This, my friends… this is an arch-nemesis. There were so many issues where Adams only did a great cover…, “It’s also worth noting that Marshall Rogers didn’t just draw the Joker as a man who smiled all the time, but as a man who couldn’t do anything but smile, an influence that he traced back to the 1928 film The Man Who Laughs”. You’re right that the ‘no plans’ bit was hypocrisy, though. Great analysis. ... Garth, the Renegade Scientist, a name that doesn't exactly have the intimidating ring of, say, the Joker. After all, most of the great villains of comics have the moment where you know that Everything Changes. So he could not copyright the fish as genetically modified, they’re just dead with a very specific muscle contraction. Anyway, it brings up the question that Terry McGinnis, the new Batman, asks at the end of the movie; is the Joker just trying to get Batman to laugh? And even though he’s playing one of the most ridiculous characters, he’s the only one who could slot right into Nolan’s Bat-verse and work his magic. Looking at the character today, it’s obvious that he’s not only Batman’s arch-nemesis, but that more than any other villain, he’s evolved alongside his opposite number to become something more. Even Lex Luthor, who was an ever-present arch-nemesis for Superman, didn’t really reach his full potential until we saw how far he was willing to damn himself for revenge in–of all things–an imaginary story. For that matter it certainly doesn’t make them anything other than mad. @Phineas: On top of that, Luther sought to cast off the power and mysticism of the Church (admittedly, not in favor of cold rationalism, but still.) We don’t have enough information to do more than guess. As it is, Joker in Dark Knight has been compared often to a force of nature and that’s true and ultimately boring, for the same reason Superman is boring. His understanding of military and police procedure. It’s not like the owners stumbled onto him mid-theft or had to be interrogated to find the location of their wealth. So you disagree with the Joker’s characterization of himself in TDK as “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? The end of the opening sequence, though, with that famous lightning strike that illuminates Batman for the first time, has him placed atop an even higher skyscraper. At its heart, you can trace it to the fact that the Joker takes what is literally the opposite route: From his first appearance in 1940, he’s everything Batman’s not in every way but one. More importantly, though, this [the Killing Joke] is the story that brings the one great similarity between Batman and the Joker to the forefront: They’re both amazing planners, So you disagree with the Joker’s characterization of himself in TDK as “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? He escapes from Poison Ivy's trap with physicality and gadgetry, throwing punches and ramming the Batmobile into a telephone pole. Sometimes it’s not enough to bash in heads; you’ve got to bash in minds. Even the deathtrap itself reflects that. The best appearances of the Joker fit into that archetype. At least they show Batman constructing his sonar cell phone web thing earlier in the movie. And it becomes a goal for Batman to figure out a way to stop the Joker. But even those characters fall short of the gold standard: Scarecrow’s archenemy may be Batman, but Batman’s archenemy is the Joker. From the awesome thought-chart to the perfect analysis, this is why the ISB rules! Hell, his name is Luthor. Wonderful analysis of the Joke and why he works. Why do people work for the Joker? Deception and intimidation are tactics usually associated with the bad guys, but Batman uses them for good, terrorizing his enemies with a frightening presence and, in this case, lying to their faces and insulting them in order to gather the information he needs to stop a murder. And the Joker? When the bank robbers escape the police, they do it by going up, climbing to the roof of the building where they'll eventually face Batman—they're literally above the law, beyond the capabilities of the police. To be honest, this one almost gets a pass solely based on it being one of the most beautiful things Neal Adams ever drew, but at its heart, it’s more of an archetypal story of Batman than the Joker. Yet, their means are completely similar (using meticulous planning, ingenious ideas, fear, their solitary reputation). Again, that's a function of having so much going on in a single episode, but you get to see everything Batman can do. And really, this site is entirely based around comics. You don't dress up as a bat and drive around in a rocket car to fight supervillains just because you think a spooky cape is going to give you an edge against crime. Adams That might have to be more a “Showcase” volume, though. And why its totally sweet and awesome! Whoa – is that, gasp, actual analysis on the ISB? If there was any doubt that Dini and Radomski were hanging a lampshade on it, however, that's eliminated when Harley Quinn offers Batman the equally cliché choice of letting her go or saving Catwoman, not realizing he's within arm's reach of the switch that can shut off the machinery. 3. And Englehart and Rogers took that foundation and made something magnificent with The Joker Fish. The Green Goblin was a legitimate threat with an interesting hook and some good stories under his belt, but he wasn’t the Spider-Man villain until he chucked Peter Parker’s girlfriend off a bridge. Lucerna is Latin for lamp and has a ton of echoes left in English. Incidentally, on the animated series, they added aspects of “Five Way Revenge” to the episode based on “The Laughing Fish” to meet the standard of shark-fighting. While the other crooks tell stories that just involve going up against Batman, the Joker is the one villain of the episode who tries to hurt Batman by killing someone he cares about—and he does it from behind his ever-present smile, insisting that the others tell their stories first because he knows his is far more vicious and the rules of theatricality demand that his be told as the climax. It's also a real-life story that doesn't really have an ending. Schemers trying to control their worlds. His ability to take down a 20-year vet police officer OR a 250 lb mob enforcer with a PENCIL. Simply amazing! English major, huh? Add to that the fact that he’s around thirty real-time years into his criminal career at this point and would therefore probably be heading off to jail anyway with or without the evidence of his ex-flunkie, and you’ve got someone who breezes into town like a thunderstorm and just starts killing because it’s second nature to him. I’m a dog chasing cars. He’s the escalation, the one that can’t be intimidated by Batman’s physicality or figured out by his deductions or scared by his demonic costume. Clowns are a stand-in for Satan. *SIGH* You had to go and make me READ this morning. Mal "Vermin64" Gardiner on January 11, 2009 at 9:07 am said: He’ll be laughing on the other side of his face when the Joker’s hilariously evil “boot-polish-on-the-binoculars” trap exacts its full toll… I agree with everything you’ve said about the Joker, but I disagree that he’s the only villain to have evolved into something more. Also a good catch-all Batman trade: Batman in the Eighties, which has the aforementioned Wrath story (“The Player on the Other Side”), the best Scarecrow story ever (“Fear For Sale”), the classic “To Kill A Legend” and the story about the Joker’s birthday. Plus, it's got the first appearance of Harley Quinn, arguably the show's most important contribution to the larger Batman mythos. When she shows up, she and Batman are unambiguously on the same side, something that immediately sets her apart from the other arch-criminals. I just watched it again (the relevant flashback is on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QPGqqLYSjg), and it’s certainly the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen from the animated series folks; it’s something about the way Tim still moves like an acrobat even when he’s been essentially destroyed as a person. If the Joker walks up to you and says, “Come work for me,” he might kill you if you say “no.” He’s totally bugfuck crazy. I think they need to re-evaluate the whole joker fish thing. It's worth noting that there's another episode that aired only a few months after this one that pulled a similar trick. Who knows HOW far in advance they stuffed it with explosives? And Doom is nothing if not a megalomaniac. yet all of his attacks in the movie must have required precise planning and thought. “They’re both amazing planners. Adam West Batman is actually pretty hardcore in that Riddler clip. You see him fighting criminals that are far beyond the capabilities of the police, you see him not using guns even when his enemies draw theirs first, and you see the level of technology (in the form of a jet-black art deco rocket car) that he employs in his fight against crime. Chris Sims on May 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm said: Oh come on, you guys! Not that I really think the point is worth arguing, but hospitals do have networks of tubes full of pure oxygen running through the walls/ceilings/etc pretty pervasively. And by now, you’d have to know that he’s totally bugfuck crazy, so he might just kill you because he thinks it’ll be funny. Pow!” or “Holy Lazy Copywriters, Batman!”–anyone who’s actually ever read Silver Age Batman stories can tell you that the show reflected the goofiness of the comics, not the other way around. The best part, though, is the way it uses its visual language to create a hierarchy in Gotham. Then when he died, I was like hey I seen that movie. For evidence, you don’t need to look any further than the 1966 TV show. I feel I should point out that Ken lives in Texas, where they do. (And, yes, I’ll give it to you–the perfection of the unspecified plan does stink of deus ex machina, or of a writer not quite clever enough to actually think of a really brilliant plan.). Luthor stands up and says, “No! Mad people have goals. That’s what made the end of TDK so frustrating for me. The way it draws on the Golden Age story to bridge the gap to the Modern Age, the element of mad randomness and anarchy that’s built on meticulous planning, the fixed grin. Sure he comes up with a (completely giant waste of time) plan to get the Chinese moneyman back from Hong Kong and has rigged the whole city to spy on itself with the sonar, but it all seems SO reactive. — @charlotteofoz. Chris Sims said... Batman saying "You just can't trust that guy!" They shouldn't have to be there. Even his disdain for money. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QPGqqLYSjg, http://justicecarmon.blogspot.com/2008/12/in-darkest-night-or-just-hanging-with.html, Ads by Project Wonderful! I’d like to buy that a drink. Why does anybody work for him? I can really only recall four things about the Batman TV show: Bat Bullet Proof Shoe Soles, plotting crime scenes on a map to reveal the shape of a top hat, Bruce Wayne falling out the back of a moving ambulance and Batman giving a lecture on how many different ways the Joker could kill you on sight, culminating in the Joker showing up and killing everyone on sight. It was released back in 1997 so it is a bit hard to find now. It's one of the best episodes of the show, especially because of the way it treats the Joker's relationship to Batman, but as the title implies, Batman himself is largely absent from it. In any case, as entertaining as Cesar Romero’s Joker is–and brother, he is entertaining–he’s just another thematic villain for Batman to deal with that week. It would be like the Scarecrow copyrighting Fear Toxin. It might not make sense from a realistic perspective, but as a bit of visual shorthand, it's rad as hell. Again, thanks for letting me post here. This is one of the best things you’ve written. Most logical thing in the world, i reckon. For Bob: There’s no point in referencing a case so contemporary as Heath Ledger’s Joker. He’s less a criminal and more a force of nature. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Personally, I think that’s why the other villains have never hit the same level of prominence as the Joker. Wow, great post Chris. Therefore, he is the tester of Batman. The Train!" It’s not even about himself, it’s just about baiting Batman into another confrontation. That Batman isn't just sitting quietly at a nearby table disguised as Matches Malone, and that he's instead running a con on his own arch-enemies that involves portraying one of them as a rock-stupid idiot? Each week, comic book writer Chris Sims answers the burning questions you have about the world of comics and pop culture: what's up with that? Good stuff. He’d want to know how long it takes to grow back. . Chris Sims. Bravo! http://www.dialbforblog.com/archives/391/, “Your post kicked me in the brain, not the face! It showed that these stories can matter—that they can inspire you to do good. Swap out the playing cards and clown puns for birds, Egyptian artifacts, dinosaur eggs or cat statues, and the stories could’ve been about anybody in the cast. For the Joker, though–the story that finished out his run on the title–Englehart went back to the character’s origin story and retold it with the addition of the “Jokerized” fish–infected with the “Joker Venom” that had been his weapon of choice in 1940 and returned in “Five Way Revenge,” brought directly into focus by Rogers: It’s a strange addition, but it’s one that changes the tone of the story completely. See more ideas about joker, joker wallpapers, joker and harley. The Joker on the other hand sees no reason to crack open the mystery of Batman. As Ken says, he doesn’t believe in chaos, he is chaos. Anyhow, that was my take on the reason you could not trust a word of Heath’s/Nolan’s Joker – he was constantly using misinformation to destroy his victims. The people he murders are less than nothing to him; it’s not about them. I suppose he could copyright the poison, but he would never want or allow anyone to use the Toxin but himself, so I don’t see any profit in it for him. No, somehow I missed the gang in that scene, filled as it was of action-packed shots of them not being in it. But before that, I was an English Major/Psychology Minor, which is why I currently have a job at a comic book store and spent 28% of my time thinking about Batman. However, they have a lot of useful mods, especially ones created by Chris Hatch.) I’ll fix it when I get home. The first, of course, is the Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams classic “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge“, from 1973’s Batman #251. The one that really defines the Joker, though, is the Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers’ The Laughing Fish/Sign of the Joker from 1978’s Detective #475-476, which gives us the amazing, iconic image at the top of this post. Gabriel: The sad reality of any society is that you make rules for the idiots, and they'll always hinder the normal people. The two have one thing in common which is to challenge Batman. Basically, that just means you want a complete story that shows you everything you want to see about Batman—not just the character, but the world in which he lives and the challenges he faces in his life of crimefighting. Special emphasis should probably be given to Ledger’s portrayal of the character, as I generally see the comic book portrayals far too cardboard archetypal and “comical”, although in all honesty, I am not well versed in the comic book versions. The best villains, after all, are the ones that bring out the contrasts within the hero himself, and that’s something Batman has to spare. I will refrain from making the requisite jokes because, well, I’m a history major with a minor in religious studies and a graduate degree in educational psychology, which is why I’m now working in hospital administration supporting surgery and dental departments. What…Oh, you get the idea. This is an episode that knows exactly what it's doing every step of the way, from the broad strokes of the plot and themes all the way down to the little details in the opening: the Penguin drinks tea because he's the villain with delusions of high-class grandeur, Two-Face takes half-and-half in his coffee and takes two cards from the dealer so he can get two pair—two deuces and two face cards. Because, you know, he’s the bad guy. It's in the frame story, though, that we see Batman at his best. Explosives remaining hidden in a hospital is somehow more plausible? With the Joker, it’s a little harder to pin down. Both are working outside of the law, and both are attempting to, in one way or another, create their own utopia of sorts. As for how the delivery went unnoticed? Chris Sims Bat Family Harley Quinn Joker Fictional Characters Superman Character Faces Batman Family. It's not just the villains who have their relationships defined in this episode, either. You mean the gang that was present during the robbery and completely absent when Joker somehow managed to stuff a major metropolitan hospital full of explosives without any of the thousands of employees or patients noticing anything, or indeed without any establishing shots at all? Dark Knight just gives the audience a Joker plan and moves on. In that scenario, what’s missing is the explanation for how the hospital staff missed the explosives. I would argue that the Joker (at least Ledger’s version) is trying to remind people of the real truth of the world. *I’ve always maintained that the Joker’s problem in that story is that he doesn’t understand the difference between copyright and trademark. Chris Sims: It was something that we'd never really heard of. Even though he never wins, my heart goes out to this one. (Why so) seriously excellent post, Chris. Truly academic, thorough, and insightful. Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel? Batman was inspired as much by Count Dracula and the Shadow as he was heroes like Zorro, with a costume designed to frighten, but he’s still the good guy. They become the Joker." Everybody knows that Arkham is located on Mersey Island in West-Central Gotham, but Wayne Manor is all the way on the mainland in Bristol, well over the Sprang bridge! To Sims, it was easier to stomach Harley’s devotion to the Joker in the Batman television show, … As for the hired help? Dman! That is why they can never destroy each other, each completes the other. Chris: Yes, he’s unpredictable, but the nature of his schemes are very well calculated. I mean, why couldn’t he trademark/patent it as a form of genetic engineering. The Riddler pushes Batman in an Intellectual level. Metcalf and Patrick Mahomes-Tyreek Hill. Ask Chris #173: The Trouble With Harley Quinn In this week's column, Chris Sims discusses Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend one of the most misunderstood and misused characters in … Well, if the shots are clever and interesting and relatively brief, then yeah, shots of extras hiding things are not necessarily bad. The story is so good and the art, the art just blows my mind every time I read it. You should take more vacations if this is the kind of stuff your brain gets up to when not at work! In TDK, we are given plenty of clues as to the motivation of the Joker: revenge against society. If the criminals are above the law, then Batman is above them. To be fair, though, as the Joker says, trying to kill Batman every time you see him is kind of a tough habit to break." …So, you doing anything later? The utter craziness of Silver Age Superman? His use of misinformation, his complete disregard of his ‘criminal allies’ but his DESIRE to NOT kill Batman. Two-Face has the same split-personality as Batman and Bruce Wayne, but with a mask that he can’t take off. Is this what we can expect from the suddenly more mature Chris? So lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this guy: That probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to anybody, given the amount of time I spend thinking about Batman in general, but since seeing The Dark Knight, I’ve been trying to figure out why the Joker has become the kind of character that he is. 9/11 was a few guys with knives, basically. Penguin's story features Batman relying on the Utility Belt and turning his foe's weapons against him, and Joker's finds Batman enduring the pain of an electric chair before escaping. Definitely made my day, and would definitely love to see more things like this in the spirit of comics appreciation. And that’s not really that compelling. That’s a hell of a detailed analysis. The other element that defines him is that in The Dark Knight, he’s more of a planner than anyone, and even more than he’s ever been depicted as before. Including four major villains—five if you include Catwoman, six if you want to view Harley Quinn and the Joker as two separate forces, and seven if you really want to make the case for counting Killer Croc based on how the other villains treat him—gives the show an opportunity to show how the bad guys interact with each other when Batman's not around. That is, if the Joker ever manages to convince Batman that the world is truly insane and the only response is insane laughter, does the Joker win? A busy hospital might have enough staff for people not to notice a bunch of new faces briefly passing in the corridor. They may be utterly ridiculous (it’s from an insane man), but in regards to a goal, they make sense. He treats them as he WAS treated – as disposable assets. And the wait between the Englehart/Rogers Detective issues was a bloody long one. It’s worth nothing that this is loaded with typos. Also, O’Neil brings in one of the most important and lasting aspects of the character–His “game” against Batman: There are a few more villains who’d rather beat Batman than kill him–the Riddler springs to mind–but by refusing to kill him when the opportunity presents itself, as it does more than a couple of times, the Joker sets himself up as Batman’s equal and adds an even more sinister aspect to his crimes. I found myself wanting to pick your brain on several point and this will provide incredible banter material in the future. And, in the end, you realize that all of that unpredictability, that chaos, had an actual goal. For one, it allows kids who love Batman to identify with their hero by showing him as a kid who loved a superhero, and casting Adam West as your favorite Batman's favorite Batman was a brilliant tribute to the history of the character. From there on out, it just got scarier. He already knows the best-laid plans, and like entropy itself, he’s always one step ahead of them. What a wonderful and thoughtful analysis of the Joker. 1) Gotham may not HAVE the death penalty. For The Riddler his greatest Riddle is trying to solve why Batman IS Batman. Oh hell yeah. There's a theatricality to Batman, a piece of his character that only really works if you accept that he's a guy who, for all his brooding, truly loves what he does. He once was a man doing what Batman is doing for the government – operating under the cover of night, working where the law was powerless and highly, highly trained. Great article, especially with pinpointing where the Joker became the villain that he is instead of just doing the fanboy thing and going, “The Joker is fucking awesome!!!”. Joker tries to blow up Gotham and — to Harley’s shock — is willing to leave her behind as he flies away in a biplane. Ah, just because someone had a goal doesn’t make them predictable. I remember reading Five-Way Revenge over and over and over — it was so good. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! And that observation on Frank Gorshin’s portrayal was spot on. Admittedly, the Joker was a pretty big deal — he killed almost as many people in that movie as … You know what I am? He can do anything, so why bother? They might hate Batman enough to try murdering him with a poisoned hummingbird or whatever, but her relationship with him is far more affectionate, even if they're on opposite sides of the law. Should i still buy the color ones? The Joker cheats, of course, ... Each week, comic book writer Chris Sims answers the burning questions you have about the world of comics and pop culture: what's up with that? I mean, Batman: The Animated Series was genuinely great at a lot of things, but the one thing it did better than anyone else—better than any other version of Batman that we've seen over the past 75 years—was to strip everything about the Dark Knight down to its purest form in a way that somehow never made anything feel like it lacked the complexity that made it work.
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