But that's been part of the problem with the Joker since the 70s. The day that writers learned that they could just throw character attributes and history at the Joker with no worries because they could say that it was a whacky Joker lie later was the day that the Joker became the comic medium's most misused character. The Batman movies don't usually fall prey to this, because they have a mission to put a bow on the story. Heath Ledger tells stories about his scars, but they're not there to give us things to disprove later. They add to his character as a lunatic that likes to watch people squirm in his presence. Even if Ledger had survived, we'd never be subjected to a scene in The Dark Knight Rises where Batman says "Nope, that never happened. Read your files, and you know what? You're a big ol' liar. That's what you are."
But comics and video games can't stop adding more and more to the dude's backstory. In Batman: Arkham Origins, you're tricked into thinking that Joker won't even be in the game before, surprise, he's the main villain! And he's secretly been the main villain the whole time! All of these other villains don't even matter anymore, because now we get to sit through another Joker origin retelling. It was so great to play the inventive, unique Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games, so that I could eventually play through a story that's been tired since it was inflicted upon Jack Nicholson.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Thought you were going to get a new look at the Batman mythos? Tricked you again!
I don't believe that the Joker is better when he's origin-less. The Dark Knight was one interpretation of the character. But when I read something like Batman: Endgame, where it's hinted that the Joker has existed for hundreds and hundreds of years, and that he's suddenly not the reaction to Batman's war on crime, or that there's multiple Jokers roaming the earth, it becomes tiresome. In The Killing Joke comic, the Joker says that he prefers his backstory to be "multiple choice," but it's gone from a fun mystery to a nightmare's idea of a fan theory.
Most Batman characters have gone through numerous origins. Batman's first origin tale basically told us that he cried, looked at a test tube, worked on his back muscles and then started fighting crime.
The bat thing was just as important as the test-tube thing.
But since a guy once wrote the Joker as having a few different possibilities for his origin, we now can't stop going back to it. And there are so many better stories to tell than once again covering how Clownman got his clown powers. For example, how has he affected the sales of purple suits in Gotham? There's gotta be some kind of economic backlash. C'mon, comics people. Give the readers what they want.
Daniel has a blog.
It's Spring Break! You know what that means! Hot coeds getting loose on the beaches of Cancun and becoming imperiled in all classic beach slasher ways: Man-eating shark, school of piranhas, James Franco with dreadlocks. There are so many films about vacations gone wrong, it's a chore to wonder if there's even such a thing as a movie vacation gone right. Amity Island and Camp Crystal Lake are out. So what does that leave? The ship from Wall-E? Hawaii with the Brady Bunch? A road trip with famous curmudgeon Chevy Chase? On this month's live podcast Jack O'Brien and the Cracked staff are joined by some special guest comedians to figure out what would be the best vacation to take in a fictional universe.
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For more check out 6 Reasons Heath Ledger's Joker Ruined Comic Book Movies and 6 Appearances by Iconic Characters That Ruin Your Childhood.
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