The relationship between Batman and The Joker

So I just finished the Killing Joke, and it got me thinking, how do Batman and the Joker really feel about eachother? Now I haven't read many comics apart from a few graphic novels so it may already have been answered, but what if?

Joker seems to hint at the fact that Batman is just as crazy as he is, though Batman usually denies it.

Like at the end of Arkham City, when

Also, it raises the question whether or not he is truly insane, or if he is just putting it all on.

So anyway comic buffs, enlighten me. Is there a deeper meaning?

Well if you haven't seen it already but Batman and Joker are like Yin and Yang as they are competely oppersite to each other (with a few stuff in common). It pretty much without Joker, there's no Batman and vice versa. Yes I know about the ending to that game but there is no comic or game without him so far.

If you really want a great Batman / Joker read check out the Flashpoint: Batman story. It's an alternative take on the two but an AMAZING story! Probably my favorite read for all of last year.

I also have background knowledge of the relationship between batman and the joker, but it is one I greatly enjoy.

I love the constant taunting and the idea that maybe they are both mad but each with their own brand of crazy.

Clearly they were brothers separated at birth.

karcentric:
Clearly they were brothers separated at birth.

Alfred prolly would have told him, but I can't help thinking that's an amazing idea.

Dragonclaw:
If you really want a great Batman / Joker read check out the Flashpoint: Batman story. It's an alternative take on the two but an AMAZING story! Probably my favorite read for all of last year.

That was an excellent story, no doubt. One of the best twists of all time. That said, really not applicable regarding this particular topic... just a fun read.

OT: The answer is that it depends on who's writing them, though I would say that on the whole Joker projects on to Batman a lot more meaning than Batman projects onto Joker. There are multiple points in Batman continuity in which Joker completely defines himself around Batman, because to Joker it's all a game, and without Batman there would be no game to play.

Batman, on the other hand, tends to just view Joker as an insane man. The reason he won't kill Joker isn't because he needs him to define himself, but because he follows a deontological system of morality (like Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern, and unlike Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the current Robin, who are more utilitarian). Batman simply won't kill people, central to his character, since he decided not to kill the man who killed his parents, is a belief that human life is not to be taken but is to be preserved. It's an absolute rule, and even if the indirect action of his not killing the Joker is that more people die, he still has to save him because he can't be directly responsible for causing death.

EDIT: Now that I think about it though, there is one story which implies that Batman needs Joker. That would be Batman: Odyssey. But it's also worth noting that Odyssey probably isn't cannon and definitely isn't sane. Seriously, Batman: Odyssey is fruity loops with a side order of nuts and bananas.

karcentric:
Clearly they were brothers separated at birth.

EHKOS:
Alfred prolly would have told him, but I can't help thinking that's an amazing idea.

Actually...

Also, if you like the idea of that sort of Batman narrative, you really owe it to yourself to check out the aforementioned alternate universe Flashpoint: Batman miniseries. I'm not gonna risk spoiling that one, and it's not that plot... but trust me, you'll find the story to have been more than worth reading.

Scarim Coral:
Well if you haven't seen it already but Batman and Joker are like Yin and Yang as they are competely oppersite to each other (with a few stuff in common). It pretty much without Joker, there's no Batman and vice versa. Yes I know about the ending to that game but there is no comic or game without him so far.

That game ending was just to promote the notion that Mark Hamill's Joker was gone.

It was more poetic license than anything else.

Otherwise you are spot on.

Kpt._Rob:

OT: The answer is that it depends on who's writing them, though I would say that on the whole Joker projects on to Batman a lot more meaning than Batman projects onto Joker. There are multiple points in Batman continuity in which Joker completely defines himself around Batman, because to Joker it's all a game, and without Batman there would be no game to play.

Batman, on the other hand, tends to just view Joker as an insane man. The reason he won't kill Joker isn't because he needs him to define himself, but because he follows a deontological system of morality (like Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern, and unlike Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the current Robin, who are more utilitarian). Batman simply won't kill people, central to his character, since he decided not to kill the man who killed his parents, is a belief that human life is not to be taken but is to be preserved. It's an absolute rule, and even if the indirect action of his not killing the Joker is that more people die, he still has to save him because he can't be directly responsible for causing death.

Pretty much 100% this.

Stories like Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke and a few others show that Joke "needs" Batman in order to have any motivation for his psychopathic activity. Other stories like "Last Laugh" play it more like he needs attention "period."

Batman however doesn't think of Joker as anything more than another crazy in a city of crazies.

DeimosMasque:

Stories like Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke and a few others show that Joke "needs" Batman in order to have any motivation for his psychopathic activity.

Emperor Joker delved into that same idea.

Not really a fan of Emperor Joker (or Last Laugh actually) so I didn't cite it. Only cited Last Laugh because it was the only one I could think of as a "any sort of attention is good" example.

OH! After Dick Grayson took up the cowl Joker stopped being Joker and even helped the Grayson Batman solve a case using a new costumed identity that even Grayson didn't pick up until far into the story.

Not sure, but the internet has some pretty interesting ideas about the nature of their relationship. Incidentally, you might want to turn safe search on if you ever decide to image search "Batman and Joker".

EHKOS:

karcentric:
Clearly they were brothers separated at birth.

Alfred prolly would have told him, but I can't help thinking that's an amazing idea.

I just made that up, but hey maybe there is something like that linking them.

I like to go with the relationship as laid out at the end of Dark Knight (the movie). Batman thinks that The Joker is nothing but a brilliantly insane menace to society who should be forever locked up behind bars. But Joker spells it out very well, I think: "You won't kill me because of some misguided moral code. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun."

He also hints at this when Batman is interrogating him at the police department.

Batman: "Why do you want to kill me?"
Joker: "I don't want to kill you! What would I do WITHOUT you? Go back to ripping off mob bosses?"

To Joker, it's all just one big game...all just for some good laughs. Take away Batman and you take away his greatest source of fun and pleasure in the world.

And then there's Flashpoint.


"This is an alternate universe where Bruce Wayne died instead of his parents, causing his father Thomas Wayne to become Batman and his mother Martha to go insane and become the Joker." (art by Dave Johnson, found via tumblr)

Admittedly, not the usual incarnation of either character, but it certainly speaks to the strength of their relationship.

Sean Hollyman:
Joker seems to hint at the fact that Batman is just as crazy as he is, though Batman usually denies it.

RJ 17:
I like to go with the relationship as laid out at the end of Dark Knight (the movie). Batman thinks that The Joker is nothing but a brilliantly insane menace to society who should be forever locked up behind bars. But Joker spells it out very well, I think: "You won't kill me because of some misguided moral code. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun."

He also hints at this when Batman is interrogating him at the police department.

Batman: "Why do you want to kill me?"
Joker: "I don't want to kill you! What would I do WITHOUT you? Go back to ripping off mob bosses?"

To Joker, it's all just one big game...all just for some good laughs. Take away Batman and you take away his greatest source of fun and pleasure in the world.

OP, I'm taking that explanation and saying that not only does Joker think it's a big game, he wants to shake things up. He pretty much says in TDK that "this city deserves a better class of criminal." Look as he does this in TDK all from screwing the mob to Dent's transformation to Two-Face. He also serves as Batman's chaotic counterpart; ergo, he tries to prove that deep down, Batman is as insane as Joker were it not for his strict no killing code.

And then there's the obvious "Batman's order and Joker's chaos" in TDK.

I think I liked the Batman Beyond thing the best. You can probably find it somewhere, it's Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

It really delves into the relationship between the two, and it is Mark Hamill, which makes it super legit :P

Kpt._Rob:

Dragonclaw:
If you really want a great Batman / Joker read check out the Flashpoint: Batman story. It's an alternative take on the two but an AMAZING story! Probably my favorite read for all of last year.

That was an excellent story, no doubt. One of the best twists of all time. That said, really not applicable regarding this particular topic... just a fun read.

OT: The answer is that it depends on who's writing them, though I would say that on the whole Joker projects on to Batman a lot more meaning than Batman projects onto Joker. There are multiple points in Batman continuity in which Joker completely defines himself around Batman, because to Joker it's all a game, and without Batman there would be no game to play.

Batman, on the other hand, tends to just view Joker as an insane man. The reason he won't kill Joker isn't because he needs him to define himself, but because he follows a deontological system of morality (like Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern, and unlike Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the current Robin, who are more utilitarian). Batman simply won't kill people, central to his character, since he decided not to kill the man who killed his parents, is a belief that human life is not to be taken but is to be preserved. It's an absolute rule, and even if the indirect action of his not killing the Joker is that more people die, he still has to save him because he can't be directly responsible for causing death.

EDIT: Now that I think about it though, there is one story which implies that Batman needs Joker. That would be Batman: Odyssey. But it's also worth noting that Odyssey probably isn't cannon and definitely isn't sane. Seriously, Batman: Odyssey is fruity loops with a side order of nuts and bananas.

I actually find this quite interesting, this idea is explored in Under the Red Hood as well

Noetherian:
And then there's Flashpoint.


"This is an alternate universe where Bruce Wayne died instead of his parents, causing his father Thomas Wayne to become Batman and his mother Martha to go insane and become the Joker." (art by Dave Johnson, found via tumblr)

Admittedly, not the usual incarnation of either character, but it certainly speaks to the strength of their relationship.

That is an interesting take.

Why do I find it so funny that even Batman's mother has an impressive chin?

I also just finished reading The Killing Joke. It seems that some Batman writers like to portray the idea that Batman and the Joker are both crazy.With Batman channeling his insanity into a helpful pursuit. Where as the Joker revels in his insanity, which is why he'll never be "cured". He doesn't want to be cured.

madseverus:

Kpt._Rob:

Dragonclaw:
If you really want a great Batman / Joker read check out the Flashpoint: Batman story. It's an alternative take on the two but an AMAZING story! Probably my favorite read for all of last year.

That was an excellent story, no doubt. One of the best twists of all time. That said, really not applicable regarding this particular topic... just a fun read.

OT: The answer is that it depends on who's writing them, though I would say that on the whole Joker projects on to Batman a lot more meaning than Batman projects onto Joker. There are multiple points in Batman continuity in which Joker completely defines himself around Batman, because to Joker it's all a game, and without Batman there would be no game to play.

Batman, on the other hand, tends to just view Joker as an insane man. The reason he won't kill Joker isn't because he needs him to define himself, but because he follows a deontological system of morality (like Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern, and unlike Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the current Robin, who are more utilitarian). Batman simply won't kill people, central to his character, since he decided not to kill the man who killed his parents, is a belief that human life is not to be taken but is to be preserved. It's an absolute rule, and even if the indirect action of his not killing the Joker is that more people die, he still has to save him because he can't be directly responsible for causing death.

EDIT: Now that I think about it though, there is one story which implies that Batman needs Joker. That would be Batman: Odyssey. But it's also worth noting that Odyssey probably isn't cannon and definitely isn't sane. Seriously, Batman: Odyssey is fruity loops with a side order of nuts and bananas.

I actually find this quite interesting, this idea is explored in Under the Red Hood as well

Yeah, it's a plot device that makes for a really interesting story. I've always felt the best version of the story though was in Superman: Sacrifice when...

I don't have much of an opinion on the subject, but I do believe that this is somewhat relevant.

I have a question that kinda references Batman. He's kinda known for not killing any of his enemies, but isn't that true of most heroes? I know there are the villains that can't be killed, but what heroes have no problem killing their enemies?

Punisher notwithstanding...

LetalisK:
I have a question that kinda references Batman. He's kinda known for not killing any of his enemies, but isn't that true of most heroes? I know there are the villains that can't be killed, but what heroes have no problem killing their enemies?

Punisher notwithstanding...

Not many, really, though with Batman, it's shown to be a very strict moral code.

He'll go so far as to endangering or sacrificing himself rather than killing someone.
It's been explained already, but that's central to Batman's character and what separates him from the villains he faces.
The same can be said for really any superhero who abides by a similar morality but Batman's is possibly the most well known and recognised.

Now, as for other heroes who have no issue killing another, I can't really think of any except for certain members of the X-Men. And I think Wonder Woman killed a few people but I never read her comics much.

If anyone ever did, they're usually presented one of two ways, that I've seen. The first being that they fall closer to the antihero spectrum (see virtually every character from Watchmen, the newest Robin, the main protagonists of the Sin City books or Catwoman). And the second where it's presented as horribly traumatic for the hero in question.

Spider Man, for instance is rarely shown to kill someone but the few times I remember he did, a central plot point surrounding it is that he's left traumatised over the murder or, at the very least, regrets killing them.

Just my take.

Julianking93:

LetalisK:
I have a question that kinda references Batman. He's kinda known for not killing any of his enemies, but isn't that true of most heroes? I know there are the villains that can't be killed, but what heroes have no problem killing their enemies?

Punisher notwithstanding...

Not many, really, though with Batman, it's shown to be a very strict moral code.

He'll go so far as to endangering or sacrificing himself rather than killing someone.
It's been explained already, but that's central to Batman's character and what separates him from the villains he faces.
The same can be said for really any superhero who abides by a similar morality but Batman's is possibly the most well known and recognised.

Now, as for other heroes who have no issue killing another, I can't really think of any except for certain members of the X-Men. And I think Wonder Woman killed a few people but I never read her comics much.

If anyone ever did, they're usually presented one of two ways, that I've seen. The first being that they fall closer to the antihero spectrum (see virtually every character from Watchmen, the newest Robin, the main protagonists of the Sin City books or Catwoman). And the second where it's presented as horribly traumatic for the hero in question.

Spider Man, for instance is rarely shown to kill someone but the few times I remember he did, a central plot point surrounding it is that he's left traumatised over the murder or, at the very least, regrets killing them.

Just my take.

And I guess in the meta it makes sense that heroes don't kill the villains since it would be too taxing to come up with completely new villains all the time since you obviously can't reuse the other ones.

Sean Hollyman:
So I just finished the Killing Joke, and it got me thinking, how do Batman and the Joker really feel about eachother?

Well, the Joker recognizes Batman as his ultimate opposite.
Batman deals with tons of maniacs and villains and Joker is one of them. Top class, but ONLY one of them.
I believe Batman would do great without the Joker, but the opposite... i'm not so sure.

Sean Hollyman:

Also, it raises the question whether or not he is truly insane, or if he is just putting it all on.

It really comes down to understanding what "insanity" is. I think sometimes that the Joker is beyond madness.

And while at that - read Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns". Really. It answers the questions you're asking here now. Have fun, it's worth it.

JesterRaiin:

Sean Hollyman:
So I just finished the Killing Joke, and it got me thinking, how do Batman and the Joker really feel about eachother?

Well, the Joker recognizes Batman as his ultimate opposite.
Batman deals with tons of maniacs and villains and Joker is one of them. Top class, but ONLY one of them.
I believe Batman would do great without the Joker, but the opposite... i'm not so sure.

Sean Hollyman:

Also, it raises the question whether or not he is truly insane, or if he is just putting it all on.

It really comes down to understanding what "insanity" is. I think sometimes that the Joker is beyond madness.

And while at that - read Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns". Really. It answers the questions you're asking here now. Have fun, it's worth it.

Oh I have read it, I was actually quite shocked when he

Batman and the Joker are pretty much polar opposites, and opposites attract. The Joker defines himself by the Batman (e.g. in The Dark Knight Returns, he comes out of his catatonia, coincidentally when Batman comes out of his retirement), and likes to play with pushing his boundaries, to see how far he'll bend the rules, because to him, "the only way to live is without rules". That's why he's even willing to be killed by Batman, because it means that he would've proven himself right. If that isn't psychopathic, I don't know what is. The Joker is clearly batshit insane.

But what they have in common is that both of them are violent and psychologically unstable. Batman's not as unstable as the Joker, but still unstable nonetheless. I think there have been numerous adaptations that argue that Batman's actually bad for Gotham City, even though he strives to do so much good for it. But, at the end of the day, he is just an orphan who dresses up as a bat to take out his anger over his parents' deaths on the criminals that have plagued "his city". That's another thing lending evidence towards the "Batman's actually insane" theory: he can't stop being Batman. When he's not Batman, he has a mental breakdown and becomes a recluse.

Talking of which, my mum's going to get me Year One and The Killing Joke as a reward for passing my exams. Yay!

 

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