The Joker is consistently singled out for being equal parts insane and evil, though still deeper than he appears. He’s unpredictable and aside from his desire to use Batman to prove that everything is just one big joke, no one can ever know for sure what it is he’s after. That’s why he’s feared by many of the other villains in Batman’s rogues’ gallery, who evidently tell each other Joker stories when they want to scare each other. It sounds like a lonely road he’s on.
There are plenty of dark characters (both living and deceased) in comics who we think would get along swimmingly with Mr. J for various reasons. These 15 characters could easily become best buds with the clown prince of crime either because they too are insane, homicidal, nihilistic, bored or all of the above.
Let’s start with someone who is maybe just a little crazier than the Joker. Wade Wilson has been through a lot. Not a lot is known about his origins unless you trust the unreliable narrator that he is, in which case both his father and mother were abusive in one way or another, he’s not entirely sure. It led to him becoming a mercenary after spending some time with the army and the C.I.A. He got cancer, received treatment from the Weapon X program and went on to become both a hero and a villain.
He’s got a lot in common with the Joker already. They both have a mysterious past and they both do terrible things, only Deadpool does them because he’s trying to do good…most of the time, except for when he killed Beast, skinned him then wore it over his costume in “Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe” #3 (written by Cullen Bunn, illustrated by Dalibor Talajic). That’s pretty Joker-esque. We think if Joker ever caught Deadpool in the right mindset (which shouldn’t be too difficult) that they’d get along famously, wreaking havoc while knowing that none of it matters in the end.
Even better suited to be Joker’s best buddy in the universe is the interstellar merc, Lobo. Much like the Joker, Lobo leaves a trail of destruction behind him not because he has to but because it’s much more fun that way. This is the guy who wiped out the citizens of his home planet of Czarnia just because he could. He loves violence in all its bloody, gory glory and doesn’t care at all about life, aside from the lives of his beloved space dolphins.
Really the only thing that separates Lobo from Joker is the fact that Lobo is just a little more predictable in that if someone is there for him on the rare occasion he needs rescuing, like when Batman freed him from Amanda Waller’s control in “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad” #5 (written by Joshua Williamson with artwork by Robson Rocha and many more), he will repay them with some form of loyalty…most of the time. At heart however, he’s an almost nihilistic maniac, just like Mr. J.
13. BIG HEAD
Stanley Ipkiss was pretty much a regular guy before he found that green mask that turned its wearer into the frighteningly powerful and undeniably insane Big Head. Big Head (whoever he may be behind the mask) is almost omnipotent and leaves incredible amounts of chaos in its wake. It’s all so much more violent than its film adaption in “The Mask” (directed by Chuck Russell). “The Mask” comics (written by John Arcudi, illustrated by Doug Mahnke) show him to be a lot like the Joker if the Joker actually had god-like superpowers.
In fact, both Big Head and the Joker got acquainted in the DC and Dark Horse crossover miniseries “Joker/The Mask” (written by Henry Gilroy, illustrated by Ramon Bachs, Howard M. Shum and Dave McCaig). The ancient mask didn’t prove to have any psychological effects on the Joker, which was sort of expected. It’s almost as though the two were made for each other. You just know that if the two weren’t defeated so spectacularly by Batman, they would have had the bloodiest bromance ever.
This one is one of the most obvious. The Joker and Cletus Kasady have so much in common in their insanity, nihilism and dark origins. Unlike the Joker (as far as we know), Kasady was a killer from childhood. His mother tried to kill him after he murdered his grandmother and his mother’s dog. She was stopped by Cletus’ father how beat her to near death. You can probably see how from a very young age, Cletus believed that life had no meaning and after his brutal time at St. Estes Orphanage, Cletus became the deranged serial killer we know him to be. The symbiote just made it a hundred times easier for him.
That’s the type of person the Joker attracts, which is why Carnage sought the Joker out in Amalgam Comics’ “Spider-Man and Batman” (written by J.M DeMatteis with art by Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna and Mark Farmer). Of course, the two had something of a spat in the middle because of their differing views on how to enjoy death. Joker loves a spectacle while Carnage wants to get to the point…nothing the crazy duo can’t work through in the end.
11. GREEN GOBLIN
These guys were meant to be friends. They both share similar desires in that, in one way or another, they want to prove to their respective rivals that the world is just as evil or corrupt as they are. Norman Osborn, as the Green Goblin, pushes Spider-Man to the edge by killing Gwen Stacy, causing Spidey to hunt him down and come close to killing him in “Amazing Spider-Man” #122 (written by Gerry Conway, with artwork by Gil Kane, John Romita Sr. and Tony Mortellaro) and at one point after his return, attempts to make Peter Parker his heir!
It’s all very much like the Joker’s ongoing campaign to force Batman into a corner where he either breaks his one rule or he dies. The Green Goblin and the Joker would definitely be best friends or at the very least, trick-or-treat buddies. After the events of “Superior Spider-Man” #31 (written by Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage, illustrated by Giuseppe Camuncoli and others), Norman has been more or less sane, although still definitely greedy and evil. Even without the Goblin persona, we think Joker and Norman would get along just fine.
If the theatricality surrounding destruction matters so much to the Joker, maybe something like Mojo would suit him better. Mojo is a member of the spineless beings and ruler of Mojoworld and the Mojoverse, a world in another dimension where everything revolves around the television industry and slavery. Mojo’s villainy often involves transporting the X-Men or the X-Force to his dimension so they can fight their way through some new reality show of his.
It’s a lot like what the Joker did in the “Justice League” animated series’ two-part episode, “Wild Cards” (written by Stan Berkowitz and Dwayne McDuffie), in which the Joker (voiced by the one and only Mark Hamill) uses the Royal Flush Gang and a lot of cameras to test the Justice League and attempt to drive the world crazy. It was only a little less brutal than what Mojo does in the comics, but we can imagine what might have happened if Joker’s scheme wasn’t written for a kids’ show. Joker and Mojo clearly share the same kind of mindset, which is what you might find in the best of friendships. If there’s ever crossover featuring the two, we’re sure they’d get along famously.
9. VICTOR ZSASZ
Victor’s descent into madness was slow and began with the death of his parents when he was just 25 years old. Stumbling through a deep depression, Zsasz gambled his wealth away and lost everything to the Penguin. It pushed him to the edge and he came to the conclusion that his life was pointless. Still, it wasn’t until a desperate homeless man tried to mug Zsasz that Victor concluded that nothing and no one mattered and that everyone was being driven by unseen forces. In his eyes, everyone needs to be liberated from those forces through death and tallying them on his skin.
The Joker doesn’t share that same delusion, but there’s no reason why in his nihilistic view of the world, he can’t appreciate Zsasz’s take on it. They both value life just as much (which is to say, not at all) and they’re both completely unpredictable. It’s a wonder they haven’t had more interactions with each other anywhere. It’s hard to imagine anything other than Batman getting in the way of any kind of friendship that might occur.
This demon’s whole existence revolves around sewing chaos and destruction. Violator doles it out with pleasure, with the evil and corrupt people of the world being used as tools to that end. There’s only one rule he must obey and that’s that he can’t kill the Hellspawn. Much like Joker does with Batman, Violator constantly taunts and pushes Al Simmons to use his abilities to slowly destroy the world around him.
There’s a lot the Joker and Violator have in common. For one, they both dress up like clowns, albeit psychopathic ones, despite being monsters on the inside (which is literally true for Violator). Just imagine how terrifying it’d be if these two started roaming the Earth together, burning it all down. They don’t need each other at all, but you just know they’d work really well together, like a really messed up Batman and Robin (Violator being Batman, what with the supernatural power and all).
In Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman,” there was Delight who turned (for unknown reasons) into Delirium. She’s the youngest of the Endless and since becoming Delirium, hasn’t been able to fully control her thoughts and her speech without a lot of effort. Even when she does and she reveals great wisdom and insight, her words are largely ignored. She’s closest to her older sister, Death, and to her brother, Destruction, who are each protective of her.
It might seem strange at first that she would appear on this list. Unlike the rest of the unsavoury characters here, Delirium made the list because it’s easy to see how she would actually have a very positive effect on someone like the Joker. She understands madness. Her whole realm is chaotic, so she’s undeniably the best equipped to understand him. No mortal has ever had any real effect on the Joker, but a goddess? If the two ever did get acquainted, it’s not implausible that the Joker might find sanity in the end.
6. THE RIDDLER
These two should already be best friends. They’re both obsessed with the Batman and are both clearly fans of tacky-looking suits. If that’s not what real bonds are made of, we don’t know what is. The Riddler and the Joker also share a bit of their past. Riddler was a witness to the murder of the Joker’s wife, Jeannie, a fact we discover in “Batman: Gotham Knights” #52 (written by A.J. Lieberman, illustrated by Al Barrionuevo, Francis Portela and Brad Anderson) after Mr. J rescued Riddler from Hush.
You might say that they’re a bit too different. The Riddler is nowhere near as violent as the Joker, though he is arguably a bit more deranged. Where the Joker might kill someone in the spur of the moment, the Riddler carefully plots a death. They could learn a thing or two from one another. Still, the possibility is still there. Even in the seemingly brilliant but disturbing “Joker” (written by Brian Azzarello, artwork by Lee Bermejo, Mick Gray and Patricia Mulvihill), they seem close enough. Well, as close as anyone could be with the Joker.
5. THE HOMELANDER/BLACK NOIR
There’s quite a prominent character in Dynamite Entertainment’s “The Boys” who somewhat resembles the Joker in terms of his madness and reckless, harmful enjoyment of power. The immensely powerful Homelander was originally thought to be the culprit behind several horrendous acts including cold blooded murder, cannibalism, sexual assault and necrophilia. In reality, it was Black Noir, the formerly mysterious figure who was revealed to be a clone of Homelander and the real villain behind those acts (impersonating him was all part of an effort to get Homelander killed).
The Joker and Homelander’s evil clone are both alike in matters of depravity, except for the cannibalism and necrophilia, but let’s not split hairs. The Joker, in his chaotic campaign to tear down the powerful figures of hope like Batman and Homelander, would love nothing more than a super-powerful best friend who shared his values. Black Noir is more powerful than the Superman-esque Homelander and is pretty much insane. They’d be two peas in an incredibly destructive pod.
Prometheus was born to two criminals who were gunned down by law enforcement, traumatizing him in the process. He used their stolen money to travel the world and hone his skills, eventually finding an alien spaceship and the Ghost Key, which allows him to travel into the Phantom Zone where he built a base. He possesses a battlesuit and helmet that enables him to quickly study and deploy countermeasures against anyone, which is how he managed to defeat pretty much the entire Justice League in “JLA” #16 (written by Grant Morrison, illustrated by Howard Porter, John Dell and Pat Garrahy).
His goal is to destroy the forces of justice to avenge his criminal parents, which may not wholly align with the Joker’s goals, but you know what they say about “the enemy of my enemy,” right? They’re equally as violent and just as shady in their schemes, as we saw in the “Justice League: Cry For Justice” series wherein Prometheus murdered half a dozen heroes, unleashed a bunch of supervillains, destroyed half of Star City and still got away with it (until Green Arrow shot him in the head some time later). That is essentially Chris Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” Joker-level chaos, if the Joker had access to supervillains.
3. JOHNNY SORROW
A former silent film actor, Johnny turned to a life of crime after films started including sounds, forcing him to retire as an actor. After being destroyed and then restored by the King of Tears, Johnny Sorrow was warped into the crimson-suit-wearing masked figure with a face that’s deadly to all who see it (talk about looks that could kill!). He’s intent on releasing the King of Tears on to Earth, as per their agreement, and as his harbinger, Sorrow has the ability to summon demons and control mystical forces.
There are those who are immune to the effects of Johnny’s face behind the mask, like Harley Quinn, who, in “Justice League vs Suicide Squad” #4, was shown to be protected in a way by her madness. The Joker would no doubt be similarly unaffected. Clearly, they could both be themselves around each other and maybe even understand each other better than others. After all, they’re both failed entertainers who turned into monsters and inspire madness in others. There aren’t many people who can relate to that.
After losing both his parents, Nemesis once explained to his henchmen that he, Matt Anderson, used his immense wealth to travel the world and hone his skills so that he could become neither the hero the country deserved nor the one it needed…because he decided he’d be a force of evil and injustice instead. Nemesis is essentially the Joker’s nemesis if Bruce Wayne decided he wanted to use his wealth and skills for evil. Or, as Mark Millar, the writer of the four-issue “Nemesis” series once described him, “what if Batman was a c***?”
Much like the Joker, you can’t trust Nemesis to reveal his origin. As we found out toward the end of the series, Nemesis lied about the whole thing. It turns out he’s just rich and incredibly bored, so there would be no better solution for that psychopathic ennui than to meet the clown prince of crime. Together, with Nemesis’ resources and the Joker’s penchant for absolute chaos, there’s no telling what they could achieve. Joker could never get Batman to see the funny side of things, so maybe Nemesis would be the next best thing.
Mr. J. doesn’t seem like the cat-loving type, so a man-creature like the mutant Sabretooth might be more up his alley. Victor Creed is an almost mindless, cold-blooded murderer, blurring the line between man (or mutant) and an animal who acts on base desires and instinct. Of course, this was all before his moral inversion in “Avengers & X-Men: Axis” #6 (written by Rick Remender, illustrated by Terry Dodson and more). Before that, he was a character the Joker would’ve loved.
The best example we can give you of the two meshing well together is when the two characters were literally meshed together in Amalgam Comics’ “Legends of the Dark Claw” (written by Larry Hama, artwork by Jim Balent, Ray McCarthy and Pat Garrahy), in which Dark Claw (a merging of Wolverine and Batman) faces off against Hyena, who is a clear hybrid of Sabretooth and Joker. They’re so oddly similar that if you were to have either the Joker or Sabretooth instead of Hyena, the story and characterisation would remain pretty much the same, except of course, Sabretooth might not have been so gleeful looking.
Do you think these guys could handle the chaotic Mr. J? Who else do you think would love his antics? Let us know in the comments!
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