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JOKER

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10/31/08 | 02:22 am

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You look nervous. Is it the scars? You want to know how I got 'em?

Throughout my life I have seen, without one exception, narrow-shouldered men performing innumerable idiotic acts, brutalising their fellows, and corrupting souls by every means. They call the motive for their actions: fame. Seeing these exhibitions I've longed to laugh, with the rest, but that strange imitation was impossible. Taking a penknife with a sharp-edged blade, I slit the flesh at the points joining the lips. For an instant I believed my aim was achieved. I saw in the mirror the mouth ruined at my own will! An error! Besides, the blood gushing freely from the two wounds prevented my distinguishing whether this really was the grin of others. But after some moments of comparison I saw quite clearly that my smile did not resemble that of humans: the fact is, I was not laughing. (HA HA HA HAAAA!)

Excerpt from Les Chants de Maldoror by the Comte de Lautréamont

When I realized how the Joker's chimerical past would be threaded throughout The Dark Knight, I must admit I half expected him to deliver the above soliloquy. As with the discovery Batman's "Corporate" Origins(?), it's hard to say if this is anything more than an intriguing coincidence (but I still enjoy entertaining the idea!). Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker is such a game-changer, this sort of speculation seems worthwhile to me...

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I based the pose in my image on that of Fantômas, another Agent of Chaos (like Maldoror) oddly beloved by the surrealists. It's not too difficult to see the eternal opposition between Fantômas and Inspector Juve mirrored in the relationship between the Joker and our intrepid Bat Detective. According to the introduction in my copy of novel, the iconic image of Fantômas hovering over Paris may have been inspired by a Rops engraving titled "Satan Sowing Tares". If so, it is yet another tantalyzing step through the funhouse mirror...

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"Satan sement l'ivraie" by Félicien Joseph Victor Rops (1878)

vs.

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"The Sower" by Jean-François Millet (1851)

It's a funny world we live in. Speaking of which: do you know how I got these scars?

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