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Joker

 

Real Name:  Unknown / Jack Napier

Voiced by Mark Hamill

Batman’s most dangerous foe returns to wreak merry mayhem on the Justice League (courtesy of Cartoon Network press materials).

Excerpts from the Justice League Panel at the 2001 San Diego Comic Con:

Bruce Timm:  He’s the Joker—say no more.  He’s still alive, despite what we did to him in Return of the Joker.  This obviously predates that.

Courtesy of Revolution Science Fiction and Comics2Film.

Mighty Isis on the Joker:  “He’s certainly the wild card of the Injustice Gang and clearly has an agenda that may or may not be in line with what Lex Luthor and the rest of the Gang are planning.  There is [also] a sense that he’s more experienced than Lex at being an overt law-breaker and he positions himself as a senior advisor to the Gang…though Lex is mistrustful of the Clown Prince of Crime from the get-go.  They seem to pick their relationship up where it left off from The World’s Finest—Brown and Hamill play off of each other nicely and [you] really get the sense that the two characters are foils for one another.

“I guess that the events of Injustice For All take place prior to the events of Return of the Joker’s flashback sequence since the Joker’s still alive and kicking…[however], the design follows the Joker’s styling from the flashback.  Hamill is, of course, smashing—I love that raspy, maniac laugh (courtesy of Toon Zone)!”

Bruce Timm on Return of the Joker:  “We still maintain that Batman Beyond is only a possible future, mostly to placate the hardcore Batman:  the Animated Series fans who choose to believe the Batman Beyond world will never happen, which is fine by me—continuity’s a fluid thing.  I mean, [James Bond’s] You Only Live Twice completely invalidates/contradicts On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but I like them both, so they both happened!  There, see how easy that was?

"I guess, sub-consciously, I was thinking about a link from Batman: the Animated Series to Justice League to Batman Beyond when I gave Batman his new big-ass ears and heeled boots, but I wouldn’t swear to it.  Ultimately though, since we want to use Joker in Justice League, obviously Robin [couldn’t] have killed him yet…or maybe he never will.  Ow, my head hurts (courtesy of The World's Finest).”

 

Images

Joker Model Design Sheet #1 | Joker Model Design Sheet #2 | Joker Model Design Sheet #3

Joker Model Design Sheet #4 | Joker Image #1 | Joker Image #2

Joker Image - Small | Joker Image - Large

Comparison Between Justice League and Batman Beyond Joker Designs

 

Commentary

All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy.  That’s how far the world is from where I am:  just one bad day.  You had a bad day once, am I right?  I know I am.  I can tell.  You had a bad day and everything changed—why else would you dress up like a flying rat?  You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else…only you won’t admit it!  You have to keep pretending that life makes sense; that there’s some point to all this struggling!  God, you make me want to puke…It’s all a joke!  Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for…it’s all a monstrous, demented gag!  So why can’t you see the funny side?  Why aren’t you laughing?

Joker (to Batman) in Batman:  The Killing Joke

Know this, my sweet:  the death of Batman must be nothing less than a masterpiece.  The triumph of my sheer comic genius over his ridiculous mask and gadgets!

Joker (to Harley Quinn) in The Batman Adventures:  Mad Love

Really, what hasn't been said about the Joker at this point?  Ever since his first appearance over sixty years ago in the pages of Batman, he has evolved into an iconic outlaw on the level of Jesse James or John Dillingera sort of supervillain among supervillains.  His past prior to his transformation a mystery, his private war against the Batman and reason has become comic book legend.  He is, quite literally, the Clown who needs no introduction.

Not usually one to work well with others, his presence in the Injustice Gang brought a new wrinkle to the character revitalized by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, and Mark Hamill ten years ago.  As an "advisor" to Lex Luthor's superpowered army, the Joker proved himself to be a formidable and intimidating force even among powerhouses such as Star Sapphire, The Shade, and the Ultra-Humanite.  The message was clear:  even without superpowers, the Joker would be able to outlast all of them due to his determination, will, and creative mind.  He didn't need any of their help, he was just there for kicks.

As with his heroic opposite, it would be hard to imagine Justice League existing without the Joker's presence.  That's probably why he'll be returning in the upcoming episode Wild Cards, where he will team up with The Royal Flush Gang.

 

Images courtesy of Cinescape, Cartoon Network, Nickel Animation Art eBay Store, DC Cartoon Archives, The Bruce Timm Gallery, and The World's Finest.

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