The history of the “Clown Prince of Crime” is a mystery. Where did this character come from and what is his backstory? No one knows where he came from, according to the Batman comic books. The character fell into a vat of acid after Batman thwarted his robbery of the Ace Chemical Plant in Gotham City. How did it all go so terribly wrong for this character?
According to the DC Encyclopedia, “The man who would become the Clown Prince of Crime was once a petty thief duped into donning the mask of The Red Hood and acting as a costumed figurehead to thugs bent on robbing the Ace Chemical Plant in Gotham City.” However, not before he fell into a vat of acid, which is when he came out with bleach white skin, emerald-green hair, and a sadistic smile. He emerged as the Clown Prince of Crime.
Thoughts about his personality quirks have been explored, including everything from being tossed into a vat of acid, a victim of child abuse, and an insane teen has been explored. Recently, it has been suggested that he is an evil spirit as old as Gotham City itself, if not older. Additionally, it is said that he is as crazy as Batman is intelligent, according to a Batman enthusiast.
The evolution of the Joker stemmed from the 1940s when comics were very dark and gothic. Once comics became more lighthearted by the 1950s and ’60s, so did the Joker. In the 1980s and ’90s, he regained his dark nature. Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger have each played the character in film and television. Mark Hamill has also done a voice-over for the Joker.
His character would go through yet another evolutionary process with the publication of the graphic novels, The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke. Graphic novels are not the same as comic books. The difference is, a comic book would be like saying, episode one, and a graphic novel is like saying, season one.
There have been many different incarnations of this character from the Golden Age of Comics to today. He began in The Adventures of Batman and Robin, where he was light-hearted, to The Dark Knight, or Gotham, where he was more dark and thrilling.
Dan Auty from Game Spot says, “Until now, every screen iteration of the Joker has been as the villain in a Batman movie or TV show. 2016 will see the iconic DC villain take center stage in Suicide Squad, with Jared Leto starring in the role previously played by the likes of Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson. Now, Empire magazine has provided the best look yet at the character.”
There have been talks that the Joker will have a much more central role in the film. Eleanor Tremeer, from Movie Pilot, quotes Suicide Squad producer, Charles Roven, saying, “He’s more social…a very successful and smart businessman, besides being a sociopath.”
What led to the Clown Prince of Crime’s formation? Some say he was a struggling comedian that turned to crime and donned a red hood before falling into a vat of acid after the tragic death of his wife and young son. Then, he emerged as a crazed DC villain. What one does know is that this character keeps evolving with time. As the Joker said to Batman in one comic, when it comes to his origins, he prefers “multiple choice.”
By John Federico
Edited by Jeanette Smith
DC Comics: Comics and Movies
MOVIEPILOT: Jared Leto Reveals Suicide Squad Details, Hints The Joker Won’t Be What We Expect!
Gamespot: New Suicide Squad Images Reveal Joker in Full
Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License