Hello, fanboys and fangirls, my given name’s Robert, but to those dozens of loyal Hold 322 listeners I’m better known as Ultimate Bob. As our show’s “staff of writer” it is my obligation to bring to you a weekly blog containing my ideas and opinions concerning comic books and all other things nerdy / geek. This week’s blog will be all about how on the internet this past week, a fictional clown’s fake tattoos created a tsunami of ridiculously real nerd rage.
Here is the photo of Jared Leto as the Joker from the forthcoming Suicide Squad film that caused so many fanboys and fangirls to lose their collective minds.
I’m not sure if they were all mad because he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and the resulting powdery glare blinded them, or because his not wearing a shirt revealed that Mr. J had gotten himself all tatted up, but I guess it was the latter. I stumbled across this photo on Facebook several times this past weekend, and each time the person who posted it was all upset by the image—swearing various blood oaths against Warner Bros. and the filmmakers for ruining their much beloved, mass murdering, clown-themed psychopath by putting ink on his ghostly white skin—and each time I would scroll down to the bottom of all the other likewise-angry-comments that the post had inspired, and write one of my own that would say: “And don’t forget that the real Aquaman has blonde hair!”
I don’t know if anyone who saw my flippant comment understood my purpose in posting it, but I’ll explain myself now. All this geeky angst over the Joker having tattoos reminds me of a similar anger expressed last year by some fans over the casting of Jason Momoa as Aquaman. I remember seeing comments on the internet from irate fans that basically said that Mr. Momoa can’t possibly play Aquaman, because the real Aquaman has blonde hair. I hate to break it to everyone, but that just isn’t true. The real Aquaman not only doesn’t have blonde hair, the real Aquaman isn’t actually real; he doesn’t exist. The same is true with the Joker. The Joker is not real, and neither are those tattoos that have so many fans up in arms.
“But, Bob, you dork,” you might be saying to your computer or smart phone right now, “we know that the Joker isn’t real, but giving him tattoos isn’t part of the established canon! That’s why we’re angry, because it isn’t canonical!”
Neither was having the Joker’s real identity being that of Joe Chill—the man who gunned down Bruce Wayne’s parents—but that’ what they did way back in 1989 when Jack Nicholson played the role in the first Tim Burton directed Batman film. And let’s not forget the epic nerd rage that erupted when Heath Ledger was announced as the Clown Prince of Crime in the second Christopher Nolan directed Bat-film just a few years ago. Heath’s version of the Joker had a freaky permanent smile made of scars, which I don’t think was established canon before then either, but since the film’s release many people have gotten over their initial anger over the idea of Ledger playing the role, and his portrayal is now viewed by legions of fans worldwide as their quintessential version of the Joker. They came to this conclusion in a weird sort of way… they actually watched the film and decided if they liked it or not afterwards. Imagine that; forming an opinion about a movie after actually seeing it, instead of forsaking it after seeing one early promotional image from it on the internet. What a novel idea.
Here are some other examples of varying versions of the Joker that you may or may not have liked or agreed with. Is any one of them more the “real” Joker than the others?
Here’s the bottom-line, I’m not saying you can’t ever have nerd rage over portrayals of the fictional characters you know and love—you and I most certainly can and will feel it if and when we encounter them, and it is our right, even our obligation to express those feelings with our friends and fellow fans, but what I would like to encourage you to do—if you are in the anti Leto as the Joker camp right now—is to cool your jets for the time being. Wait first for the movie to come out. Don’t condemn Jared Leto’s portrayal of the Joker until you’ve seen the Suicide Squad in its entirety. And if, at that time, you find you don’t like the acting, the script, the direction, or whatever else you see on the big screen that leaves you feeling angry or disappointed, etc., well then, by all means rail against it and vow to boycott any possible sequel. That would make a lot more sense than feeling betrayed by and preemptively swearing a blood oath against a film you haven’t even seen yet, just because one of the characters in it apparently got some ink on his almost translucent ivory skin.
“Oh, I think I’ll get me a lot of tattoos today, Paco,” I can hear the Joker saying to the prison yard tattoo artist (in the Mark Hamill Joker voice from the animated series and the Arkham games—because that’s how I always imagine the Joker’s voice sounding). “When I decide to get things, I find it best to get them all right away. I have no patience for patience, you see. Let’s start with a tattoo for mother… not my mother, of course. I hate that old woman so. What’s your mother’s name, Paco? I think I’d like to start with her name.”
Well, I think that concludes this week’s blog. Remember to subscribe to this here blog so you can join us for next week’s awesome bloviation from yours truly. Be sure also to listen to each and every episode of Hold 322, available every Tuesday from iTunes, Stitcher and Hold322.com; and if you wanna be just as cool as all the other cool kids are, you can follow me on the Twitter for all my insightful and zany tweets @Robert_A_Easton. Thanks for reading, friends. I love you, and I look forward to reading all of your angry comments below.