The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain published by DC Comics and appearing as the archenemy of Batman. Created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the character first appeared in Batman #1 (Spring 1940).
Throughout his comic book appearances, the Joker is portrayed as a master criminal whose characterization has varied from that of a violent psychopath to a goofy trickster-thief. He is the archenemy of Batman, having been directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin.
Throughout the character's long history, there have been several different origin tales; they most commonly depict him as falling into a vat of chemical waste, which bleaches his skin and turns his hair green and his lips bright red, giving him the appearance of a clown.
The Joker has been portrayed by Cesar Romero in the Batman television series, Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's Batman, and Heath Ledger in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, which posthumously earned Ledger an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Larry Storch, Mark Hamill, Kevin Michael Richardson and Jeff Bennett have provided the voice for the character in animated form.
As one of the most iconic and recognized villains in popular media, The Joker was ranked #1 in Wizard's list of the 100 Greatest Villains of All Time. He was also named #2 in IGN's list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time List, was ranked #8 in the Greatest Comic Book Characters in History list by Empire (being the highest ranking villain on the list) and was listed as the fifth Greatest Comic Book Character Ever in Wizard Magazine's 200 Greatest Comic Book Characters of all Time list, also the highest villain on the list.
"Madness is the emergency exit. You can just step outside, and close the door on all those dreadful things that happened. You can lock them away... forever." - The Joker, The Killing Joke