modern writers like Geoff johns and Scott Snyder are lesser writers : they both entertained the idea of disclosing the joker identity (darkseid war and zero year/endgame)

That s cheap entertainment : they go for the buzz instead of the story.

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#23 Edited by Anjales_II (1026 posts) - - Show Bio

@jb681131 said:
@jayc1324 said:

I could care less. That's the absolute least appealing part of his character. That's not what is so cool about him.

Yes that is why he's so cool ! Because he has no fixed origin and can tell anything he wants to explain his madness.

If I may ask, and this is a legit question, what exactly is "so cool" about the fact fact that he has no fixed origin and can tell anything he wants to explain his madness? Logically, wouldn't be more cool if he actually had a cool origin story? I'm not saying that's what should happen and I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just asking.

@ghinzdra said:

basically you don't fully understand them so you love to hate them and always fear something unexpected. Explaining them takes away the irrationality and the fear, the knee jerk- pants soiling reaction " OMG it s this f.... Guy. What are they gonna do ?????"

By the same mechanism explaining them make them more human and create empathy. That s one of the things that make change a character from full blown villain to antihero. You really should keep that for specific case : magneto would be a good case.

That's actually one of the strongest answers I've seen regarding this topic. Basically what you're saying is, giving a character an origin makes them more sympathetic, more human and therefore more relatable. When it comes to the Joker, he is usually the exact opposite of these things. Joker is portrayed nowadays as a murderous monster, and so adding sympathy to this character may give some redeeming qualities to a character whose main strength is that he has none, thus giving me less reasons to "hate" him. Now, that could definitely work with some characters, like Lex Luthor, General Zod, Black Adam, or Magneto; adding a certain grey area can open the door for compelling stories, however, Joker is, and should be one of the exceptions, where he is a character fueled by evil and chaos, and should receive 0 amount of empathy. I believe that is what they attempted to do with Mr. Freeze and his New 52 Origin. After being one of the most sympathetic (yet, long term he became one dimensional and dull) rogues in Batman's gallery, any sympathy towards the character was stripped away, making him a remorseless villain with no redeeming qualities. The problem is, Freeze isn't nearly a noteworthy "pure villain" as Joker, and therefore fell into the B-list villain category. The only other villain I could think of at the top of my head, who rivals Joker in those aspect is Norman Osborn/Green Goblin.

I appreciate the intelligent discussions as it helped me see this topic in stronger light.

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#24 Posted by DeathpooltheT1000 (18984 posts) - - Show Bio

The Joker is The Joker.

There is no need for an origin, it would be pointless to give him an origin.

Hie original origin story was the last part from Killing Joke, but nothing there confirms that Killing Joke was a real thing, besides the fact that since then it looks The Joker had other origins too.

The Joker doesnt need an origin to work, i dont think it would change much if they give it one to him, as long as they dont try to use it to change the character.

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#25 Edited by Sommie7890 (467 posts) - - Show Bio

I am glad you guys feel the same.

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#26 Edited by OrangeBat (961 posts) - - Show Bio

@anjales: The way I see it, the best possible origin for the Joker is if he were Alfred Stryker, the first criminal Batman ever fought.

It makes a nice theme in that the first guy Batman ever fought ends up being his greatest nemesis, and would make for a cool "Holy shit, did not see that coming." twist if it turned out that the guy in the Red Hood mask who fell into a vat of chemicals just ended up dying, and Alfred Stryker getting punched into a vat of acid by Batman, mutated him into the Joker. Plus, you still get to keep the whole "Batman created Joker" theme, what with Stryker becoming the Joker because Batman tried to kill him. Now, Stryker is usually depicted as quite fat, and Joker is not, but I suppose you could hand-wave it with "the acid gave him a liposuction" or something. Hell, you could even make it so that Joker's strong obsession with Batman partially stems from his twisted, faint memories of the past and burning rage towards Batman for destroying his life as Alfred Stryker.

You could even write a Batman: The End story, where Bruce retires with Julie Madison or something, Joker gets an experimental madness-curing serum which works, but instead of becoming a functional member of society, he turns back into Alfred Stryker the criminal, along with his immense hatred towards Batman, and makes it his life's mission to end Bruce Wayne, no matter the cost. Story ends with Bruce casting aside the mantle of the Batman, in a mental sense, as he breaks his one rule and kills Stryker as the latter is holding his family hostage, and laughing because he thinks Bruce won't do shit, and is still, in a weird sense, stuck in the Joker mentality of "unstoppable force meets an immovable object" towards Batman, while Bruce accepts that his mission is over, and he is no longer bound by a code, and shoots the asshole dead, much to Stryker's shock.

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#27 Posted by Zer0-X (661 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the air of mystique it gives him. It makes him seem more like a monster who appeared out of nowhere except to just be a response to Batman. Giving him a definitive origin, an origin that we would have to stick to, won't ruin the character by an stretch of the imagination but simply rid people of that mystique. He's just simply better off without one.