Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson in 1940, few villains have haunted the imagination of pop culture like the Joker. For a major factor in the Joker’s longevity as a character is the fact that there are so many facets to him, and a great deal of room for interpretation (just compare the performances of Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill and more). There are times in his history where he’s been very much cast in the role of the clown; others when he’s a damaged man in need of help; others yet where he’s a truly terrifying figure.
His latest cinematic depiction, Todd Phillips‘ upcoming Joker, earned critical acclaim during its festival premieres for how the film is a much weightier examination of the character’s origins, but as seen below plenty of artists, across many mediums, have found different approaches to just what the Joker is capable of, what he might represent in a narrative, and how his seemingly mad point-of-view sometimes seems quite sane. There are many more moments that could have been included here, but these 30 feel like a good start.