Artists and writers find inspiration for their creations in a variety of things around them, from the mundane to the exceptional. People, places, things, even other works of art have inspired some of the greatest artists throughout history to create some very memorable pieces – comic book artists and writers are no exception.
Especially The Joker.
The credit for creating one of Batman’s oldest and deadliest foes has been argued for decades. Most people credit Bob Kane and Bill Finger with his introduction, but writer Jerry Robinson says his hat should be in the ring as well – in what amounts to a “he said, she said” debate.
Kane has said:
Bill Finger and I created the Joker. Bill was the writer. Jerry Robinson came to me with a playing card of the Joker. [The Joker] looks like Conrad Veidt — you know, the actor in The Man Who Laughs, by Victor Hugo. Finger had a book with a photograph of Conrad Veidt and showed it to me and said, ‘Here’s the Joker.’ Jerry Robinson had absolutely nothing to do with it…he brought in a playing card, which we used for a couple of issues for him.
And here’s Robinson’s take on the issue:
In that first meeting when I showed them that sketch of the Joker. Bill said it reminded him of Conrad Veidt in The Man Who Laughs. That was the first mention of it…He can be credited and Bob himself, we all played a role in it. The concept was mine.
It seems to me, either way, THIS is the reason for the greatest DC villain of all time!