Compare him to Batman. It’s not a force of nature, and it’s not chaos, and it’s not madness. Therefore, he is the tester of Batman. Chris Simms joined Bleacher Report in February 2014 as an NFL Analyst, a high-profile hire for Time-Warner and Turner Sports's rapidly growing mobile product, Team Stream. Ask Chris #173: The Trouble With Harley Quinn In this week's column, Chris Sims discusses Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend one of the most misunderstood and misused characters in … For Bob: There’s no point in referencing a case so contemporary as Heath Ledger’s Joker. And a blast to read. A force of nature is unpredictable, unplanned, has no goal, and unbiased. And it becomes a goal for Batman to figure out a way to stop the Joker. Thanks so much for the stunning post, and the nostalgia boost. Gotham has a whole Narrows full of madmen… Drop ceilings and low-traffic maintenence areas also present possibilities. What’s underneath all of that? Most importantly, he emphasizes that the Joker’s order causes the chaos. Chris Sims on May 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm said: Oh come on, you guys! Great stuff, Chris. By the mid-80s, though, everything had changed again. I found myself wanting to pick your brain on several point and this will provide incredible banter material in the future. From there on out, it just got scarier. But misdirection for what? There's a history there, and while it's explained well enough that you don't need to know it to enjoy the episode, it establishes another dimension to how they work. And how much energy must be expended each time to NOT break your moral code [so the law doesn’t come after you full force for being a vigilante who KILLS]? I think Luthor has too. When she shows up, she and Batman are unambiguously on the same side, something that immediately sets her apart from the other arch-criminals. He once was a man doing what Batman is doing for the government – operating under the cover of night, working where the law was powerless and highly, highly trained. Well done! Is this what we can expect from the suddenly more mature Chris? Batman rescues her at the end of the episode, but she rescued him first in the Joker's flashback story, putting them on equal footing in terms of heroism. In Chris Sims, Chad Bowers and Alti Firmansay's "X-Men 92" #6, the X-Men will come across the Flaming Lips and the Toadies. That makes narrowing down a single one a pretty daunting task. I think Batman also sees part of himself in the Joker. Not that I really think the point is worth arguing, but hospitals do have networks of tubes full of pure oxygen running through the walls/ceilings/etc pretty pervasively. Ask Chris #173: The Trouble With Harley Quinn In this week's column, Chris Sims discusses Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend one of the most misunderstood and misused characters in … Clowns are a stand-in for Satan. He’s just pure chaos like you said and it means a good writer has almost limitless storytelling potential with him. Killing the owners of the gems was for the same reason as announcing his crimes ahead of time–because he could. I thought there was a real oppertunity with Hush to make The Riddler a true nemesis before it was pushed aside for more Joker stuff. Of course, three years prior to the story, the Joker was already popular and prominent enough to carry his own solo series, even if it did last a short nine issues, so who knows? The best villains, after all, are the ones that bring out the contrasts within the hero himself, and that’s something Batman has to spare. @Phineas: Mal "Vermin64" Gardiner on January 11, 2009 at 9:07 am said: He’ll be laughing on the other side of his face when the Joker’s hilariously evil “boot-polish-on-the-binoculars” trap exacts its full toll… Seriously great work, buddy. More importantly, though, this [the Killing Joke] is the story that brings the one great similarity between Batman and the Joker to the forefront: They’re both amazing planners, So you disagree with the Joker’s characterization of himself in TDK as “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You mean the gang that was present during the robbery and completely absent when Joker somehow managed to stuff a major metropolitan hospital full of explosives without any of the thousands of employees or patients noticing anything, or indeed without any establishing shots at all? Luthor stands up and says, “No! Hey, Phineas, you did notice the Joker had an entire gang working for him in TDK, right? Strange, crazy goals, that they create plans to reach. The companies are Joker Enterprises Inc, Big Dog Transport Inc, Chris Sims … There were so many issues where Adams only did a great cover…, “It’s also worth noting that Marshall Rogers didn’t just draw the Joker as a man who smiled all the time, but as a man who couldn’t do anything but smile, an influence that he traced back to the 1928 film The Man Who Laughs”. — @charlotteofoz. And, in the end, you realize that all of that unpredictability, that chaos, had an actual goal.”. The thing to also remember about The Dark Knight is that it’s the first time Batman has to deal with the Joker. The thing you need to remember is that the Joker is a clown. It sounds like he should be hiding under a bridge like a troll…. You see him fighting criminals that are far beyond the capabilities of the police, you see him not using guns even when his enemies draw theirs first, and you see the level of technology (in the form of a jet-black art deco rocket car) that he employs in his fight against crime. ", Again, this is one that's included at the top of almost every list of the show's best episodes, so in that respect, it actually fulfills both of your questions. That doesn’t have much to do with this post, but man, those are some good stories. It’s not that I disagree with it so much that it’s obviously a lie that the Joker tells to Harvey Dent to get him to turn against his former allies. Boiling Oil Cyjon (Where I get many of my game fixes) Insiminator (Squinge) Mod the Sims … 9/11 was a few guys with knives, basically. It does, after all, have pretty much everything you want to see from Batman: The casual way he takes a thug’s veiled punches and then lays him out in one shot (a trademark of O’Neil’s ’70s Batman), the deduction of where the Joker’s hiding based off the dirt on his shoes, he fights a shark, and of course… well, just look at this thing: Of course, it is a Joker story, and O’Neil did a lot to bring back what was so compelling about the character: He’s on a murder spree that’s ostensibly based on getting revenge against the henchman who sold him out, but beneath the surface, there’s the idea that for the Joker, it’s far easier to just kill five people than find out which one ratted him out. It all just blends together seamlessly, and the end result is a whole roster of single-episode stories that feel like perfect Batman stories. Dr. Doom, for instance, starts out as a visually interesting character with an awesome name, but until he steals the Power Cosmic and becomes DOCTOR DOOM, he’s just a cool-looking guy that once sent the Fantastic Four back in time to look for pirate treasure. It's one of the best episodes of the show, especially because of the way it treats the Joker's relationship to Batman, but as the title implies, Batman himself is largely absent from it. Explosives remaining hidden in a hospital is somehow more plausible? Precisely! Special emphasis should probably be given to Ledger’s portrayal of the character, as I generally see the comic book portrayals far too cardboard archetypal and “comical”, although in all honesty, I am not well versed in the comic book versions. Great article, Chris. Lucerna is Latin for lamp and has a ton of echoes left in English. For the Joker, though–the story that finished out his run on the title–Englehart went back to the character’s origin story and retold it with the addition of the “Jokerized” fish–infected with the “Joker Venom” that had been his weapon of choice in 1940 and returned in “Five Way Revenge,” brought directly into focus by Rogers: It’s a strange addition, but it’s one that changes the tone of the story completely. Or at least misdirection. Should i still buy the color ones? However, they have a lot of useful mods, especially ones created by Chris Hatch.) It all fits. You’re right that the ‘no plans’ bit was hypocrisy, though. The Joker on the other hand sees no reason to crack open the mystery of Batman. Yes, he’s unpredictable, but the nature of his schemes are very well calculated. —Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on X-Men Origins: Wolverine Chris Sims: It was something that we'd never really heard of. A busy hospital might have enough staff for people not to notice a bunch of new faces briefly passing in the corridor. By the Silver Age, though, things have changed, largely due to the tonal shift that resulted from the Comics Code, and without the edge of madness and outright shrieks of “I’m going to kill you,” the Joker loses a lot of his villainous mojo and fades back to be just another visually interesting face in the crowd. Don’t know if it’s actually true, but it is true many people instinctively fear clowns. Wow, great post Chris. There's a lot of different qualifiers, but there's one answer I almost always give when I'm … I will refrain from making the requisite jokes because, well, I’m a history major with a minor in religious studies and a graduate degree in educational psychology, which is why I’m now working in hospital administration supporting surgery and dental departments. It’s not that he can do anything, it’s that he does things unpredictably but (aside from the explosion of the hospital, though WHEN this has been planned can be argued) realistically and, most importantly, deliberately. Great post. And by now, you’d have to know that he’s totally bugfuck crazy, so he might just kill you because he thinks it’ll be funny. By focusing on the hapless Sid the Squid, "The Man Who Killed Batman" takes viewers on a tour through Gotham City's underworld, interacting with the Joker, who stands in for Batman's more colorful arch-nemeses, and Rupert Thorne, who represents the more "realistic" gangsters. So, if the plan is perfect, it stands to reason the hospital was wired in advance. He only wants him to go on so that he can continue to play. His use of misinformation, his complete disregard of his ‘criminal allies’ but his DESIRE to NOT kill Batman. That Batman isn't just sitting quietly at a nearby table disguised as Matches Malone, and that he's instead running a con on his own arch-enemies that involves portraying one of them as a rock-stupid idiot? — Chris Sims, Andy Khouri, and David Uzumeri on The Dark Knight. It’s just a poison that caused their muscles to force a smile. Tottenham-Arsenal among key … Yeah, I forgot to upload the picture last night. Break that down and you go through a bit of a breakdown… Everybody knows that Arkham is located on Mersey Island in West-Central Gotham, but Wayne Manor is all the way on the mainland in Bristol, well over the Sprang bridge! There is, however, a lot that we’d recognize as today’s Joker on the show itself, it just doesn’t come from the Joker; it comes from the Riddler. The comics have generally done a much better job of establishing the detailed plans, as well as the executions, than the movies. To me, Dr. Doom became the character who consumes the most love I have for comics in Annual #2, where as a child he reacts to his father’s death by yelling “They shall pay! They are both men consumed by their goal of revenge: the Joker on society, Batman on bad guys. Part of what bothered me about the TDK is the notion that the Joker was the planner. Welcome to the maddening world of DC origins . Your post kicked me in the brain, not the face! The running gag through the whole episode is that the "Killer Croc" who's playing poker with the villains and talking about throwing heavy rocks is actually Batman, pretending to be a dimwit until it's time to throw the Joker through a table. The evolution of the character of Joker is one of the things that I looked forward to as it involves not only his sad plight (turning into joker) and the way he keeps on making strategical plans to bait Batman out in the open. Had you continued your schooling rather than choose to school us all, this could easily have become your senior thesis or even dissertation. To be fair, though, as the Joker says, trying to kill Batman every time you see him is kind of a tough habit to break." For Rick: The Joker’s Toxin did not genetically mutate the fish. Even the robbery at the beginning is meticulously plotted out down to the order in which his henchmen kill each other, and it just gets bigger from there: He gets himself caught because he has a plan, and he even goes so far as to tell Batman the wrong addresses for Dent and Rachel to ensure that Rachel’s the one who gets killed, the result that causes the most pain for Batman and Dent. Was it just a slow build that returned the Joker to his roots, a combination of his lasting visual appeal and the further refining of Batman as the ultra-competent super-detective adventurer that he evolved into? With the Joker, it’s a little harder to pin down. You know, they’re schemers. But even those characters fall short of the gold standard: Scarecrow’s archenemy may be Batman, but Batman’s archenemy is the Joker. It was released back in 1997 so it is a bit hard to find now. Out of all the villains in that show, Gorshin’s performance has the most in common with Ledger’s. And that’s not really that compelling. After you pull away the “chaos” and the “lies,” what’s left for the character? The one that really defines the Joker, though, is the Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers’ The Laughing Fish/Sign of the Joker from 1978’s Detective #475-476, which gives us the amazing, iconic image at the top of this post. So glad I own the Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told. The Joker cheats, of course, ... Each week, comic book writer Chris Sims answers the burning questions you have about the world of comics and pop culture: what's up with that? He already knows the best-laid plans, and like entropy itself, he’s always one step ahead of them. *SIGH* You had to go and make me READ this morning. Anyhow, that was my take on the reason you could not trust a word of Heath’s/Nolan’s Joker – he was constantly using misinformation to destroy his victims. I think you’re absolutely right. Good stuff. For one, it allows kids who love Batman to identify with their hero by showing him as a kid who loved a superhero, and casting Adam West as your favorite Batman's favorite Batman was a brilliant tribute to the history of the character. Much like in your analysis of the Joker’s Five Way Revenge, he’s clearly committing murder at least as much for its own sake as anything else. What a wonderful and thoughtful analysis of the Joker. But given the timeframe we’re working with, I’d have to say that it really comes down to two stories from the ’70s that put him over the top. If he’d tried to trademark the fish, he probably would’ve succeeded. I don’t think I’m really advancing an unpopular opinion when I say that Batman has the best villains in comics, but even among a crowd that strong, the Joker stands out. I read somewhere that the origins of the clown’s make up go back to Medieval plays where such makeup was used to portray the devil. Maybe that’s why I’ve always found the end of The Killing Joke so disturbing. 10:16. Curious what your opinion is of the commentary there. This reminds me of the olden days when we watched real people as batman and robin and they beating the joker’s ass out. * I wanted to see that guy, the villain who kills not because he’s trying to prove a philosophical point, but because he thinks it’s FUNNY. I’ll fix it when I get home. Thanks for the great post, Chris. More importantly, though, this is the story that brings the one great similarity between Batman and the Joker to the forefront: They’re both amazing planners. Or, to use an example of something that sucks, Hush. 2) He gets sent to Arkham, which means “insane,” not “criminal.” Most places do not execute the insane. One of the key elements of the Joker in TDK is that he’s always lying about something, whether it’s giving conflicting origins for his scars or manipulating others. May 11, 2013; Over the past 70 years, there have been a lot of different sides to Batman's character. It’s not like the owners stumbled onto him mid-theft or had to be interrogated to find the location of their wealth. I think Batman realizes he could have easily gone the way of the Joker and understands what drives him, even if he loathes it. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. I remember when I was very small, reading a little book version of the Laughing Fish, which probably explains so much about what I have become. That connection didn’t orginate with Rogers–that film was the inspiration for the Joker in the first place! That's a big piece of the mythos, and don't let anyone tell you it isn't. Again, that's a function of having so much going on in a single episode, but you get to see everything Batman can do. It all comes down to Frank Gorshin, who just played the hell out of the role, snapping back and forth from manic glee to genuinely chilling obsession several times in every scene at a pace that would mirror the Joker’s portrayal in Batman: The Animated Series–which also reinvented the Riddler as a far more smug, intellectual villain–twenty-five years later. It is too bad Heath Ledger died. Maybe, but I’m of the opinion that there has to be a turning point somewhere. Rather than focusing on a single villain, or even a team-up, it's a story in which four of them cycle through a series of vignettes, cutting straight to the set pieces without sacrificing that moodiness. Thanks. Then something went wrong, and he was ‘cut loose’ – his face is a disfigurement form a particular form of torture – sometimes used by the IRA. This may be the longest and least funny article I’ve ever read by you, Sims, but I’m very pleased with it. Batman definitely has some of the best villains (especially for the DC universe), and “The Laughing Fish” story is one of the best. In "Almost Got 'Im," he's all over the place, in one deathtrap after another. Movies are mentioned, mostly with scorn, but the original source material is always the focus. They deserve the spotlight too =). And Englehart and Rogers took that foundation and made something magnificent with The Joker Fish. My opinion anyway. Sims does a fantastic job emphasizing this duplicity of order and chaos. ... Joker's Best Partner Isn't Harley Quinn or Punchline - It's [SPOILER] The Fast and The Furious Draws Its Name From a 1954 Film. Definitely made my day, and would definitely love to see more things like this in the spirit of comics appreciation.
2020 chris sims joker