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Old October 29 2013, 08:05 PM   #1
RoJoHen
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Joker falling off a building

I admit that I am not super familiar with the comics. Most of my superhero knowledge comes from movies, cartoons, and video games.

There is one thing I've noticed, though, that I was wondering about. Why is Joker always falling off of buildings?

In Michael Keaton's Batman movie, Joker falls off a building to his death, and we hear him laughing.

In The Dark Knight, Joker falls off a building, and it would have been to his death had Batman not saved him.

I've been playing the new game Arkham Origins, and there's a scene where Joker falls off a building, and once again Batman saves him.

It seems to be a recurring theme, and I was wondering if all of these scenes were paying an homage to something from the comics.
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Old October 29 2013, 08:41 PM   #2
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Re: Joker falling off a building

It's a metaphor for the Joker's descent into madness.


Yes, I pulled that out of my ass. But it works!
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Old October 29 2013, 08:42 PM   #3
Agent Richard07
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Re: Joker falling off a building

In Batman: Dead End, he gets pulled up a building.
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Old October 29 2013, 08:46 PM   #4
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Re: Joker falling off a building

In the end of the "Death of the Family" arc in the New 52 doesn't he fall down a cliff/sewer tunnel in Gotham's surprisingly cavernous sewers?
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Old October 29 2013, 08:49 PM   #5
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Re: Joker falling off a building

Falling is a standard form of villain death in comics, movies, etc. It's notably common in Disney movies as a way of dispatching villains, because it's discreet; the death is not actually shown, so it can be suitable for kids, but it's still left pretty clear that the villain won't be coming back. TV Tropes actually calls this the Disney Villain Death. (See also the end of Superman II.) It can also be a handy way of killing off a character without the heroes getting blood on their hands (often the hero tries to save the villain but fails). But it's ambiguous enough that it's also suitable for a character like the Joker, who's constantly seeming to die and then turning up alive in later stories. Other such characters, like Ernst Stavro Blofeld and MacGyver's serial-killer nemesis Murdoc, have been known to fall to their "deaths" on occasion. As long as their death is unseen and no body is found, it leaves a door open. And since the Joker is pretty much the champion of fakeout deaths, he tends to fall off things a lot.
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Old October 29 2013, 09:07 PM   #6
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Re: Joker falling off a building

The falling motif was probably established in the comics.

From the Wikipedia article about The Joker:
In 1951, [Bill] Finger wrote an origin story for the Joker in Detective Comics #168 which introduced the concept of him formerly being the criminal Red Hood, and his disfigurement being the result of falling into a chemical vat.[18
That comic has been reprinted a few times in collections, so you can probably find it somewhere.
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Old October 29 2013, 10:39 PM   #7
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Re: Joker falling off a building

^Heck, the very first criminal Batman ever faced in the comics fell into a vat of chemicals and died. And that was surely a trope that was already common in the pulp literature that Batman was inspired by.
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Old October 29 2013, 11:22 PM   #8
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Re: Joker falling off a building

I guess it's just something I've noticed with Joker more than other villains (though I am familiar with Disney's use of it). When I saw Heath Ledger's Joker fall off the building at the end of TDK, I instantly thought of his death scene from the 1989 Batman movie. I figured it was nod to that film. But now I've seen Joker pull the "falling off of buildings" thing several times, and I was just wondering if there was some iconic comic book scene that was being referenced.
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Old October 29 2013, 11:35 PM   #9
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Re: Joker falling off a building

Yeah, I don't think it's particularly specific to the Joker. Like Christopher said, it's just a dramatic way to dispose of a villain, especially if you think you might want to bring him back someday.

Heck, the trope dates back to at least Professor Moriarity, whom, you'll recall, plummeted to his doom from the Reichenbach Falls in the original Sherlock Holmes stories . . . .
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Old October 29 2013, 11:39 PM   #10
RoJoHen
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Re: Joker falling off a building

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Yeah, I don't think it's particularly specific to the Joker. Like Christopher said, it's just a dramatic way to dispose of a villain, especially if you think you might want to bring him back someday.
Well, sure, I never said that falling off of buildings was a Joker-only thing, just that he seems to do it a lot. It's a scene that I keep see being repeated with that particular character, so I was just wondering why that might be (because I don't see it happen with any other Batman villains).
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Old October 29 2013, 11:54 PM   #11
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Re: Joker falling off a building

Pavonis wrote: View Post
It's a metaphor for the Joker's descent into madness.
Batman turned off the flashlight.
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Old October 30 2013, 12:13 AM   #12
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Re: Joker falling off a building

Pavonis wrote: View Post
It's a metaphor for the Joker's descent into madness.


Yes, I pulled that out of my ass. But it works!
I always just assumed he was accident prone.
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Old October 30 2013, 12:38 AM   #13
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Re: Joker falling off a building

RoJoHen wrote: View Post
Well, sure, I never said that falling off of buildings was a Joker-only thing, just that he seems to do it a lot. It's a scene that I keep see being repeated with that particular character, so I was just wondering why that might be (because I don't see it happen with any other Batman villains).
Well, it's not an homage to a specific scene, as far as I know. Maybe it's just that it's a particularly "villain-worthy," dramatic fate, and the Joker is Batman's chief villain, not to mention one who seemingly dies a lot, more than most in Batman's rogues' gallery.

Although the mortality rate in the movies is a whole lot higher. Didn't Two-Face fall to his death in Batman Forever? Heck, come to think of it, Burton's Selina Kyle fell to her death before she became Catwoman.

I think a case can be made that the most prolific killer in cinematic history is the Earth's gravitational field.
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Old October 30 2013, 01:01 AM   #14
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Re: Joker falling off a building

Hell, Two-Face fell to his death in The Dark Knight!
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Old October 30 2013, 01:04 AM   #15
Silvercrest
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Re: Joker falling off a building

Christopher wrote:
I think a case can be made that the most prolific killer in cinematic history is the Earth's gravitational field
Do you think anyone will prosecute? I'm pretty sure we have enough evidence for an indictment.
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