The Joker might be the greatest villain in all of pop culture. Since his 1940 debut in Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and Bob Kane’s Batman #1, the Joker has earned his status as the Clown Prince of Crime by carving an unpredictable path of destruction throughout the DC Comics universe. Thanks to his chaotic nature, the Joker works equally well as a kid-friendly mischievous prankster and a deeply unsettling sadistic killer. Outside of comic books, the Joker has flourished on screen with iconic performances like Mark Hamill’s cackling Batman: The Animated Series villain and Heath Ledger’s Academy Award-winning role in The Dark Knight.
Now,is taking a look at some of the craziest things about the Joker’s body. In this list, we’ll be looking at how the Joker’s unique physiology has shaped his disturbing adventures over the last 75 years. Instead of focusing on any one incarnation of the Joker, we’ll be looking at versions of the character from comics, movies, TV and video games in order to put together a more unified theory of the Joker. We’ll peer under the Joker’s stark white skin and peel back the layers of his twisted mind to see why the Joker still stands as Batman’s greatest villain.
15. JOKER BEGINS
In most versions of his ever-changing origin, the Joker went through one of comics’ most famous physical transformations. Usually, the Joker’s origin is more or less based on the first Joker origin story from 1951’s Detective Comics #168 by Bill Finger, Lee Schwartz and Win Mortimer. While working as a criminal named the Red Hood, a relatively human Joker had a fateful encounter with Batman at the Ace Chemical Plant. To escape Batman, he jumped into a vat of chemicals that transformed him into the Joker.
In most versions of the story, the Joker’s four-minute chemical bath gave him his distinctive white skin, green hair, exaggerated red lips, a permanent rictus grin and pushed his mind over the edge. In 2007’s Batman Confidential #7, Michael Green and Denys Cowan explained the Joker’s elongated jaw by establishing that the Joker had a broken jaw when he fell into the vat.