Among all the villains in the DC Comics Universe, Joker surely stands out among the most famous (and also most sinister). Whenever fans talk about Batman, Joker’s name will always come out and people like to discuss about him. Despite being a huge figure, Joker origin is still a big question and so far, no one knows his true origin. Nonetheless, it’s worth to take time researching about such an iconic villain. So with no further ado, let’s try to find out about Joker Origin, the Most Mysterious Story in DC Universe!
In order to look into Joker origin, let’s first take a look back at what we know about this infamous villain so far.
Joker first debuted in the first Batman issue in 1940 as a mortal enemy of Batman (and he still is even now). In this debut, Joker appeared as an extremely dangerous psychopath with clown-like features. He wore a purple suit and had white skin, green hair and always came out with his signature maniac grin. He terrorized citizens of Gotham with his lethal Joker venom which often left victims with crazy grin on their faces. These features have always been a staple for Joker, except for few variations like the Red Hood persona.
No one can understand Joker’s true motive, and more importantly, Joker origin. Everything about him is shrouded in fog. Even Joker himself admitted that he didn’t remember his true origin since he made up too many stories
Joker first appeared in 1940s and until now, he has had quite a huge career timeline. And so, we will take a brief look at each of his time:
Golden Age Joker
This is the very first Joker who appeared in 1940s. Joker of this timeline was a cruel and merciless villain who killed tons of citizens with his Joker toxin. Those who died by his toxin always had a creepy grin on his face, thus striking fear into the heart of people.
This was also the first time we saw his signature appearance: a clown-like man with white face and green hair, wearing a purple cape. He always had a creepy grin on his face and his iconic maniac laughter. Since that time, Joker became Batman‘s arch nemesis even now.
Silver Age Joker
Years after the appearance of Joker, this time a man proclaimed to be a gang leader called Red Hood came out and caused ruckus around the city. Batman chased Red Hood down, but before Batman could catch him, he fell down into a chemical pool. This eventually changed the man behind the Red Hood to the Joker we now knew today.
The Joker in Silver Age focused more in his fun and fooling side. His focus seemed not to cause chaos, but rather, to get more money.
Bronze Age Joker
This is the time when Joker became more sinister, eventually became a true psychopath. He came with more and more crazy plan, which caused even more fear into people. This was also the time when people changed their look at the Joker – a dangerous psychopath who could do any unimaginable things.
During this time, Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime, also had a series for himself. In this series, we would see Joker fight against various villains and heroes such as Black Canary, Green Arrow, and more…
Modern Age Joker
During this time, there were various issues about Batman and his nemesis Joker. Here we had the typical series The Dark Knight Returns which brought us to the old version of Batman who got retired. During this time, Joker got “cured” thanks to therapy, but as it turned out, Joker wasn’t cured. Instead he just got crazier and crazier. At the end, Batman decided to finish his conflict with Joker once and for all by killing him for good.
There was another story: Batman A Death in the Family in which Joker captured Jason Todd and brutally beaten him to death. This showcased a different side of what Joker could do: messing up with Batman’s family, with capable of killing everyone he loved.
Among the stories about Joker, there was a side-story which considered as the canon to explain Joker origin: The Killing Joke. In this story, Joker was once a worker named Jack who wanted to become a comedian. However, in order to help his wife, Joker put on the Red Hood. Ultimately, it resulted in a chase between Batman and Red Hood. Eventually, Red Hood fell into the chemical pool, changed his mental and appearance forever. In addition with his wife’s death, Jack/Red Hood officially became the Joker.
When Batman: The Animated Series came out, surely the Joker would also make his appearance, and this time he had new sidekick: Harley Quinn.
Harley Quinn’s true name was Harleen Quinzel. She was a psychiatrist who did therapy for Joker in Arkham Asylum. However, she was gradually “fell in love” with Joker and later on, she became Joker’s sidekick under the name Harley Quinn.
Another person who related to the Joker was Duela Dent, Joker’s daughter. However, this was proved to be false information.
Besides Batman The Animated Series, Joker also made appearance in live-action films and movies. The first one was Batman TV Series in 1960s in which Cesar Romero starred as the Joker. This Joker’s overall appearance was not different much from the comic version, except for the mustache which was painted over.
Joker’s next live-action appearance was in Batman film in 1989, in which the famous Jack Nicholson starred as the Joker. The Joker in this film stayed to his comic version: iconic white-skin and green hair Joker wearing purple suit, along with his maniac trait.
Next, we had the Joker in the legendary The Dark Knight movie in 2008, in which Health Ledger outstandingly captured the traits of Joker: homicidal, maniac, a psychopath who “just wanted to see this whole world burn”.
Finally, we had the latest Joker who starred by Jared leto in the Suicide Squad 2016 movie.
The most notable appearance of Joker is probably in the Batman Arkham trilogy. Especially in Batman Arkham Origins, the Joker rounded up the most terrifying villains to fight against Batman.
Other notable appearance of Joker is in the fighting game Injustice based on the world of DC Comics. Injustice also had a standalone comic issues, in overall, both put DC world in a scenario where Joker destroyed the entire Metropolis, along with Lois Lane and Superman’s unborn child. This even ultimately drove Superman insane and sent him to the villainous path.
In Injustice 2, Joker still manage to make appearance, yet he has no significant role in the storyline.
So we know about the Joker, we know about his characteristics and his iconic appearance. Yet, we still don’t know a thing about Joker origin or his true motive.
In the DC Dark Seid War and DC Rebirth issues, Batman got new information about Joker origin from the Mobius Chair. However, the shared information just makes the Joker origin becomes more and more complicated: there are actually 3 Jokers.
This new information literally causes the Clown Prince of Crime‘s identity more complicated. Supposedly, we will never find the true Joker origin.
Three Joker Origin Theory
According to many people, the reason for the three Jokers is due to the merge of the three timelines: Golden Age, Silver Age, and Modern Age. The Golden Age Joker is ruthless, a homicidal killer, the Silver Age Joker cares more about money than killing, and the Modern Age Joker focuses more in his maniac mind, and also his sinister side. This theory is also partly backed-up from the latest DC Rebirth episodes with the picture of Batman showing different Joker’s images from different times.
Another possible theory is due to the merge of different Ages, or rather, Earths. Unlike other DC characters, Jokers were unable to merge due to their unstable mind and unknown origin. Therefore, these Jokers exist at the same time. This can explain why the Joker is always able to escape every time he is captured. And also, Joker always seems to have various ways to mess up with Batman.
The true Joker Origin
Until now, the Joker origin considered to be canon is from The Killing Joke story. As mentioned, Joker in this story was originally a worker named Jack who wished to be a comedian. But then he became Red Hood and eventually fell into the chemical pool. Along with his wife’s death, Jack went insane and became the Joker. That said, the story was a re-imagined story; therefore, it is not legitimately canon.
Besides this Joker origin story, there are many other bizarre stories explaining the Joker origin. Like in the case when The Flash traveled to the past in the Flashpoint event, in this alternative reality, Bruce Wayne was died instead of his parents. So instead of Bruce Wayne, his father became Batman and ironically, his mother became The Joker.
In another crazy story, The Joker was actually a close person to Batman: his butler Alfred. On the other hand, there is a wild theory which implies that Joker is a fallen Agent of Chaos and he’s an immortal.
But in any cases, no matter how intriguing these stories might be, Joker origin has never been meant to be revealed. Even Joker himself said that he couldn’t remember his past since he lied too much about it. But if he had a past then he would prefer it to be multiple choices. It might sound disappointing, but probably Joker origin is supposed to be a mystery. Nonetheless, we all still interest in it and hope that more information will be revealed in the future.
And that’s it folk! What do you think about the Joker origin? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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