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- We’ve seen 4 totally different models of the Joker throughout history: trickster, madman, thinker and terrorist.
- It was the Killing Joke that actually changed everything and offered a philosophical outlook at the character.
- Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker pictured him as a terrorist and strengthened him as one of the most best bad guys of perpetuity.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Why are we all so obsessed with the Joker? There are, naturally, several descriptions for this. For one, he is one of the earliest bad guys in comic book history, his first look dating all the way back in 1940, with “Batman” issue No. 1. But I believe what really propelled the character to fame was in its numerous incarnations throughout history.
From comics to tv, films, video games, and animation, the Joker is most likely one of the most readapted bad guys in history. And, understandably, the concern of who did it finest is a continuous dispute. However I believe it’s an unfair concern, considering that every version of the character, more specifically the four different types of Joker we’ve seen throughout history, are all completely various characters. But without even just among them, the Joker would not have progressed into the ideal bad guy we understand today.
The Joker’s preliminary appearance in comics was extremely various from the Joker we know today. His appearance in “Batman” No. 1 portrayed him as a smart and capable criminal driven primarily by greed, dedicating a series of murders to steal valuable gems. Maybe the most vital quality that was first established was his penchant for theatricality, revealing his criminal offense by means of radio prior to they even took place. This would in time end up being a trope that would be utilized once again and again. He was wise, shrewd, and ruthless. But despite all of it, the Joker was still just another criminal, albeit with an unusual funny bone.
A number of critics have actually viewed this Joker as a best example of the trickster archetype, one of the many archetypes created by psychoanalyst Carl Jung. In literature, these are characters who show high levels of intelligence, use their mind to play techniques, or disobey any recognized rules. Another great example of this archetype is Loki from the Norse folklore and consequently the Marvel comics, who, like the Joker, treads a thin line in between harmful violence and safe humor. When the “silver age” of comics hit in the ’50 s, DC began softening the wicked side of Joker to market their books for kids and to avoid rigorous censorship. The 1942 story “The Joker Strolls the Last Mile” became a turning point that changed the unusual, enormous serial killer into a joke. And Cesar Romero’s portrayal of the character in the 1960 s tv series “Batman” just strengthened this image, portraying the character as a smart yet primarily harmless prankster with an unusual set of gadgets. As the program’s appeal waned, so did the Joker, until in 1973, the character made a return in a practically unrecognizable kind.
Under writer Dennis O’Neil, the “Batman” comics began taking a darker and grittier turn, and with it, the villains. “Batman” No. 251 signified the return of the Joker as a criminal and a serial killer. It was at this time that Joker really turned mad. O’Neil and the writers who followed him started concentrating on Joker’s madness, and with it came the creation of the landmark Arkham Asylum. Joker was no longer frightening because he was a ruthless wrongdoer, however due to the fact that he was an outrageous and unpredictable one. Author Steve Englehart’s arc “The Chuckling Fish” was a renowned story that exhibited this madness, showing the Joker poisoning the supply of water to make the fish look like him so he could copyright and profit off of them. The exact same story was also adapted in the ’90 s’ “Batman: The Animated Series,” skillfully voiced by Mark Hamill, whose Joker was heavily motivated by the Joker of the ’70 s. It’s a ludicrous premise, however however, the representation of the Joker is definitely frightening. The era signified a huge shift in the characterization of the Joker, however the improvement was far from total.
All of this changed with just one work that would transform the concept of the Joker for several years to come: Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke.” Published during the “dark age” of comics, when stories became even darker and more mature to target adult audiences, “The Killing Joke” was an advanced work for the character for a number of factors. First, it developed the concept that the Joker has no specific origin. Contrary to common belief, “The Killing Joke” does not inform a conclusive origin story for the Joker, however only a possible one motivated by a story that was currently told years ago in “Investigator Comics” No.168 What is definitive is Joker’s view on his past. This turned the Joker from an evil male to a concept, an embodiment of his belief. And with it, the Joker ended up being more vocal about what he thinks in, such as his frightening observation that all it considers someone to end up being like him is simply one bad day.
The 2nd revolutionary element was in the book’s analysis of Joker’s relationship with Batman. Moore saw Batman and Joker as a mirror image of each other, both productions of a random and terrible occasion that resulted in an alternate identity and opposing views of the world. This meant that their battles were no longer just physical, but truly a philosophical one. “The Killing Joke” opened the floodgate to other stories that began checking out the Joker as a theorist. It was also what greatly motivated Jack Nicholson’s iconic representation of the character in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” His Joker was really a combination of all the Jokers prior to him. The campiness of the ’60 s, the madness of the ’70 s, and the philosophical ramification of the modern-day age. This is maybe why Nicholson’s representation was so renowned, as it offered the most detailed look at the character that has considerably evolved for many years.
Till 2008, when director Christopher Nolan and Heath Journal proved that Joker’s transformation was far from over. Ledger’s representation of the Joker was rather unlike anything we have actually seen. There were characteristics that plainly made him the Joker, like his pension for stagecraft, the multiple origin stories, and a macabre sense of humor. However if Nicholson’s Joker was more of a performance artist, Journal’s was that of a terrorist who made use of the modern-day worry of political and philosophical extremism in the post-9/11 America. He was an anarchist who not only declined to follow the recognized order, however actively seeked to destroy it, introducing chaos to the political landscape of Gotham as its representative of turmoil. Nolan also offered a particular philosophy to ground the character: nihilism. A philosophical belief that denies all significant worths in life. One critic compared the Joker to what Friedrich Nietzsche paradoxically called Übermensch, or Superman, a being that separately picks what’s right or wrong and asserts their own belief into the world. Others also noticed that this interpretation of the Batman and the Joker’s relationship mirrored the Nietzschean philosophy of the master and slave morality, Joker being the master morality that creates and specifies its own rules without the approval of others and considers what benefits them to be excellent, while Batman working as the servant morality that is bound by existing laws and identifies right from incorrect, the 2 in constant fight for what each discovers simply. Ledger’s Joker was scary, since, like “The Killing Joke,” it embodied a concept of mayhem and anarchy that couldn’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. An entity that Batman can’t simply win physically.
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Joker’s improvement is an ongoing one. The most current adaptation, by Joaquin Phoenix, seems to be more political, representing him as a Marxist figure. And in current comics, Scott Snyder portrayed the Joker as a practically demonic figure, a wicked as old as the city of Gotham itself. And maybe this is why we’re all so consumed with the Joker. It’s a character that constantly modifications and evolves to show our numerous worries. To obtain the mind of Nietzsche, it’s not the void you’re looking into that scares you, however the abyss gazing back, with a huge, clown-like smile. Joker: See, madness, as you know, resembles gravity. All it takes is a little push. [Joker laughing maniacally]
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