In a move that defies all logic, writer Scott Snyder has begun to lay out the Joker’s origin story in the Batman comics, starting with teases in the story arc ‘Death of the Family.’ In the story, Commissioner Gordan finds photographic evidence that the Joker was around when Gotham was founded, and is older than the city itself, tying into the New 52 retcon of the origin of the character that Snyder explains below:
“[W]e saw a brand new origin for the Joker that explained how he has a regenerative quality — linked to Vandal Savage, Ra’s al Ghul, and the Talons — that not only grants him unnaturally long life, but the ability to heal from fatal injuries. Last issue, Jim Gordon discovered pictures of the Joker dating back to the beginnings of Gotham, and this issue appeared to confirm that the Joker is older than Gotham….
[T]his is where he says, “Guess what? I’ve always been immortal, and now I’m closing the door on you, little mortal Bruce Wayne.”
To make matters even worse, Snyder has also decided to retcon the very personality of the Joker, going from the classic tradition of the Joker being insane, and attempting to change all the source material into revealing the Joker is not crazy, just evil:
“The Joker never says he’s crazy. He more, unapologetically, says, “This is who I am.” He very much has reasons for doing the things that he does, which make sense in his relationship with Batman. But I don’t think he views himself as crazy, and I don’t think Batman thinks he’s crazy either. The public perception of him is that he is a lunatic, but deep down, he’s actually very evil.”
This flies in the face of almost every depiction of the Joker we’ve seen so far, especially Alan Moore’s depiction (which many consider THE best Joker comic), namely ‘The Killing Joke,’ which has an origin story claiming the Joker was once a married comedian who had a bad day which drove him insane, and led to him becoming the Joker (although it was Joker telling the story, so you could claim he was lying). And despite Synder’s words above, Batman has ALWAYS considered the Joker to be crazy, which is why he always returns the Clown Prince of Crime to Arkham Asylum, the home for the criminally insane. Snyder himself should be drawn into the comics as an Arkham inmate, as his ideas of the character and why this is a good direction for Batman comics seem pretty crazy to me.
All of this ties into the 75th Anniversary of the character, following a year after the 75th anniversary of Batman himself. Let’s hope someone at DC realizes how strange these ideas are, and finds a replacement for Snyder who can retcon this new ‘origin’ out of existence.
What do you think of the Joker being immortal/sane/ evil? Share your thoughts in the comments below.