ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning - the following contains multiple SPOILERS for past DC comic-books, as well as some seriously adult and NSFW material. As Taylor Swift so sagely warns: "Don't say I didn't say I didn't warn ya'...that the Joker is a seriously twisted dude"...)

Now, depending on what era of The Joker you grew up with, there's a pretty good chance of you having a wildly different idea of how horrifying the guy should be from any other given comic-book fan. If you grew up reading silver age DC comic books, or watching any of the TV shows and movies prior to The Dark Knight in 2008, then it's a pretty solid bet that The Joker will always, at heart, be an ever-so-slightly goofy lunatic with a penchant for the dramatic.


If, on the other hand, you grew up reading Batman comics from the late '70s on, or, y'know, watching Christopher Nolan movies, then odds are you're acutely aware of just how goddamn twisted The Joker can be.

Not pictured.
Not pictured.

That, somewhat unsurprisingly, is the kind of Joker that we're going to look a little more closely at in this here article: the mass-murdering, sexual-assaulting, child-torturing psychopath...who still has that penchant for the dramatic.

Here, then, is an (inherently subjective) list of...

The 5 Worst Things The Joker Has Ever Done

Not including working for Iran in the 80's...
Not including working for Iran in the 80's...

First up (though these aren't really in any particular order, because they're all just so goddamn awful)?

5. He Tortured (and Horrifically Injured) Barbara Gordon

That's right - back in the ever-more-iconic Bat-tale The Killing Joke, The Joker didn't just shoot, paralyze and generally brutally assault fan-favorite character Barbara Gordon - he then stripped her naked, and made her father watch as she seemingly bled to death...

See, this is why this list isn't actually in any order. Well, that and the fact that:

4. He Brutally Murdered Jason Todd

And by brutally murdered, I of course mean with a freaking crowbar... the behest of the DC comic book reading public, who famously had the chance to vote on whether or not to kill the (extremely young) Robin in the legendary A Death in the Family storyline, and (narrowly, and controversially) voted yes.

Also, did I mention that Todd was somewhere in the region of fifteen years old when this happened?

Not that age has ever been a stumbling block for The Joker, of course, since...

3. Actually, He Brutally Murdered a Whole Lot of Kids

Whether it's an entire school's worth of children, as part of a feud with the crime-lord Maxie Zeus back in Batman: Cacophony, or murdering a group of kids with poisoned cotton candy back in The Dark Knight Returns, The Joker has long been comfortable killing large groups of children.

Which, if you stop and think about it for a moment, is actually so fundamentally awful that it doesn't actually bear thinking about.

Hold on to your vomit bags though, folks, 'cause next up we have the torture of children:

2. He Tortured Robin for THREE Weeks

That's right, back in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, it turned out that The Joker using a grown up Tim Drake's body to create a clone of himself. Which is bad, but not all that out of the ordinary for a villain of his general awfulness. The really bad part, y'see, was what he did to Drake back when he was a kid...

...specifically, he tortured him (for three straight weeks) until he finally gave up all of Batman's secrets, and then turned him into a miniature version of himself...

...a version that he then ordered to kill Batman.

Which, in fairness, he didn't do, but Drake still suffered a life-altering breakdown as a result.

The worst part? That was in a kids cartoon.

Saturday mornings'll never be the same again...

1. He...Wait...HE WHAT?

All of that, though, arguably seems relatively tame compared to what went down in the (thankfully non-canon) 2008 graphic novel known only as Joker. A quick heads up? If you're still hanging on to your faith in humanity, now might be the time to change articles...

In that graphic novel, The Joker not only skinned a guy alive...

... and forced a bank president to do something awful (it's heavily implied that it was to masturbate over a picture of his own daughter)...

...he also did arguably the most traumatically horrifying thing we've ever watched him do on the printed page: he raped someone.

And y'know what? No amount of whimsy is going to make up for that.

Excuse me for a second, I'm just going to take a moment to go and vomit (and lose all faith in humanity)...

What do you think, though?


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