The Joker is Batman's arch-nemesis and his origin is shrouded in mystery. His skin and joker smile are commonly attributed to accidentally falling into a chemical bath while he was under the persona of Red Hood.
Originally created to be an evil court jester, the Joker was originally rejected as a villain for being too clownish. Jerry Robinson is the original creator of the Joker, he talks openly about this and did do the original concept sketch of the clown faced villain. His trademark Joker Card (Jerry Robinson also drew) has been featured in many Batman movies, comics and animations. The original drawing of the card has also been featured on display in many museums across America. Jerry was also the creative consultant for The Dark Knight movie which closely followed Jerry's stylings of the villain. Bob Kane unfortunately finagled many legalities early on about Batman and fellow characters which made him look like the sole creator. The creation has been argued but Bill Finger may also share credit (as reported by Bob Kane). He was modeled after Conrad Veidt after his performance as Gwynplaine in the Man Who Laughs. Originally, he was a mass murderer in his first dozen or so appearances. He was set to die in his second appearance, however, the editor (Mr. Whitney Ellsworth-who was the editor on many DC Flagship titles) at the time saw the potential of the character and opted for his survival. So one more hastily drawn panel was added to the very end of the page by Bob Kane that showed the Joker had survived. Were it not for Whitney The Joker would not be here today.
For his first appearance in Batman #1, the Joker was presented with no origin story, simply existing. Detective Comics #168 revealed that, before his transformation, the Joker was the criminal known as the Red Hood, later falling into a vat of chemicals, making him the Joker that everyone has known him to be.
Much of the Bronze Age and Iron Age Joker's depictions derive far less from the goofy Silver Age Joker than they do from Frank Gorshin's eerie depiction of The Riddler in the 1960s television series. Both the Bronze Age and Iron Age Joker and Gorshin's Riddler are obsessed with matching wits with The Batman, love to lecture other people about their personal life philosophy, and will shift from eerily calm to manic at a moment's notice -- none of these were signature traits in the Silver Age Joker. Heath Ledger once stated that his depiction of the Joker in the Dark Knight film was inspired to a large extent by Frank Gorshin's Riddler.
Although there have been various efforts to create a single, established origin story, there has yet to be an official origin for the Joker. The most popular story, however, is in The Killing Joke, where he is referenced to have been an engineer at a chemical plant before quitting his job to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. His career change did not prove to be the correct choice, as he failed miserably. In desperate need to support his pregnant wife, Jeanine, he turned to a couple of criminals who planned to break into his previous place of work. The Red Hood persona is given to him, signifying him as the inside man of the operation and also seemingly making him the leader, who would take the fall in the event of the operation going wrong. In the middle of planning, the police call him, informing him that his wife and unborn child have died. Stricken with grief, he attempts to back out, but his hand is forced to continue the operation. When they arrive at the plant, however, security, had been increased unbeknown to him, are waiting for them; and, as the Red Hood runs away, the two other criminals were shot dead. Upon seeing the Batman, the Red Hood jumped over a rail, into a vat of chemicals. He washed up in a nearby waterway, where, upon the removal of his Red Hood, he saw his skin had turned chalk white, his hair green, and his lips ruby red. With this added to the previous misfortunes of his day, he had a psychotic breakdown, and as such the Joker was born. However it is suggested in The Killing Joke, by the Joker himself, that sometimes he remembers his past one way, sometimes another. This leaves the origins of the Joker, as ever, open to speculation.
In Batman: Gotham Knights 50-55 this version is supported as there was a witness, Edward Nigma, the Riddler, to the murder of the Joker's wife, who claimed that the criminals used this to force the engineer, in this version named Jack, into following through with the crime.
The latest, and by far longest origin story is "Batman: Lovers & Madmen" followed by "Batman: Dead to Rights," a compilation of several issues from the Batman Confidential series. This time around, the story is told from Batman's point of view and not the Joker's. There is nothing about him ever having a wife, a normal crime-free life, or ever having been the Red Hood. However this origin story does not contradict the heavy personality changes the Joker has been essentially revamped with.
Here Jack (no last name) is a perfectly sane but immoral gun-for-hire & bank robber with a few mental, emotional, & personality disorders, bored with the lack of challenge & excitement in his life, until Batman walks into it. He becomes obsessed with Batman and goes to violent extremes to get his attention, acting like a creepy romantic stalker.
In Dead to Rights, we learn how the Joker came to be in Arkham when found to be immoral & far too competent to be ruled as insane by a court of law; not too far off from " Joker: Devil's Advocate." It has yet to be seen whether the Batman Confidential series will retell Joker's crippling of Barbara Gordon.
In Justice League: Darkseid War, Batman learned of The Joker's secret identity from the Mobius Chair. It revealed to him that there is not one but Jokers.
The Killing Joke
In Alan Moore's The Killing Joke, The Joker paralyzed Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, by shooting her though the spine. He then kidnapped Commissioner James Gordon and put him on a broken roller coaster, showing him pictures of Barbara in various forms of undress, hoping to prove that any man can go insane after having one bad day. The Batman saved Gordon from the Joker's trauma. Although he put Gordon through a great deal of turmoil, Joker is brought in by the book to show him that Gordon and Batman's way will work. The Joker got taken in by Batman after sharing a joke with him. Batman actually laughed at a joke that The Joker told him at the end of this graphic novel. In the last few panels, Joker stops laughing as Batman who was laughing at the joke, puts his hands on his shoulders. The laughing eventually stops.
The Death of Jason Todd
In the late 80's the Joker brutally murdered the second Robin, Jason Todd, who survived a crowbar attack, but not the explosion of the building that the Joker left him in. The reason for Jason's death was because the Joker lured him to it, doing so by falsely convincing Jason that his mother was still alive. Batman was too late to save Jason this time. Batman considers this his greatest failure. Batman begins to search for Joker, finding him in a position of power as a diplomat. Eventually Joker attempts to flee from Batman and Superman for the attempted murder of several diplomats, by getting in a helicopter. A fight on board the helicopter made it crash into the ocean. Batman ordered for Superman to find the body, knowing full well that he wouldn't, because that's the way it always is between him and the Joker.
No Man's Land
The Joker once again killed an important member of the Batman Universe during the No Man's Land saga.
This time Sarah Essen Gordon, Jim Gordon's second wife. This was the second time the Joker had attacked a member of Gordon's family. He did frown, however, in the aftermath of killing Essen, who chose to save a building full of infants rather than taking her shot at the Joker. While he surrendered to the Batman, he taunted Gordon to the point of Gordon shooting him in the kneecap. The Joker lashed out that he may never get to walk again and then started to laugh, adding a punchline about Barbara Gordon, Jim's daughter. Jim had hoped to cripple him. While in transport, the Joker escaped to the country of Qurac. He became a part of the government and lead it on a downward path to war. He became a representative for the country in New York, and he threatened to blow up Manhattan. He was captured by the Birds of Prey, headed by Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle.
In a guest run in the Superman comics, the Joker stole technology belonging to Mr. Mxyzptlk which could distort reality. He depopulated China and killed Lex Luthor over and over again for his own personal entertainment. He also killed Batman every day in order to bring him back and do it over again. Superman was able to overcome this distorted reality with the help of the Spectre and a weakened Mxyzptlk, who warned that if the Joker was not stopped, this reality could become permanent. Eventually the Joker's plans were foiled, but he scarred Batman, due to the multiple deaths while part of the distorted reality.
In a major crossover event, the Joker thought that he was dying and so planned a massive crime spree, to "go out with a bang". The Joker planed to use his Venom on the entire world. President Lex Luthor declared war on the Joker, who responded with plans to have Luthor killed. Black Canary found out that, with hopes making Joker feel what it was like to be the victim of a piratical joke, the Joker's doctor had changed his CAT Scan results in order to trick the Joker into believing that he had a fatal brain tumor. Harley Quinn betrayed the Joker by making an anti-venom for the heroes, after he tried to impregnate her without being married. After he believed Robin to have been killed as part of his plan, Nightwing beat the Joker to death. The Batman, however, revived the Joker.
After being caught at the scene of Thomas Elliot's murder, the Joker was nearly beaten to death by Batman, before Jim Gordon stopped him, because, in killing the Joker, he would become just like him.
Joker begins a shooting spree with a high powered sniper rifle of where he murders the Mayor Dickerson and the Superintendent, all in order to force the city to stay inside during the Christmas holiday. He then turns himself into Gotham's Major Crimes unit, before revealing he's planted a bomb throughout the city, as a "Christmas present" for Batman, causing the M.C.U. to rush to save countless Christmas shoppers from death. Joker then begins a shooting spree in the major crimes unit, where he kills several detectives only to be shot multiple times by Maggie Sawyer, as his bomb goes off leveling a now evacuated toy store,with Joker recovering in the hospital laughing at the carnage.
Under The Hood
Jason Todd, The Second Robin, resurfaced after being thought dead for years at the hands of the Joker. He kidnapped the Joker and tried to get Batman to avenge his death by shooting him. Batman of course, did not.
In the series Joker is the only villain on the planet not to join the the Secret Society, because of which he hunts down a cell of the Royal Flush Gang killing all the members, and questioning King as to why, following his answer of everyone knowing that Joker is too wild he murders him and walks away.Following the Battle for Metropolis,Joker is recruited by Lex Luthor to murder Alex Luthor, which he does in a empty Gotham alley.
In Batman #655 the Joker was shot in the face by a deranged police officer, leaving him disabled for a time. After going through intense plastic surgery and some physical therapy, the Joker appeared in Batman #663 with a completely new look. He had a permanent Glasgow smile on his face. While in intensive care he developed an even more lethal form of his Joker Venom, giving it to Harley Quinn to kill his former partners to signal a spiritual rebirth. He later went on a rampage through Arkham Asylum, going as far as trying to kill Harley Quinn as well, which would have been the punchline in his Rebirth. The Batman stopped him and through these events the Joker associated himself with the Black Glove.
When Batman visited him in his cell, asking for information about Black Glove, the Joker dealt Batman a Dead Man's Hand. While in therapy later, the Joker was contacted by the Club of Villains, inviting him into their game which was to end with the death of Batman. He joined them, knowing full well that Batman would survive their attempts at killing him, something he knows a lot about. He killed some of the Club's members before escaping in an ambulance. His ambulance was run off the road by the Batmobile.
Batman & Robin
It was been revealed that the Joker had been masquerading as a British detective and writer named Oberon Sexton, as well as the Domino Killer, who had been slaying members of the organization, The Black Glove.
While being interrogated by Batman, the Joker claimed that once he realized "his" Batman (Bruce Wayne) was gone, something snapped in him, and his persona went blank, there was no longer a Clown Prince of Crime. He claimed he wanted to help Batman with what was coming from Doctor Hurt, and the only way to gain Batman's trust was to act as Oberon Sexton. Before he could explain any further, Jim Gordon and the GCPD came, ending the Joker and Batman's conversation. Batman took Jim Gordon to the Batcave to discuss the current situation and left Robin, Damian Wayne with the GCPD and the Joker.
With Batman gone, the Joker requested to speak with Robin. Robin went into the room where Joker remained handcuffed, and locked the door behind him. Robin told the Joker that he didn't believe him, and thought he was putting on an act. Joker began to break down and hysterically cry in front of Robin, claiming he wasn't always like this, he was made to be the monster he is. Still not giving into the Joker's emotional episode, Robin began to question Joker being a "force of chaos" and pointed out that everything with the Joker is a careful plan, as he pulled out a crowbar from under his cape. Listening to Robin's cynical remarks, Joker stopped crying and peered through his hand to tell Robin "you sound just like him" just before Robin began to mercilessly beat Joker with the crowbar, the same way Joker beat the second Robin, Jason Todd. Joker screamed in agony for help, the cops outside the door ignored Joker's pleas, leaving him with a vengeful Robin.
The Joker took the beating Damian was giving him with a smile, being that he's a sadomasochist and Damian wasn't buying his act. It turned out the Joker coated his finger nails with Joker Venom before being arrested. When Robin was exposed, he immediately became paralyzed with a familiar-looking grin on his face. Joker took the opportunity to pick up the fallen crowbar, and escape using devices from Robin's utility belt. He later talked Batman into attacking Dr. Hurt and Professor Pyg for him. After Pyg's men defeated Batman, it was revealed that the Joker had Damian tied up and gagged in his new hideout.
The Joker was hiding somewhere in the Batcave which he gained access to from the Wayne family graveyard. Joker sent Robin to deal with Pyg and Hurt's men. Robin is quickly subdued and just as Dr. Hurt was about to execute both Dick and Damian, Bruce came back to Gotham. A battle between Dr. Hurt's men and the caped crusaders eventually led to a showdown in the Batcave between Bruce and Hurt. After losing this battle Hurt attempted to flee the cave only to find a row of dominoes that led to the Joker, and a gun halfway between the two of them. Hurt sprang for the gun but slipped on a banana peel and was poisoned and buried alive by the Joker.
As Gordon tries to draw a line between work and home, he gets a phone call from Harvey Bullock telling him to go to the Gotham City Aviary. When Gordon arrives, Bullock informs Jim that the aviary cages are all automated from the control room and there is some troubling video footage from the security cameras that Jim needs to see. Gordon sees the image of a man who resembles his son James Jr. . This troubling assumption begins to trouble Gordon and soon he becomes haunted by the visions of past unsolved case files that involved murdered children.
Fifteen years ago, Gordon was moving up the ranks within the precinct when he started investigating a string of eight murders that involved the Peter Pan Killer who would sneak into family homes and abduct children from their beds then murder them. Gordon apprehended the Peter Pan Killer when he attempted to abduct a young James Jr.
Now after 15 years, Gordon heads to Blackgate to interrogate the Peter Pan Killer before he was released from prison. Gordon wanted to find out why the killer didn’t go through with kidnapping James Jr. The killer reveals that he was going to kill Gordon Jr. rather than abducting him because James Jr. gave the killer an ominous stare when he entered the boy’s room. The killer also reveals that he murdered a young girl who was friends with Oracle before he visited Gordon’s apartment.
This revelation causes Gordon wonder about his son’s innocence and what exactly happened to the young girl. Oracle has always been under the assumption that James Jr. murdered her friend Bess because she saw James Jr. playing with her friend’s apartment keys with smug look on his face. Gordon has heard this story from Babs before but now he doubts if Babs’ story is actually true. There is a possibility that the killer took the young girl’s keys and dropped them at the Gordon’s apartment by accident. After his conversation with the Peter Pan Killer, Gordon threatens the killer that he will be followed at all times in order to prevent another murder.
Later on that same day, Gordon invites Oracle for some coffee at Bay Diner and talks to her about his findings. Jim tells Barbara that her brother, James Jr., is back in Gotham City. Barbara asks her father if he really thinks it's him coming back, and Jim replies yes. As they continue their talk, Barbara reminds her father that Jim Jr. is really smart and cunning. Jim tells her that it's going to be all right and that they've got police officers looking out for him. Oracle still sticks by her story and she leaves her father with lingering doubts but then James Jr. appears from other side of the diner, staring at his father. James Jr. sits down with his father and explains his return to Gotham. James Jr. begins by apologizing to his father for the theatrics at the aviary. James tells the commissioner that his mother (Barbara Sr.) sent him to Arkham for a psychological evaluation and the doctors clinically diagnosed him as mentally unstable in regards to exhibiting apathetic behavior. However, the doctors prescribed an experimental medicine to help James in stabilizing his emotional imbalance.
James also overheard Oracle's convictions about him and he swears to his father that he has never killed anybody. Gordon still doesn't know what to think about his son until James informs him about his volunteer work at Dr. Thompkins' clinic. James Jr. leaves the cafe and asks that his father will hopefully find it in his heart to forgive him. For a while, Gordon feels this extreme sense of relief that his son is misunderstood but he is changing for the better. When Gordon reaches his apartment, he finds a trail of blood. Gordon follows the trail to James Jr.'s old room. The trail ends in James' closet. Gordon opens the door and finds the body of a schoolyard bully that James Jr. fell victim to when he was young.
It seems everyone was right about James Jr. even though Gordon tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. Gordon immediately goes to the clinic and finds Dr. Thompkins. Gordon confronts Leslie by demanding to know where his son is. Leslie informs Gordon that his son is a model volunteer because anything she asks him to do, he "happily" does. Over time, Leslie has given James Jr. more responsibilities like making "nutrition runs" for newborn babies who come from poor families. Gordon doesn't want to panic Leslie by telling her what he had found at his apartment so he humbly asks her to call him the moment James comes in for his shift. Leslie agrees to Gordon's request and she tries to calm his worries by showing him James' office.
Leslie flips on the lights in James' office and gives Gordon a tour. As Leslie professes how great James is, Gordon on the other hand, can't believe that Leslie would be so naive to willingly put her full trust in someone like James. Gordon peers around the office and finds a vile of James' medicine. The medicine is called Diaxemene which is designed to release a chemical in the brain so the patient can feel empathy. Gordon takes a pill from the vile, thanks Leslie for the tour and makes his way to Barbara's place at Kord Tower.
Gordon gives Barbara the pill that he took from James' office and asks her to run a couple of tests. Barbara knew something was going on with James but she didn't want to rub in her father's face because she could see that Gordon still wanted to hold onto any hope of saving his son. Barbara figures the medicine is supposed to help James in treating or possibly curing his psychotic tendencies but Diaxemene is still in the testing phases and hasn't been approved by the FDA. Gordon is hoping he can convince James to undergo some blood work in order to make sure that he has been taking his pills.
Gordon leaves Barbara to her work while he heads back to the clinic. Barbara breaks down the pill's components and she makes a startling discovery. James has reversed the effect of the pill and now the pill is designed to chemically induce apathy rather than empathy in a certain section of the brain. However, the dosage of James' pill is of such low grade that it wouldn't affect an adult. Barbara relays all of her findings to Gordon's cell phone. Gordon can't understand why James would concoct a pill with such a low dosage then it hits him. Leslie made James responsible for the "nutrition runs" at her clinic. James has been putting his pills in the baby formula and giving it to all the newborns thereby ensuring their development into becoming psychopaths.
Just as Gordon reached the clinic, he is stopped by Det. Bullock who has some really bad news. Bullock says the Joker has escaped Arkham and something horrible has happened to Gordon's ex-wife. Gordon acts quickly by warning Leslie about James then he calls in a small task force to station themselves at the clinic and wait for James to return. Gordon must put the hunt for his deranged son in the hands of his brothers in blue while he accompanies Bullock. Bullock tells Gordon that he received an anonymous phone call from someone who said Barbara Gordon is going to die at the Gotham Plaza Hotel. Gordon and Bullock reach the hotel room where Barbara was staying at and as Gordon entered, he notices a light coming from the bathroom. Gordon falls to his knees in tears because he has found his beloved ex-wife nude in the bath tub with a crimson smile across her face.
Gordon rushes Barbara to the lab at Wayne Enterprises while Bullock calls in Oracle and tells her what has just happened. Oracle reacts by calling Dick and having him meet her father at the lab. Oracle runs a few tests on her mother while Dick injects the anti-Joker Venom. Fortunately, Gordon got to Barbara just in time to save her and the Joker Venom was a derivative of the original. Gordon at this point wants Joker's head on a pike for all the misery he has brought to the Gordons but Dick convinces Gordon that there is no way the Joker could have escaped Arkham and found out where Barbara was so quickly. Dick promises Gordon that he will find Joker and make him talk.
Dick heads to Arkham and conducts a complete sweep of the crime scene. From what Dick could deduce, Joker didn't get very far from Arkham because Dick begins follow a trail of Joker's sweat which seems to be secreting Joker Venom. Dick follows the trail to an abandoned section of Arkham. At this point, Dick figures that Joker must have discovered Victor Zsasz's underground path which leads to the catacombs beneath Arkham. Zsasz used this path to escape Arkham so he could freely kill anyone he wanted in Gotham then he would make his way back to Arkham as if he had never escaped at all.
Dick finds Joker in a dank corner of the catacombs. He notices Joker mumbling to himself about being disappointed. Dick apprehends Joker and begins to interrogate him. Joker starts off by complaining about the fact that Dick isn't the real Batman by saying "You don't scare me little bird” and he isn't saying a word until the real Batman returns. Dick decides to beat down on the Joker until he reveals who he hired to attack Barbara Gordon. Joker laughs hysterically because according to him, the real Batman would have figured out that the Joker does his own dirty work and he would never send some errand boy to take credit for his fun. Dick finally realizes that the Joker was able to escape simply because someone needed him to be the scapegoat for the attack on Barbara Gordon and they were counting on Commissioner Gordon to retaliate by ending the Joker once and for all.
Back at the lab, Gordon sat by Barbara's side as Bullock escorted Oracle back to her apartment. Barbara eventually wakes up and when she laid her eyes on Gordon, she immediately began to scream for help. A doctor comes rushing and injects a sedative into Barbara. Gordon finally realizes that James injected the Joker Venom into his mother as a way to get back at her for institutionalizing him while at the same time he wanted Gordon to think the Joker was responsible for the attack on Barbara in order to bait him into killing the Joker. If Gordon knows how calculating his son can be then he would guess that James has already realized his plan to manipulate everything is falling apart which leaves only one person left for him to torture...Oracle.
Bullock drops Oracle off at her apartment doorstep and just as she entered her apartment, James closes the door right behind her. James and Oracle enter a discussion about on how depraved he is. James respects Oracle because she is the only one who can see him for what he is. Barbara replies to his compliment with a scoff. Oracle always knew James was disturbed and most of those people that he has already killed were actually victims rather people who had it coming. In short, Oracle realizes that James tries to find flaws or start something with another person just so he can justify as well as satisfy his violent tendencies. James smiles and his respect for Oracle's deduction has reached new lengths.
Faces of Death
Following the events of Flashpoint, moments of Joker's history may have been altered, but the personality of the Joker has not changed in the new 52.
In Detective Comics #1 we see him as the main suspect in several murders in Gotham, he use a black shirt, and at the end of this comic, we see that his face was cut off by the dollmaker.
Death of the Family
The Joker returns to Gotham to take down the Batman family. He first goes to the Gotham City Police headquarters in order to take back his face. During his time there, he kills many of the police officers present at the time, and then disappears. He then heads to Wayne Manor, where he kidnaps Alfred.
The Joker meets with Batman at the Gotham Reservoir, where he reveals that he knows the secret identities of everyone in the Batman family, and that he will be coming after them all.
In the tie ins to the arc, he Joker continues his attack on the Bat family by kidnapping Barbara Gordon's mother, later proposing to her when she comes to rescue her. The Joker will be targeting all the Batman Family in this series and it will be a battle to the end of the Joker. Batman and the Batman Family will defeat him and find Alfred to save him and end the Joker madness once and for all.
The story in Batman travels back to his beginning in Zero Year showcasing a young Bruce going up against the Red Hood Gang. The Joker is the leader of this group and at this time is before his transformation to the villain that we know today. Joker is seen as murderous, psychotic and intelligent even before his transformation and is from time to time being stopped by Bruce on numerous crimes that he and his gang are committing. Recently, him and the red hood gang hijacked a blimp that the Falcone's were on but before they could carry on with there plans Bruce, disguised as Penguin, attacks him. Joker realizes that it is the vigilante that has been interfering with them recently and actually offers him a to join there team as a Red Hood. One of the Red Hoods calls Joker crazy, the Joker without hesitation shoots him and says that there is now a space on the team. Bruce declines and fights them, however Joker pulls out from a box stolen Wayne industries technology that he has modified and tries to shoot him but instead one of the Red Hoods gets in the in the way. This leads Bruce to escape from the Blimp.
Taking place after the events of Batman Eternal, the Joker is back with a vengeance. Starting in Batman #35, Bruce Wayne is being attacked by the Justice League. Batman battles all the members of the League, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and finally... Superman, who reveals being mind-controlled by the Joker, laughing, and claiming that nobody will save Batman this time.
In Justice League: Darkseid War, Batman learned of The Joker's secret identity from the Mobius Chair. It revealed to him that there was not one but Jokers. Confused by this perplexing revelation, these seemingly identical terrifying trio are labeled as "The Criminal", "The Comedian", and "The Clown".
In Batman: Three Jokers, the exact origin of these three Jokers are about to come to light. Batman, Batgirl, Red Hood and the GCPD were confused on how Joker was able to simultaneously commit three kidnappings and murders of well known comedians at three different locations scattered across the city. This confirmed their suspicions that there are three Jokers. It was revealed that the Jokers were trying to create more Jokers to mirror how comedians would copy material from other comedians in the past.
The first Joker to fall was the "The Clown", who was killed by Jason Todd. "The Criminal" and "The Comedian" then kidnap Joe Chill from Blackgate to make him the ultimate Joker. Their plan failed as Batman was able to rescue Chill and apprehends "The Criminal". But then "The Criminal" was slain by "The Comedian" after he was caught as it was revealed to be one true Joker all along. The real reason for kidnapping Chill was to arrange and reconciliation between Batman and Chill. With no childhood villain left to demonize, Batman can now focus on his attention on his real enemy - The Joker. Furthermore, he knows Batman's secret identity was Bruce Wayne and will not share that information with anyone..
The Joker was a straightforward homicidal maniac killing more than 3 dozen people in his first run in the Batman series. In his first appearance, he left his victims with smiles on their faces after their deaths, something that has become a trademark for the character throughout his many years in publication. In his first appearance, the Joker challenged both the police department as well as Batman when he threatened to kill three people.
The Joker trapped Robin, Dick Grayson, and was prepared to kill him until the Batman showed up and stopped him. This story would be retold in 2005's Batman: The Man Who Laughs.
In "The Joker Walks His Last Mile" Joker is sentenced to the electric chair. He escaped by faking his own death and when captured later on he could not be electrocuted due to the Double Jeopardy law. The Joker pretended to be a good citizen but soon fell into his old habits.
In his last appearance in Earth-Two Continuity, Bruce Wayne was revealed to be The Batman, and recently died. The Joker refused to believe this and began to destroy Gotham City hoping that Batman simply retired. Dick Grayson impersonated the Batman long enough for Joker to be taken into custody.
Due to the Comics Code Authority Censorship Board in the 50's and 60's, DC was forced to make the Joker a seemingly harmless nuisance. In 1964, with a new editor heading the series the Joker was hardly ever seen. The main thing to take away from the Silver Age Joker is his appearance as Red Hood before becoming the Joker. There has never been a distinct break in where the Golden Age Joker ended and the Silver Age Joker began.
There would be profound revisions of the Joker in the early 70's by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams. In Batman #251 the Joker returned to his homicidal roots and enjoyed matching wits with the Batman.
In the Detective Comics run of 471 - 476 the Joker would further be reformed leading to his characterization in 1989's Batman and the 1990's cartoon series Batman: The Animated Series.
Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a doctor at Arkham Asylum, very much interested in the criminally insane. As she worked, the Clown Prince of Crime researched her name which intrigued his mad mind. As he put it, “It’s a name that puts a smile on my face!” He lures Harley into his fiendish trap by telling her stories of an abusive father, runaway mother and overall an awful childhood. After spending time with the Joker she falls madly in love and runs off to a costume shop where she steals a Harlequin costume and other accessories which allow her to free the Joker from his padded cell. Finding herself obsessed to the point of insanity, Dr. Quinzel, once a brilliant psychologist, is now a villainous side-kick named Harley Quinn. She often refers to the Joker as "Puddin'." Since then, they have an on and off relationship that makes people speculate that Harley is the Joker´s only love besides Batman (and himself).
Batman Confidential suggests that they met in a bar before he became the Joker. She also claimed to be the Joker’s girlfriend until he tried to kill her in Batman #663 and later told the Riddler that she and the Joker were through. The Joker is not really interested in her, and he tried to replace her as a henchgirl in Joker's Millions. The "break up" had happened when Joker had attempted to kill all of his old allies and pawns Harley believed she was involved in the Joker's plans only to realize he attempted to kill her last in front of Batman to prove he is transformed.
- Gender: Male
- Height: 5' 10"
- Weight: 160 lbs (73 kg)
- Hair: Green
- Eyes: Green
Unusual Physical Characteristics: The Joker's facial nerves are paralyzed, which makes him appear as if he is perpetually grinning, an expression called a "rictus grin." His green hair and nails, his rouge-red lips, and his chalk-white skin are all directly due to chemical exposure. The Joker's face is also damaged from massive scarring in the shape of a hideous smile.
Powers & Abilities
- Adept Hand-to-Hand Combatant
- Pain Resistance
- Tainted Blood
- Joker Venom Immunity
Due to his mental state, the Joker is immune to fear as he does not understand the concept and sees everything as a joke. He also has an immunity to poison due to prolonged exposure to chemicals. The Scarecrow's fear gas has no effect on him, and Visionary failed to hypnotize him into a state of fear in Birds of Prey #121. He and Poison Ivy have shown immunity to each others' chemicals. As well, the Harlequin of Hate also possesses a very high tolerance for pain. In Birds of Prey #16, the Joker was in a leg cast, but jumbled about as if it was not even there. He has laughed after being shot in Batman: Dark Victory. He showed no symptoms of pain after a couple of batarangs slit his mouth in Batman Confidential. Most of the time, he seems to enjoy pain, provoking others to take a swing at him; thus, he may, with some truth, be accurately described as a sadomasochist. Bullets seem to do little more than slow him down or put him out of commission temporarily. On several occasions, he has been known to survive explosions and crashes. His bones heal quickly, and it has been hinted in a few comics that he does not physically age.
The Joker is a genius inventor and chemist. Using a seemingly laughable but actually very dangerous and deadly arsenal of comedy-themed weapons, such as his patented laughing gas, a bang-labeled spear-gun, explosive whoopie-cushions, an acid-squirting flower, a high-voltage joy buzzer, razor-sharp cards, poisonous pies, acid spraying water gun, and exploding cigars. He has managed to create an MO which fits his macabre appearance. The Joker is immune to his own venom as well as various similar toxins. The Joker is an excellent marksman, as shown in the story arc "Lovers and Madmen". He has made accurate head shots on his victims and never missed once; he also demonstrated his accuracy to people in order to get hired for his skills by throwing a deck of playing cards in the air and shot a jack and both joker cards. His accuracy has also been proven when he shot the ropes of hostages he had hanging from a building to distract Batman. The Joker has occasionally demonstrated above average and noticeable hand to hand combat skills, having caught Batman off guard with a kick on some occasions with being and adept brawler even though he doesn't have any specific fighting style, he used street fighting techniques. He has shown to be adept with non-comedy themed weapons such as guns, knives, explosives, and even such seemingly non-lethal items as a pencil.
In “A Clown at Midnight” and again in Batman #663, there is a panel in which the Joker is sitting in a cell at Arkham waiting for the Dark Knight’s arrival. As he waits, a mosquito lands on his unnaturally pale arms and attempts to suck his blood. The insect dies quickly instead, for the Joker's bloodstream acts like a poison, killing off its unknowing prey.
The Joker does not possess any outright super-human powers; however, he does show several inhuman abilities. The Arkham Asylum story arc suggests that he is "super-sane;" this means that he sees how the universe really is, without any personal illusions, and that his entire personality can alter to fit the circumstances, making him excellent at impersonating and lying as he truly believes what he says. He has the great strength that madmen are often said to have, and is quite agile. And, like so many comic book characters, the Joker always has the habit of cheating death. People have repeatedly assumed him dead, only for him to rise up again and wreak havoc once more.
It is debatable if it classifies as a super power or not, but the Joker's insanity, or his frame of mind, leaves him immune to the Spectre's judgement, though warranted, as Batman explained once that the Joker doesn't actually know what is right and wrong, a crucial understanding the Spectre needs to judge. In a way, one has to know one's deeds are evil or wrong for the Spectre to judge, and the Joker doesn't. Also, both Jim Corrigan and Hal Jordan Spectres have had major problems with navigating the Joker's mind, Corrigan even managed to get lost in it and Jordan literally was blasted out of his boots to the moon when he tried.
The Joker also has the tendency to break the fourth wall and seems to have a heightened sense of awareness that he is a comic book character. He is the only character to talk directly to the reader and has the ability to do things such as "turn" the comic page or handle his own word balloons. The Joker also seems to know that he exists as Batman's perfect foil. In " Going Sane" (in Legends of the Dark Knight #65-68), the Joker, thinking that he has killed Batman, figures there is no point to him being the Joker anymore and gets plastic surgery and attempts to lead a normal, sane life. However, upon discovering that Batman is still alive, he reverts to insanity and continues his life as a mass murderer.
Regardless of whether he is insane or faking insanity, his intelligence is obvious and his malevolence unmatched. The villains of Arkham fear and sometimes take orders from him, and those who do not know any better and shrug him off as a clown soon discover him to be a force to be reckoned with. He has a habit of pushing his authority and does not always use henchmen to enforce it. Some notable weight-pushing, leadership, and rogue bossing can be found in Arkham Asylum: ASHoSE, Salvation Run, Batman R.I.P., Emperor Joker, & Batman: Gotham Knights.
Joker appeared as a recurring antagonist in the iconic 1960s Batman live-action TV series. He was portrayed by veteran actor Cesar Romero, who refused to shave his mustache and as such was noticeable under the clown make-up when used. This was the first ever live-action portrayal of the Joker.
The Batman/Superman Hour (The Adventures of Batman) (1968-1969)
The Joker appeared as a recurring villain of Batman in The Adventures of Batman. Voiced by Larry Storch.
Super Friends (1973-1983)
The Joker was planned to be part of the Legion of Doom in Super Friends, however the rights of the character were in limbo and as such did not appear for quite some time. He would eventually make an appearance, apparently having been disguised as another character. He was voiced by Frank Welker.
Batman: The Animated Series / The Adventures of Batman & Robin (1992-1995)
Joker appears as a recurring antagonist in the landmark animated series Batman: The Animated Series. Much like in the comics the Joker originally burst as a crook who falls into a vat of chemicals upon the sight of the Batman. After this he becomes the Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker has many battles against both Batman and Robin, Dick Grayson. His appearance was much like the comics and his voice was provided by Mark Hamill. Hamill quickly became a fan favorite, and is now considered by many to be the definitive voice of the character, a role he has since returned to on numerous occasions in subsequent productions, even those made decades later.
The Batman/Superman Movie: World's Finest (1996)
In a three part story called "World's Finest," Superman: The Animated Series, Joker is low on cash so he and Harley Quinn steal a dragon statue that is rumored to be made of jade but is actually made of Kryptonite. They go to Metropolis and ask Lex Luthor to pay them to kill Superman for him. Batman comes to Metropolis and teams with Superman to defeat the team of Joker, Lex Luthor, Harley Quinn, and Mercy Graves after Joker betrays Luthor and steals a high-tech bomber plane. He is presumably killed after the plane explodes, though The New Batman Adventures would later confirm his survival. The 3 episodes were later edited and released as an animated movie. Mark Hamill reprises his role as Joker.
The New Batman Adventures (1997-1999)
Taking its cue from Superman: the Animated Series in animation, The New Batman Adventures had redesigned the look of the characters. The story is set 2 years after the events of Batman: the Animated Series (aka The Adventures of Batman & Robin). Dick Grayson has taken on the role of Nightwing, Tim Drake is the new Robin, and Batgirl has a more prominent member of the team. All the voice actors returned to their roles in the original version of the show, including Mark Hamill as the Joker.
Justice League / Justice League Unlimited (2001-2006)
The Joker appears in the two-part Justice League episode "Injustice For All." The Joker is viewed as a senior adviser because of his experience in the Criminal Field. The Joker invites himself as part of Lex Luthor's Injustice Gang, and helps in the plan to capture Batman and lure the Justice League into a trap. He is also the last member to be caught, ironically because he was the only one who did not have any superpowers. He returns in the two-part episode "Wild Cards," where he forms the Royal Flush Gang and challenges the Justice League to defuse a series of bombs he planted on the Las Vegas strip. At the end of the episode, he is psyichally incapacitated by Ace after she realizes he'd been manipulating her.
Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Joker in this series.
Birds of Prey (2002-2003)
In the short lived WB series Birds of Prey, the Joker makes a cameo appearance in a flashback shooting Barbara Gordon and also hires a thug to kill Selina Kyle, Catwoman. Mark Hamill voiced his appearance but was portrayed by another actor.
The Batman (2004-2008)
In The Batman, a re-imagining of the Batman's early years he is referred to simply as "Joker." He has wild green hair, yellow and red eyes, deep red lips and a blue tongue. He is often barefooted, and uses a monkey fighting style. His trademark Joker Gas is used as well as Razor Sharp Joker Cards. He is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011)
The Joker appears in several episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and is voiced by Jeff Bennett. This version of the Joker's appearance is more like the Silver-Age version (drawn by Dick Sprang) of the Joker than ones seen in other batman animations.
Joker first appears as his Red Hood counterpart in the episode "Deep Cover for Batman!". In this episode its shown how Owlman and Scarlet Scarab caused his accident in the chemical plant disfiguring him. Unlike his counterpart in Batman´s world, this Red Hood becomes a real hero, leading a bunch of heroes which are the only opposite force to Injustice Syndicate. The Joker's next appearence is in the episode "Death Race to Oblivion!", where The Joker is forced by Mongul to race against several other heroes and villains to determine the fate of the Earth. Joker also appears in "Joker: The Vile and the Villainous. Where he seems to be the main character and even has his own theme song instead of Batman's. Joker teams up with The Weeper to try to take out Batman's device The Bat-Probe which detects every crime being done. In the end they are successful but are arrested.
Young Justice (2010-2013)
Joker appeared in Young Justice as a member of the Injustice League along with Count Vertigo, Black Adam, Atomic Skull, Poison Ivy, Ultra-Humanite, and Wotan. They used a combination of Kobra Venom and Joker Venom on mystically and radioactively enhanced plants to attack major world cities. Joker was given the job of controlling the plants when the Justice League were fighting them. Jason Todd is dead after the 5 year break it is unknown whether Joker was the killer. He was voiced by Brent Spiner.
Justice League Action (2016)
The Joker appears as a recurring antagonist in the Justice League Action cartoon series, with Mark Hamill once again reprising his role. The episode "Missing the Mark" notably involves the Joker and the Trickster (both of whom were portrayed by Hamill in the past) kidnapping the real Mark Hamill while he's in Gotham City. The short ends with the Joker and Prankster being captured by Swamp Thing, who is also voiced by Hamill. After Swamp Thing says that Hamill is a highly-trained voice actor, Joker confusedly asks "What's a voice actor?"
Joker does not appear in person in Titans, but is mentioned multiple times. The episode "Dick Grayson" involves Trigon trapping Robin in a false reality where Batman snaps and finally murders the Joker after being pushed too far.
Harley Quinn (2019)
Joker appears as a major character in the DC Universe (later HBO Max) Harley Quinn animated series, voiced by Alan Tudyk. The events of the series are kicked off after the Joker abandons Harley Quinn to be arrested and leaves her in Arkham Asylum for a year. After a plan to prove the Joker's love merely proves that he cares way more about Batman than her, Harley breaks up with him and decides to become an independent supervillain. Throughout the first season, Joker (a member of the Legion of Doom in this continuity) makes repeated efforts to get back at Harley for dumping him, which culminates with him taking over Gotham and nearly killing Poison Ivy in the season finale.
Batman: The Movie (1966)
Cesar Romero reprised his role in Batman: The Movie. He teamed with Catwoman, Riddler, and Penguin to try and take down Batman and Robin.
In Tim Burton's Batman, the Joker is played by Jack Nicholson. In this version he a character named Jack Napier, who is revealed to be the person who shot Thomas and Martha Wayne, thus creating the Batman. Ironically it would be the Batman who creates the Joker in a way, as when he arrives at a crime scene he spots Napier, who flees and falls over an edge while Batman tries to save him from inevitably falling into the vat of chemicals. The Joker is born and as starts a killing spree and draws an obsession with Vicky Vale. When he announces on TV that he intends to have the Gotham Parade, he throws out millions of dollars, hoping to draw the masses out to release his Joker Gas. Batman intervenes and stops the deaths of many of Gotham's citizens. In the climatic battle, the Joker falls to his death and his body is found with a device that continuously laughs.
Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Joker appears in the animated theatrical movie Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Not only is Batman's origin explored in the first animated movie spin-off of the award winning series, but the Joker's is as well. The Joker was originally a thug in the Sal Valestra gang. His transition from a thug to the Joker is not shown, but is revealed he killed Bruce's then fiancee's father, who did not make Valestra happy. The Joker is a mad killer in the film, when his old boss comes to him for aid, he asks for him to smile. When the Phantasm arrives to kill Valestra, he is dead with a large smile on his face from Joker gas. He also injects his toxin into the Gotham Counselor, who also had a mob background, which the Joker knew him from. The Joker escapes to somewhere we do not know at the end of the movie where he destroys the old Gotham circus. Mark Hamill reprises his role as Joker.
Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker (2000)
Joker appears again in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. Set 40 years in the future, the Joker has not been seen in many decades. There is a gang who apparently idolize him, named the Jokerz. A skeleton wearing the Joker's trademark suit is seen in a cave used for Jokerz initiation. In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, we learn that the Joker was killed decades ago and that Batman was there to witness it. The Joker kidnapped Tim Drake, who eventually revealed all the Batman's secrets and was brought to a psychotic break, the Joker tried to get Tim to to kill Batman, but at the last moment shoots the Joker instead. In the Batman Beyond present it is revealed that the Joker had one last trick up his sleeve, in the form of a DNA overwrite, which he implanted in Tim Drake so the Joker could make a return appearance. Mark Hamill reprises his role as the Joker.
Batman: Dead End (2003)
In this $30,000 fan-made short film, the Joker escapes from Arkham Asylum and is being chased by Batman. They confront each other in an alley when all of a sudden, an Alien grabs the Joker to the rooftop and is never been seen again. His fate remains unknown. This film has been praised to be the best Batman film ever made, including actor/director/comic book enthusiast Kevin Smith and artist Alex Ross. Sadly, the actor who played the Joker, Andrew Koenig (son of Walter Koenig of Star Trek fame), committed suicide on February 25, 2010.
The Batman vs. Dracula (2005)
In The Batman vs. Dracula, Joker and Penguin escape from Arkham at the same time and race to find a stash of stolen money and as they fight over it in Gotham Cemetery, Penguin accidentally cuts his own hand and the blood spills over a corpse that ends up being Dracula that made it come back to life. Batman then has to take down Dracula. Kevin Michael Richardson reprises his role as Joker as the movie is set in the universe of the TV series that he is included in.
The Dark Knight (2008)
In The Dark Knight, the Joker arrives on the scene much like the way he did in the comics, with a bang. Throughout the movie, The Joker is a force to be reckoned with. He first steals from the mob and then tells them he can easily fix the problem they have been having with the interference of Batman, but he wants half of their money (he says that "if you're good at something, never do it for free"). Eventually the mob gives in and the Joker wastes no time, killing Commissioner Loeb and a judge, who was trying a case against many of the city's most notorious mobsters. He tries to kill Harvey Dent in person but Batman intervenes, seeing as how the Joker tried to kill Dent at one of Bruce Wayne's parties. He later announces that he intends to kill the Mayor. When that plan fails as well, he gets another shot at Dent, who is trying to draw the Joker out by being arrested, claiming that he is the Batman. The Joker makes another attempt at Dent's life during his transfer but Batman intervenes once again, after stopping Joker's truck, Joker challenges him as he stands in the street taunting Batman to run him down with his Batpod, but Batman veers off at the last second, crashing. Joker gains the upper hand but is stopped by Gordon. Later when Dent and Rachel Dawes are taken he gets interrogated by the newly appointed Commissioner Gordon and Batman.
He warns Batman that eventually Gotham will cast him out because he's a freak like him. Batman's violent approach to the interrogation does not have much affect on Joker, who laughs for the better part of it, and he reveals his game to Batman, who realizes Joker has arranged the kidnapping of Rachel and Harvey, and then Joker tells Batman the punch line, Batman only has time to save one of them. Once Batman and Gordon leave to save the two who were kidnapped he makes his escape from the police by setting off a bomb, in the form of a cellphone, that was surgically implanted into one of his henchmen at a previous time. Batman races to find Rachel and instead finds Dent. Gordon races to get to Rachel in time, but the building she is in explodes along with Dent's building, which leaves Rachel dead and Harvey with half his face burned beyond recognition. Joker threatens to blow up a hospital if a Wayne Enterprises accountant who is about to reveal Batman's identity is not dead in one hour, creating chaos in Gotham as citizens try to kill the accountant in order to save loved ones. He meets Harvey Dent and convinces him to go for revenge, and sets him loose on Gotham before blowing up Gotham General hospital with no one inside.
The Joker threatens that the city will be taken over by his rules and says the only way to safely leave the city is by boat. Joker then gives a test to the citizens on two ferries (one of them filled with incarcerated criminals) he has rigged with bombs, but each ferry is given a detonator to the other vessel, giving the the choice to either blow up the other vessel or spare them, but if neither makes a choice, both will be destroyed. Joker is eventually stopped by the Batman who throws him over the edge of a building, Joker while hanging upside down over the edge states to Batman that they are destined to do this forever and tells him about the location of Dent, saying he brought Dent "down to our level" as Batman goes to find Dent, the police arrest the Joker as he laughed in victory. This Joker was played by the late Heath Ledger, who died at age 28 on January 22, 2008, by way of cardiac arrest brought on by prescription drug intoxication.
Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
In Batman: Under the Red Hood, Joker was the cause of Jason Todd's death by a crowbar much like in Death in the Family. The Joker spent most of the time in Arkham Asylum, until he was broken out by the Black Mask. The Black Mask wanted a partnership with the Joker in order to kill the Red Hood. The Joker agreed, but later betrays Black Mask. The Joker then tied up Black Mask, Mask's assistant, and eight other men to kill them all by gas fire on a bridge. The Red Hood shows up as the Joker or as the Hood intended, but Hood does not stop Joker from dropping a lighter on the Mask and his gang. Batman stops the fire by dropping foam on bridge with the Batplane. Next, Batman in the Batplane takes the Joker and the Red Hood around Gotham, until the Red Hood cuts the line in a river. The Red Hood kidnaps the Joker in order to torture him much as he did earlier in the movie with a crowbar.
The Joker laughs it off by saying "Do I know you? Did we blow up a school bus together?" In the final scene, Jason Todd, the Red Hood, tells Batman to either kill him or the Joker or he will kill the Joker himself. Batman does neither and stops Jason from killing the Joker, but in one last move the Joker proclaims that he would "be the only one to get what he wants" that night by holding the Batman until the bomb goes off. Jason helps Batman and they both leave the apartment building before it blows up leaving the Joker still alive underneath a remains of the building. Joker then returns to Arkham Asylum at the end of the movie. This Joker was played by Voice Actor, John Di Maggio.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 (2012)
Joker appears in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 1. 10 years after the retirement of Batman, Harvey Dent is seemed to have finally rehabilitated himself in Arkham with therapy and plastic surgery but actually let the entire persona of Two-Face take over and was planning on destroying Gotham. At the same time, Gotham has been overrun by mutant gangs. Bruce Wayne comes out of retirement to take down both threats. While all this is happening, Joker is seen in Arkham in a catatonic state and pretty much oblivious to the world around him. After surges of news reports about Batman's return and the eclipse it takes over all other news, Joker seems to come out of his catatonic state with a "B-B-B-Batman, darling!" and begins laughing at the end of the movie, setting up for his return in Part 2. Part 2 follows Miller's original story, with Joker eventually perishing after one final fight with Batman.
Joker was voiced by Michael Emerson.
Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
In Batman: Assault on Arkham, Batman rescues Riddler from being assassinated by a black ops team ordered by Amanda Waller and returns him to Arkham Asylum. Waller then gathers a group of notorious criminal such as Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and a few others to retrieve a key piece of evidence hidden within Riddler's cane inside of the asylum. She captured Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, Black Spider, KGBeast, Killer Frost, and King Shark forming the Suicide Squad. KGBeast, however, did not work on the mission with the squad, as he was killed by Amanda Waller for not believing her when she told them all that she implanted chips into their heads. The rest of the members went on the mission where Harley Quinn and Deadshot crossed paths with a locked up Joker, who eventually escaped due to Harley Quinn's help. She deceived the rest of the squad by making them believe she was trying to kill him but she really granted him a way of escape by shooting the wall in his cell and giving him access to the cell door's wiring. In this film, the Joker has planted a bomb somewhere in Gotham City, which Batman tries to find, but first must handle the Suicide Squad and then disarm the bomb. Joker is played by Troy Baker in this film.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Joker himself does not appear in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but his presence is alluded to. A memorial shrine for Robin is seen in the Batcave, and his costume is shown covered in the Joker's signature graffiti, implying that Joker was the one who killed him. This is later confirmed in the Suicide Squad movie (released later the same year), which mentions that Joker and Harley murdered Robin at some point in the past.
Suicide Squad (2016)
Joker appears in the DC Extended Universe film Suicide Squad, played by Jared Leto. In a departure from the comics, Joker is depicted as a tattooed modern gangster with a strong hip-hop influence. In the film, he plots to spring Harley from prison after she is captured by Batman and forced onto Amanda Waller's new team, the Suicide Squad. The film ends with the Joker and his goons attacking Belle Reve Penitentiary and freeing Harley, with the two passionately reuniting.
Leto's performance was heavily panned, and rumors of his on-set antics during filming (including reportedly sending dead animals and used condoms to his co-stars) became the subject of mockery and derision. It was subsequently revealed that most of the Joker's scenes had been cut from the film during the extensive editing the film underwent to make it more lighthearted after the disappointing reception of Batman v Superman. Leto was subsequently nominated for the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor in 2017.
The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Joker appears as the main antagonist of The Lego Batman Movie, voiced by actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis. At the start of the film, the Joker seeks vengeance on Batman after being told he's not an important part of the Caped Crusader's life, which deeply hurts him. After crashing a gala, the Joker is banished to the Phantom Zone by Batman. Harley Quinn then steals the Phantom Zone projector as part of Joker's plan, freeing him and the other villains he'd recruited while trapped there (including General Zod, Sauron, Lord Voldermort, Agent Smith, the Wicked Witch of the West and the Daleks). At the end of the film, the Joker's plot to destroy Gotham is thwarted by Batman and his allies, but Batman is forced to admit that the Joker is his reason for being a hero.
In 2019, a standalone Joker origin film was released. Directed by Todd Phillips, the film was completely divorced from the shared DC Extended Universe continuity, instead serving as a standalone story. Actor Joaquin Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a meek and mentally-ill man who lives with his mother in Gotham City. A failed comedian, Arthur is continually pushed around and mocked by society until he finally snaps and becomes the costumed anarchist known as the Joker.
The film was controversial upon release, with some critics claiming its depiction of a marginalized white man who turns to murder and violence was irresponsible given recent incidents of gun violence in the United States. Despite this, the film was critically acclaimed and proved to be a massive hit at the box office, bringing over a billion dollars and becoming one of the most successful DC movies to date, as well as the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. It was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, with Joaquin Phoenix taking home the award for Best Actor.
Birds of Prey (2020)
Joker makes fleeting appearances in the Birds of Prey film, with his face never shown due to Jared Leto not being asked back to reprise his role. Instead, Joker was played by Johnny Goth. Following the events of Harley's escape at the end of Suicide Squad, Joker breaks up with Harley and throws her out onto the streets of Gotham City. In retaliation, Harley blows up the Ace Chemicals Plant. Despite not appearing in person outside of flashbacks, Joker's influence has a significant impact on the events of the film, as Harley subsequently has to rebuild her life and redefine herself now that she is no longer his lover or partner in crime.
Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)
Joker makes a cameo appearance at the end of Zack Snyder's Justice League, with Jared Leto reprising his role. He is seen in a post-apocalyptic future where Darkseid has conquered the Earth, and is in an uneasy alliance with Batman and the surviving members of the Justice League.
"If the police expect to play against the Joker, they had best be prepared to be dealt from the bottom of the deck!"- Batman #1 (1940)
"Batman! I accuse you of interfering with the right of criminals to commit crimes!" - Batman #163
"Zip-a-dee-do-da, zip-a-de-oom, my-o-my, what a wonderful boom …" - Joker #3
"Where does he get all of those wonderful toys" - Tim Burton's "Batman", 1989
"This town needs an enema!" - Tim Burton's "Batman", 1989
"Never rub another man's rhubarb." -Tim Burton's "Batman", 1989
"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light?" - Tim Burton's "Batman", 1989
"All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That's how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day." - Batman: The Killing Joke, 1988
"I'm not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... If I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice! Ha ha ha!" - Batman: The Killing Joke, 1988
"It's all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for... it's all a monstrous , demented gag! So why can't you find the funny side?" - Batman: The Killing Joke, 1988
"A bat in the hand is worth two in the belfry." - "Mad Love", The New Batman Adventures, 1999
"I did it! I finally killed Batman! In front of a bunch of vulnerable, disabled, kids!!!! Now get me Santa Claus!" - Batman #655
"I believe that whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you...stranger." - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"Wanna know how I got theses scars?" - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"Why so serious?" - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"Let's put a smile on that face." - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"I'm not a monster...I'm just ahead of the curve." - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"Y'know what I noticed ? Nobody panics when things go 'according to plan'. Even if the plan is horrifying! If tomorrow I told the press that, like, a gangbanger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics... because it's 'all part of the plan'. But if I say one, little old mayor will die... well then, everyone LOSES THEIR MINDS!" - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"If you’re good at something, never do it for free." - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just… do things." - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on would ya? Huh?" - Tim Burton's "Batman", 1989
"Kid... I'm the Joker. I don't just randomly kill people. I kill people when it's funny. What would be conceivably funny about killing you?" - Batman #686
"Don't talk like you're one of them! You're not... even if you'd like to be. To them you're just a freak, like me. They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out. Like a leper. See, their morals, their "code"... it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these uh, these "civilized people" -they'll eat each other." - Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight", 2008
"C'mon Bats, get crazy. It's the only way to beat me!"- Batman: Arkham Asylum, 2009
For more games, please visit the Joker's profile at GiantBomb.
A video game based on the movie of the same name by Tim Burton. The Joker acts as the last boss and is considered to be one of the hardest bosses to beat.
Batman: Return of The Joker (1991)
A sequel to the Batman game without any ties with the movie, it involved finding the Joker in various exotic locations.
Batman: Vengeance (2001)
In Batman: Vengeance, Joker acts as the mastermind behind a crime-conspiracy in Gotham City. Using Gotham's villains as pawns in his scheme, he formulates a set of multiple crimes throughout the city that tie into a single conspiracy. He underlines Gotham with flammable toys and plans to flood the city with his Joker Venom mixed with Promethium, igniting the toys and annihilating Gotham.
Batman: Dark Tomorrow (2003)
In Dark Tomorrow, the Joker acts as one of the bosses but rather than fighting Batman face to face, the Joker instead gets his henchmen to do all the work. This game is considered to be one of the worst Batman games of all time due to its poor controls, awkward camera angles and repetitive gameplay.
Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe (2008)
The Joker is a playable character with unique moves. He fights using his wide array of comedic but deadly weapons, including his famous Joy Buzzer. Joker is recruited into Lex Luthor's team of villains, along with Deathstroke and Catwoman, and sent to retrieve the teleportal that would return them to Apokolips. His signature ending is stepping on the crouch of his downed opponent. He is voiced by Richard Epcar.
Biography: "An insanely homicidal super-villain, the Joker's white skin, green hair, and blood-red lips belie the chaotic nature underlying his cartoonish appearance. The self-styled "Clown Prince of Crime" has no superpowers, beyond a capacity for incredible violence and a skill at creating deadly mayhem. He frequently concocts elaborate schemes to entrap his arch-nemesis, Batman."
Lego Batman: The Video Game (2008)
He is a boss and a unlockable character, his powers/weapon are: immunity to acid, duel wields 2 Uzis and his special attack is a hand shake (With his hand buzzer), that shocks the victim, and kills them. The hand buzzer can also be used to access certain areas and unlock secrets. The Joker also has a unlockable helicopter for aircraft levels.
Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009)
The Joker acts as the main antagonist in the Arkham Asylum game. He deliberately surrenders to the Batman so that he can return back to Arkham and take over the facility, leading to a deadly cat and mouse game where Batman must defeat the various supervillain inmates and rescue the staff members being held hostage. During the final battle, the Joker mutates into a gigantic, monstrous form after taking the Titan serum, and faces Batman in a physical confrontation.
He is a playable character in the PlayStation 3 version. Mark Hamill reprises his role from the 90s cartoon as the Joker's voice.
Batman: Arkham City (2011)
The Joker makes an appearance in the sequel to Arkham Asylum. After the events of Arkham Asylum, it is revealed that Joker is dying from the TITAN formula that has poisoned his blood. He has been kidnapping doctors and nurses from all over Arkham City to try and find a cure. He then injects Batman with a sample of his blood, poisoning him too. He then tells Batman that Mr Freeze had been working on a cure but had stopped, he sends Batman looking for it, stating it is the only chance both of them have for survival. Harley Quinn steals the finished cure and takes it to him. When the Joker is confronted in the Steel Mill, the building collapses and whilst Batman is trapped, Joker prepares to take his life. Before he can do this, Talia al Gaul stops him, offering him immortality in exchange for Batman's life. He then holds her hostage and after being defeated by Batman, it is revealed that the 'cured' Joker was merely Clayface imitating him. He is shown to still be infected and is very close to death; Joker then kills Talia al Gaul and tries to steal the cure from Batman, however the bottle smashes and the cure is lost. Joker them succumbs to his illness, after Batman tells his that, even after all he did, he would have saved him. Batman then carries his corpse outside and into Arkham City.
This may not be the end of the Joker's legacy, however. In the Joker's office, beside Harley Quinn's uniform from the first game, lies a positive pregnancy test and at the end of the credits, she is shown singing to a baby, "Hush little baby, don't say a world, Momma's gonna kill for you the whole damn world", and it is most likely the child of the Joker's, leading to the possibility of a sequel.
Mark Hamill said that this will be the last time he voices the Joker, leaving it unlikely that he will return in the (rumoured) sequel.
He won best Character of 2011 at the VGA'S (Video Game Award Show). During his acceptance speech Joker accidentally showed a script for the sequel to Batman: Arkham City, "Batman: Arkham World," a joke made by the Rocksteady team. The Joker's voice is Luke Skywalker from Star Wars, but was fake, the real sequel was Batman: Arkham Knight.
Injustice: Gods Among Us (2013)
Joker has been revealed as a playable character in Injustice: Gods Among Us. Lois Lane is revealed to be pregnant with Superman's child, only for the Joker to kill her, and then thousands in Metropolis. Superman then brutally kills him, and forms the Regime.
In an alternate reality, Joker is on the verge of nuking Metropolis when he is teleported into the altered future. There, he allies with the altered Harley Quinn and takes over the Joker Clan.
In his ending he goes back to his world and creates the Joker Clan believing it will be just as successful. They then commit many terrorists acts.
In Harley Quinn's ending she goes to the alternate Joker's world and breaks him out of Arkham. Then brings him back to her world and the two marry. Joker then playfully puts Harely's face in the cake. Then something in Harley snaps from the years of abuse and she slits Joker's throat. Then becomes a member of Arkham not planning on leaving ever.
The Joker is classified as a Gadget User. Richard Epcar reprises his role here.
Batman: Arkham Origins (2013)
The Joker appears in Arkham Origins as the main antagonist just like the previous two installments. He is voiced by Troy Baker this time around. He takes over Black Mask's identity and operation (which is to kill the Bat), hiring eight assassins to get the job done. In the end, he is subdued, and presumably sent to Arkham Asylum (Which reopens shortly after the events of Origins).
Injustice 2 (2017)
Despite his death in the backstory of the first game, Joker returns in Injustice 2, once again voiced by Richard Epcar. In the game's Story Mode, he battles Harley Quinn in a hallucination after she is exposed to the Scarecrow's Fear Gas. In his pre-fight dialogue in the various vs. modes, it's implied that this Joker may in fact be from an alternate universe or might even have been resurrected by Nekron or Shinnok. Nothing is ever confirmed, however.
Mortal Kombat 11 (2019)
The Joker was added to Mortal Kombat 11 as a DLC guest fighter, voiced again by Richard Epcar. He plays no real part in the game's story, but is playable in various other modes. His biography notes some of his more infamous feats from the comics, such as murdering Robin and crippling Barbara Gordon. Despite being a non-canon fighter, he can still appear as one of the duplicates created by Kronika during the final battle with Fire God Liu Kang in the game's Story Mode. As a nod to the controversy surrounding his censored Fatality in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, the Joker can now perform the move in its full, bloody glory.
The Further Adventures of the Joker
Insanity was just the beginning.
His madness is legendary.
His evil without limit.
Scarred in both body and mind, The Joker is possibly the most insidious criminal the world has ever known, his dark genius festering beneath an eternal jester's grin. Yet, for all the pain and suffering Batman's nemesis has brought the world over the last five decades, virtually nothing has been learned about him. Until now.
In The Further Adventures of The Joker you're invited to accompany some of today's most gifted writers on a descent into madness, a journey in search of The Joker's greatest hopes, dreams...and fears. In these stories of crime, mayhem, horror, and twisted humor, you will discover tales you won't soon forget, tales which will chill your soul and tickle your funny bone.
- Written By: Various, Anthology
- Publisher: Bantam (January, 1990)
- ISBN-10: 0553285319
- ISBN-13: 978-0553285314
As an iconic character and Batman's most popular and recognizable villain, Joker has been merchandised multiple times throughout the decades. Due to the sheer number of pieces, a small sampling is listed below:
- Joker was featured in Kenner's DC Super Powers Collection line of action figures back in the 1980s.
- Joker was featured in ToyBiz's action figure line for Tim Burton's Batman movie.
- Joker was featured in Kenner's The Dark Knight Collection.
- Joker was featured multiple times in Kenner's toy line for Batman: The Animated Series.
- Joker was featured in Mattel's DC Super Heroes line.
- Joker was featured in Mattel's toy line for The Batman.
- DC Direct has produced numerous Joker figures and statues over the years.
- Joker was featured multiple times in Mattel's toy line for The Dark Knight.
- Diamond Select produced numerous Joker products.
- Joker has been featured multiple times in the HeroClix figure game.
- Joker has been featured multiple times in Eaglemoss Publications' line of lead figurines.
- Joker was featured in Mattel's toy line for Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
- Joker was featured in Mattel's DC Multiverse line multiple times.
- Joker has been featured in numerous Lego kits.
- Joker was featured in the DC Multiverse line from McFarlane Toys.
- Hot Toys produced Joker figures based on various portrayals of the Joker, including the ones played by Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger and Jared Leto, as well as the one from the Arkham video games.