Remembering Batman’s Greatest Villain
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While everyone is excited for the upcoming bat-less Batman show, premiering on FOX in a few months, it seems like a good time to look back at some of the Dark Knight’s best villains. After all, the TV series is meant to explore the background of some of the top villains, including Penguin, Riddler, and of course, the Joker. While we remember these great DC villains we can appreciate what makes them memorable and everlasting, and also look out for how DC presents their story later this year.
The Joker, specifically, is one of the most iconic Batman villains and is widely regarded as Batman’s perfect nemesis. He lives on as one of the most popular villains of all time and had a major presence in The Dark Knight, a huge hit at the box office with Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker received extreme praise. The Joker has also been prominent in video games, and was recently a major character in the acclaimed Arkham series. Wherever there is Batman, there is a Joker.
Of course, the Joker has a past as strange as his character, and it is difficult to pin down the true origin of the Clown Prince of Crime. He was originally intended to be killed off as quickly as he appeared in Batman #1, but he was revived by an editor at DC. He spent some time as a goofy, almost happy, villain due to censorship of violence from comic books. However, he was revived decades ago as a true mastermind of evil, bent on messing with Batman in any way imaginable and attempting to push him into murder to prove that anyone can be a monster. At this time, most people agree that his appearance stems from a plunge into a vat of chemicals, which dyed his skin white, his hair green, and his lips bright red.
His creative origin is just as debated, as the three original writers are known to argue over who gets credit. Batman creator Bob Kane has said that the character is based on the character from 1928’s The Man Who Laughs. He also explained the creation in an interview, insisting that “Bill Finger and I created the Joker. Bill was the writer. Jerry Robinson came to me with a playing card of the Joker. That’s the way I sum it up.” After that, the Joker was developed through the comic books into the famous psychopath he is today, and he has been an iconic Batman villain for decades.
While the Joker has enjoyed screen time in countless comics, games, shows, and movies, fans might have more appearances to look forward to in the future. He is expected to make a showing in the upcoming show Gotham, where we should get more immediate details on his origins before his epic confrontations with Batman that we know so well. Whether or not his origin will simply be what we already know or a new take on how the Joker came to be remains to be seen, but this show is surely something to look forward to for any DC fan.
He might also appear in the sequel to Man of Steel, called “Batman vs. Superman” by fans up to this point. The Joker has a history with the Batman and Superman crossovers and gained many of his followers simply because they feared him more than the alternate arch-villain, Lex Luthor. The Joker and Lex have a long history together, too, and they don’t really get along as they tend to have very different personalities. Of course, it is hard for anyone to enjoy the Joker’s chaotic personality, and it has been said that “when villains want to scare each other, they tell Joker stories.”
Let’s look forward to the Joker’s appearances in upcoming DC features, because this is one villain that just never gets old. While Batman pursues justice and morality, the Joker is his stark antithesis, a force of chaos and madness. For fans of the Caped Crusader, there is no villain more perfect for the role or arch-nemesis.
Written by Bryan Richmond. He’s a New York-based writer with two dogs and a passion for all things comic books and video games.
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