I guess the joke really is on me for trying to briefly summaries the history of a truly mad man. You see, being a man of comics and people proudly telling me that I’m a “comic book guy” has always lead to certain questions, one which tends to be recurring is ‘”Who is The Joker? and what’s his origin story?” So eventually I made the effort to find the answer to these questions and quickly found out one thing: The Joker is so crazy he can’t remember his own origin, or just simply doesn’t want to tell anyone.
Due to this revelation, a couple of writers have previously had a stab at giving the Joker an origin story implying that it may or may not be him. Each iteration has the a man falling into a vat of chemicals which warps his appearance and his mental state. Whether it’s the gang lord the Red Hood, the down on his luck comedian posing as the Red Hood, or the lab tech that just had a bad day, each outcome is the same.
This whole lack of origin comes from the fact that the Joker was only supposed to make a one time appearance as a hired goon which Batman defeated and was done away with but history intervened and Joker became Batman’s signature villain thanks to a whole lot of media exposure via Adam West’s Batman and Tim Burton’s Batman of 1989.
Over the years the Joker has struck hard at the Dark Knight. He murdered Jason Todd (the second character to be Robin) in cold blood and it was later implied Joker manipulated events to ensure Jason would become Batman’s new sidekick. He also shot and crippled the first Batgirl, Barbara Gordon, took photos of her naked bloody body and forced his father Commissioner Gordon to watch them on a demented fairground ride.
Elsewhere in comic book universes, during the New 52 things took a horror themed turn. The Joker had has face removed to avoid capture – nice. This lead his on and off girlfriend Harley Quinn to try and steal it back from GCPD and because of her warped mind she made fellow Suicide Squad (a team of criminals forced into Black Ops missions to reduce sentence time) member Deadshot wear his face and pretend to be Joker.
Joker did return for his face and wore it like a mask and masterminded a plot to wipe of Batman’s family. Until Batman revealed he knew who the Joker was.
So for an origin story? We’ll have to leave that to rest for a while.