There is no more indelible and iconic villain in the history of comics than the crown prince of crime.
Making his first appearance in Batman No.1 in April 1940, the Joker was originally meant to be killed-off. But editorial intervention saw to it that this was just the first of many appearances and he has since become the villain to beat all villains and perhaps the only one the Batman truly fears.
Retconning has seen the Joker change his guise over 75 years, shedding one form of psychosis and gaining another as he becomes the madness of every age: The sadistic gangster of the 40’s. He’s been the merry prankster of the 50’s and 60’s. The dark, murdering criminal of the 70’s… The list of guises and crimes is endless.
Most notably, he’s the villain who pushed Batman to the edge by murdering Jason Todd (the second Robin) in ‘A Death In The Family’ and drove commissioner Gordon to near-insanity by assaulting and crippling Barbara Gordon in ‘The Killing Joke’. He is the joke… and the vicious punch-line.
He is the one character who can withstand multiple interpretations across differing media without the original concepts and ideas being lost. In the last few years we’ve seen him as some kind of immortal force of nature in Batman: Endgame, portrayed as a terrorist in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight and now we’ll see him as the Mexican drug-lord inspired gangster in the new movie version of The Suicide Squad (now playing at The Imax, Empire Leicester Square). He is a man without ending or origin…
Or as he himself has said: “If I have to have an origin, I prefer it to be multiple choice”. With figures, posters and classic titles like The Killing Joke (re-released in a beautiful Hardcover Black & White edition) all available at Orbital, the only choice you have to make is what to buy first!