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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On Comics: Who is the Best Joker Ever?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 2:00 PM


"With his butchered face resembling a wrinkled finger wrapped in a Band-Aid for too long, his love of chaos drives the Joker to take giddy pleasure from dragging everyone down to his murderous level." That's film critic Joe Neumaier, lustily extolling the virtues of Health Ledger's performance in today's New York Daily News. Good bit about the wrinkled finger, Joe! Think we've all had that problem with all sorts of body parts.

Anyway! Even stodgy old dudes like the New Yorker's David Denby, who worry that, "Warner Bros. has continued to drain the poetry, fantasy, and comedy out of Tim Burton’s original conception for “Batman” (1989), completing the job of coarsening the material into hyperviolent summer action spectacle" – even those old dudes love Ledger's performance. Sayeth Denby: the "great Ledger... shambles and slides into a room, bending his knees and twisting his neck and suddenly surging into someone’s face like a deep-sea creature coming up for air."

The Joker really brings out a certain musicality from the movie reviewers! Anyway, the real question is whether or not Ledger is the best Joker EVER.

Over at NPR's website, there's a short thread on the subject, which nominates Nicholson – natch – and "the voice acting of Mark Hamill," who worked on the long-running animated series. At MTV, there's a whole OTHER thread about how fantastic Hamill was, and even a quote from comic writer Jeph Loeb.


“Virtually flawless,” Loeb says, “which is really extraordinary, given the times, that they rethought how Batman should be presented in an animated way and wound up telling some of the best Batman stories that have ever been told.” But does it count if it's just a voice? Well, you tell me.

Who is the greatest Joker ever?

– Matthew Shaer

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Matt Shaer


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