Portrayals of the Joker have been immensely varied over the years he's been active in movies, TV, video games and comic books. A lot of us have grown up believing that the Joker is simply a master of mischief, akin to a seagull in your kitchen - comes in, flaps about, makes a mess and is eventually captured and sent away.
But Joker is so much more than a cackling, purple wearing maniac. He is, by far, one of the most terrifying, disturbing and downright disgusting villains to ever grace the pages of comics.
So in honor of the impending animated adaptation of one of the Joker's most thrilling and darkest tales - The Killing Joke, let's remember the horrors that the Harlequin of Hate has bestowed upon the inhabitants of Gotham and its watchful protectors:
1. Poisoning Innocent Kids & Breaking His Own Neck (The Dark Knight Returns)
Arguably the best Bat-story of all time, an aged Joker shows that he's still got a few fresh gags up his purple sleeves. Before the big altercation with Old Man Bat, Joker takes it upon himself to poison some children with sullied cotton candy, of all things.
He then gets his ass royally handed to him by Batman, who almost kills him. In the ultimate "f**k you" to the Dark Knight, Joker snaps his own neck to make it look as if Batman broke his one rule, which sets up a city wide hunt for the watchful protector.
2. Tricking Superman into Killing Lois Lane (Injustice: Gods Among Us)
A masterstroke, of sorts. Bored of Gotham, Joker decides to head to Metropolis to have a play date with Superman. Drugging Supes with a particularly potent strain of Scarecrow's fear toxin, Joker tricks Superman into thinking Lois Lane is Doomsday.
Naturally perturbed by this, Superman beats the crap out of "Doomsday," and sends the beast hurtling into space. Later, Supes realizes he's just ended the love of his life, and their unborn child, and exacts apt revenge on the Clown Prince of Crime, by punching through his chest.
If that wasn't bad enough, Joker had rigged Lane's heart to sync with a trigger that leveled Metropolis after her heart stopped. Masterstroke. A raw one, but still.
3. Rape & Flaying (Joker)
This is honestly distressing. Heath Ledger's iconic portrayal of Joker influenced a billion cosplays, pieces of fan art and even a new look for the clown in his own graphic novel. But where Ledger's Joker was more anarchistic, this Joker is pretty much a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Taking on a new partner in Jonny Frost, after finding out that his new partner had met with Two-Face at one point, in order to revenge this act of "cheating," Joker sexually abuses Frost's wife. I don't see how that act reaches parity, but maybe that's just me.
Later, Joker skins a guy called Monty alive. From head to toe, man. And, as much discussed by fans online, he coerces a bank manager to masturbate over images of his daughter. Yeah, read at your peril.
4. The Death of Jason Todd (Death in the Family)
How many supervillains can add "bludgeoning a teenage boy" to their list of achievements? The death of Jason Todd is one of the hardest hitting moments in the Bat-canon, and the way the Joker went about this act was as heinous as hell.
Regardless of how little Jason Todd may have been liked at the time, as evidenced by the public voting on his death, beating Todd to a bloodied pulp with a crowbar, and then blowing him - and his estranged mother - up, is pretty harsh right?
5. Paralyzing Barbara Gordon (The Killing Joke)
The end of a Batgirl and the birth of an Oracle. Deciding that he wants to play with Jim Gordon a bit, what better way to get the man's attention than shooting, paralyzing and, reportedly, abusing his daughter Barbara.
He then proceeded to strip the ailing heroine and take pictures of his act, which later would be used in attempt to drive Gordon insane.
6. Killing Sarah Essen Gordon (No Man's Land)
Poor Jim Gordon. If you felt bad that the Bat was tormented by Joker, Gordon deserves a book of tragic poetry. In No Man's Land, Joker kidnaps all of Gotham's babies (?!) and hides them in his police station lair.
Stumbling across the hideout, Joker shoots Sarah Gordon in the head as she attempts to catch a baby he had just tossed in the air. Even to a guy like me, that's cold.
7. Killing Inhabitants of Gotham with Poisoned Shards of Glass (Lovers & Madmen)
In yet another customary big move, Joker sends a blimp flying towards Gotham's Twin Towers. Gordon orders a helicopter to intercept, but it arrives far too late. The blimp explodes sending poisonous gas and sullied shards of glass raining down on bystanders below.
The people get torn to shreds, and eventually perish with huge, terrifying grins etched across their faces.
Jared Leto's upcoming portrayal of the Joker may be the closest we'll come to a bonafide horrible clown, as evidenced in the Suicide Squad trailer. Well, here's hoping anyway: