espanolbot: (Default)
[personal profile] espanolbot posting in [community profile] scans_daily

It does amuse me somewhat, when people complain about the Joker being depicted as having "murder superpowers". For one thing, due to the character having been around since 1940 there are tons of different versions of the character to pick from (like with Batman himself and Catwoman) so saying that one particularly variation is the "correct" one is kind of hazy.

Admittedly you can still have a favourite version (DCAU for life!), but it's still curious that a lot of the things from, say, the Scott Snyder version of the character (which I noticed people around here disliking) were actually present since the character's creation way back in 1940's Batman 1.

Here he's depicted as a jewel thief who somehow feels compelled to terrify his victims prior to murdering them, which could seem counter to his name... Except for the fact he's named after the playing card, not for the fact that he tells jokes. It's kind of bizarre, the Joker here kind of acts like the villain of some kind of Elementary/Criminal Minds hybrid show more than the most other versions of the character.

Similarly, his first encounter with Robin is also uncharacteristically "uncomicbookish". Rather than the elaborate death traps present in later versions of the character, the Joker just opportunistically knocks Robin out while escaping around another murder/robbery, and decides to just straight up poison Dick to death with little to no fanfare.

His banter with Batman himself could also use a little work.

The Joker was intended to be killed off at the end of his second appearance (where he escapes jail with some explosives he had hidden in some false back-teeth) after effectively going through Gotham murdering pretty much everyone he could lay his hands on... but, marking a trend which continues even 75 years later, his popularity caused the publishers to change it to him being only mostly dead, and he was revived in a following story.

That said, original flavour Joker is fascinating in the sense that you can definitely see what parts of the character would still be around some three quarters of a century later, but in the form he was in then... yeah modern audiences would get tired of him REALLY fast. Needless to say, a lot of the things subsequently associated with the Joker (joke-related crimes, for example) were added in later, partially due to restrictions of the Comics Code Authority, brought on by concerned parents fearing that comics were causing kids to be delinquents (yeah, same arguement used for gothic literature, bicycles, jazz music, pulp fiction, films in general, rock music, video games, texting...)

The effect of the CCA can also be seen with it's effect on Catwoman, who I'll be covering next.

Date: 2015-10-08 09:37 am (UTC)
skinrash: (Default)
From: [personal profile] skinrash
What similarities to the Snyder Joker are you talking about exactly? The complaints I have read for the most part has been about his Leatherface-esque redesign. And those I do agree with.

Date: 2015-10-08 01:03 pm (UTC)
skinrash: (Default)
From: [personal profile] skinrash
Don't think I've ever heard that complaint before, strange one if I understand it correctly. I saw nothing wrong with Snyder's version personality wise. Tim Burton's Joker killed loads of people effortlessly, so did Frank Miller's, Dennis O'Neil's, Chuck Dixon's, Paul Dini's and many others.

Date: 2015-10-08 05:58 pm (UTC)
sagrada: Clan sigil of Rahab (Default)
From: [personal profile] sagrada
That's the thing, though, that is all he does. It's like if every time he came on-panel Lex Luthor made a new killer robot. Every single time. When he was given the Silver Age do-over of being all about weird jokes and the absurdity of life, that gave him something besides being a stock "crazy killer" with a bold visual style.

Riddler has his drive to prove himself the intellectual superior he knows he is, the Penguin deals in harder-to-prosecute, high class crimes, Catwoman brings in ambiguity as a (more or less) good person who commits crimes for a (mostly) good or at least sympathetic cause, the Mad Hatter has the creepy pedophilia and perpetuation of misconceptions about Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Poison Ivy has environmentalism and outright inhumanity, even Ra's al Ghul has his genocidal zealotry and Menacing Foreigner schtick. By now Joker is just the murderman who Batman cannot actually beat, since his role as the ultimate nemesis has overshadowed everything else.

They already have a 'crazy' serial murderer, too.

Date: 2015-10-08 09:10 pm (UTC)
q99: (Default)
From: [personal profile] q99

And without the schtick of the 'impossible' murders of his first appearance or such.

Joker grew as a character over time, becoming less predictable and more creative, and then he regressed and became less interesting, IMO.

Date: 2015-10-09 12:53 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
When I was growing up the Joker was a flamboyant criminal, who was quite prepared to murder people if they got in his way, even if they were on his payroll.

Murder was rarely the focus of his capers, unless he was going all out ("The Joker's Five Way Revenge" or "Dreadful Birthday Dear Joker") to prove a point. There was usually some material gain to be had at the same time.

Now, murder is ALL the Joker does... ever. For his gang, it's not a case of IF he might kill you, but WHEN. He slaughters hundreds and it's no big deal to him, and as such, it's no big deal to us, if anything it's just.... boring and lacks any individuality or style. And the Joker should be many things, but NEVER boring or lacking style.

Date: 2015-10-08 02:15 pm (UTC)
captainbellman: It Was A Boojum... (Default)
From: [personal profile] captainbellman
I do like the terrible lack of planning on those cops' part.

"Who's laughing NOW, Joker! We're all wearing gas masks! Do yer worst!"

"My worst, you say."


Date: 2015-10-08 10:18 am (UTC)
drexer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] drexer
Question, does then bringing up that one issue where Superman kills an alternate earth Zod justify the tone of the Man of Steel movies?

I mean, it's a feature of serialized comic books that if you look long enough you can find a previous interpretation or justification for almost anything and that's why usually when most people interpret characters they go by arcs instead of trying to make sense of an whole continuity. In a similar way it's unfair to imply that a certain cultural idea of a character that works in a specific way is not valid when that idea is not informed by the first, tenth or Nth appearance of it. A Batman or Superman story can be classic without being character-correct for the current era and readership and that's what people complain about.

A simple and direct killing Joker to them does not differentiate the character from others and goes against their mental image of the character.

Date: 2015-10-08 06:03 pm (UTC)
sagrada: Clan sigil of Rahab (Default)
From: [personal profile] sagrada
I dunno, Golden Age Joker was all about the then-modern pulp stylings, with zany and flashy outsiders of "decent society" able to get away with improbable, shocking feats thanks to their inherent dynamism next to the culture they drew blood from. Modern Joker is pretty much a horror movie antagonist, as has been noted before, a nigh-unstoppable slasher villain who somehow ended up in a superhero universe.

Speaking of which, I forget, why did he lose his face again?

Date: 2015-10-09 12:37 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
He was making a statement, or something like that.

Given the Joker's absolute egotism and vanity, I still couldn't see him doing such a thing, but hey, that's comics for ya.

Date: 2015-10-08 03:19 pm (UTC)
lucean: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lucean
But wouldn't the argument against that be why would it need to be justified to them? They can like the story, criticize the narrative, but no fan is the judge to determine if a story if justified or not.

I guess for me that is often the difficulty when discussing Batman and Joker. Both of the characters have shown to be extremely malleable while still remain true to their core. For me, that has been a crucial part of their success and longevity, but has also lead to a lot of claims of definite Batman's and Joker's and complaints when those exact criteria are met, it becomes a demand for justification.

For example, Snyder's Joker isn't a simple and direct killing, it all plays a larger part in his demented, chaotic plan.

Date: 2015-10-08 01:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lego_joker
Personally, I feel the difference is a matter of how the stories choose to play the murders. Golden Age Joker here does kill a lot, yes, but I feel the focus is meant to be on his intelligence, not how brutal or disgusting he is. There's also something to be said for how Batman doesn't even take a single breath to mourn his victims; to him, it's all about the hunt, the competition. I think there's even a panel early on where Bruce goes, "Eh, let's wait for him to kill a few more people so I'll get better headlines when I bring him in!" when Joker's first murder breaks the news.

(Though, disclaimer: pretty much none of my favorite takes on the Batman cast are from the Golden Age.)

If I ever get off my ass and back to that Joker: Year One fanfic I have planned, my take on the Joker would probably be a cold, witty intellectual type who never spits or swears but can tell you a hundred and three ways to kill a man with his own shoelaces. While juggling hand grenades.

Date: 2015-10-08 02:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] imitorar
Have you seen the Joker origin by Paul Dini and Alex Ross in Batman: Black and White? It very much follows that take. I actually like it for the character a lot more than the more classic Detective Comics #168/Killing Joke origin, but that one seems to be the one most people latch onto. Still, if we get multiple choices...

Date: 2015-10-08 01:25 pm (UTC)
alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
From: [personal profile] alicemacher
The panel in the second story in which Joker laughs hysterically at his own imminent death (or so he thinks): that, to me, is the moment that established him, for the first time, as the psychotic clown archetype he is, as opposed to yet another Dick Tracey-esque "deformed villain."

Date: 2015-10-08 02:09 pm (UTC)
captainbellman: It Was A Boojum... (Default)
From: [personal profile] captainbellman
As an addendum, I'll point you to the following post which shows that the Joker seems to have been the *second* try at establishing a brooding criminal enough nemesis for Batman - the first, with numerous parallels, being Hugo Strange, who more closely physically resembles the balding Prof. Moriarty archetype:

Date: 2015-10-09 12:47 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I think the difference to me is that the Golden Age Joker isn't really trying to be amusing. He's Gwymplaine, the man whose smile is a disfigurement, not an emotional indicator. The contrast is the "hook" for the character.

He knows he looks like a clown, and he might take some slight macabre amusement from his killings, but he's not manic, or given to capering with glee or the like, or even liable to tell a joke. He's a cynical murderer who just happens to have a smile as his default expression. He calls himself the Joker because of his appearance, not because he's an agent of chaos.

Have to say that the Joker sitting, looking serious, with his steepled fingers, half Conrad Veidt, half Basil Rathbone, is one of my favourite images of the Joker. It's incongrous, and unsettling, and he looks dangerous.

Date: 2015-10-12 05:50 pm (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
I personally love that first scene where we actually see the Joker.

He's sitting there, alone, with this gloomy maudlin look on his face, as he explains how he did it to the reader.

Then he flashes that smile, that "Run, run and never stop because you don't want to know what he's going to do when he catches you" smile, and its the creepiest thing ever

Its really no wonder Joker has become the first among evils in the Batman rogues gallery.


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