Tag Archives: Grant Morrison

Joke’s on you.

This is going to be an obscenely long post – and it should have been my first real one. My biggest lady boner always comes from the comic book character The Joker. I absolutely love this character, have loved him for many years, and don’t see anything that can tarnish his reputation in my mind. And though many girls freaked the hell out over Heath Ledger’s Joker saying that they’d love to be his Harley or that they’d love to bone him, I’d rather be him (not Heath Ledger). I’d rather be the Joker than do him.

Not saying that there’s anything wrong with lusting after fictional characters here, just that all those silly fangirls have nothing on me. That’s right, I loved Joker before The Dark Knight ever came out. (Yes, I am one of those fans.)

First off, Joker is hilarious. In the sort of “I’mma take a crowbar to your face and then strap a bomb to your mother while you watch and no, I’m not exaggerating” kind of way. And yes, that is how Jason Todd aka the second Robin aka the one with more Daddy issues than, say, Lindsay Lohan, died. Joker figured that if Batman was so into having sidekicks around that he’d replace them once they grew out of the green manties/weren’t young and nubile enough for him (OK, I love Batman, but the jokes are necessary for me to get to the point) that offing one would be the best way to get to the Bat. And it worked. Joker killed Robin, Batman flipped out. It was glorious.

(Joker beating the ever loving shit out of Robin.)

I find that his hilariousness stems from the obviously ridiculous antics that he pulls. There are some Joker writers that tend to have him err on the subliminal side as well as balancing an overtly garish and lewd sense of humor, which in turn makes him all the better. I like those writers. Like Grant Morrison. Or Grant Morrison circa 1988. When he wrote Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth he was at his prime. This comic was the inspiration for the platform game Arkham Asylum wherein Joker locks Batman in Arkham with him and the other inmates. The major difference here is that Joker gets much further into Batman’s mind in the comic whereas the other characters, such as Scarecrow, are the ones messing with Battyman in the game.

Joker ends up grabbing Batman’s ass because he knows physical contact is something that completely riles him up… OK, not in that manner. But the unwanted touch gets him to show his more barbaric and dastardly side at times. Joker is filth, scum, a part of the degenerate elite whose only goal is utter chaos and destruction and his disgusting hand grabbing at the Batman’s ass… Well. That surely will elicit quite the amazing response. This is the only thing Grant Morrison has done well, in my opinion. He’s gotten into the mind of not only Batman here, but put on Joker’s skin and figured out what would make the Dark Knight squirm like a pile of maggots on a corpse.

(Joker’s text is notoriously hard to decipher in this book, though. The important line in the middle right panel reads: Loosen up, tight ass! So. Good.)

That brings me to point deux – he’s a degenerate. He does what he wants in the name of selfish, dirty greed. There are no pretenses. He’s not a broken hearted monster out for revenge. His wife is dead, but hell if he can remember that. The moment he went insane from his chemical bath he had but one goal: to show the world how fucked up it really is and to have fun doing it. And sure, it’s mightily messed up and most sane people already know it. Joker’s point is to make other people see how deluded they are and that it’s crazy to not be crazy. He wants people to turn mad, to lose their minds, to end up killing their neighbor because they simply felt like it. And he wants to be recognized, but his mental disorders are far too big in number to list or even try to enumerate fully. He’s a narcissist who wants everyone to see the world the way he sees it, and gain some money and accolades along the way.

Reason number three that I have such a HUGE lady boner for the Joker is that he’s simply creative. Yes, every villain has their niche – Penguin has his birds, Poison Ivy has her plants, Joker has his gags, and Riddler has his, well, riddles, etc.. Joker’s gags, though, border not only on the obscenely deranged, but are varied quite far across the spectrum. From poisoning Gotham’s water supply to gaining a copyright on fish with his trademark smile and coloring and then make a huge profit off of selling said fish. JOKER FISH. The guy isn’t logical and he certainly doesn’t follow reason when he plans things. Sure, he’ll go out and rob a bank like any criminal would, but he’d do it in such convoluted way that it just wouldn’t naturally occur to a normal person to go about a plan in that manner.

Comic book author Steve Englehart (who wrote the notorious story “The Laughing Fish” which inspired the animated series episode about it,) says very poignantly, “I mean, the whole idea of copyrighting fish based on dumping chemicals into the ocean and trying to get the government to go along with it, anybody else would look at this and go, ‘That’s clearly not sane.’ But from the Joker’s standpoint, the more insane, the better.

“For me, if the Joker says, ‘I’m gonna go rob a bank,’ his mind just sort of opens up in all directions and he thinks, ‘I could rob a bank but go it one better by stealing a car and driving it underwater.’ At the end of the day, he still wants to rob the bank. He conceives of this incredibly bizarre plan, but he’s going to figure out how to make that work. He’s not interested in something that involves stealing a car and not robbing the bank. So he’s going to make what he comes up with work, but he gets there in such an explosive, non-linear, off-the-wall way that he’s basically unpredictable.” And that unpredictable nature opens him up for the most bizarre, potently crazy, and never ending amount of adventures. He is limitless. If it can be conceived, if even remotely, then the Joker will surely do it. He’s a comic book character – if the idea is there, a way will be found to make it ‘reality’, or canon.

(Joker at the patent office trying to get a legitimate backing from the US Government for his fish. A man has to make money, after all…)

Another reason why I love the Joker is that he shot Batgirl without knowing she was Batgirl. He shot Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, who just so happened to be a vigilante. He killed two birds with one stone that way, not only aggravating/depressing her father but her mentor as well. It’s a traumatic scene where he attacks a young girl, exploits her pain, without even knowing that she was a bigger thorn in her side than her father ever could hope to be. A perfect example of dramatic irony.

(I frequently feel this way. From: The Killing Joke – READ IT IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY. Best exploration of Joker’s origin.)

But the ultimate reason why I love the Joker so much is that he is the perfect foil for Batman. While it’s nice to root for the greater good of humanity seen in Batman, and all that Batman does, it’s just much more fun (and kind of easier/more telling about my own rampant cynicism) to root for the side of Joker. No matter how hard Batman tries to clean up crime and how many times he puts the Joker in Arkham–the place where he feels most at home, which is foolish–the Joker will always ruin everything that the Batman strives to achieve. All he needs is his bare hands to destroy a life when the vigilante needs all of his resources to help put one back together. Every time Batman saves someone, Joker kills another person. All it takes is one bomb to destroy a neighborhood, one poisonous gas filled teddy bear to kill a child. Batman has to work so much harder to help than Joker does to hurt. It’s bleak. It’s dark. It’s real.

Plus he’s occasionally gorgeous. There, I said it.