I have come up with something special for my 600th post. Batman has faced many colorful villains in Gotham City over the years, but one of his first archenemies, who is also one of the most dangerous is the Joker, also known as the clown prince of crime. As Batman has an evolution, so has the Joker. I’ll admit that the Joker has gone through quite a few changes in the comics over the years, but what I remember best are his appearances on various Batman movies and TV shows.
1966: In the original Batman TV series, Cesar Romero played the role. The Joker uses practical joke devices to pull off his crimes, some of which are highly sophisticated contraptions. Other times he leaves riddles as clues, but not like the Riddler does. Joker uses a more joke-like method.
1968: As much as I enjoy the first Batman animated series, The Adventures of Batman, the storylines and characters are pretty mediocre. The Joker is no exception here.
1972: When Batman and Robin made appearances on The New Scooby-Doo Movies, they always go up against the Joker, accompanied by the Penguin. They like to use spooky tactics on the heroes, but are extremely mild in comparison.
1977: The Joker returns to his old tricks in The New Adventures of Batman. The biggest differences are that he likes to leave joke riddles more frequently and has a pet hyena named Giggles. He can also do voice impressions that are highly convincing. Now that’s a rarity.
1989: Next came Tim Burton’s movie version of Batman, which features Jack Nicholson as the Joker. At this point, Joker’s background is finally revealed. He was once a gangster named Jack Napier, who worked for Underworld mob boss Carl Grissom. During a battle with Batman, Napier fell into a vat of acid, which bleached his skin and paralyzed his face. After some cosmetic surgery, Napier kills Grissom and becomes the clown prince of crime. Come to think of it, this is also the first time Joker actually kills anyone.
1992: Mark Hamill voices the Joker on Batman the Animated Series. He is now funnier than ever before and as an added bonus, it’s the first series to feature Joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn, who is just as big of a favorite.
2000: When Batman Beyond came along, the colorful archenemies were all new ones, but stay true to some of the original classics, particularly the Joker. One of Gotham City’s biggest street gangs is called the Jokerz, who all dress like Joker minions. However, in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, the clown prince of crime himself returns with more of an edge than he ever had before and Mark Hamill reprises the role. How exciting is that?
2002: The Joker (Roger Stoneburner and voice of Mark Hamill) was only featured briefly during the pilot episode of Birds of Prey, but he did leave quite an impact. After losing a major battle against Batman, he took revenge by killing Catwoman and shooting Batgirl, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. And it was all because Batman refused to kill his biggest enemy.
2004: The Joker is back in yet another Batman series called The Batman. This is a more wild and crazy take on the classic super villain. His fighting skills are smooth and his comedic persona leans on the psychotic level more than ever before. When he pulls a crime, he goes all the way.
2008: Then there was the highly popular version of the Joker in The Dark Knight, played by Heath Ledger who brings the character to a whole new level. This Joker is highly psychotic. His background isn’t revealed, only that he wears the white makeup to scare people along with a smile that’s cut on his face. It looks all swollen and creepy with several stories behind it. Whichever story is actually true is anyone’s guess.
2009: It seems like the Joker has gone back to his old roots as a reoccurring villain on Batman the Brave and the Bold when he wasn’t so brutally psychotic. However, Joker still remains to be an unpredictable criminal, considering how many theories there were about his back-story.
2010: Then came the Joker on Batman: Under the Red Hood. He’s comedic, but merciless. Even in the face of danger, Joker can’t help but make funny remarks and not show any fear.
2012: Last, but not least, the most recent version of the Joker was on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. He is a lot different from other Batman films because he’s more brutal than ever with the way he kills innocent people so smoothly. Joker still uses comedic remarks, but they’re not as creatively funny as they used to be.
Although the Joker is basically on the same level as Batman’s other archenemies like Penguin, Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, etc., he will always be Batman’s first biggest foe to bring comic relief to the franchise in his own twisted way.