|Alias(es):||The Clown Prince of Crime|
Smilin' Shecky Rimshot
|Portrayed by:||Mark Hamill|
|First appearance:||Christmas With the Joker|
|Last appearance:||Make 'Em Laugh|
|Appears in:||19 Episodes, 1 Film|
- "Without Batman, crime has no punchline."
- ―The Joker[src]
The Joker was Batman's deadliest arch-enemy who was menacing, merciless, shrewd, and extremely dangerous. He exasperated every wicked trick to take over Gotham City, make a profit and ruin Batman's life both emotionally and physically. The “Clown Prince of Crime” had no pity for anybody he forced to take part in his wicked schemes either by intimidation or fraud, and was particularly unkind to his sidekick and love interest Harley Quinn, such as manipulating her to amuse himself. He also escaped death several times after his defeats with Batman.
- 1 History
- 2 Personality
- 3 Equipment
- 4 Background Information
- 5 Appearances
- 6 Trivia
- 7 References
Early Days and Origins
Jack Napier was born in the year 1948. As an unknown crook, Jack started out as a young enforcer working for the mob triad of Sal Valestra, Buzz Bronski, and Chuckie Sol. At one point early on, before his forthcoming mishap, he and Bruce Wayne caught a glimpse of each other. One of his last jobs took place in Europe on the Mediterranean Coast. His target was Carl Beaumont, a businessman who had fled the States after the mob bosses discovered he embezzled a fortune.
Years later, he tried to rob the Ace Chemicals Plant, but Batman showed up at the scene and Jack fell into a vat of chemicals which disfigured him. His skin turned white, his hair green, and his lips red, giving birth to Joker, the clown prince of crime.
After becoming the criminal known as Joker, he started perpetrating crimes with the sole purpose of creating chaos.
- Main article: Christmas With the Joker
This is clearly evident during Christmas' Eve, when Joker escaped from Arkham Asylum on a rocket Christmas Tree and hijacked the TV signal of the entire city. Joker kidnapped Commissioner Gordon, Summer Gleeson and Harvey Bullock, forcing Batman to overcome several challenges such as saving a train from running into a collapsed bridge and destroying a cannon installed in the Gotham Observatory; all this while he aired the events on TV. Batman located the source of the broadcast at Laffco Toy Factory, where Joker was prepared with several weapon toys and henchmen armed and ready to attack Batman. Joker almost dropped his hostages to death, but they were saved by Batman and Joker was returned to Arkham, where he spent Christmas, locked in his cell.
- Main article: The Last Laugh
However, some of his crimes seem to have a logical goal. On another occasion, Joker planned to gain major profits by spreading his laughing gas across Gotham. In order to achieve this, Joker used a load of garbage that was transported through the river and he sprayed the garbage with his laughing toxin. As a result, almost the entire population was infected and couldn't stop laughing; allowing the Joker to roam the city and steal from them at will. Batman went looking for Joker and after destroying Joker's robot named Captain Clown, Joker led Batman on a wild goose chase across an abandoned waste treatment plant. Joker almost succeeded on his intent of eliminating Batman, but the Dark Knight stopped him once again.
- Main article: Be a Clown
When Hamilton Hill compared Joker with Batman, the Clown Prince of Crime didn't take it kindly. As a way to prove himself superior to Batman, Joker decided to infiltrate the Mayor's house and create chaos during Jordan Hill's birthday party. Joker took the identity of the hired party clown, Jekko and infiltrated Hill's house, leaving a dynamite candle in the middle of the garden. As he was leaving, Jordan hid on Joker's car and he ended up on Joker's hideout. Joker took advantage of the situation and used Jordan to lure Batman into a trap. Joker forced Jordan to watch as Batman failed to escape his trap, but Jordan ran away. Batman escaped Joker's trap and they took the fight to a rollercoaster, where Batman dropped Joker to the river below and the abandoned amusement park was utterly destroyed and Joker nowhere to be found.
As a recurrent patient of Arkham Asylum, the Joker was often psycho-analyzed, at one point by Dr. Harleen Quinzel. After one session, the Joker fooled Dr. Quinzel as he painted himself as a misunderstood soul crying out for the world to accept him. Quinzel soon found herself in love with the Joker, and broke him out of Arkham.
The first crime they pulled together as a team was the blackmailing of the mild-mannered salary man Charlie Collins. They forced him into helping them attack Commissioner Gordon during an event on his honor. This plan however, was foiled by Batman thanks to Collins' intervention and the couple of criminals were captured.
However, Joker's abusive attitude towards Harley caused her to form a partnership with fellow criminal Poison Ivy, leaving Joker's side. The Clown Prince of Crime eventually noticed Harley's absence and he learned of her success alongside Ivy. Joker located them and tried to put and end to their alliance, but he was stopped by Batman.
- Main article: The Laughing Fish
Joker managed to escape and set his next plan in motion when he transformed the fish of the Gotham Harbor into smiling creatures with his face, in an attempt to copyright the natural resource. Of course, his claim was denied and Joker attempted to murder the public officials who denied him his prize. Joker's attacks were almost successful as he managed to reach his victims, but they were both saved by Batman. Shorly after, Detective Harvey Bullock found Joker's hideout at the Aquarium and tried to round up the criminal, but ended up falling into a trap.
Joker then threatened Bullock's life in order to stop Batman, who had also found his hideout. Joker threw Batman and Bullock into a shark tank, hoping that they were killed by the shark, but when they escaped the tank, Joker tried to escape through the rooftop, leaving Harley and his gang to be arrested. Joker was confronted one final time by Batman and realizing that he had nowhere left to run, Joker decided to drop to the ocean, unaware that th shark had been freed and was awaiting in the waters below. The police searched for Joker's body, but the Clown of Crime was nowhere to be found.
Some time after this, The Joker, along with Two-Face and the Penguin travel to Yucca Springs on an invite from Hugo Strange, who claimed to know the identity of Batman, but instead they were all captured by the Dark Knight.
Gambling with the Devil
- Main article: Joker's Wild
While in Arkham, Joker learned that ex-businessman Cameron Kaiser made his newly built casino resemble the Joker's look, which infuriated the Joker and forced him to escape in order to destroy Kaiser and his casino. However, Joker was confronted by Batman, who made him realize that Kaiser was expecting Joker to destroy the casino, so he could cash in the insurance money. After learning the truth, Joker went straight for Kaiser and almost managed to kill him, but Batman stopped him and Joker was returned to Arkham.
Eventually and with help from Harley, Joker captured Batman and almost killed him in a deadly trap, but he was saved by Catwoman. In revenge, Joker captured Catwoman and placed her in a deadly trap. The next night, Joker had a meeting with some fellow villains to whom he revealed the location of the Catwoman, bragging about his success. However, among the crooks was Batman in disguise and after learning the truth from Joker, the Dark Knight captured the madman and rescued Catwoman. Later, Joker learned that Batman was apparently killed by a low profile crook called Sid the Squid. Joker took Sid to his hideout and tried to kill the man for having eliminated Batman, making Joker lose purpose on his life. Eventually Joker learned that Batman was not really dead.
Sometime later, the Joker was hunted by the Phantasm due to his past ties to the Valestra Mob group. He also ended up disposing of Sal Valestra after the latter unwisely demanded his help in stopping the Phantasm. He later injected Arthur Reeves with Joker Toxin, and finally confronted both Batman and the Phantasm, actually Andrea Beaumont, the daughter of the man whom he murdered a long time ago, at the World of Tomorrow. When overcome and at the mercy of Andrea while the theme park was burning to the ground, the Joker couldn't help but laugh.
Joker was later part of the plan to eliminate Batman by kidnapping him and subjecting him to a fake trial in Arkham. Later, the Joker tried to con his way to a local comedy trophy by using the Mad Hatter's mind control chips on the event's judges. Another time, the Joker stole a nuclear warhead and almost successfully set it off on the residence of Mayor Hill, but was ultimately stopped by Batman with help from Harley. After escaping from Arkham once again, Joker decides to get revenge on the comedians that prevented him from winning a comedy contest and using technology stolen from The Mad Hatter, Joker turns the comedians into mindless followers of his commands. Without them, Joker attempted to steal the comedy trophy of the contest, but his plans were foiled again by Batman and Robin and he was captured.
Regardless of the state of his seriously twisted mind, The Joker was a brilliant planner, and never appeared to run out of schemes. Often, The Joker's plans were connected to humour, though at the same time, were extremely perilous which resulted in him being dreaded wherever his schemes took him. The Joker could lie effortlessly, and was remarkably accomplished at making up heart-rending stories that were capable of deceiving people into believing that he was simply misinterpreted, or in Harley Quinn's case, essentially taking pity on him and making her determined to help him in any way possible. His stories were well-known to have no limits, varying from a cruel and forceful father, to a runaway mother.
Over the years, the Joker used a wide variety of gadgets to exact his comedic murders. His equipment included:
Most famously, the Joker had an Acid Flower attached to his suit. This flower emitted a wide variety of chemicals, depending on the situation and the Joker's mood. Laughing gas and acid were popular variants.
The Joker owns two pet laughing hyenas, named Bud and Lou, which Harley takes care of.
Although none of the identities revealed in the comics for the The Joker ever gave him a full name, "Jack Napier" was used in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman and later utilized in the DCAU as well. In Dreams in Darkness, Dr. Bartholomew refers to him by that name, and in Joker's Wild, his name can be seen in a file about him. Either they or the Joker himself could have altered his file to show that he had operated under a variety of aliases. It is also possible that the Joker did indeed use a number of aliases, and that Jack Napier is simply his most commonly agreed-upon name.
- Joker's Favor
- Be a Clown
- The Last Laugh
- Fear of Victory (cameo)
- The Forgotten (dream sequence)
- The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne
- Dreams in Darkness (hallucination)
- Almost Got 'Im
- Christmas with the Joker
- Joker's Wild
- The Laughing Fish
- The Man Who Killed Batman
- Harley and Ivy
- Birds of a Feather (mentioned only)
- Fire from Olympus (no lines)
- Riddler's Reform (no lines)
- Make 'Em Laugh
- Batman: The Animated Series (Game Boy)
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Mega Drive/Genesis)
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin (SNES)
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Game Gear)
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin (Sega CD)
- In the unfinished episode "The Gun Story", the Joker was originally going to be revealed to be the one who shot and killed Bruce's parents.
- The Joker's voice was inspired by actor, Claude Rains and the Chief Blue Meanie from The Beatles animated movie, Yellow Submarine.