Sunday, July 20, 2008

Co-created by Bob Kane and the contractually unrecognised, Bill Finger; the Joker made his first appearance in Batman's original titular outing, in 1940's Batman #1.
Since, the character has endured to become one of comics' most recognised and beloved villains, unrivalled in the pantheon of madmen to plague Gotham City with thematic crimes.

With the release of The Dark Knight, fans are being treated to a particularly vivid interpretation of the character, who, in decades passed, has been everything from comic relief, to an unpredictable and meticulously driven killer.

Characters created with a stable of staff he employed has resulted in much debate about the legitimacy of Bob Kane's claim to a legally required credit as sole creator. Serving more as a brand name than an accolade, Kane's contribution to the likes of the Joker came with acknowledged credit, at least, to his popularly snubbed cohort, [Bill] Finger.

It was Finger, a devourer of films, who brought Kane reference from the 1928 silent film, The Man Who Laughs. It was this factoid that Kane used to debunk claims from subsequent Bat-artist, Jerry Robinson, that he created the Joker, beginning with a sketch of the character's trademark playing card. These vivid details of creation are a stark contrast to the mystery that surrounds the true origins of the clown prince of crime, on the page.

Batman: The Long Halloween #3 (February 1997)
"Christmas" Loeb/Sale

Key to the inspiration of The Dark Knight is Jeph Loeb [and Tim Sale]'s exploration of the transition in Gotham City between the old money mobsters of organized crime, and the rising rate of costumed theatrics perpetrated by colourful crooks dubbed, freaks.

Early in the careers of Batman and the Joker; a new gimmicked serial killer dubbed Holiday has begun murdering denizens of the criminal underworld, once every month. Taking offense to the headline stealing antics of this mystery killer - the Joker begins his own line of inquisition to run adjacent to the Batman's, hoping to stomp out the exploits of his rival, from the source.

On top of Joker's suspect list is hotshot DA, Harvey Dent, but the year is young, and there are many yet to die.

Batman #614 (June 2003)
"The Joke" Loeb/Lee

It's a question that plagues many who attempt to rationalize the Batman's endless feud with his rival: why not just kill the Joker?

When Batman becomes the victim of a brand new strategist who's manipulating his gallery of enemies in a game of vengeance; he is led to believe a childhood friend, Dr. Thomas Elliot, is murdered by the Joker. Unwittingly playing into the frame-up, which sends the tempered Dark Knight into an emotional flux, Batman considers breaking his one rule - something the Joker would typically delight in, if he had orchestrated it as such!

Batman stares into the abyss of everything he fights, confronting the very question that fans continue to ask of the dark knight detective.

Detective Comics #781 (June 2003)
"Dead Reckoning" Brubaker/Castillo

Hmmm... Y'know, I'm starting to see a pattern here...
When a citizen is initiated into the criminally insane machinations of Gotham's villainous freaks, a new player is inadvertently created when his impersonations earn the ire of the one true Two-Face.

Enduring nearly fatal torture at the hands of the bilaterally motivated villain; Charlatan survives to become the disfigured subject of experiments conducted by Dr. Jonathan Crane - the Scarecrow. The result is a man who no longer feels the sting of fear, and consequently is empowered by the strength of a madman, intent on striking out at the villains who destroyed his life.

When Batman questions the Joker for the final pieces of the puzzle, he soon finds himself manipulated by the killer's ultimate revenge plot.

Detective Comics #826 (February 2007)
"Slayride" Dini/Kramer

A night on patrol forces the boy wonder, Robin, into a situation that leads him far out of his depth. Besieged by a small army of crooks, Robin is in no position to reject the saving grace of a passing motorist, but when the driver turns out to be the Joker, it begins a nightmare ride of terror and mayhem through Gotham City.

Tim Drake is put through a coming of age as he finds himself prisoner in the Joker's carnival of nightmares. The clown prince embarks on a string of murderous crimes that forces the helpless sidekick to witness first-hand the destructive powers of the chaotic killer.

Drawing upon his expert training, Robin perseveres, orchestrating a strategic turn of events that ends Joker's rampage, and forces him into a near-fatal escape.

Batman #663 (April 2007)
"The Clown at Midnight" Morrison/Van Fleet/Klein

Want to know how Joker got his scars?
In this all-prose pulp-inspired special; Grant Morrison unveils the potential for a new, terrifying chapter in the Joker's ever-changing strategum of personage.

Having survived a point blank shotgun blast from a disgruntled police officer posing as Batman, the Joker finds himself in the unlikely position of undergoing radical reconstruction that cures him of his gastly grin. Discontented with his new visage, the Joker tolerates hospitalization in a mental institute, long enough to fool workers into believing he is pacified, but in truth, nothing could be more false.

The Joker launches a horrific escape while the Dark Knight tracks his cryptic clues spread across horrific murder scenes. It's a race against the clock as Batman attempts to curb the Joker's rebirth, marked with self-mutilating slices, and the manipulations of his conflicted accessory, Harley Quinn.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Joker huh? (READ MORE X-MEN!!!!!) I did really enjoy the DARK KNIGHT(READ MORE X-MEN!!!!!!!) but then the movie was over and I(READ MORE X-MEN) was distracted by other characters. . .

tylerdrake (Coach for X-Party!!!!!!!!!!!)