A Creature of Style – The Joker

Bolland Joker

Bolland Joker

Time to spark some controversy and debate.

In the realm of the DC Universe I admit that I’m definitely in the Batman camp. And yet, within that camp my favorite character is…

I’m sure you’ve guessed it.

The Joker.

That’s right. While I have a terrible fear of clowns in general, I can’t get enough of the Joker. Maybe it’s because he openly flaunts being a psychopathic clown. Maybe it’s the snappy purple suits. Who knows? But I adore him. I’m a particular fan of the Brian Bolland version of him in comics with his shape perfectly lean and pointy. With Batman: The Animated Series we added in the voice of Mark Hamill and for me, that’s become THE VOICE I hear even when I read the comics. (If you’ve never seen any of the special features showing Mark Hamill doing THE VOICE, look them up on youtube and prepare to be amazed.) Jack Nicholson in the first Batman movie, while somewhat cheesy maintained the image. (For the sake of this post I won’t go into the abomination of the Monkey!Joker with barefeet and dreadlocks on “The Batman” cartoon)

And that image they all maintained was of style.

Rarely did you see the Joker looking disheveled. Those purple suits, often done as tailcoats, the neatly shined wingtips, the vest and tie. Even his hair was always neatly arranged. When he was locked in Arkham that man could make prison garb look stylish. But everything about him was neat. Heck, there’s many a woman (and man for that matter) who found him drop dead sexy, myself included.

So when Heath Ledger was first announced to play the Joker in “The Dark Knight” many of us pre-DK Joker fans were somewhat offended. Suddenly there were hoards of new fangirls claiming “Finally, the Joker is sexy!”

Pardon? Finally?!

Already Sexy

And while the initial inrritation was over his “sexiness” or lack thereof, it led to more discussion about the character in general and why people like him. Now, don’t get me wrong. I was highly impressed with the now popular Ledger!Joker. I left the midnight opening show thinking he was wonderful and fit in extremely well with the universe that Nolan had created for Batman. And yet…he’s definitely not my favorite Joker. Why is that, you ask?

Because he’s not neat. Gone is the pressed suit with a tail coat and shiny wingtips. Gone is the very careful way he was vain about his appearance. Gone is the paper white skin and permanently green hair. It was replaced with a Joker that instead works for Nolan’s universe but lacks the many things that I found to be appealing about the character himself.

Gone is the style.

So while I can appreciate the Ledger!Joker as an incarnation, and indeed he was great with the acting, the laughter and the wonderful lines, I just can’t find it in me to name him in my favorite Jokers. To me, the Joker was as much a creature of style as he was a murdering psychopathic clown. To take away one takes away part of what makes that character so wonderful, in my opinion.

Now that I’ve opened this can of worms I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you one of the fans that only came to like the Joker after the Dark Knight? Are you a staunch lover of the original character? Do you like both? Do you hate me for my quick dismissal of Monkey!Joker? Go ahead…let me have it!