I have not written about the Joker in a while, and I’m not even sure I’m going to write about him here. But everybody needs a starting point.
7, 8 years ago, I considered myself an amateur “Jokerologist.” I even penned a “reality” comic on the Joker mythos. I even appeared on the Alex Jones show to (theoretically) discuss the Joker as “the real-life Prince of Crime.”
What qualified me for such rarified knowledge? I could use Google. Also, I edited one or two comics that had the Joker in it. Never wrote the character, though. Well, except for the “reality” comic, but that was really me writing about real-life peeps like James Holmes.
(Yeah, and there was that time when I was 17 & I dressed like the Jack Nicholson Joker for a Halloween party. But that was back when the Joker was lighthearted).
After a while, I began losing interest in the Joker. I thought the movie had merit, but was too on-the-nose. It wasn’t like lighting in a bottle the way Heath Ledger did it. I mean, who thought Heath had it in him?
No, the character I found infinitely more interesting was Jason Todd, the 2nd Robin the Boy Wonder. Todd was traumatized by the Joker, was theoretically killed by the Joker, then came back as this angry adult with the Joker’s original identity (the Red Hood).
I’ve previously written about the Todd stuff here: https://fantasymerchant.com/2020/02/10/abuse-revenge-repeat-the-long-sad-story-of-the-jason-todd-robin
The central crux of the Jason Todd story, to me, was that Bruce Wayne should have *never* taken on child sidekicks. It was always a bad idea. I *know* it was a Golden Age comic book trope, to give the young reader a “viewpoint” in the story. But still: a terrible fucking idea.
Recently, there was controversy over how an adult Jason Todd was portrayed in a new Batman video game. Most people had this “fantasy” Jason Todd in their minds where he was all gamine and lithe, like Dick Grayson and the rest of them. They didn’t believe Todd should be depicted as built like a brick shithouse:
But I think that’s EXACTLY how an adult Jason Todd should be depicted. I mean, to me that’s the point of the entire Jason Todd/Red Hood story. Bruce Wayne, as Batman, thinks he’s just going to adopt this little street kid as Robin & it’s just going to be the same thing as with Dick Grayson. Whereas, Todd was from a completely fucking different era.
So Todd, as Robin, is out of control, throwing a suspect off a building (if my memory serves). The comic fans don’t like him, because he’s an arrogant little shit. And eventually, said fans *literally vote* to have Todd die horribly at the hands of the Joker.
And so when Todd comes back from the dead to seek revenge, what does he do? Is the Joker his #1 target? How about all those pencil-necked comic fans from Earth Prime (or whatever we’re called) who voted to have him killed?
No, Todd blames **Bruce Wayne**.
Don’t even get me started on the Tim Drake Robin, that pencil-necked little perfectionist shit.
At any rate. Here are some pages from one of my scrapbook/art-journals just on Jason Todd/the Red Hood:
As for the Joker—despite the acclaimed solo movie, he’s always felt to me to be more intriguing as an archetype than as a character. To each their own.