Monday, September 09, 2013

What makes Joker tick?

This probably isn't a new revelation to many people, but one thing that struck me about the Joker in his first appearance in Batman #1 is how much he craves attention. I love that panel from the first story where he talks about fooling the police and how he'd like "to shout the answer into their stupid faces." His M.O. that whole story is to announce to the public that he's going to commit a crime (usually a combination of murder and theft) and then pull it off in a way that no one can stop him.

In the fourth and final story in Batman #1 (again by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson), the Joker escapes prison after only two days there and picks up right where he left off. He declares that he wants to "let all know" that he's "still in the game and is still high card." It's not enough to commit the crimes and get away with it; he also has to rub it in the public's face.

This seems core to who Joker is. A good Joker story will always have an element of panache to it, because the Joker isn't an agent of chaos (a relatively recent interpretation) so much as he is an agent of showing off.

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