Batman / Batman Joker

Who Becomes the Joker in Batman?

The Joker is one of the most iconic villains in comic book history. He is a recurring archenemy of Batman and has been featured in various adaptations, including movies, TV shows, and video games.

But who becomes the Joker in Batman? Let’s take a closer look.

Origins of the Joker

The origins of the Joker are somewhat mysterious and have been retconned multiple times throughout his history. In his earliest appearances, he was simply a criminal mastermind with a clown-like appearance. Over time, writers explored his past and gave him various origin stories.

The Killing Joke

One of the most famous origin stories for the Joker comes from the graphic novel “The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. In this version, the Joker was a failed stand-up comedian named Jack Napier who turned to a life of crime to support his pregnant wife.

During a robbery at Ace Chemicals, Napier falls into a vat of chemicals that bleach his skin white and turn his hair green. This traumatic experience drives him insane, and he becomes the Joker.

Batman (1989)

In Tim Burton’s 1989 film “Batman,” starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker, we see another version of the character’s origins. In this adaptation, Jack Napier is a gangster who works for crime boss Carl Grissom.

When Napier tries to take over Grissom’s operation, Grissom sets him up to be killed by Gotham City police lieutenant James Gordon. During an altercation with Batman at Axis Chemicals, Napier falls into a vat of chemicals that disfigure him and drive him insane.

Why does anyone become the Joker?

While the specific details of how someone becomes the Joker may vary depending on which version you’re reading or watching, there are some common threads. The Joker is often portrayed as a victim of circumstance, someone who has been pushed to the brink by society and has reacted in a violent and chaotic way.

The Dark Knight

In Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film “The Dark Knight,” starring Christian Bale as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as the Joker, we see a Joker who revels in chaos and anarchy. He tells Batman that he is an agent of chaos, and that he wants to show people that their cherished rules and morality are just illusions. While we don’t get a specific origin story for this version of the Joker, it’s clear that he is motivated by a desire to upset the status quo and create a world where anything goes.


In conclusion, while there may not be one definitive answer to the question of who becomes the Joker in Batman, what is clear is that this character represents something deeply unsettling about human nature. Whether it’s through trauma, desperation, or sheer nihilism, anyone has the potential to become the Joker – and that’s what makes him such a compelling villain.