November 11th, 2015
April 4th, 2011
The second of three post’s looking at seminal takes on the Joker. Part 1 here.
I. Super Creep
“Do you want lipstick, sweet guy?”
I was five years old when Ashes to Ashes went to number one but I vividly remember how much the video disturbed me and continued to do so right up into my teens. There’s an intensity to it that few big name promos before or since have even attempted let alone matched, and why would they? Loosely centered around Bowie’s clown and a troupe of Blitz kids dressed in high fashion’s answer to mourning dress marching along a solarised beach, followed by a bulldozer, the video has the feel of a funeral set on some faraway peninsula of David Lynch’s imagination. The overall effect is alienated, surreal and ominous, reeking of drug addiction and mental illness, and while fans will detect an air of deep introspection this does nothing to create a more comfortable space.
Coming into his teenage years and young adulthood during the 70s and 80s respectively, Miller would have been steeped in Bowie’s career and protean flight through his various personae – aesthetically driven fiction suits which the mega star inhabited both on stage and to some extent in real life – so it comes as no surprise that a writer with his sensibilities would have produced a Joker that seems to borrow, intentionally or not, from Bowie’s iconographic legacy.
March 10th, 2011
Moore and Bolland, Miller and Varley, Morrison and well… a lot of different people. Three creative teams. Three definitive takes on the Joker.
Part 2 here
Prior to The Killing Joke’s publication the Joker was ahistorical except in a strict continuity sense. Post TKJ the character had if not a definite origin, the possibility of one. A less thoughtful writer might have failed to understand the importance of keeping history at one remove from the Joker, and a less skilful one might well have struggled to introduce its shadow into the Joker’s world without anchoring the character to specifics, but it’s with his usual elegance that Moore manages to maintain some distance between the origin and its subject.