The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book super-villain appearing in publications by DC Comics. The character was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, and first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring 1940). As the archenemy of the superhero Batman, the Joker has subsequently appeared in television programs, films, games, and on a variety of merchandise. The credit for creating the character is disputed, with both Kane and Robinson claiming responsibility for the Joker's design, but acknowledging Finger's writing contribution.
Throughout his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a highly intelligent, master criminal. Originally introduced as a psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the character became a goofy prankster in the late 1950s in response to the regulation of the Comics Code Authority, before returning to his darker roots in the early 1970s. As Batman's nemesis, Joker has been a part of many of the defining stories of that character, including the paralysis of Batman's ally Batgirl, and the murder of Jason Todd, Batman's ward and the second Robin. Throughout the Joker's long history, there have been several different origin tales, but the most common has falling into a tank of chemical waste, which bleaches his skin white and turns his hair green and his lips bright red. He has been repeatedly analyzed by critics as the perfect adversary for Batman; their long, dynamic relationship often parallels the concept of yin and yang.
As one of the most iconic and recognized villains in popular media, the Joker was ranked #1 on Wizard's list of the 100 Greatest Villains of All Time. He was also named #2 on IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time List, was ranked #8 on the Greatest Comic Book Characters in History list by Empire (being the highest ranking villain on the list) and was listed as the fifth Greatest Comic Book Character Ever in Wizard magazine's 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of all Time list, also the highest villain on the list. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked the Joker at number 30. TV Guide included Caesar Romero's interpretation of the character in a 2013 list of the "60 nastiest villains of all time".
The Joker has appeared as an adversary for Batman across a wide spectrum of media in both live-action and animated incarnations, including the 1960s Batman television series where he is portrayed by Cesar Romero, and in film by Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989), and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008), for which Ledger posthumously earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Mark Hamill, Brent Spiner and Michael Emerson, among many others, have voiced the character in animation.
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