The Joker is a fictional supervillain created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson, published by DC Comics. Let’s see some fun facts and trivia about him!
1.Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson are credited with creating the Joker, but their accounts of the character’s conception differ, each providing his own version of events.
2. Finger produced an image of actor Conrad Veidt in character as Gwynplaine (a man with a disfigured face, giving him a perpetual grin) in the 1928 film The Man Who Laughs as an inspiration for the Joker’s appearance, and Robinson produced a sketch of a joker playing card (right).
3. Robinson was intrigued by villains; his studies at Columbia University taught him that some characters are made up of contradictions, leading to the Joker’s sense of humor.
4. He said that the name came first, followed by an image of a playing card from a deck he often had at hand.
5. Finger thought the concept was incomplete, providing the image of Veidt with a ghastly, permanent rictus grin.
6. Although Kane adamantly refused to share credit for many of his characters (and refuted Robinson’s claim until Kane’s death), many comic historians credit Robinson with the Joker’s creation and Finger with the character’s development. By 2011, Finger, Kane, and Robinson had died, leaving the story unresolved.
7. The Joker debuted in Batman #1 (1940) as the eponymous character’s first villain, shortly after Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939).
8. The Joker initially appeared as a remorseless serial killer, modeled after a joker playing card with a mirthless grin, who killed his victims with “Joker venom”: a toxin which left their faces smiling grotesquely.
9. The character was intended to be killed in his second appearance in Batman #1, after being stabbed in the heart.
10. The character’s regular appearances quickly defined him as the archenemy of the dynamic duo, Batman and Robin; he killed dozens of people, and even derailed a train.
11. The 1942 cover of Detective Comics #69, known as “Double Guns” (with the Joker emerging from a genie lamp, aiming two guns at Batman and Robin), is considered one of the greatest superhero comic covers of the Golden Age and is the only image of the character using traditional guns. Robinson said that other contemporary villains used guns, and the creative team wanted the Joker—as Batman’s adversary—to be more resourceful.
12. The Joker was one of the few popular villains appearing regularly in Batman comics from the Golden Age into the Silver Age, as the series continued during the rise in popularity of mystery and romance comics.
13. In 1951, Finger wrote an origin story for the Joker in Detective Comics #168, which introduced the characteristic of him formerly being the criminal Red Hood, and his disfigurement the result of a fall into a chemical vat.
14. The character risked becoming an obscure figure of the preceding era until this goofy prankster version of the character was adapted into the 1966 television series Batman, in which he was played by Cesar Romero.
15. In 1973, after a four-year disappearance, the Joker was revived (and revised) by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams. Beginning with Batman #251’s “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge”, the character returns to his roots as an impulsive, homicidal maniac who matches wits with Batman.
16. When Jenette Kahn became DC editor in 1976, she redeveloped the company’s struggling titles; during her tenure, the Joker would become one of DC’s most popular characters.
17. The 1992 animated series introduced the Joker’s female sidekick: Harley Quinn, a psychiatrist who falls for—and ends up in an abusive relationship with—the Joker, becoming his supervillain accomplice. The character was popular, and was adapted into the comics as the Joker’s romantic interest in 1999.
18. The Joker has undergone many revisions since his 1940 debut. The most common interpretation of the character is that he is disguised as the criminal Red Hood, and pursued by Batman. The Joker falls into a vat of chemicals which bleaches his skin, colors his hair green and his lips red, and drives him insane. The reasons why the Joker was disguised as the Red Hood, and his identity before his transformation have changed over time.
19. Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) built on the Joker’s 1951 origin story, portraying him as a failed comedian pressured into committing crime as the Red Hood to support his pregnant wife. Batman’s interference causes him to leap into a chemical vat, which disfigures him. This, combined with the trauma of his wife’s earlier accidental death, causes him to go insane and become the Joker.
20. However, the Joker says that this story may not be true and prefers his past to be “multiple choice”. In this graphic novel, the Joker shoots and paralyzes Barbara Gordon and tortures her father, Commissioner James Gordon, to prove that it only takes one bad day to drive a normal man insane. After Batman rescues Gordon and subdues the Joker, he offers to rehabilitate his old foe and end their rivalry. Although the Joker refuses, he shows his appreciation by sharing a joke with Batman.
21. During the evolution of the DC Universe, interpretations and versions of the Joker have taken two forms. The original, dominant image is that of an extreme psychopath, with genius-level intelligence and a warped, sadistic sense of humor.
22. The other version, popular in comic books from the late 1940s to the 1960s and in the 1960s television series, is an eccentric, harmless prankster and thief.
23. The Joker is typically seen in a purple suit with a long-tailed, padded-shoulder jacket, a string tie, gloves, striped pants and spats on pointed-toe shoes (sometimes with a wide-brimmed hat). This appearance is such a fundamental aspect of the character that when the 2004 animated series The Batman placed the Joker in a straitjacket, it quickly redesigned him in his familiar suit.
24. The character was described as having killed over 2,000 people in The Joker: Devil’s Advocate (1996).
25. The Joker is alternatively depicted as sexual and asexual. In The Dark Knight Returns and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, the Joker is seductive toward Batman; it is uncertain if their relationship has homoerotic undertones or if the Joker is simply trying to manipulate his nemesis.
26. Frank Miller interpreted the character as fixated on death and uninterested in sexual relationships, while Robinson believes that the Joker is capable of a romantic relationship.
27. His relationship with Harley Quinn is abusively paradoxical; although the Joker keeps her at his side, he heedlessly harms her (for example, throwing her out a window without seeing if she survives). Harley loves him but the Joker does not reciprocate her feelings, chiding her for distracting him from other plans.
28. In “To Laugh and Die in Metropolis” (1987) the character kidnaps Lois Lane, distracting Superman with a nuclear weapon.
29. The story is notable for the Joker taking on a (relative) god and the ease with which Superman defeats him—it took only 17 pages. Asked why he came to Metropolis, the Joker replies simply: “Oh Superman, why not?”.
30. In 1995, the Joker fought his third major DC hero: Wonder Woman, who drew on the Greek god of trickery to temper the Joker’s humor and shatter his confidence.
31. The character has joined supervillain groups like the Injustice Gang and the Injustice League, to take on superhero groups like the Justice League.
32. The Joker has appeared in a variety of media, including television series, animated and live-action films. WorldCat (a catalog of libraries in 170 countries) records over 250 productions featuring the Joker as a subject, including films, books, and video games, and Batman films featuring the character are typically the most successful.
33. In the pages of 2011’s Detective Comics #1, it was revealed that he cut off his own face after escaping from captivity. Why? Who knows, but the next time the Clown Prince of Crime appeared, it was with his decaying skin reattached to his head with the use of a belt and fishing hooks. It was a disturbing image, and one which has led to a lot of creative cosplay!
34. During this story, he even made Batman believe that he had cut the faces off each of his closest allies, a pretty horrifying visual. The Joker regained his old face after stumbling upon a mysterious chemical which healed him and gave the villain enhanced strength.
35. In Batman #186, Gagsworth A. Gagsworthy (Gaggy for short) made his debut as The Joker’s original sidekick long before Harley Quinn was ever conceived. Before he met The Joker, Gaggy was part of the circus and was eventually forced to become a clown after the crowd grew tired of his tightrope act.