Showing 1 - 3 of 3 posts found matching keyword: joker

In late 2011, DC transitioned to "The New 52," a publishing initiative intended to attract new readers to comics by reimagining the DC Comics universe of characters for 21st-century audiences. In that regard, it was a big success. New readers did flock to DC's titles, but at the cost of many longtime readers who had supported the publisher for decades and now felt betrayed. When the new readers moved on to the next fad, DC was left without any readers at all.

Four-and-a-half years later, in 2016, the company predictably responded to the failures of the New 52 with a return to the characters and stories the New 52 had discarded. They called this event "Rebirth," and it was in some ways good and in other ways more of the same poorly thought-out, short-term behavior that had doomed the New 52. For example, it was promoted from the beginning that the famously enigmatic Batman villain Joker would finally get an origin story. Fans loved that idea, so, naturally DC didn't follow through on it for four more years as they instead focused on revisiting stores from the 1980s. And they wonder why their market share keeps shrinking.

Which brings us to the year 2020 and The Three Jokers, its name alone an overt reference to the self-inflicted damage that decades of navel-gazing reboots have done to what passes for history in the lives of DC superheros like Batman. As so much else from DC these days, the story of The Three Jokers is woven around some of the biggest Joker stories ever told, most of them more than thirty years old.

Why should any young reader be interested in returning yet again to stories written when their fathers were children? Why should their fathers buy the same old story a third, fourth, or fifth time? Nostalgia is a game of diminishing returns, and all this navel gazing only continues to alienate readers already concerned that DC has nothing new to offer in exchange for the $5 cover price cost of a modern comic book.

Clearly DC learned the wrongest of lessons from their New 52 debacle a decade ago and have reverted to repeating the same mistakes that got them into that mess to begin with. Something tells me that if the Joker was a real person, he'd get a kick out of that.

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?
This page was published in 2010. The more things change....

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You can keep your Romero, Nicholson, Ledger, Leto, and Phoenix...

Come hither... and die!

Nope, nothing crazy happening here

A perfect example of how normal people laugh

...*my* Joker is Jack Lemmon from Some Like It Hot.

I'll show them how many boners the Joker can make!

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Friend Chad recently asked me if I had any interest in the upcoming Joker movie. You know the one. It just won the Golden Lion award for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival. My answer, in short, was no. In long, it was *hell* no.

As a longtime reader of comics, I have a well-established mental image of what I expect from Batman and his rogues gallery. As a general rule, I don't enjoy films about gangsters (which Joker was in the 40s) or films about serial killers (which Joker has been since the 80s). I've seen both Bonnie and Clyde and Natural Born Killers exactly once, and that's each one time too many.

My biggest problem with the film is that the Joker is unequivocally a villain. Pure capital-E Evil. However, a story's protagonist has to be relatable to its audience. Just as the short-lived Joker comic series of the mid-70s focused on its eponymous star's zany antics (and minimized the collateral damage), to put the character at the center of a film it becomes necessary to humanize him, to turn him from villain to anti-hero. No, thank you.

Call me a prude, but I don't see any reason to make a film exploring how someone becomes a narcissistic, mass-murdering sociopath on the scale of the Joker. In fiction, the Joker has beaten a child to death with a crowbar, slaughtered an entire talk show audience on camera, and gassed the United Nations General Assembly. All for giggles. If such a monster existed in the real world — an Osama bin Laden-squared — would you pay to see that person's biography on the big screen?

Joker works best in comics as a larger-than-life malevolent force of nature, the personification of the chaos that Batman strives to eliminate from the world. That's exactly how "Why so serious" Heath Ledger played him (and "This town needs an enema" Jack Nicholson before that). If you insist on reinventing the character, I'd say making him mortal is the wrong direction to go. Forget realism for a character that is inherently unreal. Give us a film about how Cesar Romero's wacky Joker earned his place as Gotham City's Clown Prince of Crime with a painted-over mustache (the anti-Groucho Marx!). Or choose to elaborate on any random Joker entry from silly The Super Dictionary.

Joker is a liar! Beets are NOT good to eat.

But don't try to remake Martin Scorsese's The King of Comedy with a super-villain behind the greasepaint. Once was enough for that one, too.

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To be continued...

 

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