What’s In A Name?

So DC Comics has decided to go ahead and reveal The Jokers’ “true name” in the upcoming Justice League #50. In issue #42, Batman sat in the Mobius Chair and was granted all the knowledge in the universe. He asks what The Joker’s real name is and was definitely surprised by the answer by uttering “No, that’s not possible”. Before I get to why I think it’s a bad move (something DC seems to be doing a lot of), let me get something obvious out of the way first: this is obviously being done to garner more attention to the character as he will be returning to the big screen in Suicide Squad.

 

"I'm laughing at your stupid idea!"

“I’m laughing at your stupid idea!”

 

 

While getting eyes on a character that is soon to be seen by the masses is nothing we haven’t witnessed a billion times before, it’s the mishandling that’s got me (and plenty of you) holding your head in shame at DC.

Remember the late 80’s and most of the 90’s in comics? No I’m not talking about the variant cover fiasco, the multiple pouches on utility belts, some of the coolest stories for our favorite characters or even the big comic bust that nearly killed the market. During the aforementioned timeframe, there was a Marvel character who was EVERYWHERE. He was on every comic cover, in every story, all over toy aisles and even part of a Pizza Hut promotion. He was one of, if not the most popular character for comics in a very long time. That guy is none other than Wolverine.

 

If you were reading comics or even Wizard Magazine back in those days, you know what I’m talking about. Wolverine was a kick-ass take no names kind of guy with something that not many characters in comics could say they had: an unknown history. That is part of what made him so damn cool. The rebel with no background, just plenty of false memory implants to keep the readers wondering what was what and coming back every issue. Not including that “Wolverine’s nose has suddenly disappeared” era, one thing that’s always remained constant with that character was that us readers had no idea who he really was and we liked it that way. Then in November of 2001, Marvel decided to change that with the release of the 6-issue mini-series, Origin.

 

 

 

The Beginning of the End

The Beginning of the End

Sure, the mini-series sold like gangbusters but by the end of it, readers were left wondering why it was released in the first place. Revealing his backstory took away from the mystery of who the character was and the guessing game that kept readers interested. In my honest opinion, the character hasn’t been the same since.

The big question here is, “Do they need to”? With a big 50th issue looming, they need something big and this time around, The Joker’s identity is it. They know it will definitely sell (I’m going to buy a copy so their plan is working) and it will definitely create shock and have people talking (you’re reading this blog, aren’t you?).

I personally think that it’ll take away from the mystique that surrounds the character. Sure, he’s had a few origin stories that may or may not have been true but that’s part of the appeal. Hell, the character has even said it himself!

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By the way, since we are on the topic of The Joker and his true identity, I believe Jared Leto’s portrayal is not of The Joker but of Jason Todd or one of the Robins in general. I believe that is one of the other reasons DC has decided to go this route with him in the comics as his origin will play a factor this summer on the big screen. I’m calling it first so when it happens, you can remember that I called it on April 13, 2016!

To wrap this up, my fear is that The Joker may end up like Wolverine…a shell of his former selfs popularity. I hope I’m wrong.

 

 

 

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