|Who can forget Joker donning Wonder Woman’s tiara on the delicious eye-popping cover of the August 2004 edition of Wonder Woman?|
I adore a queer villain and Batman’s nemesis The Joker - introduced in Batman #1 (Spring 1940) and created by legendary American comic book artist Jerry Robinson who died on December 8 at the age of 89 - has to be the most fabulous villain of them all.
But make no mistake: The Joker is a cocksucker and the cock our lavender zoot-suited bitch most wants to suck is Batman’s.
The Joker creator Jerry Robinson at the 2008
Comic Con International in San Diego (Photo
By Dan Chusid via Wkipedia)
To which I can only reply, "Why do you insist that everybody must be straight?"
I mostly blame Hollywood for this because Tinsel Town has helped make life a living hell for real and imagined gay people.
Never mind that the tightly wound closets of the world’s most famous matinée idols continue to reinforce the shame of being gay – a homophobic lie that directly affects the lives of every single homo on this planet.
No, when homosexuality itself isn’t used as the root of a villain’s psychosis, then gay life is otherwise erased.
We will likely never witness the true love lives of such gay people as Alexander the Great, Abraham Lincoln and Florence Nightingale on the big screen.
Don’t believe me?
Take the life story of famed Hungarian Count Laszlo Almasy in director Anthony Minghella’s 1997 blockbuster The English Patient. Like the Michael Ondaatje novel it’s based on, the Oscar-winning film is a lie: The real-life Count was a gay man passionately in love with a German officer whom he tried to help avoid going to the Russian front.
|Jack Nicholson as Joker|
So let’s cut the crap and call a spade a spade: It isn’t homosexuality that drives people to kill, it is the brutal homophobia of straight people that drives many gay killers nuts.
Except comic book artist Jerry Robinson's Joker has always been queer (although my friend, famed playwright and comic-book buff Brad Fraser makes a good case for The Joker being asexual.)
Today, in Hollywood, if you want your audience to instantly recognize a bigoted southern sheriff, all you have to do is portray him as a tobacco-spitting, N-word-using caricature.
This same kind of shorthand was also used to portray The Joker. Batman creator Bob Kane and his early successors used Joker’s appearance, from his ruby-red lips to his lavender zoot suit, as code for "faggot," which in those days was a term interchangeable with "criminal."
This is offensive in and of itself. But at the end of the day I don’t have problems with celluloid villains being queer, especially when they’re as entertaining as our Joker, who by the time Frank Miller redefined Batman in 1986 in The Dark Knight Returns, had grown into a, well, fully fleshed character.
"You know, you look so pretty when you’re mad!" Joker cackles to a fellow inmate in the 1989 graphic novel Arkham Asylum. "Kiss me, Charlie! Ravish me! But no tongues, ya hear? Not on our first date."
|Heath Ledger as Joker|
Also in Arkham Asylum, Joker tries to stick his fingers up Batman’s ass through his cape. Then there is Joker’s unnamed boyfriend in Devil’s Advocate and Joker even goes into detail about the sexual nature of murder in Dark Detective.
There is the more recent introduction of Joker’s fag hag Harley Quinn in Joker’s Favor because the script called for a female stripper at a police party, a role The Joker was originally supposed to do in drag.
And while we are on the subject of drag, who can forget Joker donning Wonder Woman’s tiara on the delicious eye-popping cover of the August 2004 edition of Wonder Woman?
I am not offended by a queer villain. I am offended that straight people want to make Joker straight.
So I had little hope that Heath Ledger’s sociopathic Joker in director Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film The Dark Knight would be sexually attracted to Batman.
But when I saw the film I discovered that – wonder of wonders – Joker is, kinda.
In a monumental role that rivals Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, Ledger’s Joker turns to the camera and says of his beloved Dark Knight, "He completes me."
End note: Jerry Robinson, the famed comic-book pioneer best-known by fans for creating The Joker, Two-Face and Robin the Boy Wonder, and also praised for his work as a comics historian and creator rights advocate, died at age 89 on December 8, 2011. Robinson reportedly died in his sleep. RIP.