Fans are telling DC to make the Joker gay
Hundreds of fans have signed a petition calling on DC to “make The Joker gay again”.
The character, who has long been Batman’s nemesis, was played to great effect by late Brokeback Mountain star Heath Ledger in 2008’s The Dark Knight.
The villain has long had an obsession with Batman, with their deep relationship clearly explored in last year’s The Lego Batman Movie.
But now, thanks to a petition from Russian fan Elena Shestakova, fans have an outlet to express their wish for the Joker to be portrayed as gay.
Other Batman fans have condemned the idea, but they can go the same way as people who criticised TV show Gotham for making the Penguin fall in love with a man last year.
Robin Lord Taylor, who plays the Penguin in the hit show, hit out at critics of his character’s gay storyline, calling them “homophobic.”
In season three of the show, the Penguin declared his love for fellow villain the Riddler, in a series of episodes which also saw the Riddler risk his life to save his beloved.
Some have cast aspersions on the change in his backstory, but Taylor’s stance was very clear on the issue.
He said: “I’m like: ‘You’re homophobic, that’s homophobic. That’s it, right there.’”
In her petition, entitled “Make The Joker gay again,” Shestakova states: “The Joker is a comic book character with almost 80 years history, half of which he was portrayed as homosexual – for instance, in such significant graphic novels as Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns or Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth.
“Neal Adams claimed that The Joker was and always had been homosexual.
“This opinion was shared by other comic books authors and artists for decades. That is why it’s so important to me and other queer readers to return his homosexuality.”
She points to many indications in past comics that the Joker is gay.
“The Joker repeatedly confessed his feelings to Batman and showed an interest in other men,” she writes. “Also there was Joker’s unnamed boyfriend in the graphic novel Devil’s Advocate.
“The Joker has many feminine traits – he uses lipstick, paints his nails, wears high heels and sometimes does crossdressing.
“We realise that some of these things is stereotypical, but it gives a very clear picture. Over the years, there were plenty of other queer moments in comics, cartoons and video games (especially in Batman: Arkham series).”
She writes that in the late nineties, “someone decided to erase Joker’s homosexuality and introduced Harley Quinn as his girlfriend”.
That troubling, problematic couple was seen on screen in 2016’s Suicide Squad.
“His enforced relationship with Harley Quinn looks like an attempt to retconned his homosexuality and turn him in acceptable straight man,” she says.
Shestakova even referenced Gotham, explaining that “the Penguin became gay without any problem, and he is morally no better than the Joker.
“It’s not homophobic to have a queer villain. So why not let the Clown Prince of Crime ‘out of the closet’?”
Predictably, there has been a backlash from homophobes online.
One said: “F*** nooo joker is not gay so stop “.
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Another wrote: “See now what we NOT finna do is F*** WITH BATMAN WHY THE F*** YALL TRYNA MAKE JOKER GAY WHEN HE F**** WITH HARLEY QUINN YALL NEED TO STOP!”
One person said: “I really hope they don’t make The Joker gay bro. If so I’m not watching Season 3 of Young Justice or reading comics tied to Batman. ”
But hey, let’s not listen to them.
In the words of Taylor, “You’re homophobic, that’s homophobic.”