[identity profile] benicio127.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
I'm posting these in small part to find out if anyone's up for an Elseworlds/Alternate Universe week. I've got at least three I can share.... (Idk if Lex Luthor: Man of Steel counts as Elseworlds, but if it does, I've got a fourth...)

But anyways... on to the controversy!!

Part One. The LESS controversial scene.

Joker crying. I think this was one of the more shocking scenes for me (granted there were A LOT of shocking scenes).
In this, the narrator, Jonny, is staying at the Joker and Harley Quinn's apartment. He happens to walk past a mostly closed door and glimpses this. (While he sees this, he's telling the reader about a story about his frog. The story ends up  coming full circle at the end of the GN)

Why is this controversial? I for one don't think I had ever seen the Joker shed a tear in comics (and in the funeral scene during the Man who Killed Batman B:TAS episode, his crying is somewhat comical). We have no significant reason why he's crying -- it appears just after Harvey Dent doesn't take his phone calls and he blows up his bar. (And kills a henchman). Was it manic depressive? Was he just really strung out on drugs? Was he upset because Batman had not come out to play with him yet?
Without getting into the Joker's origin, I'm guessing this is Azzarello trying to show us the tragic clown aspect. Here is a egotistical bastard who despite all the glee he gets from murdering and torturing, he loathes himself.

In part, I think, it's controversial because he's on his knees before Harley, and so we see a co-dependent relationship in which she is the rock here. For some that could be unsettling because we almost we see a human, not just a clown or a monster, and (a very minute) potentially a redeemable person. It also shows us that despite Harley not having any lines, she actually IS portrayed as a *strong* character, just not in the traditional *independent woman* nor in the *good girl* sense. She's strong enough to see the humanity of this monster.

Azzarello's Lex Luthor: Man of Steel showed many different sides of Luthor because he in fact loves his humanity. He believes what he is doing is for the greater good. However, Joker's a bit more difficult: he tries to hide his humanity (making up different origins, his attempts on Harley's life [Batman #663, Batman: Harley Quinn], the 180 he did in Going Sane, etc.).

What did you think of this scene? Do you think this was a good way of making him more complex? Could it have been done differently? (Remembering that the fake/real sad origin story has already been done in The Killing Joke..)

And now...

The Rape Scene.

Hoo boy. This scene.
Anyways, while we don't see the actual rape occur, this scene occurs AFTER the crying scene and is after Joker believes Jonny *raped* (for lack of a better term) his trust when he didn't reveal he had a wife (and Harvey found out and used it against them). This woman is Jonny's wife.
On the one hand we feel an almost pity for Jonny for not being able to stop it (go up against the Joker??!); on the other hand, we don't (this is someone he cares about here -- how could he just sit by and let that happen?!).

Thing is, while I doubt the Joker is "above rape," has he ever committed sexual crimes before? (And no, I don't think he raped Babs in TKJ. First of all, it was written by Alan Moore, who doesn't exactly shy away from that kind of thing and would have said so if it had happened; secondly, I think the reason why he undressed Babs was to better show off the wound -- sick, yes, but he's trying to upset her father). But this is technically an Elseworld's tale, so this Joker is different. And if it's "funny" to him, he'll do it. (The joke that perhaps Jonny could have stopped him, but did not....)
Anyways, as distasteful as it was, it does show us that he's completely irredeemable. You get this almost false hope from the crying scene and then comes this.
But was there a better way to show that?
(Granted, IMO, it's not as ridiculous as the almost-rape that occurred in Oracle: the Cure. That was.... well, let's just say it didn't enhance the plot in any way.)

Now I'm a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves, people!
The Joker is neither a Joe nor a Kerr. Discuss.

Date: 2009-07-12 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkknightjrk.insanejournal.com
"Yeah, but I imagine it'd be difficult to make rape funny."

And that's what Joker tries to do. I think it's more akin to the TDK interpetation--he finds anything that "normal" people find horrible, like murder, racism and, yes, rape, funny and fucks with people until they get the joke.

As for how the rape case would be "funny" to him? If I read the description right (haven't read it yet, but it's on the to-buy list), Johnny was hiding from Joker that he has a wife, probably to protect her from reprisials if the police find out about her as an accomplise or, even worse, if he knew about her.

When one thinks of marriage, one thinks of it as a sort-of exclusive partnership. Johnny not telling her about working with The Joker breaches the trust in the partnership, so when Joker finds out about it, he breaches the exclusivity of the partnership by force. Not a good joke, but then again, neither is turning into a supervillain after your life crumbles around you and your body is permenately fucked up, for example.

Date: 2009-07-13 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] toasty_fresh.insanejournal.com
I was speaking more about normal DCU Joker in my comment-- for the Joker in this story, I think he's different from the 'regular' Joker in that his jokes are more in-jokes, jokes that he finds funny for whatever twisted reason that the rest of humanity might not see the humor in, so the rape could be in-character for him. However, I don't think the rape shown in the scans would be something the DCU Joker would do, because his humor tends to be more . . . accessible, if that makes sense.

Date: 2009-07-14 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smarmyimp.insanejournal.com
I think regular DC Joker might not rape partly because several writers have shown him not as asexual, but being actively uncomfortable with the idea of sex, and wrote it as a rather believable result of his psychosis.

The thing is, most of Joker's multiple choice of origins show him as having had a wife, and that he wasn't born a monster or even molded into one while he was a child, but broke and became one as an adult.

Having grown up as a fairly normal person, it's likely he might see sex as a time of vulnerability and exposure, rather than an act of taking power. Thus, any humor he found in the thought of forcing himself on a woman might be balanced out by a revulsion or fear of making himself that vulnerable and open to someone he was victimizing.

Him being "above" rape is, in my opinion, ridiculous, as the above posters have said. However, him not doing it because he's afraid of being exposed and vulnerable to another person, especially to someone who might come back to fight him later or someone who might somehow remind him of his wife, that I find believable.

Date: 2009-07-14 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smarmyimp.insanejournal.com
Well I said several authors. The novelization of No Man's Land, for instance, goes into Joker's viewpoint at several points, and shows him to be really annoyed and/or revulsed by Harley's attempts to get naughty with him. (I suppose you could say that was just Harley he felt that way about, tho.)

There's the various Timm depictions, where he's by turns exasperated by Harley's sexual overtures, annoyed or angered by them, or actually interested.

If you don't want to take the cheap way out and say "Different writers just write him different ways", you could instead see it as the Joker being so deeply psychotic that he has a different set of psychoses he loads up with at any given time. Sometimes he has the ones that make him asexual, sometimes he has the ones that make him abhor sex, sometimes he has the ones where he has to get rid of anyone that might see him vulnerable, sometimes he forgets the sexual hangups entirely for a different loadout.

Joker has a modular weapons payload of crazy, and has a different combination of insanity preprogrammed for whatever situation requires it!


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