JOKER CHARACTER PROFILE
The Joker is arguably one, if not the, most popular character in both the Batman and DC Universe. Often causing mayhem everywhere he goes, this crazy clown is one of the Dark Knight’s most conniving and sinister supervillains.
He first made his debut back in the 1940s comics and is created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. He is also one of the very few that, originally, was not given a real name.
|REAL NAME||Jack ‘Oswald’ White (As of 2022. Flashpoint Beyond)|
|CREATED BY||Bill Finger (Writer)|
Jerry Robinson (Artist)
Bob Kane (Writer)
|FIRST APPEARANCE||Batman #1 (Released in 1940)|
Utilises weapon props and toxins
THE CLOWN MAKES HIS FIRST APPEARANCE
The Joker’s first appearance came in the 1940s, where he was written as a criminal mastermind, with a sadistic sense of humour. His original personality then changed slightly in the 1950s in order to abide by the Comics Code Authority. Thus turning him more into the crazy prankster that we are more accustomed to today.
He is also one of the very few characters to have never, originally, been given a real name. Throughout the past there have been multiple attempts where names have been mentioned but none of which were official. In Telltale’s Batman series the Joker is more referred to as John Doe, which is a name that often gets used as a placeholder. Whilst in the 1989 Batman film, which starred actor Jack Nicholson, Joker was given the name of ‘Jack Napier’. Which was essentially a tribute to the actor who played him. It changed once again with Batman Arkham Asylum, which named Joker as ‘Jack White’.
Joker Maquette (Tweeterhead) Collector Sixth Scale
Museum Masterline Joker (Collectors Edition) Statue
The Joker: Death In The Family (New 52) DC Comics
HAS JOKER’S REAL NAME BEEN REVEALED?
The name ‘Jack White’ or ‘Jack Oswald White’ once again cropped up in the 2022 comic book series, Flashpoint Beyond. Which is based on a divergent timeline created by Barry Allen, otherwise known as Flash. In an attempt to prevent his mother being murdered by Reverse-Flash.
It was during this series when an interrogation between both Psycho-Pirate and Martha Wayne occurred. This then led to a conversation regarding Jack White. One that also describes Jack White as being a failed stand up comedian, who works as a janitor over at Wayne Casino. This origin story shares a lot of connection with Joker’s past and original origin stories.
In the 1951 comic, The Man Behind The Red Hood, we find out that the clown was once a factory worker. Who had plans on stealing money from his boss. This was also part of his story in becoming the very first Red Hood character.
Then in the 1980s, Batman: The Killing Joke, he was once again regarded as a factory worker and an unsuccessful comedian. This was a narrated story, one in which was told by the character himself. Albeit in a more unreliable fashion.
BYE BYE BIRDIE
‘A Death in the Family’ was a huge story arc into the 1980s comics, it saw the kidnapping and tragic death of Jason Todd. Who was one of Batman’s sidekicks and second Robin. After the original Robin, Dick Grayson, decided to ‘spread his wings’ a bit more and become Nightwing.
The story was released during the tensions between both the United States and Iran, which led to an embargo on the Iranian trade. This was further shown within the comics when an Iranian leader appointed Joker as an ambassador. Allowing the clown to escape justice, if only temporarily.
Jason Todd was hostage to the Joker, who would continue to torture him until finally murdering him with a crowbar. A lot of the viewership was also involved with this particular issue. Who ended up voting to get rid of the character. A lot of fans found the second Robin to be rather boring, bland, and overall disappointing.
However, in 2005 Jason Todd was revived as part of a DC reboot. The big difference being that he now goes under the moniker of Red Hood. Officially making him the second one to wear the hood, after the Joker. It was Tim Drake who eventually became the third Robin. Following in Todd’s footsteps.
UTTERLY SPINE BREAKING
Referring back to ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ storyline, the Clown Prince of Crime managed to find the location to Barbara Gordon’s apartment. Barbara, at the time, was only 19 years of age and was finding herself getting increasingly tired of playing the role of Batgirl. She was even contemplating the idea of retiring the role.
Thus in a strange and disturbing twist of events, the Joker ended up breaking into her property and shooting her in plain sight. This then led to her being paralyzed due to severe spinal injuries. Further confirming her, already planned, retirement from being a vigilante crime fighter. She then became Oracle and was wheelchair bound.
Joker was then able to kidnap her uncle and GCPD commissioner, Jim Gordon. However, he was then later saved by the Dark Knight.
BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS
In Batman Arkham Origins Joker was a rookie who had yet to make a name for himself. However, it was not long until he had finally made his mark Which, at first, involved tensions between both him and Black Mask. This tension led to the clown impersonating the mob boss and recruiting quite a few of his men. It also led to the kidnapping of Sionis’s girlfriend, Tiffany Ambrose.
With Black Mask out of the picture, the clown then set his sights on the Blackgate Prison. Where he would release many of the inmates and kidnap Commissioner Loeb, who was working with Sionis at the time.
Joker continued to keep up to date on what the competition were up to, this included Penguin. Who was also in town and trying to get a piece of the action. A new team of assassins were also recruited in order to work alongside the clown in his quest to claim victory over Gotham. One of whom was Killer Croc, who had managed to catch wind of Batman’s location.
NEW YEARS DAY PLANS
As his plans continued he then managed to take over various different establishments including the Gotham Royal Hotel. This would serve as part of a New Year’s Day plan, where many bombs were disguised as snowmen. His following plans then took him to the Merchant’s Bank, with the actual Black Mask still being part of his hostage plans.
It was at this point when Batman intervened and Joker’s current plans were ditched as he finally threw away the Black Mask disguise that he had been using after the events of the successful kidnapping of both Tiffany and Sionis. Basically his cover was now blown. However, before fleeing the scene he tossed the nearby bank manager at the Dark Knight in order to cause a distraction. Whilst being distracted the clown then ran off with both Sionis and several million dollars.
Eventually the Dark Knight was able to put a stop to any more of the clown’s plans by having a final confrontation over at the Prison Chapel. Despite his best attempts the Batman was able to avoid much of the Joker’s attacks and eventually the clown found himself strapped to a gurney and taken back to his cell.
Prior to the events of Batman Arkham Asylum the clown was able to find a set of blueprints that connected to a drug known as Titan. Which eventually ended up being a key part of the main storyline. His plans for the toxin was to create an army of monsters. Essentially this is also how other characters such as Bane and Poison Ivy managed to get their super strength and power.
The blueprints for the Titan chemical drug was found at the Blackgate Prison, a place which the clown then later torched on fire. His ultimate plan was to try and get back into the Arkham Asylum. Where he could begin creating this new formula and essentially take over the island. He even managed to get Harley Quinn to arrange for his return by sneaking into the security room whilst the guards were distracted.
After committing a good enough crime to get the attention of the Dark Knight the Joker was then seen in the back of the Batmobile and on his way to the Asylum. Where he then got escorted through the Intensive Treatment Center by several GCPD guards, including Frank Boles.
As the clown is being escorted around an opportunity to unlock new and missable dialogue could then be made. Though it is optional and not part of the main story. However, if the player and Batman refused to continue to follow as originally intended, then Joker would make a few comical comments. Many of which relates to quick digs at Batman and his inability to follow everyone else. Sometimes he would even ask the guards for another gurney for the Dark Knight, so that he too could be escorted around.
THE GREAT ESCAPE
Eventually with the help of Harley Quinn he was finally able to break free of the GCPD guards, just before he was thrown into one of the Holding Cells. All that remained now was to create the Titan formula and his ‘invincible army’. All was going according to plan. Though Batman was very much on his trail.
Joker then made his way over to the patient transfer system where he would inform the Dark Knight of a party that he had planned. It was here when Officer Frank Boles became a traitor by kidnapping detective James Gordon. However, Batman was then able to detect traces of alcohol that was left behind by the officer. Thus providing a trail to the clown’s current location. As a result Boles was then shot and killed.
The clown continued his search for Dr. Penelope Young who had the formula for the Titan project, once he had that he could then concentrate on creating his own version of the toxin. Though that itself was proving to be difficult and it resulted in a search being conducted over at the Arkham Mansion, where he was hoping that she would have left some notes that could be useful. Failing that his next plan was to find her and torture her in order to get her to speak and tell hm what he wanted to know.
Batman was able to find the notes first and destroyed them but it was too late, the clown had managed to kidnap Dr. Young, with help from Victor Zsasz. Meaning that the Joker now had all the information he needed. His plans to concoct the Titan drug was well in motion. Nothing could stop him.
Joker then began experimenting his new formula on a random henchman but it did not work and thus his body was then thrown into the disused chamber. His attempts at perfecting the drug continued. Further experiments was then performed on Poison Ivy. It was at this point when he knew it had been successful. Ivy’s plants began to take over the island. Large roots and deadly spores had appeared
By the time the Dark Knight finally arrived at the Titan Production facility Joker then decided to demonstrate the power of his new creation on two of his nearby henchman. It had a fast reaction as the two goons began to increase in both height and size. They even had faster and stronger reflexes. From here on they were now part of his new Titan Henchmen.
Towards the later stages of the game Batman would finally find himself at the ‘so called party’ that Joker had been planning. Though as Batman was then able to defeat more of his goons the clown decided to do the job of disposing the bat himself. In order to do that he ended up injecting himself with his own Titan drug.
Despite the Joker gaining an additional strength boost and a new green mohican hairstyle, he was ultimately no match for the Dark Knight. The clown was defeated and put behind bars. Joker’s appearance eventually returned back to normal but the affects of the toxin still had an impact. He was in a great deal of pain and as a result he was sick and dying.
As the Joker sat in his cell that he had now been placed in after the events of Arkham Asylum, he knew something was not right. He began seeing strange bumps appearing on his skin. Was this the result of the Titan that he injected into himself? In truth he had a hunch what was happening to him. He knew he was dying but he refrained from looking weak. He did not want to give his rivals the upper hand.
The clown could not stay here though, stuck in the Asylum. He needed a way out, an escape. So Harley Quinn provided one for him. As she came in disguised as a member of the Arkham Guard. She then managed to escort Joker to a nearby boat.
As they sped away the alarms began to sound. The guard had caught wind of their escape and attempted to catch them. Batman was also nearby to lend a hand. The results of this ended up with gunfire ripping through the hull and a weakened Joker being pulled through the water by Harley. As they swam towards shore and narrowly avoiding the searchlight the two then realised that they had arrived at Arkham City.
THE ICEBERG LOUNGE
They then decided to visit the Iceberg Lounge, home of Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin. There had been a bit of tension between the three of them in the past but the two were hoping that all of that had been forgotten about by now. However, it had not. Cobblepot refused to move on from their past incident. That became evident when the Iceberg Lounge door was opened and the two were met with a sinister looking Penguin and his hulking guard beside him.
Cobblepot then proceeded to remind the duo that clowns were not welcome at his establishment and turned to close the door. Only to then be met with an acid attack which came from the direction of Joker’s flower that was etched onto his shirt. Both Joker and Harley then returned back to the Industrial District.
Their base was now the old Steel Mill, which once belonged to the mob boss, Black Mask. During the following few months Joker decided to redecorate the place and recruit new members to his team. Though in order to actually be recruited the gang members had to endure a sadistic recruiting method which involved jumping out of a rollercoaster.
With the recruitment method still in play there was one recruit that interested the Joker, one named Lester Kurtz. Who seemed to breeze through all of the clown’s challenges and even managed to defeat his goons without any difficulty. Thus Joker took a liking to him and ended up recruiting him into the team.
Though Lester was not really satisfied and found the clown to be a poor choice of employer, so he left and decided to work alongside Penguin instead. Who, at the time, was part of a three-way rivalry within the city. With the third team belonging to the ex-DA Two-Face and Harvey Dent.
The clown was disgusted and furious about Lestor walking out on him. So much so he decided to place a bounty on his head. However, what he was not aware of was the fact that ‘Lestor Kurts’ was simply an alias used by Batman. Who was actually working undercover in order to gain information on the three rivalled gangs.
Whilst most were unaware of his activities the clown had secretly managed to bring in a few containers of his old Titan formula. Some of which would then be injected into Bane, who had resurfaced and was connected to a private underground fighting contest.. Bane was not expecting to be injected with the drug and was not happy to have been the target of a sinister attack. He barely managed to win his fight and vowed to destroy any of the remaining Titan containers and any other connected sources relating to it.
Hugo Strange, who had managed to become one of the higher authority figures within the city and was in command of the heavily armed forces team, TYGER. Was able to bring in Mr. Freeze and so the Joker demanded that the ‘walking ice box’ would concoct a cure for his sickness. As a further bargaining chip the clown even had Strange kidnap and bring in Nora, Freeze’s wife. Victor was known for playing around with various medical drugs and serums, which he had planned to use on his wife. As a way of trying to cure her medical condition.
However, plans seemed to go downhill when Strange decided to join forces with Penguin and thus locking down the Museum and kidnapping Mr. Freeze in the process. Infuriating the now disappointed clown
THE DOUBLE ACT
The clown then managed to recruit a new companion by the name of Basil Karlo, Clayface. Who, after managing to form an alliance with the dying clown back in Arkham Asylum, agreed to help him. Thus Clayface would become a very important part of the Joker’s future plans. Which would involve Basil impersonating the Prince of Crime, a task that involved pretending that the actual clown was not sick and to basically fool the city and the Dark Knight himself. He would essentially become his double act.
As events continued Joker found out that the Dark Knight had managed to infiltrate the Steel Mill. So he then planned to try and capture the caped crusader and inject some of his tainted blood into him. With the help of Harley Quinn.
After eliminating some of the clown’s thugs, including Hammer, who was part of the Abramovici Twins. A Russian circus pair who were known for their strength and brutality, the Knight was finally then able to access the room in which the two clowns were hiding in.
At first glance it was obvious that Harley was crying. Assessing the current situation it would appear that the Joker had finally lost his fight against the illness that had crippled him since the Asylum. A nearby heart monitor seemed to confirm as much. There was no heart beat, nothing.
It all ended up being a set up as the Clown Prince found an opportunity to grab the Bat from behind and with the help of knock out gas, he was able to sedate him. Which then gave him a golden opportunity to inject the vigilante with the blood. Now that the Dark Knight was also suffering with the same illness, it forced him to play along. To search for a cure for both him and the clown himself. To also go and pay Mr. Freeze a visit. The one who was meant to be making a cure until Hugo Strange interfered.
Mr. Freeze agreed to help create the cure as long as the Bat could rescue his wife Nora, whom the Joker had kidnapped and was holding hostage in a warehouse. He also needed his suit back, which was being stored as a display piece in Penguin’s Museum. As these events continued to unfold the Knight was beginning to lose his fight against the illness that Joker had infected him with. However, he knew he had to continue. If he stopped, for whatever reason, then surely it would mean the end for both him and the clown.
After the cure had been created and whilst the Knight was distracted Harley was able to track him down and steal the cure from a vault that Victor Fries was storing it in. She did not get very far through as Talia, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul and a member of the League of Assassins, was able to steal it back. The Bat and Talia were, at this point, quite close. This left Harley Quinn unable to return the cure over to her clown partner, the Joker. She was later found to be tied up and gagged inside the steel mill.
A fight between both the clown and the Dark Knight would occur in an old rundown building. During the fight this said building began to crumble and soon enough Batman found himself stranded as a piece of debris came crashing down on top of him. Joker was then happy to provoke the helpless Bat, until Talia managed to find them both. As a way to distract the clown and force him not to harm or even kill the defenceless Knight, she decided to mention the Lazarus Pit.
A pool of special water, one that her father used in order to remain immortal. The very mention intrigued the clown who would walk off alongside Talia. However, whilst he was entertaining himself about how and what he could do with something that powerful, Talia activated a tracking device so that the Bat could follow her.
THE FINAL SHOWDOWN
He managed to locate both the Joker and Talia over at the Monarch Theatre. It was here when he discovered that Clayface had been part of the plan from the very start. That the Joker had never recovered from his illness. Every time he pretended that all was okay, it was actually quite the opposite. In fact the sickness inside the Clown Prince was getting worse, he did not have much longer left to live. He was now more desperate than ever to get his hands on the cure.
So desperate that he even managed to shoot Talia, who, coincidentally enough, could have killed the clown prior to being shot. She refused to do so and ended up dying in the Bat’s arms. It was time to put an end to this once and for all.
Whilst doing battle against Clayface the clown tried to gain advantage of the Lazarus Pit, which was located in the room below. So by destroying the floor he slowly makes his way towards the pit as a last ditch attempt to survive and so that he could finally be cured. Batman noticed his feeble attempts and after defeating Clayface he then destroys the Lazarus Pit. The clown then screamed in defeat.
The only cure was now in Batman’s hands and as he takes a drink in order to recover from his affliction, the clown jumps onto him, rather unexpectantly in a fit of desperation, this ultimately knocks the vial that contained the cure onto the floor. It shatters into pieces with the remaining liquid going everywhere. Joker tries to drink from the floor but it was obviously not going to work.
As the clown begins to slowly die the Knight mentions that he would have given the cure over to him. To which the Joker simply laughs and they become the final words that he would hear.
The death of the Joker had a heavy impact on Harley Quinn who would eventually become the leader for the remaining members of his gang. She also became obsessed with killing the Batman and getting revenge. A shrine was also created in honour of her dear Puddin, a name in which she liked to call him. To many of the gang members displeasure. Many of whom wished that she would simply move on.
She was so depressed over the traumatic event a plan was setup that could have impacted her and brought her to potential suicide. Her plans began after she had managed to escape the jail cell. It involved kidnapping members of the GCPD. Which was brought to Batman’s attention.
As he tried to rescue the kidnapped officers he was attacked by several Mechanical Guardians from Wonder City. He even needed the aid of Robin in order to help contain the chaos that was about to kick off. Bombs were discovered alongside a large Joker themed robot. This all concluded that the attack was actually part of Harley’s plan. A plan to get revenge on Batman.
The location of these bombs confirmed their suspicion when they were all found over at the steel mill, The location of where Harley and the Joker had their base of operations, it was here when Batman realised what her ultimate plan was. She had rigged the entire building and was hoping that it would explode and destroy the Bat, even herself in the process. This way she could be reunited with her Mr. J
The explosion eventually triggered but no one was hurt in the process. Harley Quinn was able to survive, so too did the Dark Knight. Much to Quinn’s disappointment. Even Robin and the GCPD hostages managed to escape unscathed.
THE RETURN OF SCARECROW
As time went on and after the passing of the Clown Prince, the crime within Gotham had fallen considerably. At first it all seemed rather strange, especially after so many years of corruption. Even the other criminals had gone quiet. For once the citizens felt safe. It was very strange and the silence was almost deafening. .
However, it would not last long as Scarecrow had returned and new plans were being made regarding his fear toxin. He had not been seen since the events of Arkham Asylum and the attack by Killer Croc.
As the Dark Knight attempted to ruin one of the Scarecrow‘s plans he also ended up inhaling some of Crane’s fear toxin. Unable to withstand much more of it he collapsed and found himself at the abandoned Panessa movie studio. Where he was met with the GCPD Commissioner.
It turned out that at least four people had been infected with the Joker blood. Meaning they were turning and becoming the clown, or at least have a similar personality and gene pool. These were the results of Joker having contaminated Gotham’s blood banks back in Arkham City. Though many of the infected had been cured, there were a few that managed to escape the radar. By this point the blood had already managed to get inside their system.
Batman now realised, that as he had been injected back in Arkham City, that he too was infected. That the fear toxin was now accelerating the process and making him hallucinate the clown.
The Joker, just like the Riddler character, was also meant as a one-off character. The reason behind all of this was mostly down to editorial disputes. He was originally written as a character who would be killed off during his first initial appearance.
During Joker’s origin story as Red Hood, one of the reasons he participated in a robbery is due to his pregnant wife. He wanted to support her but money was scarce. Batman then arrived and it ended up with Joker falling into a vat of chemicals. Leading to him now having white skin and green hair. It was a combination of his new appearance and the accidental death of his wife that makes him crazy and insane.
For more than 30 years the character has been voiced by actor Mark Hamill. Who is more known for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars films. However, since the tragic passing of Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman) Mark has since announced his retirement from voicing the clown. Though mentions of him retiring have long been a highlighted topic in the past. In fact it was once said that Batman Arkham City was meant as his last act at voicing the character.
In Arkham City random inmates mention the marriage of both Harley Quinn and the Joker. Though this is never mentioned within the main story itself.
The Joker has multiple nicknames including the Clown Prince of Crime and Puddin. The latter of which is more of a nickname that Harley Quinn tends to give him.
THE ACTORS BEHIND THE CLOWN PRINCE
The first actor to play the role of the Joker was Cesar Julio Romero, Jr. Who was a Cuban American film and television actor. Back in the 1960s. He was then replaced by other actors including; Jared Leto, Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamill.
SOURCE: ThePopVerse, Batman Arkham series