In birthday parties, it’s usually a habit to invite a clown. This time, however, is a day that commemorates one of the most iconic clowns in popular culture – The Joker.
It was in April 25, 1940 when The Joker initially appeared in the comic book debut for Batman. Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson was said to be responsible for designing the Joker but it was Bill Finger’s writing that brought character to life. The Joker was supposed to be killed off in that issue but editors decided to spare the villain which, eventually, led him to become Batman’s arch nemesis.
The Joker was initially shown as a sociopath who kills off his victims with a gas (or a poison) and they end up wearing a grim smile. A decade later, he was softened into a troublesome prankster due to the forming of the Comics Code Authority which regulates comic book contents. In 1970, The Joker returns to his dark roots as he was depicted again as a maniacal murderer he was first intended to be.
The fear for clowns have never been materialized in such manner as The Joker in films. The clown criminal mastermind was first brought to television by Cesar Romero in the 1960’s “Batman” live action series. Another memorable portrayal of The Joker was Jack Nicholson’s in Tim Burton’s “Batman.” In animation and video games, The Joker was voiced by Star War’s star Mark Hamill – most notably in the “Batman: The Animated Series “and “Batman: Arkham City.”
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) April 25, 2016
Perhaps the best Joker performance to date is fan favorite Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” Worthy of mention is Cameron Monaghan’s Jerome Valeska in “Gotham” TV series which hints of him being groomed as The Joker or “the idea of The Joker.” The most recent portrayal which everyone is yet to see is that of Jared Leto in the upcoming movie “Suicide Squad.”