Batman: we may finally know the true identity of the Joker

The identity of the Joker, Batman’s worst enemy, is quite unclear. The famous antagonist has many different origins and has had many names over time. The authors offered him a multitude of origins, so much so that his true genesis is not known to anyone. But volume 5 of Flashpoint Beyond may have just lifted the lid on the Joker’s uncertain origins by revealing his real name to readers.

The Joker and his host of origins

It is extremely difficult to determine the true origins of the Joker. Basically, the character is created in 1940 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. Destined to become Batman’s worst enemy, the Prince of Crime then shone for more than 80 years in almost all media: comics of course, but also films, series, video games, etc. Even today, it is undoubtedly the most famous antagonist in comic book history. As for its origins, there are a multitude of them, and if they are extremely varied, they are undoubtedly also the most disturbing in all the history of comics.

The Joker’s first origin story occurs in 1951, 11 years after the creation of the character. It’s Bill Finger who imagines his alter-ego Red Hood. In this story, the Joker is not yet the Prince of Crime, nor even a psychopathic killer. At that time it was a little thug who wears a red helmet and calls himself Red Hood. As he fights Batman, he falls into a vat of acid and despite himself becomes the terrible Joker. So Batman inadvertently created his own worst enemy. This story is undoubtedly the most famous origin story of the character and the one that comes up most often on the table, especially thanks to the comics. The Killing Joke (1988) by Alan Moore. At this time, the character does not yet have a name.

But the origins of the Joker are numerous. Some stories describe him as a psychopathic killer since childhood who murdered his parentsothers like a small robber who started to have a hatred against Batman, others like a failed actorstill others portray it outright as the personification of the Devil himself. Recently, the authors even imagined a story where the Joker has always existed, and whose identity is carried by three different people at the same time. In short, stories there are, and a lot.

But the first name to be given to the Joker is finally Jack. In any case, it is the one that comes up most often. For example, in the Batman of Tim Burton, Batman’s nemesis, played by Jack Nicholsonis called Jack Napier. A name that will be regularly used, especially in comics Batman Confidential (2007) by Michael Green. The latter reuses the name of Jack to address the origins of the Joker.

The character nevertheless carried other appellations like that of Arthur Fleck, the failed comedian played by Joaquin Phoenix in Joker by Todd Phillips. Another of his incarnations suggests that the Joker was originally called Clancharlie, before being renamed Gwynplainethe man who laughs, because of his visible scars.

In short, this is a character who has had many names. And with all these different origins and surnames, it becomes difficult to see clearly in the genesis of the Joker. So much so that even his name is unknown…

A new identity

The comics Flashpoint Beyond #5 has just proposed to readers a whole new name and new origins to the Joker. Written by Geoff Johns, Jeremy Adams and Tim Sheridan this series of comics explores a universe in which Thomas Wayne becomes Batman after the death of his son. It then evolves into a totally crazy alternate timeline. After helping Flash restore the time continuum, Thomas Wayne finds himself thrown into a reality known as Flash point.

In this reality, the name of Batman’s greatest enemy is revealed to be Jack Oswald White. In the previous issue of the saga, readers learn that Martha Wayne took over from the Joker after his disappearance. In the universe flash point, Thomas’ wife becomes the new incarnation of the Joker, after descending into madness over the death of her son Bruce. Batman interrogates Martha at Arkham Asylum and learns that the Joker’s identity was actually Jack Oswald White.

It should of course be made clear that the version of the Joker that Martha is referring to is from an alternate universe. Which means that The real name of the Prince of Crime in the classic DC Universe is still unknown. That said, many of the characters in Flashpoint Beyond share the same name as their counterparts on Earth-Prime. Thus, this name gives some indication of who the Joker is in classic DC continuity. Thereby, the evil clown might actually be called Jack Oswald White.

Batman: we may finally know the true identity of the Joker