From Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger: The Many Faces of The Joker – Batman: The Killing Joke on Blu-ray and DVD Monday
Based on the acclaimed DC graphic novel of the same name, “Batman: The Killing Joke” takes a journey into the dark psyche of the Clown Prince of Crime – from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian, to his fateful encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Years later, and now escaped from Arkham Asylum, The Joker devises a plan to prove that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is – setting his sights on Commissioner Gordon. It’s up to the Dark Knight to put a stop to The Joker’s latest scheme and save one of Gotham City’s finest. Following a gripping prologue introducing Barbara Gordon’s heroic adventures alongside Batman as Batgirl, “Batman: The Killing Joke” stays true to the authentic tale that has held fans’ imaginations for nearly three decades – spotlighting the birth of a Super-Villain, the fortitude of a Super Hero and the punchline that will leave you speechless.
Batman’s most notorious nemesis, The Joker, has been around for 76 years since his creation by DC Comics in 1940 – and so, it is nothing new that the conspicuous character in question has gone through some pretty drastic makeovers. From Ledger to Lego, we take a look at the many incarnations of the Joker to celebrate the release of Batman: The Killing Joke on Blu-ray™ and DVD on August 8th...
The 40’s & 50’s
The original Joker, created by Bob Kane and inspired by a picture of the actor Conrad Veidt in the silent film “The Man Who Laughs,” combined the authentic look of a joker playing card and the actor’s obvious pale face and eerie grin. The character was a ruthless killer, who would have been killed off himself if it wasn’t for Jack Schiff’s take on the Joker who was softening in persona, by the end of the 50’s. The Joker took upon a role of a thief and became much less brutal.
The 60’s & 70’s
When Editor Julius Schwartz took over in 1964, the character almost died out altogether. Romero's appearance as the Joker did not differ much from his comic book incarnation at the time, with one strange and rather baffling exception: Romero refused to shave his moustache for the role. So in each of his eighteen featured episodes, the Joker's white face paint was applied directly over Romero's ridiculous facial hair. In 1973, Neal Adams aided The Joker into a new and dark age.
In Burton's 1989 film, the legendary actor Jack Nicholson stepped into the role of Batman's archenemy, donning the Joker's trademark purple suit, green hair and iconic grin. Nicholson's performance and appearance in the film brought the destructive hints of Brian Bolland's take on the Joker to life.
After Burton’s success it wasn’t long until the Joker was set to hit the screens once again, in Batman: The Animated Series ’92. Bruce Timm borrowed the dark, gothic look of Tim Burton's films and took them to even more extremes, redesigning the Joker's look to fit the streamlined style of their animated series. Voiced by Mark Hamill, this animated take on the Joker featured a square jaw and long pointy nose, far more in line with the character's original appearances in the 1940's.
The 2000 & 2010’s
Come 2008 and it was Christopher Nolan’s turn to twist the character of the Joker into something of a more realistic approach. Ledger's Joker had a look fitting of a homicidal maniac, with a grin that's literally cut into his face in jagged scars. This Joker's pale skin also appears to be the result of makeup and not acid scarring, as is the case with all other iterations of the character. And finally, Mark Hamill returns in the much anticipated 2016 release of Batman: The Killing Joke, it’s a must see. How else will you find out what the Joker has morphed into next?
BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE IS OUT BLU-RAY AND DVD MONDAY AUGUST 8