The Joker's background?

Discussion in 'The Dark Knight' started by Ardent15, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Travesty

    Travesty Well-Known Member

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    My take on it, is the scar-stories are Jokers way of alluding to one of his victims. He told Gambol one story, which I would assume was talking about the last person he gave a smile to, and then after Gambol, he told Rachel a story about his wife who used to gambol.

    I don't think it has anything to do with his origin at all.
     
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  2. frakkingoff

    frakkingoff Well-Known Member

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    He was irritated with Gambol from the start, beginning with the mob meeting scene. It was Gambol who didn't want to deal with the Joker, or even hear him out, and I think it was Gambol (or one of his men) who called the Joker a freak.

    Maybe that story resonates with you on a personal level, more than the other?
     
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  3. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    It was Gambol. We see him say it and everything.

    Joker: "See a guy like me...."
    Gambol: "A Freak!!!"
     
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  4. Ekricket

    Ekricket Side-Kicker

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    Democrat?
     
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  5. GothamAlleys

    GothamAlleys Well-Known Member

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    Thats how I always took it as well, mainly because thats how it was in The Killing Joke. He's just nuts and doesn;t remember or makes up stories that he believes in himself. As for Joker character's definite origins in comic books, Im taking Bob Kane's/Killing Joke's. Theres no denying that this is his official origins, no matter how much DC would like to spin it now. They have been his official origins for decades, and then restated in TKJ. For those who think that the origins shown in The Killing Joke arent real and are some kind of an homage instead, I suggest picking up "Images" by Dennis O'Neil or read some interviews with Alan Moore

    As for Joker's origins in the movie, I think its one of the most interesting aspects. I wonder if he went mad after getting the scars or if it was something he got later. They couldnt have been done the way he was saying, whats on his face is not a Glasgow smile. The scars are on his cheeks only, they dont run from the lips. And then theres more interesting questions - if someone did it to him, who was it and why?
     
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  6. antsman41

    antsman41 Belongs To Prince

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    I always assumed his "stories" where all half-truths. So there are factual bits & pieces within them but we don't know what or which are, only "he" knows.
     
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  7. TheShah

    TheShah Qwixotic Co-Creator

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    Well I thought that was the coolest thing about the scars.
    I don't think it was a conscious thing, to 'lick his wounds' in a metaphoric way.
    But imagine when we sleep, and our face muscles relax, it's hard to retain the saliva from spilling over, and we drool.
    Now imagine have two points of your lips on opposite ends, that don't fully close becaue of a gapin scar, and/or have little control on after the injury.

    So I always thought his licking was just a way to control the saliva from spilling over, also he did it more often and frequently when he would go off on a rant for a while.
    Thought it was wicked attention to detail.
     
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  8. TheShah

    TheShah Qwixotic Co-Creator

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    With the over emphasis placed these days on 'origins' stories and etc, I thought it was perfectly amazing that in TDK, the Joker wasn't given any bit of explanation about who he is, how he is, why he is.

    That to me makes him a more effective villain, as there's no reasoning behind his existance, he is the polar opposite (as potrayed in the movie) of the protagonist, and that's all the explanation that's needed.

    As Alfred said: "...some men just want to watch the world burn."
     
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  9. The Joker

    The Joker The Clown Prince of Crime

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    Exactly. Plus Joker is essentially a mystery in the comics. He's got several origins, but none of them are official.
     
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  10. GothamAlleys

    GothamAlleys Well-Known Member

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    Well, the chemical vat is. It was the origin given to him by Kane/Finger and he was always someone with permanet white skin, green hair and permanet smile. And then after the Crisis of Infinitive Earth the almost same origins were restated in The Killing Joke and then repeated/confirmed in O'Neil's 'Images' and in 2004's Gotham Nights #54. There were some other suggestions in 2000s, but they were never confirmed or definite like in the above mentioned comics and they never contradicted the chemical accident
     
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  11. ironman29758

    ironman29758 Well-Known Member

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    the orgin came in 1950. The producers did say they were inspired by the first 2 appearances of Joker in Batman# 1 so that's how I veiw it a modernized hyper-realistic Joker/Joker Returns from Batman# 1/Long Halloween:
    http://www.batman-on-film.com/a-jokers-dozen-part1_rreineke_2007.html
    http://www.batman-on-film.com/a-jokers-dozen-part2_rreineke_June-2007.html
    http://www.batman-on-film.com/a-jokers-dozen-part3_rreineke_July-2007.html
    http://www.batman-on-film.com/comics_jett_batman1_review1.html
    http://www.batman-on-film.com/comics_jett_batman1_review2.html
    http://www.batman-on-film.com/comics_jett_batman1_review3.html
    http://www.batman-on-film.com/comics_jett_batman1_review4.html
    Batman Chronicles vol 1 at Barnes and Noble or your local comic book store
    Comparisons beteen Batman# 1 and The Dark Knight
    No one knows who Joker is and nothing about him
    Joker announces public using radio, newspaper, etc what his crime against public officals as well as mobsters
    Joker's look like a realistic version of first appearnce(Joker is described as having a “mask-like” face(could be seen as the war paint) and “hate-filled” eyes the only times he smiles are when he’s committing or planning evil kind of like DKR/ASBR Joker as well. )and he is a cold blooded theatrical killer
    Joker laughing when he is about to die(stabbed himself or falling to his death)
    Joker got sent to jail but escape using explosives
    Joker being a match for Batman physically(fight at party with henchman and fight at end with dogs in DK) and mentally
    Joker pretends to be police member
     
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  12. GothamAlleys

    GothamAlleys Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and they came from Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the creators of the character, not some outsiders. In time all the villains were given origins and it was still within the first decade of the series. And correction - Joker was given origins in 1951 in Detective Comics #168, not 1950

    And Nolan also said that while he was a fan of the character, he knows nothing about the comic books and also that he was given Batman #1 and The Killing Joke when the script for TDK was already written

    I know all those because I own them for quite some time and also wrote on Retrojunk.com about the similarities between Batman#1, The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight

    And yet it wasnt some mystical element of the Joker. Nobody had origins in the beginning, not even Batman. They all just were, simply because it was 1930's and comic book stories weren't as complex as they were later on, and besides, nobody's is given origins and all the info and characteristics in its first appearance. Very soon after, as the villains were starting to reappear, just like Batman they were given origins as well (The first to get one was Two Face). And again, they were given the origins by none else than the creators of the character themselves

    Not really. The original Joker already had all white skin and the purple gangster suit completed with the hat. Pinstripes came up very soon. I think "roots" can be attributed to the first few years at least while were talking about 7 decades, not just one or 2 issues. Batman since the very beginning, even before he had his own comic book was fighting bizarre villains. The idea was to have Batman a realistic character but his villains being as bizarre as possible, simply because Bob was inspired by Dick Tracy. In early 1940’s alone he was up against villains like the Mole, Pruneface, Flattop, the Brow and a gang of monstrous giants. Dick Tracy faced a spectacular array of bizarre villains, and to some extent Batman followed his lead. (Batman: The Complete History, published by DC)

    No, it cant. Its been made clear that Joker's face had a frozen smile and that he didnt wear makeup. His entire skin was white and there was never any indication that it was paint, just the opposite. It was clear that it was a permanent skin and thats why he was given the origins that he was given, explaining his white skin and frozen smile. The frozen smile is not only apparent in the comic books but also confirmed by all 3 Joker creators. Joker's appearance was based on Veidt's character who was described by Jerry Robinson as having a "frozen smile on his face". Veidt's character was a man who was summoned by gypsies to have a permanent smile on his face - Bob Kane: It's a story about a kid who had his face left into a ghastly smile by rival gypsies. That's where I got the Joker from (20/20 Doc.)
    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_JrMAg7gZ5FQ/TKFjwe1l4eI/AAAAAAAAAOA/3E04GufZZ4M/s320/kanesmile.JPG. Thats why Joker also had a permanent smile in 89 movie, because Kane was working on that movie as a creative consultant. Also, Nolan himself said that they invented their own look for Joker - Nolan: In visual terms, we really tried to just go our own way and work with Heath in developing what we thought was a good look for the character. (CBR Interview, June 2008)

    But again, the laugh lines are still there, even when he doesnt smile. But thats covered already

    That is not exclusive for the first issues. Again, you cant really cherry pick like that and take just the first 2 issues which just introduced the guy while he was consistent during an entire first decade, written and handled by the same creators. Joker did the above in his 70's comic reinvention, 89 movie and TAS

    And again, that wasnt exclusive to few issues either, especially his intelligence which was portrayed in both movies and latter comic stories as well

    I never said there arent any similarities, but the similarities were added after the entire script was already written and they are only with the plot and the first 2 issues. The Killing Joke was passed to Heath, but Heath himself said it wasnt a heavy guide for him and that he just did his own thing. The TDK Joker character has barely anything to do with comic's Joker character, either version. That is not to take away anything from Nolan's Joker of course. As I always say, consistency or faithfulness in portrayal does not equal quality, those are 2 completely separate things. But to clear up those Joker myths and save myself some writing I created a blog in which I wrote Joker's detailed history throughout his existence - http://gothamalleys.blogspot.com/2010/09/complete-history-of-joker.html. Hopefully some will learn something from it and see that a) the ultimate Joker was already portrayed decades ago, and b) while Nolan's Joker is a loose adaptation of the character, it doesnt stop it from being a phenomenal, mesmerizing and memorable villain. Im just not a supporter of trying to stretch facts and retrofit Joker's characteristics and history to ill fit TDK's Joker with him, especially when the filmmakers themselves said otherwise. Again, being different from the comics doesn;t mean bad at all, it just means different. Its a different take and the character was presented through a new prism

    Edit: sorry for typos, my keyboard had a weak battery
     
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  13. Rincewind

    Rincewind grezdei

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    About the Joker's background... I don't think that there was a single event that transformed him. It wasn't like he was a completely normal man one day and then *snap* he gets the scars and he becomes a crazy criminal mastermind out of the blue. Human mind doesn't work like that.

    I imagine the Joker as someone who's had a very tough life. Quite probably being from the Narrows if he's a Gotham native, or from some similar place in another city if he's not. In that aspect, I suspect that parts of both his stories are true.
    He probably was subjet to domestic violence, or at least was a witness to it (in the Gambol story his father kills his mother before he gives him the scars). And judging from the Rachel story, he may have been somehow betrayed by a woman at some point of his life.

    Also, in the TDK script, during the meeting with the mobsters, he implies that his mother was a hooker via the line "Like my mother used to say, if you're good at something, never do it for free." In the actual film, the line is said without the mother part. It's impossible to say how much truth there is in this implication but, IMO, it's not unimaginable and improbable.
    Another interesting tidbit is in the early stages of the viral marketing campaign. There was an e-mail from the Joker in which he mentioned a lonely and shy girl named Jessica who was his first kiss and loved his smile. A connection to the Rachel story in which the Wife disapproved how he was always worried and told him he ought to smile more?

    So that's what I think about the Joker's background: he comes from a poor family, probably in the Narrows; he may have been a victim of domestic violence, or at least witnessed it; he may have been emotionally hurt by a woman; he was probably driven to crime early-on in his life because of his poor background and because of the fact how versed is he in it; he probably recieved his scars relatively later in life, because he began playing with the Joker gimmick only about a year before TDK and they looked kinda fresh (so definately not a case of child abuse).

    That's my 2 cents anyway.
     
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  14. GothamAlleys

    GothamAlleys Well-Known Member

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    Now, my knowledge about the comic books from the past decade is kinda hazy, but I know there was a comic book explaining the origins of the TDK Joker. It said that he had a rough upbringing and killed animals when he was a kid then set his own house on fire, something to that effect. Then he was on his own, moving around in gangs and eventually growing into what he had become.
     
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  15. ironman29758

    ironman29758 Well-Known Member

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    I think your talking about Brave and the Bold comic which had a Atom/Joker team up. It wasn't a TDK comic it was just a take on the Joker's origin. I kind of like the multiple origin/we don' t know what the true origin is.
    I admit that you had valid points jamesCameronOnl about Joker but
    Jerry Robbison a co-creator of the Joker(I don't know if Bob Kane was right or not) helped with the making of the Dark Knight as well (http://web.archive.org/web/20060830183556/http://www.insomniacmania.com/news_default.php?id=3543) and Tim Burton also admitted to not being a fan but using the killing joke as inspiration as well.
    and sure TDK Joker can be seen as a loose adaption in a way(Joker may not have 1930s surreal flamboyant gangster in him or permawhite but alot of Joker traits were in him so I hope people can frogive those two things) but so was the Joker in Batman(1989) but in a way they can be see as faithful comic adaptions as well
     
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  16. LOBO3315a

    LOBO3315a Artificial Intelligence

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    Could be a segway into there being more than 1 Joker. Just not more than 1 at a time.
     
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  17. GothamAlleys

    GothamAlleys Well-Known Member

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    I think thats the one, thanks. However, I just read it and it really does seem like TDK's Joker origins since its a direct tie - in. We see the famous "Hit me" scene with the batpod in the comic with the exact same dialogue. Ill make some scans and update the history and try to find some interview with the comic's writers to see whats going on there

    I like both - the classic origins and not knowing. Thats why Im glad we have both takes on film

    Oh yes, absolutely. While Nolan and Burton were totaly green in this area, they did hire a major comic fans to write the screenplay (in case of Hamm, he was actually a Batman comic writer at the time)

    Well, the 89 Joker was almost an exact representation of O'Neil homicidal 70's reboot (differing only with being less energetic, liking art and being narcisstic and different shirt color), while the 08 version had almost a complete redesign in every department, however like I said I really like both. One is closer to the Joker I know from the comic books, the others just a fascinating take on the character. Having both on film is a big win for me
     
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    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  18. ironman29758

    ironman29758 Well-Known Member

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    At least we can agree on like both 89 and 08 movie Joker and how much he like the joker. truce.:cwink:
    I agree 89 Joker is a mix of O'Neil homicidal 70's reboot, 40S-50s Joker and Killing Joke as will with some originalities.

    08 TDK Joker seems like a mix of Killing Joke Joker(anarchist who drives people insane to prove a point, multiple origins, Joker) , you can also see similarities between DK Joker and many Jokers respect and veiwing Batman as his perfect foe so he doesn't want to kill him. Joker publicly announcing his crime. the original homicidal maniac before he turned into a harmless prankster Joker, Joker leaving a Joker card at the crime or giving a joker grin this time in the form of a glassglow smile) and williness to kill his own henchmen and his crimes being theatrical. he having no need for money.
     
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  19. GothamAlleys

    GothamAlleys Well-Known Member

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    Ah yes, interestingly the original Joker wanted diamonds and was a robber for more than 3 decades in the comic books, whether he was homicidal or not. It seems like both movie Jokers discarded that and went for the 70's Joker instead.

    Going back to TDK's Joker's origins, having read The Brave and the Bold #31 I think theyre actually pretty good. I like the idea of him being always screwed up and becoming more and more in time, first killing pets then his parents. They didnt show how he got the scars or the makeup idea so its not ruining anything IMO.

    I think thats a classic TDK Joker - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_JrMAg7gZ5FQ/TK6LkQXq7kI/AAAAAAAAARQ/SiRzRXg5RtU/s1600/j678n4.jpg
     
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  20. Brother Jack

    Brother Jack Believer

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    Joker's one of the few villains I can think of that truly benefits from having an anti-backstory. He's such an over-the-top, theatrical character that it's always a bit hard to swallow that he was ever a relatively average mob enforcer/crook/comedian/whatever. When you remove all of that (or at least make it very vague) it liberates him in a sense, to be less of an identifiable man and more of an anarchic counterbalance. Plus it plants for firmly in opposition to Batman, who of course has a very detailed and rich origin.
     
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  21. ironman29758

    ironman29758 Well-Known Member

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    agreed.

    jamesCameronOnl- I don't remember but I think there was a chemical bath in there and I like that classic Joker scene and the only live action Joker that cared about money was Cesar Romero and then the cartoon Jokers were more or less caring about money and diamonds.
     
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  22. GothamAlleys

    GothamAlleys Well-Known Member

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    You mean in B&B #31? Nah, its not there

    Right, all the cartoon Jokers up till Hamill were also after $.

    Hmm, I cant agree or disagree since Im a huge fan of both approaches. Like I said, Joker was always my fave villain and I just love the O'neil/Moore Joker, which includes the origins. I agree with Burton and Nolan's take that its a bit of a stretch for a good person to go so nuts after the chemical bath (although The Killing Joke made it very believable) so Im fine with their backstories of a nutty mobster (he was already unstable, the accident inly amplified it) and someone who was abused as a child and comes from pathological family
     
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  23. redhawk23

    redhawk23 Wrestlin'

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    the scars and the licking always reminded me of the jowls of a pitbull or something, and then people calling the Joker a mad dog, and him riding with his head out the window just solidified that image in my brain.
     
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  24. storyteller

    storyteller Well-Known Member

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    The joker is just really good at screwing with peoples heads. Honestly the scar story is ingenious. It makes the victim focus on fear and not thinking up ways to get out of the trouble they are in.
     
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  25. ALP

    ALP In The Mountains

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    Joker has a backstory, we simply don't know what it is. Today I saw a strange looking fellow in plaid pants walking down the street. I didn't know his name and I didn't ask him his name therefore I will probably never know his name. But that does not negate the fact that he still has a name. The exact same thing goes for the Joker's origin. We don't officially know exactly what it is and we may never know but that doesn't negate the fact that he still has one.

    And with that said, I like it best when we get to speculate about it. I quite like Rincewind's deductive reasoning. And I know that the logical thing is to think that he had a tough life but I have always loved the idea of 'one bad day.' That's my favorite take. As for TDK Joker, I imagine that he was always a bad or shady guy. A schemer of sort who got on the wrong side of the mob and they gave him the glasgow grin(and he seemed to hate the mob more than the cops). That or I imagine the scars were self inflicted- maybe he's a mad man who probably broke out of an asylum but was never identified and took the first train to Gotham. Joker definitely struck me as having already been in an asylum before.
     
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