Make The Joker gay again

Make The Joker gay again

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Lexie Squirrel started this petition to DC Comics

The Joker is a comic book character with almost 80 years history, half of which he was portrayed as homosexual. For instance, in such significant graphic novels as Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” or Grant Morrison’s “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth”. Neal Adams claimed that the Joker was and always had been homosexual, as stated in the Batman Files book. This opinion was shared by other comic books authors and artists for decades. That is why it’s so important to me and other queer readers to return his homosexuality.

Many comic books with the Joker has heavily implied homoerotic undertones. Most famous example is “The Dark Knight Returns”, where the Joker was portrayed as a very feminine man using poison lipstick and lovingly calling Batman “Darling”. In original version “Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth” the Joker was supposed be in a dress and in high heels, but it didn’t pass the censorship (also the script remarked that the Joker is a transvestite). More recent example is the uncensored version of Death of the Family, where the Joker repeatedly confessed his feelings to Batman (and he’s done this before in other comics).

The Dark Knight Returns №3 (1986)

Morrison's sketches to Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989)

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989)

Batman №15 (2013)

Outsiders №3 (2003)

Batman №625 (2004)

Long Halloween №4 (1997)

But not all the Joker's queer moments involved Batman, he's showed an interest in other men too: he asking men to kiss him or he seems ready to have sex with one of them. Also there was Joker’s unnamed ex-boyfriend in graphic novel Devil’s Advocate. Even in-universe characters discuss if Joker can be gay. It's easy to say that Joker's feeling for Batman is just obsession or that he's flirting with him and other men just for fun, but it just mean to turn a blind eye to the simple and obvious conclusion - the Joker is homosexual.

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth (1989)

Batman: Cacophony №1 (2009)

Batman: Cacophony №1 (2009)

Salvation Run №7 (2008)

Joker: Devil's Advocate (1996)

Flash №53 (1991)

The Joker has many feminine traits - he uses lipstick, paints his nails, wears high heels and sometimes does crossdressing. We realize that some of these things are stereotypical, but it gives a very clear picture.

The Joker №7 (1976)

Justice League International Annual №2 (1988)

Batman №679 (2008)

Penguin: Pain and Prejudice №2 (2012)

Batman ‘66 №21 (2013)

Batman/Superman №8 (2014)

Over the years, there were plenty of other queer moments in comics, cartoons and video games. The Joker's queer side was touched even in variants covers, tied to his 75th anniversary. On one of them the Joker is portrayed as St. Sebastian, patron of homosexuality.

Variant covers for Superman №41 and Green Arrow №41

However, in the late nineties someone decided to erase Joker’s homosexuality and introduced Harley Quinn as his girlfriend (by the way, Harley was made up for the Batman: The Animated Series to replace the Joker in one scene, in which he was supposed to jump from the cake in drag). In the mass consciousness Harley became his only love interest, although in canonical comics there is no evidence that there are romantic or sexual feelings from the Joker’s part. His enforced relationship with Harley Quinn looks like an attempt to retconned his homosexuality and turn him into a acceptable straight man.

Batman Adventures: Mad Love (1994)

Batman Adventures: Mad Love (1994)

Batman: Harley Quinn (1999)

Although, Harley Quinn is not the only one of his "girlfriends", he's does not show any romantic or sexual interests in. So the Joker is hardly can be straight, bisexual or pansexual.

Batman: Secrets №2 (2006)

Legends of the DC Universe Issue №26 (2000)

There also was the Joker's pregnant wife from "The Killing Joke". But it's doesn't mean that he's heterosexual. There are many closeted gays, who also suffers from internalized homophobia, have a wife and even children. It's perfectly fits with the pattern where pre-Joker was a miserable neurotic man. Alan Moore probably didn't mean it, but he did write that Joker look at Batman with "feverish, almost sexual excitement".

DC Comics already have great queer characters - heroes (Batwoman or Midnighter), as well as villains (Harley Quinn or Poison Ivy). Maybe some people don’t want to see the “terrible villain” as part of the LGBT community. But being queer doesn't make someone a good person, therefore fictional characters don't need to be good and righteous to be gay. Not all readers can related to heroes, many of them love the villains. Unfortunately, DC's queer villains are almost all bisexual women. So why not let out of the "closet" the Clown Prince of Crime?

It could be a big and brave step to officially make one of the greatest comic books villain gay. The Joker's homosexuality will stop being a open secret and this will allow the authors to openly address the topic of his established queerness. Many readers who care about their favorite character and LGBT-representation would love to read The Joker's comics books knowing that there is no queerbaiting or straightwashing.

We ask DC Comics to restore The Joker’s homosexuality. No one’s sexual identity should be changed and erased, even if it’s only a fictional character. Because sometimes fictional characters is something real people hold onto.

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