|Significant other Harley Quinn||Fictional universe DC Universe|
|Created by Jerry RobinsonBill FingerBob Kane|
First appearance Batman #1 (April 25, 1940)
Played by Jared Leto, Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill
Creators Christopher Nolan, Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Jerry Robinson, David S. Goyer
Movies and TV shows Suicide Squad, The Dark Knight, Batman, The Batman, Batman: The Animated
Similar Harley Quinn, Batman, Superman, Deadshot, Catwoman
The Joker is a fictional character that was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson that first appeared in the debut issue of the American comic book Batman (April 25, 1940) published by DC Comics. Although the Joker was planned to be killed off during this initial appearance, he was spared by editorial intervention, allowing the character to endure as the supervillain archenemy of the vigilante Batman.
- Live action
- Tim Burton
- Christopher Nolan
- DC Extended Universe
- Video games
- Cultural impact
In the decades since his creation, the character has been adapted into a variety of media alongside Batman, including television shows, films, animation, and video games. His appearances have helped make the Joker one of the most iconic characters in popular culture. The character has been listed among the greatest comic book villains and fictional characters ever created. The Joker has served as Batman's adversary in live-action, animated and video game incarnations since the 1960s Batman television series (played by Cesar Romero) and in film by Jack Nicholson in 1989's Batman, Heath Ledger in 2008's The Dark Knight, and Jared Leto in 2016's Suicide Squad. Mark Hamill, Troy Baker, and others have provided the character's voice for the animated character. In the Fox Network crime drama Gotham, Cameron Monaghan portrays Jerome Valeska, a psychopathic, reincarnated youth who has yet to take on the identity of the villain.
The Joker character first appeared in the American comic book Batman publisher on April 25, 1940 by DC Comics.
The Batman cinematic franchise has been reworked by the directors helming the series, first Tim Burton and then Christopher Nolan, and the Joker has been an important character in both their visions of the fictional universe. Later Warner Bros. started their own unified universe with the DC Extended Universe, under the initial leadership of Zack Snyder. This began with Man of Steel (2013) and that was followed by the introduction of Batman, not in his own solo film but in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). The Joker's first appearance in this shared universe is not in a Batman film, but in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad (although Batman is also in the movie).
Jack Nicholson played the Joker in Batman by Tim Burton.
In the film The Dark Knight, the character is played by Heath Ledger.
DC Extended Universe
Jared Leto appears as the Joker in the 2016 movie Suicide Squad, the third film in the DC Extended Universe.
The Joker in both the 1966 television series and the spin-off film is played by Cesar Romero.
The Joker appears the Birds of Prey television series pilot, played by stuntman Roger Stoneburner but voiced by Mark Hamill, reprising his vocal work on Batman: The Animated Series.
The Joker is considered one of, if not the most-recognizable and iconic fictional characters in popular culture (Batman's arguable equal), one of the best comic villains, and one of the greatest villains of all-time.
In 2006, the Joker was number one on Wizard magazine's "100 Greatest Villains of All Time". In 2008 Wizard's list of "200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time" placed the Joker fifth, and the character was eighth on Empire's list of "50 Greatest Comic Book Characters" (the highest-ranked villain on both lists). In 2009 the Joker was second on IGN's list of "Top 100 Comic Book Villains", and in 2011 Wired named him "Comics' Greatest Supervillain". Complex, CollegeHumor and WhatCulture named the Joker the greatest comic book villain of all time and IGN listed him the top DC Comics villain in 2013. Other publications called him the decade's top villain and the greatest Batman villain.
TV Guide included Cesar Romero's Joker on its 2013 list of "60 Nastiest Villains of All Time", and Jack Nicholson's version was the 45th villain on the American Film Institute's 100 Heroes and Villains list. Also that year, Digital Spy ranked the Joker first on its list of "25 Greatest Movie Villains" and Complex placed him second on its list of "50 Best Villains in Movie History". In 2014 the character topped Total Film's "100 Greatest Movie Villains" list, outranking Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter. His portrayal in The Dark Knight ranked him third on Empire magazine's list of "100 Greatest Movie Characters" in 2009, and sixth on the lists 2015 edition, behind Batman in fourth. Entertainment Weekly rated the Joker the fifth-greatest character of the past 20 years, Time named him among its "10 Best Movie Supervillains" and Xfinity rated the character its all-time greatest movie villain. The Joker's Batman: Arkham video-game series' version was named the 22nd-best video game villain by GamesRadar in 2014.
The character inspired theme-park roller coasters (The Joker's Jinx, The Joker in Mexico and California, and The Joker Chaos Coaster), and featured in story-based rides such as Batman Adventure – The Ride, The Dark Knight Coaster, and Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. The Joker is one of the few comic book supervillains to be represented on children's merchandise and toys, appearing on items including action figures, trading cards, board games, money boxes, pajamas, socks, and shoes. The Jokermobile was a popular toy; a Corgi die-cast metal replica was successful during the 1950s, and in the 1970s a Joker-styled, Flower power-era Volkswagen microbus was manufactured by Mego. In 2015, "The Joker: A Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime" became the first academic book to be published about a supervillain.
The character has also been influential in politics. In 2009, posters appeared in Los Angeles, and other parts of the United States, of President Barack Obama modified to resemble Ledger's Joker, accompanied by the word "Socialism". The poster gained notoriety and widespread media coverage, becoming an anti-Obama icon, and became a rallying icon for the Tea Party movement, with analysts suggesting that the Joker's contemporary status as a figure of terror whose acts, in part, destroy elements of capitalism, economic infrastructure, and the established order, intersects with the party's far-right political ideology. Similarly, a 2009 issue of New York magazine featured a front-cover image of convicted fraudster Bernard Madoff which had been modified to resemble the Joker.
The Joker has also been cited as an inspiration in various crimes such as acts of violence, arson, and murder. In 2012, James Eagan Holmes committed a mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. When apprehended, Holmes, with bright-orange dyed hair, was alleged to have referred to himself as the Joker. Jerad Miller, one of the perpetrators of a shooting spree in Las Vegas, Nevada, recorded videos of himself dressed as the Joker while reciting his hatred for law enforcement.