(Press photo to zoom!) • Universe: DC Comics & Movies
• Name: Jack Oswald White
• Species: Human
• Role: Injustice Gang, Injustice League, Justice League of Arkham
• Place of Origin: Gotham City, USA
• Abilities: Genius intellect, Brilliant chemist and inventor, Arsenal of comedy-themed weaponry, Deception, Expert hand-to-hand combatant, Pain resistance
• Affiliation: Villian
• Connections: Harley Quinn (Ally), Batman (Adversary)
The Joker is a supervillain and the archenemy of Batman. First introduced in Batman #1 (Spring 1940), he was originally a criminal mastermind with a devious sense of humor. Initially intended to serve as a one-time appearances, Joker's instant popularity ensured that the character would continue to appear, becoming a frequent enemy of the Dark Knight and Robin, the Boy Wonder. By the late 1940s, Joker had been reimagined as a harmless prankster. Falling into obscurity by the 1960s, he was re-introduced in the 1970s as a more legitimate threat and one of the most infamous criminals within Gotham City. In recent years, the character has taken on the persona of an evil-incarnate, simply taking joy in tormenting Batman or trying to push him into villainy.
Widely considered Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker has also been responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin. His characterization has changed over the years, with the most common incarnation being a criminal mastermind who commits crimes for his own entertainment. Joker is also considered one of DC Comics' most recognizable characters, with him also battling other heroes such as Superman and Wonder Woman. The character has also become an icon in popular culture, usually through his portrayals in various media related to Batman and other DC properties.
Though many have been related, a definitive history of the Joker has never been established in the comics, and his true name has never been confirmed. *(until 2022 Dc Comic, check ZeroGems news column for more details) Nobody knows who he truly is.
Detective Comics #168 (February 1951) revealed that he had been a criminal known as the Red Hood. In the story, the Red Hood was robbing the Monarch Playing Card factory and encountered Batman for the first time. He tried to escape from the Dark Knight by fleeing to the Ace Chemical Plant where he fell into a vat of chemicals. He survived but the chemicals had radically changed his body resulting in chalk-white skin, emerald green hair, and a bizarre ruby-red grin.
The most widely cited back-story can be seen in Alan Moore's The Killing Joke. It depicts him as originally being an engineer at a chemical plant who quit his job to pursue his dream of being a stand-up comedian, only to fail miserably. Desperate to support his pregnant wife, Jeannie, the man agrees to help two criminals break into the plant where he was formerly employed. In this version of the story, the Red Hood persona is given to the inside man of every job (thus it is never the same man twice); this makes the inside man appear to be the leader, allowing the two ring-leaders to escape. During the planning, police contact him and inform him that his wife and unborn child have died in a household accident.
Stricken with grief, he attempts to back out of the plan, but the criminals strong-arm him into keeping his promise. As soon as they enter the plant, however, they are immediately caught by security and a fatal shoot-out ensues, in which the two criminals are killed. As he tries to escape, he is confronted by Batman, who is investigating the disturbance. Terrified, the engineer leaps over a rail and plummets into a vat of chemicals. When he surfaces in the nearby reservoir, he removes the hood and sees his reflection: bleached chalk-white skin, ruby-red lips, and emerald green hair. These events, coupled with his other misfortunes that day, drive the engineer through the massive personality shift that results in the birth of the Joker.