Published by DC Comics and first appeared in the debut issue of the comic book Batman in April 25, 1940, the Joker is a supervillain created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson. He was planned to be killed off during his initial appearance, but he was spared by editorial intervention, allowing the character to endure as the archenemy of the superhero Batman.
Introduced as a psychopath with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the character became a goofy prankster in the late 1950s in response to regulation by the Comics Code Authority, before returning to his darker roots during the early 1970s.
The Joker possesses no superhuman abilities, instead using his expertise in chemical engineering to develop poisonous or lethal concoctions and thematic weaponry, including razor-tipped playing cards, deadly joy buzzers, and acid-spraying lapel flowers.
He has been adapted to serve as Batman’s adversary in live-action, animated, and video game incarnations, including the 1960s Batman television series played by Cesar Romero and in films by Jack Nicholson in Batman — 1989 — and by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight — 2008. The character was adapted into his own 2019 standalone film, Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix in the role of Arthur Fleck, which provides a possible origin story for the character. Both Ledger and Phoenix won an Academy Award for their portrayal of the character, making the Joker the second character to have its actor win an Academy Award more than once — the first being Vito Corleone from The Godfather series.