Response Essay 2
April 4, 2015
Batman & The Joker
In Frank Miller’s work, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (1986), we discover that the relationship between the Joker and Batman is both a reflective and a homoerotic relationship. Around the 1950’s, there were anxieties regarding censorship within graphic novels. As a consequence, in 1954, the Comics Magazine Association of America produced the Comics Code Authority, which adopted values from both the Association of Comics Magazine Publishers of 1948, and the 1930 Hollywood Production Code. The code was originally made for the protection of young and impressionable readers from the many issues within comic books, such as violence, illicit sexuality, and homosexuality. Wertham, in particular, focused on the homoeroticism between Batman and his young, male sidekick, Robin, which worried a lot of people because their interactions largely resembled a homosexual relationship. It is interesting, then that there were no indications of suspected homoeroticism between Batman and the Joker until recent. It is arguable that the homoeroticism between Batman and Robin is different than the one that exists between Batman and the Joker. By making the Joker a villain, it can be suspected that this is an example of homophobia rather than the homoerotic. But is it really?
With the Joker, it seems like they are in constant battle, but it is apparent that they have a kind of symbiotic connection with one another. We can see their relationship through the comparison similar relations that Batman forms with the other villains which he faces. One such example is Batman’s association with Two Face. While, at first, it seems perplexing how Bruce Wayne would want to fin...
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...oker. Even through his confrontation with Two Face, Batman says that “[they] tumble like lovers” (54) through the window. These issues are also prevalent in his relationship with a male sidekick. However, by making all of their connections interdependent on each other, it can be hypothesized that, in order for Batman’s character to work, then his relationship with these characters must remain unchanged and problematic. By making the Joker a villain does not mean that the comic displays homophobic tendencies. Rather, by coupling the Joker with examples taken from Two Face and Robin, we understand that their homoerotic connection was meant to showcase their reflective, symbiotic relationship. In other words, a Batman without Joker, in the end, is not really the Dark Knight.
Miller, Frank. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. New York: DC Comics, 1986. Print.
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