Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lady Joker Week: Drag Clown

Hello, nurse.

The task of writing the Joker has changed hands dozens of times over the past seventy years, and with each new creative team comes a different take on the clown's characterization, even if that take is only slightly altered from its predecessor.  Since his creation, the Joker has been a murderous psychopath, a harmless prankster, and even a scowling, humorless villain.  But one thing about the Joker has always remained consistent: he has no respect for boundaries, be it for major legal restrictions such as murder and reckless endangerment, or for far more harmless activities such as ignoring culturally-based gender binaries.

The most well-known instance of the Joker's cross-dressing was provided in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, in which the Joker goes "in incognito" as a redheaded nurse in Gotham General Hospital:

Redefining "fire crotch."
Given that his choice of disguise would fool absolutely no one who stopped to take a closer look, and that in the mass panic to escape the hospital, the clown probably could have thrown on something that didn't require a wig and a mask to complete the ensemble, it's pretty clear that the Joker decided to play nurse simply because he wanted to - and dressing in drag to visit the man with a deceased fiance was probably just the icing on the cake.  The movie, unlike so many others featuring drag, thankfully did not point to the cross-dressing as if to say "Do you see how messed up this character is?  He's in a dress!  That's messed up!," but rather let the Joker's manipulative actions speak for his character, and let the costume simply speak to his sense of style and humor.  The look was iconic that "Nurse Joker" later had a cameo in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows:

Yes, I know.  That's the joke.
The Joker's cross-dressing moments are usually introduced as a paper-thin disguise that nonetheless manages to fool those around him - though this is the universe in which a pair of glasses keep people from recognizing Superman - until he dramatically reveals his true identity.  Another example of these questionable disguises is shown in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, when the Joker infiltrates a group of Amazonian warriors:

Well, that's subtle.
Perhaps the most infamous example of the Joker cross-dressing, however, is an instance that never came to fruition, and one used entirely to violate social norms rather than conceal an identity.  In Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean, the story's portrayal of Batman was intended to critique the 80s' tendency to portray the hero as a violent near-psychopath by painting the Bat as a repressed, neurotic, and sexually frustrated mess.  And what better way to do that than by dressing the Joker up as Madonna?


As Grant Morrison explained in the 15th anniversary annotated script: "...The powers that be didn't go for my take on the Joker's fashion sense.  The original first draft is quoted as: "The main doors of the Asylum are open and the Joker stands on the threshold, posed enticingly, like a calendar cutie.  He is dressed as "Madonna," in a black basque, seamed tights and lace-up stiletto boots (From "Open Your Heart" video)...Pale and emaciated, he should look simply grotesque but standing there, hand on out-thrust hip, he projects an absolute confidence that confers upon him a bizarre kind of attractiveness and sexuality.  It is the attraction of the perverse and the forbidden.  The Joker personifies the irrational dark side of us all."  He appears as 'Madonna' in yet another allusion to our recurring ('Mother') theme.  Also, and more simply, because she has become an instantly recognizable cultural icon of the type which the Joker loves to mock."

The idea was nixed - likewise, the suggestion that the Joker have a beard to symbolize "vagina dentata" never went through - but that didn't stop the clown from crossing as many lines as possible while dressed in traditionally male clothing.

"Loosen up, tight ass!"

What struck me, however, when compiling images for this page, was that the Joker cross-dresses far less frequently than I remembered him doing.  I could only find a handful of images when I seemed to recall many more.  A bit of Googling revealed the reason for my confusion: I was thinking it was the Joker and the Joker only with a non-traditional fashion sense in the Bat-universe, but he's far from the only one.  Harley has appeared in drag:

Where do they even make wigs like that?
The Riddler has tried on Catwoman's clothing:


This is why you never leave your luggage unattended.
The Scarecrow sews dresses for girls he abducts:

That sure looks practical for a life of crime.
 But cross-dressing is - thankfully - far from an activity that only villains engage in.  The Robins, in particular, have a history of gender-bending disguises, be it Dick Grayson:

Robin, the granddaughter Alfred never had.
Putting on a mustache is not a disguise, Bruce.
Here comes the bride!
Or Tim Drake:

Alfred has had way too much practice at this.
Even Bruce Wayne has been known to slip on a dress to fight crime:

I question your choice in wigs, Bruce.
After all, if you're going to be Batman, you had better look impeccable:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lady Joker Week: Harley Quinn and the Harlequins

Harlequin may have been one of Duela Dent's many, many aliases, but there are only so many names to go around to clown-themed characters in comics, and as such Duela is merely one of several DC characters to share the name Harlequin.  Granted, only one other Harlequin besides Duela is at all tied to the Joker, but any time is a good time to shed a little light on an obscure comic character.

Molly Mayne Scott:

The first ever Harlequin was Molly Mayne, a villain of the Green Lantern who first appeared in the 1940s.  Molly was in love with Alan Scott, the first Green Lantern, and committed her crimes solely for his attention. This Harlequin's weapons were a pair of glasses that allowed her to project holograms and fire energy beams, as well as a mandolin with an extending handle. Molly eventually joined forces with the Justice Society of America to aid Alan, and served on government intelligence missions to gain amnesty until she retired.  After Alan's first wife died, he and Molly married.

However, as Molly aged into an old woman while Alan remained youthful, a rift emerged between them.  Molly eventually sold her soul to Neron the demon in exchange for the restoration of her youth.  Her soul remained trapped in the underworld, but her body was rejuvenated and provided with the ability to create nightmares.  Alan Scott, accompanied by the new Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, fought his way through hell to rescue Molly and restore her soul to its body.  Molly aged again, but Alan soon returned himself to his true physical age, allowing the couple to live together in peace.  After their reconciliation, the couple appeared in the Green Lantern event Brightest Day.

Marcie Cooper:

Marcie Cooper was the grandfather of Dan Richards, alias Manhunter, and was recruited in her youth to join the Manhunters, working alongside Molly Mayne Scott.  She dated heroes Northwind and Obsidian, respectively,  allowing her to infiltrate the superhero group Infinity, Inc.  When the Manhunters attacked Earth, Marcie stole Molly's holographic glasses, taking up the moniker Harlequin as she attempted to destroy Infinity, Inc.  Marcie tricked super villain Solomon Grundy into killing the hero Skyman for her, and later gathered Grundy and a number of other villains together to kill the rest of the Infinitors.  But things went south for Harlequin when Grundy realized her manipulation and beat her horribly.  Later Marcie was turned over to the authorities, and has not been seen since, apart from a small cameo appearance.




Unknown Harlequin:
A nameless new Harlequin appeared in issues five and six of Green Lantern Quarterly, battling Alan Scott.  Although this Harlequin has not revealed her identity, she did give her back story: realizing her illusion-casting powers at a young age, she decided it was her destiny to be with Alan Scott as Harlequin Molly Mayne had.  Harlequin eventually attacked Molly, causing Alan to to break free from her illusions and attack her in rage.  Harlequin fled, shouting that Alan had ruined everything before she vanished into thin air.  Harlequin's identity remains as of yet undetermined, though some readers have speculated that she is Marcie Cooper.




Male Harlequin:

In the planning for Infinity, Inc., creators Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway planned to introduce a gay male Harlequin to the team.  As Ordway explained, "Northwind is shown--but at his side (see P. 33) is a new, young, male Harlequin, who Jerry's notes suggest might become "comics' first gay character. Or we could just assume it." Not a bad idea, and maybe we should have played it that way; but we were already going to have two Green Lantern-derived heroes in Infinity, Inc."  As such, the male Harlequin was not used.

Kingdom Come Harlequin/Joker's Daughter:

Joker's Daughter II appeared in the miniseries Kingdom Come, identified by creator Alex Ross as both Joker's Daughter and Harlequin in his annotations for the series.  Unconnected to the Joker, Duela Dent, or the other Harlequins, Ross described her as a "riot girl" and "one of many to follow in the Joker's chaotic style."

Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel):

My love for the Joker was stronger than their madhouse walls. - Harley Quinn
I always wanted my dame in lights. - The Joker
Introduced in "Joker's Favor," a 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn was originally intended as a one-shot character, conceived simply because the writers wanted someone to jump out of a cake and thought that it would be strange to have the Joker perform the stunt (though he ended up doing it anyway).  However, Harley became both a fan favorite and a regular to the series, eventually working her way into the comics as the Joker's sidekick and girlfriend.

Her origins were explained in the comic Mad Love, eventually adapted into an episode of the cartoon series: An ambitious psychologist more concerned with making a name for herself than doing actual work - her thesis was initially rejected until she bedded her adviser - Harleen Quinzel took on more than she could handle in working with the Joker, eventually falling in love with her patient, freeing him from Arkham Asylum, and taking up her own life of crime, sometimes as his gun moll and sometimes as a partner to her other lover, the toxic and beautiful Poison Ivy.  Harley is also a force to be reckoned with in her own right, acknowledged as the villain who has come closest to killing Batman.  She and Ivy recently joined forces with Catwoman in the antihero team Gotham City Sirens, though the relaunch has removed those events from continuity.

Despite Harley's presence in the DC Universe for twelve years this September, reader response to her is still mixed.  Those who watched her in the animated universe tend to love her, while those who have only seen her in comics tend to have a more lackluster response.  Some find her fun, entertaining, tragic, and a breath of fresh air, while others consider her an endorsement of domestic violence, or an irritating bimbo created solely for the purpose of proving that the Joker and Batman weren't having illicit affairs off panel.  And there is much debate over whether or not she truly understands the Joker and he loves her as she loves him, or if she's just a hopeless pawn in his games.

I love Harley Quinn, as all the photos of myself dressed as her at the first ever Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo can attest.  I could argue for hours on all the things that make Harley a worthwhile, meaningful character, but others have done that far more eloquently than I could ever hope.  So instead, have a few pages from the one-shot story Emperor Joker, in which the Joker gains omnipotence and takes control of the universe, altering all reality to his will - though his only alteration to Harley is making her skin all white, like his own.  After ruling everything for a while, however, the Joker realizes that a universe that allows someone like him to exist is not a universe worth having, and so decides to destroy it, leaving Harley to ask why:



Lady Joker Week concludes tomorrow with a look at the Joker's tendency to cross-dress.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Lady Joker Week: Lori Lemaris, Mary Marvel, and Madame Xanadu


Running from 1997 to 1998, Tangent Comics was a DC imprint made up of one-shot stories using established character names, such as Superman and Flash, as titles for new characters.  Developed by Dan Jurgens, the idea of Tangent Comics was to tell the story of a world (Earth-9) more influenced by the presence of super-powered beings than the Earth of DC Comics, which remained the same as the real world in terms of culture and technology despite the presence of Kryptonians and cyborgs and so on.  In contrast, Earth-9's economic, political, and geographical states were largely defined by the superhero community.

Tangent Comics reinvented the Joker as three separate women with separate costumes who worked together as anarchist vigilantes, living in New Atlantis and fighting against Earth-9's tyrannical Superman.


Mary Marvel:

Mary Marvel as she appears in Earth-0 continuity.
 Known in the regular DC continuity as a member of the Marvel superhero family, teenage Mary Marvel (secret identity Mary Batson) has been granted the powers of the wizard Shazam and is able to transform into her super-powered alter ego by speaking his name.  Mary is capable of flight, super strength, super speed, super stamina, super speed, wisdom, and courage.  Modeled after Judy Garland, Mary was one of the first DC heroines created as a spin-off from a male hero, predating even Supergirl.

Earth 9 Mary Marvel
In Tangent Comics, however, Mary Marvel is the character's given name and she lacks superpowers.  Mary is a university student who somehow became connected with the other two Jokers, Christy Xanadu and Lori Lemaris, also adopting the Joker mantle and "helping to do the work of three heroes."  She stood with the Secret Six in a protest at Washington, D.C., where she was captured by Superman and interrogated with the use of his psychic powers until she revealed the identities of the other two Jokers.  Superman then used his powers to stop Mary's heart.



Christy Xanadu:


Madame Xanadu of Earth-0.
Like Mary Marvel, Madame Xanadu was re-imagined in Tangent Comics, with her backstory altered and her super powers removed.  In DC continuity, Madame Xanadu was originally known as the sorceress Nimue, stripped of her powers by Merlin.  To atone for her sins, Xanadu began to help those plagued by the supernatural, having gained immortality by beating Death in a game of cards.  Madame Xanadu can sense magic, read the future, levitate, teleport, and banish demons, but due to Merlin's spell she has little magical might of her own, relying on trickery and manipulation.  Originally, Merlin's magic left her blind, but as of the 2011 relaunch, Xanadu's sight has been restored.

Earth-9 Xanadu.
Christy Xanadu of Earth-9 has little in common with Madame Xanadu beyond her name.  Black, powerless, and born in the 20th century, Xanadu is the millionaire owner of the Madame Xanadu VR-Arcade in New Atlantis.  Xanadu used her fortune to provide equipment and technology for the Joker.  Dressed in futuristic armor and armed with high tech weapons, Xanadu fought alongside Mary and Lori until Superman revealed the trio's identities.  Xanadu's fate after Superman's discovered her involvement with the Joker was left unknown, leaving her the only Joker unaccounted for, after Mary's death and Lori's capture and later release.

Lori Lemaris:


Lori Lemaris and Superman of Earth-0.
Lori Lemaris was perhaps the character most changed in Earth-9 continuity.  Mary and Xanadu may have lost their powers, but Lori changed species, from the mermaid of Earth-0 to a human being.  A mermaid from Tritonis, Lori first appeared in 1959 as a student Clark met at Metropolis University.  Using a wheelchair and blanket to hide her tail, Lori would return to the sea each night.  She dated Clark before he discovered her secret, and afterward explained that because of their differences, they could not be together.  Because of mermaids' telepathic powers, Lori revealed she had known Clark's secret identity all along.  They promised to keep each other's secrets and Lori returned to the ocean.  The character was redesigned in the 1990s, developing legs on land that remained unless she was splashed with water, though her feet float above the ground rather than touched it in human form.  Lori was thought to be killed in the event Infinite Crisis.

Earth-9 Lori.
In Tangent Comics, Lori Lemaris was a renowned human journalist, and the member of the Joker group whose costume most resembled their namesake, with white face paint, unnaturally colored hair, and pinstripes.  In addition, her costume was also reminiscent of Harley Quinn, a character created just a few years prior to the conception of Tangent Comics, wearing a red bodysuit with a diamond cut-out.  After Mary Marvel revealed the Jokers' identities, Lori was kidnapped for illegal vigilantism and spent ten years in prison.  Upon her parole, she reunited with the former Secret Six members, who tried to persuade her to take up the Joker mantle once again.  Lori refused, given the painful memories associated with the name, opting instead to become the new hero, Manhunter.  When the Superman of Tangent Comics attempted to take over Earth-0, Lori traveled through the multiverse to stop him, marveling at this world's acceptance and admiration of superheroes.  After Superman was defeated, Lori returned to her own world to repair the damage there, telling the heroes of Earth-0 that she would never forget them.




Lady Joker Week continues tomorrow with Harley Quinn and other characters who have gone by the moniker Harlequin.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lady Joker Week: Martha Wayne


Flashpoint was DC's most recent crossover event, setting the stage for the company's 2011 relaunch.  The story follows Barry Allen's Flash, who finds himself in an altered timeline in which there is no Justice League, Wonder Woman and Aquaman are fighting a war against each other, and everyone's lives are significantly more unfortunate.  Flashpoint also gave us a new version of both Batman and the Joker, as Bruce's parents Thomas and Martha Wayne, respectively.

The story begins as always: Bruce Wayne and his parents are outside a theater when criminal Joe Chill holds them at gunpoint, demanding their valuables.  But in the world of Flashpoint, Dr. Thomas Wayne fights back, causing Chill to open fire, which strikes Bruce instead of his parents.  Martha leaves to find help, and Bruce dies in the alley with his father.


A few months later and the Waynes' marriage is under severe strain, stretching "in sickness and in health" to its limits.  Martha is still in deep depression, attending therapy but making no progress.  Thomas is unable to move on with his own life while his wife remains in this state, telling her that they have to let go, and while he misses Bruce, he also misses Martha's smile.

Eventually Thomas hunts down Joe Chill and beats him to death in an attempt to relieve his anger and seek closure, both for himself and his wife.  He returns home after committing the deed to relay the news to Martha, only to find that her grief has broken her sanity and she's taken his advice rather literally.


As the years go by, Thomas creates the Batman persona, using it to kill criminals who threaten the city and risk creating more tragedies like the one that took his son.  Martha, filled with hatred for Thomas and blaming him for Bruce's death, takes up the identity of the Joker, with her outfit, scarring, and general posture very reminiscent of Heath Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight.  The Joker commits crimes - including child murder - for the sole purpose of causing her estranged husband pain, telling him that what she wants more than anything is a world in which Thomas Wayne doesn't exist.  Despite Batman's lack of a code against killing in this world, he can't bring himself to kill his own wife, leaving her to let the city suffer.


Luckily for the Joker, it turns out that the Flash is searching for a way back into his own timeline, a world in which both Thomas and Martha cease to exist while their son lives on.  Thomas, of course, wants his son alive more than anything in the world, but knowing that Bruce also lives under the mantle of Batman gives him reservations about whether or not helping the Flash is the right choice, and for that he has to consult the Joker.


Their reunion goes well, considering all the blood spilled between them, but things take a turn for the painful when the Joker asks what her child is like as an adult and Batman can't bring himself to lie to her.


Understandably, the Joker does not handle the thought of her son carrying out a miserable existence in the name of everything that she hates and completely snaps, fleeing from Batman in a blind panic before falling into the cave where Bruce Wayne was attacked by bats as a child.  Impaled on stalagmites, the Joker dies, muttering "It's a baaaaaa..." as her husband watches.  Batman goes on to help Flash restore the timeline, leading to the universe DC readers know and love.

The Batman/Joker miniseries, along with Flashpoint in general, was met with mixed reviews.  Some felt the story was deeply moving and tragic, adding new dimensions to both Thomas and Martha Wayne and the Batman and Joker character dynamic.  Others felt it was a rushed story, focusing more on shock value and the idea rather than the characters themselves.  But whatever the reception, there is one thing we can all agree on: Flashpoint did give us the first image in the comics canon of Batman and the Joker making out:


Thank you, DC.

Lady Joker Week continues tomorrow with all three of Tangent Comics' takes on the Joker.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lady Joker Week: Duela Dent


Meet the Joker's Daughter.  Or the Riddler's Daughter.  Or the Penguin's Daughter.  Or the daughter of Two-Face/Doomsday/Dr. Light/ Punch and Jewelee.  Or Catgirl.  Or Scarecrone.  Or Card Queen.  Or Harlequin.  As you can tell from her many aliases and claims of villainous ancestry, Duela is secure in her identity and has no parental issues whatsoever.

Duela first burst onto the scene in a 1976 issue of Batman Family, dressed identically to the Joker and causing his style of mischief for Batgirl and Robin to deal with.  She was vanquished, but reappeared two issues later, this time calling herself the offspring of Catwoman.

Eventually, Robin deduced her real identity as that of Two-Face's daughter, Duela Dent.  As Duela's creator Bob Rozakis explained, "It didn't take too long to decide whose daughter she would turn out to be. After all, the only married villain was Two-Face. I convinced Julie (and associate editor E. Nelson Bridwell, the acknowledged keeper of DC's historical consistency) that Harvey and Gilda Dent had a daughter, that Harvey had been disappointed because she wasn't a twin, and that they'd named her Duela."

But the revelation of Duela's actual parentage didn't keep the character from changing her alleged paternity in nearly every appearance.  Over time, Duela became characterized as schizophrenic with acrobatic abilities who suffers delusions about her family lineage.  Rozakis was unhappy with the change, saying "I got a laugh out of it when I first saw it, but I thought they wasted the character. I realize that Marv and company didn't want her around anymore and felt they had to explain her away because of continuity, but they could have just as easily ignored her. Actually, I consider Harley Quinn to be a reincarnation of Duela."

Whatever her mental state, Duela uncovered Robin's secret identity as he discovered hers, and used that information to join the Teen Titans, with a new costume and the alias of Harlequin.  Duela explained her interest in the group was to atone for her father's crimes.  Harlequin used weapons such as bullet-firing lipstick and powder puffs that induced smoke.

Duela took part in various Teen Titans adventures, as well as assisting Batman under the name of Card Queen.  In her appearance at Donna Troy's wedding, Duela appeared as a middle-aged woman.  When Robin realized she was far too old to be Two-Face's child, Duela was amused that it had taken him so long to figure that out and suggested that one day she would tell him the truth.

Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, Duela first appeared middle-aged and in a mental hospital.  Now re-imagined as a character with time-warping abilities - and madness brought on by the effects of those abilities - Duela later returned to help the Titans as a teenager, after being rescued from an institution by Cyborg.

Over the years Duela continued to assist the Titans, eventually joining the splinter group Titans East.  She was of major significance in the event Countdown to Final Crisis, where a new backstory was revealed and Duela's death kicked off the story's plot.

Countdown revealed that, rather than having the ability to manipulate time, Duela had the power to jump from one reality to another, though this gift was beyond her control and taking a massive toll on her sanity.  Duela hailed from Earth 3, a world in which Gotham was terrorized by the brutal vigilante Owlman, while characters such as the Jokester, the Riddler, and Three-Face fought against him in secret.  Duela was the daughter of the Jokester, a struggling comedian turned vigilante after Owlman took offense to his jokes and sliced his mouth open - as well as killing his manager Harley Quinn - and Evelyn Dent, alias Three-Face, who left the Jokester after developing multiple personalities.  Evelyn began a relationship with the Riddler, who helped to raise Duela.  Duela assisted all three of her parents in the fight against Owlman, using the Harlequin costume and title.


Being a teenager is hard enough without helping out a dysfunctional family on their quest for vengeance, but being a teenage sidekick with uncontrolled reality-hopping powers definitely didn't do Duela any favors in the sanity department.  Unable to understand her abilites, she often talked about the strange situations she found herself in, but these confessions were routinely dismissed by the adults in her life as Duela taking after her father.


Like many teens, Duela found solace in her love life.  Unfortunately, the boy Duela fell for also happened to be Owlman's teen sidekick, Talon.  Undeterred, the pair carried on their relationship, culminating in Duela presenting her boyfriend to her father, asking for his blessing to marry.  The Jokester didn't handle the news well and disowned his child.  Heartbroken, Duela fled, and eventually ended up in the world of DC Comics as a result of her powers.

Duela caught hero Jason Todd's attention in a Gotham nightclub, where she attempted to abduct a teen celebrity.  Jason pursued her into an alley, and Duela informed him that she came from an alternate Earth.  Duela escaped only to stopped by a Monitor, a being from a race that watches the Multiverse, attempting to prevent travel between worlds.  After being informed that "This world is not yours. Your presence in it is not tolerated. The penalty is death," Duela was shot, with Jason Todd witnessing her death.


The spiritual predecessor to fan favorite Harley Quinn, Duela was an intriguing character despite her ever-shifting, murky past.  Whether the light-hearted villain of her first appearances or the tortured heroine of her later days, Duela caught the readers' attention and refused to let go, cracking puns and styling adorable versions of iconic costumes.  Her fate as of the DC Relaunch is currently unknown, but here's hoping that she appears again, and that she's living life to the fullest when she does.


Tomorrow's addition to Lady Joker Week will cover Flashpoint's unique takes on Martha Wayne and the Joker: as one in the same character.  Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lady Joker Week: Bianca Steeplechase


In 1989, DC Comics launched their Elseworlds imprint, creating a niche for stories about the company's heroes that occurred out of the regular continuity of their books.  The first Elseworlds title, Gotham by Gaslight, told the story of Batman in the Victorian era, hunting Jack the Ripper.  Over the years, Elseworlds answered questions such as "What would happen if Superman's pod had landed in Soviet Russia?" (Superman: Red Son) or "What if the Batman cast did The Phantom of the Opera?" (Batman: Masque).  And in 1997, Howard Chaykin and Dan Breteron joined forces to give us Batman: Thrillkiller, a story set in Gotham, 1961.  Bruce Wayne, left penniless by his parents' debt after their murder, has become a police detective, leaving the Commissioner's daughter Babara Gordon and her boyfriend Dick Grayson to fight the city's more outlandish villains as Batgirl and Robin.

And one of those villains was gangster Bianca Steeplechase, alias The Joker.


Ruthless and humorless, Bianca had little in common with her namesake, apart from the pseudonym, green hair, and ghostly appearance she used to hide her identity.  Rather than taunting the city's heroes, she preferred to incapacitate them entirely, framing Bruce Wayne for the murder of Selina Kyle and causing him to flee the country, and killing Robin via a poisonous kiss (perhaps this Joker took notes from Poison Ivy?).  And her appearance said "lounge singer" just as often as it said "clown."

Bianca did share a love life close to that of the male Joker, however, being firmly committed in a relationship with her number one fan Hayley Fitzpatrick.


What Bianca lacked in the Joker's sense of humor, she more than compensated for by sharing his utter lack of remorse or restraint.  The most elegant of any female Joker to date, Bianca gave an otherworldly beauty to a color scheme designed to be garish.  She was curvy where the Joker was angular, stone-faced when he would be cackling, and far more interested in making a profit than telling a joke, but she was every bit as arresting and threatening as her male counterpart and, for the world of Thrillkiller, every bit as memorable.


Lady Joker Week continues tomorrow with the many appearances of the Joker's Daughter, Duela Dent.