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‘What face … will the bogeyman of this dark century wear?’ Politicizing a Contemporary Joker

Virtanen, Juha (2020) ‘What face … will the bogeyman of this dark century wear?’ Politicizing a Contemporary Joker. Imagetext: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, 11 (2). ISSN 1549-6732. (KAR id:79527)


What might a political reading of the Joker look like in the 21st century? Although the politics of Batman have been a subject of a number of academic studies, comparatively less is said about those of his arch nemesis. This article builds on the existing proposals in Peaslee and Weiner’s recently published The Joker: A Serious Study of the Clown Prince of Crime in order to offer a new interpretation of how the character might be politicized during an era of monstrous inequality that is enforced increasingly aggressive ways. It begins by mapping out consistent patterns of the Joker’s appearances throughout his publication history. It provides a close examination of The Killing Joke and Batman: Going Sane, which are analyzed alongside themes of trauma, precarity and multiplicity. Finally, it turns to consider Azzarello and Bermejo’s The Joker in unison with the recent theoretical work of Joshua Clover in order to propose that sometimes – in more senses than one – the Joker can truly be a riot.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Joker, Batman, Politics, Riots
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Juha Virtanen
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2020 16:07 UTC
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2020 13:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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