It’s been a while since the last Batman movie, but the passion for superhero films hasn’t diminished. In fact, fans of the Dark Knight have probably been waiting for a new installment since the final scene of The Dark Knight Rises in July of 2015. For those who grew tired of the overly-serious tone and over-used catch-phrases of the previous films, Mr. Wayne’s (aka Batman’s) appearance in Justice League in November of that same year was a breath of fresh air.
However, aside from the occasional cameo, it has mostly been a solo act since then, with only rare appearances by his alter ego, Bruce Wayne. But with the release of Joker this month, and speculation about a potential third Batman installment in the works, now might be the right time for Wayne to make his presence known.
Whether or not this will be the case, there is still one character who reigns above all others as the king or queen of Gotham City: Victor Valeska, M.D., otherwise known as the Joker. For decades, the Clown Prince of Crime has been the inspiration for comic books, cartoons, and even real-life crime, as well as the ultimate antagonist in almost every superhero movie. As a result, it’s easy to see why so many people are interested in learning more about this notorious character.
History Of A Dangerous Character
Even before his role as the Joker, Victor Valecka was a very colorful character. Born in 1892, he was actually the inspiration for the Joker character. According to legend, he was once a member of an anarchist group that kidnapped and murdered wealthy families to fund their operations. His actions made him a pariah among his peers, and he eventually turned to a life of crime. In his early days, he dressed in a bright red suit with yellow stripes and would perform pranks and acts of mischief for his own amusement. But it wasn’t until he began impersonating a doctor that he found his calling. He would often dress in a white coat with a purple collar and would lure wealthy people to their death with his diagnoses of the mad scents that the wealthy liked to indulge in. He became known as the “Furious Quarth” because of his trademark laugh, which sounded like a cross between a hyena and a hunchback.
To distinguish himself from the many other “Jokers,” Dr. Valecka decided to adopt the nom-de-plume, “Harvey Bull.” He would later shorten it to simply “Joker.” His “day job” was as a dentist, while his “night job” was to commit as many crimes as he could. During this time, he worked with many notorious criminals, such as Bonnie and Clyde and the duo of Charles Manson and his wife, who were both dentists themselves. He was even the first to admit that he inspired many of Batman’s villains, including the Joker.
Though he had some success as a criminal, he became best known for his impersonations. He would take on the persona of various people, such as a socialite or gangster, and commit crimes in their name. Using a combination of gadgets and trickery, he would often escape detection. In the 1950s, he even went as far as to open a fake dental practice in the Caribbean, using a double as his receptionist. In reality, he remained in Gotham, continuing his life of crime while maintaining his doctor’s pretensions.
His elaborate schemes never were limited to dentistry, either. During the Great Depression, he began embezzling funds from dentists across the country. He would use the money to fund his elaborate schemes, which included hiring a circus to perform in his neighborhood, constructing an outdoor swimming pool, and even buying a private island to build a fabulous mansion on. But his greed eventually got the better of him. He was convicted of grand larceny in the 1950s and sentenced to prison. While he was incarcerated, the Joker continued to cultivate a reputation as the quintessential bad boy. As a result, many actors have turned to a life of crime, some even using their real names, while others have gone by aliases.
Why Is The Joker So Influential?
It’s not hard to see why the Joker is so influential. For decades, he has been the ultimate anti-hero, a villain you can’t help but root for, if only because he’s so completely and utterly despicable. And although many other comic book villains have risen to fame, the Joker remains the most popular character of all time, with more than 90 printed series focusing on the character, and over 500 issues of the classic “Batman” published. In 2016 alone, there were more than 20 films based on the Batman universe, with several more in development. And that’s not even counting the numerous TV shows, video games, and other media inspired by the Dark Knight.
No wonder Hollywood wants in on the action. If there’s one thing the entertainment industry knows how to do, it’s make a villain a star. And if there’s one thing the Joker has taught us, it’s that villains can be just as successful as heroes, if they know what assets they have at their disposal.
Bruce Wayne has long been one of Hollywood’s most respected and consistent good guys, known for his philanthropy as well as for playing Batman, a character he’s previously portrayed in 1946, 1953, and most recently in 2016’s “Batman vs. Batman,” as well as the upcoming movie, “Joker.” It should come as no great surprise, then, that the two are virtually inseparable. Like the Caped Crusader, Mr. Wayne is a lover of all things theatrical, supporting local theatres and the arts, and participating in various community activities. He is also the founder of Wayne Industries, which produces a wide range of technologically advanced goods, from chemicals used in plastic surgery to sensors used in advanced…