Batman Minus Batman

I am not a big comic book… guy, or whatever. There are a few I quite enjoy, but for the most part, they don’t particularly interest me. However, I have  a rather long-standing infatuation with one Bat-man. To be more precise, the villains of Batman. Joker, despite having no backstory, and rarely having any clear motivation, is pretty much the perfect villain. The more accurate statement would be that it is because of those things that he is such a perfect villain. He gets to be evil for the sake of being evil.

Except, what if he wasn’t?

It’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. What if the touchstone of the Batman mythos, namely the death of his parents, never happened? The Joker himself said he needs Batman, someone to be in conflict with. But if his parents never die, is there a Batman? And if not, what does the individual we know as the Joker do? Does he take a different route? Even taking up Batman’s mantle as the defender ‘Gotham needs’?

If Batman’s parents never die, then Thomas Wayne’s efforts to clean up Gotham continue. Maybe they work, maybe they don’t. But let’s see what could happen.

Let’s suppose that Wayne and the Joker knew each other, from before. What if they were in a war together as younger men, maybe even knowing each other from Gotham previously? Or perhaps Wayne tells him of the state Gotham is in. Let’s suppose Joker is captured- a pilot, perhaps? Joker is good callsign- where he is given the signature Glasgow smile.  Instead of leading him to evil, though, when he is freed, he reunites with Wayne.

This could come in a variety of ways. Wayne is set up, Wayne enterprises is running smoothly, and he is trying to clean up Gotham. Joker returns a war hero, and goes to work for Wayne. Or returns as so many veterans, forgotten, on the streets, begging, when Wayne comes across him? Or (my favorite), he tries to mug the Wayne family outside of the theater when young Bruce is scared. Wayne recognizes him, and takes him in, helping him get clean.

Whatever the case, Wayne and the Joker concoct a plan to clean up Gotham, using Wayne’s resources and the Joker’s face and non-existence (perhaps the government mucked something up? I know, THAT is way out there) to craft a super-hero identity.

From there, anything could happen.

This has been the latest installment of Random Crap Dean Thinks About. Thank you for indulging me.

DESR

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One thought on “Batman Minus Batman

  1. agadudes says:

    Interesting thesis, though as a Batman fan and comic book nerd, Joker does have a motivation. The interpretation of Nolan for Joker was good but inaccurate to canon. Joker was a Comedian you see, and there would be no Joker if there was no Batman. I suggest getting intimate with Alan Moore for this reference.
    And as for the Wayne murders, a Batman would still appear though it wouldn’t be Bruce Wayne if the mugging didn’t happen. I refer to Frank Miller for this reference. The crime bosses would still go to war, escalate the power struggle and the need for something greater than the law would emerge. As another perspective, the recent Flashpoint story will be the argument for this.
    Simply put, I encourage you to read the comics, because you seem to be interested on the topic and could put some congruence to your thoughts on the popular culture phenomenon that is Batman.

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