10 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About BATMAN's Greatest Villain THE JOKER

10 Amazing Facts You Probably Didn't Know About BATMAN's Greatest Villain THE JOKER

The Joker might just be the most iconic villains in the history of fiction, but we're willing to bet that there's an awful lot you don't know about the Clown Prince of Crime. Here are his ten most amazing facts...

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Pretty much every comic book character has decades worth of history behind them, and so we've decided to now delve into some of the best unknown facts about the most interesting heroes and villains. First up is The Joker, and as you might expect with arguably the most iconic bad guy out there, there's a lot you don't know about his story both in the source material and live-action adaptations. 

Last year was his 75th anniversary, and over all those years, almost countless different versions of the bad guy have existed. From the campy trickster introduced in the 40s to the psychopath who murdered Robin and cut off his own face, The Joker's history is fascinating and unlike any other character. 

What you'll find here then are ten amazing facts you never knew about the Harlequin of Hate. From bizarre Marvel crossovers to the story behind his creation and what role The Joker was really supposed to play in The Dark Knight Rises, this list may forever change how you look at Batman't greatest foe...


10. Alan Moore Didn't Actually Dream Up His Origin Story

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The Killing Joke scribe Alan Moore is widely credited with coming up with The Joker's origin story, and while it's certainly true that he made it his own in the pages of that critically acclaimed graphic novel, the prolific writer actually borrowed the idea from a 1951 tale titled "The Man Behind The Red Hood." There are definitely some big differences between the two, but the general idea that The Joker was the Red Hood before being transformed by some mysterious chemicals is at the heart of them both.

Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo would later take Moore's version and redo it again as part of The New 52, so perhaps this explains why there are three different Jokers (something which was revealed in the pages of DC Rebirth). Either way, it's actually Bill Finger who deserves the lion's share of credit for dreaming up this villain's unique history and opening the door for other writer's to flesh that out.  


9. He Hates The Red Skull As Much As Captain America

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I think we can all agree that The Joker's actions over the years have singled him out as one of the most evil and despicable characters in comic book history, but it turns out that even he will draw the line at siding with a Nazi like the Red Skull. In a rare Marvel/DC Comics crossover, the two bad guys were getting along find until the Ace of Knaves pegged on to the fact that the Red Skull really was devoted to Adolf Hitler's cause, and it was then that The Joker made it clear that he's quite the patriot!

Both of the villains tried and failed to kill each other, but before they could properly come to blows, the Red Skull had one of his goons knock his friend turned enemy out from behind. Seeing these two fight would have been unique, but when it comes to weird comic book crossovers, this is far from The Joker's strangest tale (as you'll discover a little later in this list). 


8. A Doodle Won Jack Nicholson The Role Of The Joker In Batman (1989)

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Still hailed as the best live-action Joker by many fans, the story behind how Jack Nicholson landed the role of the Clown Prince of Crime in Tim Burton's Batman is fascinating and very unorthodox. You see, one of the movie's producers spotted the actor in the newspaper in an article about his superb performance in The Shining and drew The Joker's smile over Nicholson's face in order to convince Burton that he was the right man for the job.

Unfortunately for them, he turned them down, and so they ended up casting Robin Williams in the role instead. However, the late actor was rather unceremoniously dumped from the project when Nicholson changed his mind, and despite coming close on multiple occasions, Williams never ended up landing another role in a Batman movie. 


7. He Was Supposed To Die Following His Debut

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The Joker has been around longer than the vast majority of comic book characters as he was created way back in 1940. Making his debut in the pages of Batman #1, the now iconic villain was originally meant to be just a throwaway bad guy used to introduce the Caped Crusader, and as a result, Bob Kane actually intended to immediately kill him off.

That's something which the book's editor, Whitney Ellsworth, was adamant should not happen, and so he convinced (well, forced) the writer to knock together a panel showing the Clown Prince of Crime still alive to return and fight another day despite the fact that he had accidentally stabbed himself earlier in the issue. The Joker would go on to become a recurring presence in Batman's early adventures, but could have very easily been forgotten. 


6. Harley Quinn Wasn't His First Sidekick

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It could be argued that political correctness is a little too prominent in comic books these days, but back in the 40s and 50s, DC Comics really pushed the boundaries when it comes to what would be acceptable today. For example, The Joker had a sidekick (who pre-dates Harley Quinn by decades) who was a little person named Gagsworth "Gaggy" Gagsworthy.

Essentially just the butt of mostly inappropriate jokes, panels would depict the character dancing to entertain The Joker or being punched in the face by Batman as he rode atop the Clown Prince of Crime's shoulders. Surprisingly, Gaggy made a comeback not too long ago, and he was intent on taking out Harley for twisting his fun loving Joker into a murderous psychopath. He's currently MIA from both The New 52 and Rebith universes however. 


5. His First Solo Series Was An Epic Disaster

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Considering the fact that The Joker is arguably the most popular and iconic villain in comic book history, you may be wondering why the Harlequin of Hate has never had his own long running solo series. Well, it could have something to do with the fact that his first ongoing series was a complete flop, with cancellation beckoning after just nine issues.

The problem was that DC Comics' strict adherence to the rules imposed by the Comics Code Authority at the time meant that they had to make him into a more likeable protagonist and end each issue with him being apprehended (because villains always needed to be depicted as being punished when all was said and done). Understandably, this killed any interest fans had in reading The Joker's misadventures. Batman never appeared here, though the Justice League were advertised for the never released issue #10. 


4. He Was Once Mashed Up With Sabretooth

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The 90s were as bad for comic books as the vast majority of what Marvel is producing today, with gimmicky stories, countless variant covers, and stupid stunts pretty much ruling the industry. One of these was a Marvel/DC crossover released under the Amalgam Comics banner which saw heroes and villains from both companies combined to create entirely new characters.

The Joker was mixed up with Sabretooth and become Creed Quinn, and he was later known as both the Hyena and Cackling Canine. In case you haven't already figured it out, his greatest foe was a mashup of Batman and Wolverine (Dark Claw), another product of Weapon X. The whole thing was pretty daft and felt forced, but this short-lived status quo change for The Joker shook things up for the Clown Prince of Crime in a very interesting and weird way. 


3. He's Died...Like, A Lot

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We all know that death in comic books is pretty much meaningless, and The Joker has been thought dead on countless occasions over the years. However, it was during his earliest misadventures that the Jester of Genocide most frequently found himself nearly meeting his maker. Possibly done as a way of trying to get rid of a character he was forced to keep around, Bill Finger took The Joker out in some gloriously demented ways.

Those included him being struck by lightning while battling Batman atop an unfinished skyscraper, being burned or blown up, getting thrown into a lions den, and actually being executed for his crimes (only to later wake up in the morgue thanks to a mysterious serum). No one has ever truly been able to get rid of The Joker though, and while his death in The Dark Knight Returns was pretty final, the doesn't really count. 


2. The Complicated Story Of His Creation

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The story behind The Joker's creation isn't entirely clear, with artist Jerry Robinson claiming to have created the character after taking inspiration from a "Joker" playing card he found in his Bronx apartment. Batman creator Bob Kane meanwhile insisted that he and Bill Finger were inspired by Conrad Veidt, the star of 1928 film, The Man Who Laughs.

As a result of these conflicting stories, it's tough to say who should be solely credited with bringing the now iconic villain to life in the 40s. Kane has at least acknowledged that playing card, but dismissed it as simply being used as a reference for a similar card to be featured in and on the covers of various Batman comic books. It seems like the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, but all of their work undoubtedly played a massive role in shaping what The Joker has since become. 

 

1. The Joker Was Supposed To Return In The Dark Knight Rises

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Heath Ledger went to some amazing lengths to play The Joker in The Dark Knight (many of which you can read about by clicking here), and while Christopher Nolan has claimed on several occasions that he never intended to have The Joker return in The Dark Knight Rises due to him not deciding to helm that movie until long after the actor's death, rumours say otherwise.

In fact, the filmmaker himself has since said he likely would have acknowledged the villain in some way, but decided against it because he didn't want to dishonour he actor's memory. It's been said that we likely would have got a glimpse of The Joker within Arkham Asylum, a location The Dark Knight Rises' novelization confirmed was his new home as he was placed in solitary confinement to forever atone for his despicable actions. What might have been, eh? 

Which of these facts about The Joker is your favourite? Have we missed any you know about? As always, be sure to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section below. 


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