What is The Joker’s Real Name?
During the Darkseid War story arc, under the protective watch of the Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, Batman sits down in the Mobius Chair. This chair is a vehicle of sorts that has access to all of the knowledge in the multiverse. Batman is the greatest detective in the Justice League, so he has more than his fair share of practice asking questions. Not just good questions, but the right questions. He needed to know that the Mobius Chair could reliably answer one burning question in his mind, so he conducted a quick test.
First, he asked the Mobius chair who killed his parents. The Mobius Chair correctly answered “Joe Chill.” Satisfied with its ability to discern such a minuscule secret within a multiverse of information, Batman asks perhaps the biggest mystery in all of DC Comics.
The answer might be more complicated than it seems. After all, the Mobius Chair did insist that there were three Jokers.
In the prime universe DC Comics, no official name has ever been given for The Joker. However, DC did debut an alternate universe series called Batman: Curse of the White Knight. It was one of the first graphic novels published under their Black Label imprint, which tells stories that are stand-alone and made for mature audience. That’s how Batman: Curse of the White Knight opens with such a dark moment for Batman.
The Joker is meandering through the city, and Batman chases him with a vengeance. When he finds The Joker, he corners him into an alley, and beats him to a pulp. Batgirl and Nightwing try to stop him, or at least to calm him down. He was ruthless. He was frightening. And he was moments from crossing the line and killing The Joker.
Surprisingly, The Joker didn’t fight back. He simply insisted that Batman was the true villain of Gotham. The Joker would be the real hero of Gotham if he only took his medication! When The Joker holds up a bottle of medicine, Batman doesn’t hesitate to force feed him the pills and whisk him away to Arkham Asylum.
With the whole interaction secretly caught on camera and leaked to the media, the GCPD decided that Batman was officially too dangerous to be free, and he was arrested. The Joker, suddenly medicated and sane, was able to convince the GCPD that he was wrongfully imprisoned as he was beaten by a vigilante. He also reveals his real name: Jack Napier.
Napier spends all of his efforts revealing how Batman’s false heroics actually only lead to creator corruption in Gotham City. He works diligently to save Gotham from its turmoil until the effects of the pills finally wear off, and he becomes The Joker once again.
In Todd Phillips’ film Joker, we get to see the award winning performance of Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck. Audiences saw the troubled comedian wannabe unravel as he simply tried to hold on to reality. Along the way, we learned that his mother, Penny Fleck, believed that she had a love affair with her old employer, Thomas Wayne. She believed that Thomas Wayne was Arthur’s father.
Was her fantasy true? It’s uncertain. What is certain is that after her grand claims, she was taken to a mental institution. Arthur Fleck also suffered for years in an institution just like it. When his therapy sessions ended, it seemed he was more and more unstable. He tried to break into the Wayne Manor, and even met a young Bruce Wayne. All throughout the film, it seemed that he was ready to snap!
Instead of reverse-discovering The Joker’s identity, we got to watch Arthur Fleck discover and form his new identity as The Joker. Perhaps Arthur Fleck is his real name.
Or perhaps The Joker is just one of the many people who were inspired by Arthur. After all, at the end of the film, it seems everyone is smiling along with him!
Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska
The TV series Gotham explored the origins of Bruce Wayne and all of his Rogues Gallery. The show was keen on revealing the shift of power. The Falcone and Moroni mob families eventually gave way to villains like The Riddler, The Penguin, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, and more. And yet, the most interesting characters of all appeared to play different interpretations of the fan-favorite villain, The Joker.
Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska were twins who grew up in a circus, not unlike Dick Grayson. But where Jeremiah wanted to pursue science, it seemed that Jerome was more interested in pursuing violence. Jerome was perfectly chaotic and terrible, and even went out of his way to bond with Bruce Wayne. After all, who wouldn’t want to meet the richest boy in town?
Jerome wreaked havoc in Gotham for quite some time before poisoning Jeremiah with his own special toxin that turned him completely insane. Then, even more intelligent and even more dangerous, Jeremiah found a way to tear Gotham apart from the inside out.
The twins were both played by the same actor. Fans loved seeing so many different versions of The Joker on one show, as each interoperation offered something novel. Both Jerome and Jeremiah were their own special brand of terrifying.
No One Can Ever Know
The followup to the Darkseid War story arc was the series Batman: Three Jokers. It implied that there was always more than one Clown Prince of Crime. It seemed that one of The Joker’s actually created the other two! Unfortunately, it never revealed which was which.
What it did reveal is that Batman has actually always known the real name of The Joker. He learned it after a week. He learned it when he found out that The Joker had a family, and so, in order to keep his family safe, he helped them fake their deaths. And to make sure that they get to live their life in peace, he keeps The Joker’s name a secret.
He wouldn’t even tell Alfred. It seems that that is a secret that he will take to the grave.
What do you think The Joker‘s real name is? Have you heard any other theories? Do you believe his backstory? Or do you prefer an origin that’s multiple choice?
Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!