I based my psychoanalysis of The Joker on both comic books and modern psychiatric literature. Here is a picture of some of the comic books that served as the inspiration for my thesis. Please remember, it is no way complete. These are just the comic books that I have with me at the hospital. There are many more at home and a few digital versions of comic books as well. Nevertheless, the comic books shown here would show different aspects of The Joker’s character.
Let us look at them one by one. The first comic book on top left is Joker’s Last Laugh. In this book, The Joker is wrongly diagnosed with terminal cancer and he decides to go out with a bang. He engineers a monumental assault that pits him against the entire JLA, President Luthor and the Batman family. He is actually killed by Nightwing, only to be resuscitated by Batman himself. It is an excellent piece of work, kind of gives you an idea as to how a person like The Joker would respond if he knew that he has only days to live.
The next comic book is The Joker – Devil’s Advocate. In this comic book, The Joker is wrongly implicated with murder charges and is on death trial. Only Batman can save him. Does he? It’s a great little book that shows justice actually goes both ways.
The third book is the famous The Man who laughs. The book details Batman’s first encounter with The Joker character. Covers a bit about the transformation from the Red Hood to The Joker. The gruesome murders sort of give a first view into the psyche of The Joker and why he does what he does.
The fourth book is Lovers and Madmen. The book is a modern imagination of the first encounter between Batman and The Joker and is a bit darker and edgier. I loved the introduction to The Joker character by Brad Meltzer.
The next book is Going Sane. The Joker believes that he has gotten the best of his arch nemesis forever and creates a different character and starts living life very differently. He has a pretty normal life and even falls in love and even planning to get married. But, the news of Batman’s escape and further existence results in The Joker’s relapse to madness. This is a fantastic book, since, we get to see if The Joker can be completely cured and what his association with the Bats means to the whole dynamic.
The sixth book is Batman Secrets. In this comic book, The Joker is able to drive public opinion against Bats and manipulates the entire perception of Batman. Association with Batman is again explored brilliantly.
The seventh book is the famous Red Hood annual addition. It deals with the transformation of Jason Todd aka Robin to Red Hood and how The Joker influenced everything. Psychologically, it is darker.
Apart from these seven books, there is The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, Joker – Classic Tales, It’s Joker Time, The Dark Knight Returns and many many more. In addition, animation videos, films, and documentaries form the basis for this thesis as well.