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Article – The One True Joker


Posted July 16, 2015 by

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The One True Joker

Suicide Squad gets its first trailer and the internet is losing its collective shit once again. The focus is on Jared Leto’s take on the Joker. Here’s one comment from YouTube:

As unbelievable as the Joker and Quinn are in their natural state, you’d think that WB wouldn’t have elevated them to this level of absurdity. I would rather bleach my eyes and fuck myself with a running chainsaw than watch this movie.”

Lovely. Here’s another:

“Ugh I just wish they would have stayed true to the characters.”

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s business.

“The Joker is a character that needs an actor with gravity. Not some little twerp who got lucky,” said some commenter on Reddit back before The Dark Knight was released, referring to Heath Ledger. How are those words tasting? It’s tiring to go over these old points again so soon after impossible fanboys railed over Ben Affleck being cast as Batman. The exact same argument occurred all the way back in 1989 over Michael Keaton being cast as the Caped Crusader.

If only this out-spoken die hard demographic of fans were more like proponents of Shakespeare (I’m not digressing, swear to God). We’ve had Shakespeare’s body of work for over 400 years. It has been adapted in every way imaginable in every major living language (including Klingon). The experimentation and creative liberty with Shakespeare has been great:

Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, aimed at the MTV generation, Richard Loncrain’s Richard III set in an alternate fascist England of the 1930’s, Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus where Shakespeare meets Black Hawk Down and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing which was shot entirely in black and white at his own home.

Where was all the rage over those movies? Where were all the petitions? Do we have to wait several hundred years before these furious fans becoming accepting of new approaches?

“There is no one key that will open one door and reveal Shakespeare to you. There are many, many keys and many, many doors.” – Patrick Stewart

That statement should be applicable to comic book characters too, especially characters we’ve had for over seventy years. Truth is, there is no one true Joker.

Here is a list of performers who have taken on the Joker:

Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Larry Storch, Lennie Weinrib, Frank Welker, Mark Hamill, Michael McKean, Allen Enlow, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeff Bennett, Steve Blum, Michael Dobson, John Kassir, Richard Epcar, John DiMaggio, Corey Burton, Brent Spiner, Christopher Corey Smith, Michael Emerson, Troy Baker and Dee Bradley Baker.

See? No single true Joker. Also, that list comes straight from Wikipedia. Anyone who is bashing out vitriolic rejections over social media can look that list up and see for themselves just how diverse the Joker’s past has been. The Joker himself actually says in Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke,

“If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”

Can’t argue with that.

Put simply, the Joker is as much a force of nature as he is a character. No two hurricanes have ever been the same.


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Written by:


Michael Keyes
Silences Band
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One Comment


    Personally I’m really looking forward to seeing Jared Leto as the joker, more so than the actual film itself. The trailer was effective and left me wanting more because every joker is different, I kind of thought that was the point. YouTube may not be the best place from which to get acceptance and any kind of critical thinking…

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