There have been many superheroes and many villains since the inception of this genre. But none of them have been as iconic as the Joker x Batman combination. Everybody loves to see both of them in action. The never-ending villainous charades of Joker. And Batman’s efforts to save Gotham from Joker’s menaces have been very well received by the fans.
We all know about the origin of Batman. But in this article, we will explore the origin story of the Joker. The article will further describe how the paths of the Joker and Batman crossed. And how Joker became the arch-nemesis of Batman. And how the Joker x Batman relationship developed over the years.
Origins Of The Joker
Joker was debuted as a one-off character. He was very villainous and a very remorseless spree killer. Joker was scheduled to die in his second appearance after accidentally killing himself. But the writer’s panel decided against it.
He became a recurring feature in Batman comics for the first two years after his debut. Joker would go on a killing spree and apparently die at the end of the issue. But his body was never recovered. After this, he actually died in ” Joker walked the last mile” but was chemically revived by his henchmen.
His character was retained by the writer panel as a villain who reappears again and again and becomes a constant test for both Batman and his Moral Code which doesn’t allow killing someone. Joker not only challenges Batman physically but also puts him through mental torture with different mind games.
No fixed origin story has ever been established for the Joker. Nobody even knows his name. There have been many takes on his origin story over the years. But let us take a look at the most widely accepted origin story of the Joker.
It is established that prior to being Joker a petty criminal called the Red Hood was robbing the Card factory. It is here that he first encounters Batman. In order to escape from him, Red Hood flees to the ACE chemical factory where falls into a vat of chemicals.
Due to the side effect of this chemical his skin color is permanently changed. And his hair color is changed to emerald green. And a grin appears on his face due to damage to the skin from the chemicals.
The Killing Joke
This origin story is further explored in Alar Moore’s “The Killing Joke“. This story depicts him as an engineer who resigns from his job at a chemical plant to pursue his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian.
But he fails miserably. He also has a wife who is pregnant with his child. To support the family financially he agrees to help in a robbery. The robbers give him the Red Hood mask. Before the robbery, police contact him and inform him of his wife’s and child’s death in an accident.
On refusing to go ahead with the Job, the criminals threaten to kill him to make him agree. While the robbery is taking place, the criminals are intercepted by Batman and the engineer falls in the vat of chemicals.
When he gets out and notices the changes to him in his reflection which include his pale skin and grin. This coupled with the day’s events takes a mental toll on him leading his pay to become the Joker eventually.
Later, in the story Joker kidnaps Jim Gordon and cripples Barbara Gordon to make a point. His tagline is ” all it takes is one bad day for someone to change into a criminal”.
This story has received universal praise from the critics and is loved equally by the fans. It ends on a cliff-hanger ending leaving the fans to speculate whether Batman kills the Joker or not.
Development of Joker x Batman
After his debut, The Joker has been constantly embroiled in conflict with Batman. The origins of the characters are pretty dark but to appeal to the children, the comics were made less dark. Joker became a more jest-like character and instead of plotting destruction, he started laying menacing traps for Batman.
But after 1970, the characters were redeveloped closer to their true origins. This new approach to the Joker x Batman relationship was very well received. Joker became extremely dark and villainous in the truest sense. He even established himself as the alpha villain in his dedicated nine-issue miniseries called “The Joker”.
Joker kidnapped and killed Jason Todd. He even crippled Barbara Gordon. His obsession with Batman increased so much that he even threw Harley Quinn off the top story of a building when she tries to kill Batman. Saying that only he has the right to kill Batman.
In the Flashpoint timeline, a new take on the origins of the Joker is explored. In this timeline, Bruce is killed instead of his parents. Thomas Wayne kills the shooter with his bare hands and when he returns to his wife. He noticed that Martha had become psychotic and drew a smile on her face resembling Joker’s grin.
In this timeline the love angle is explored for the first time.
Romance in Joker x Batman
Modern iterations have shown Joker to be madly in love with the Batman as purely as comedic relief in the story. This can be seen in The Lego Batman Movie. Where Joker plans to destroy Gotham city when his expression of love is turned down by Batman.
This comedic angle is further explored in some comics as well. But most recently, this take on Joker x Batman was seen in Harley Quinn (TV series). In the series, it is shown that the Riddler has trapped both Batman and Harley and gives the option to Joker to save one of them.
Joker, without any hesitation, chooses Batman out of his love and obsession for the Caped Crusader. Due to this level of Joker’s love for Batman, Harley dumps him and starts her own life in the TV series.
Conclusion the Joker x Batman
Joker is one of the best villains to have ever been written. And Joker x Batman rivalry has existed for even longer than the romantic relationships of most Superheroes. Due to this reason the Joker x Batman is iconic and has achieved cult status.
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