Joker of Earth-Two is commonly referred to as the Golden Age Joker, thus being the main Joker that appeared throughout the Golden Age of Comic Books. This wiki follows Joker only throghout the Golden Age.
The Joker was a professional criminal leader who terrorized the streets of Gotham City during the 1940s to the 1980s on the now destroyed Earth-Two. With a career spanning several decades, the Joker had become infamous as one of the primary nemeses of the original Earth-Two Dynamic Duo, Batman and Robin. The Joker would continue his attacks on Gotham until age prevented him from engaging in direct physical combat. In his later years, he remained incarcerated at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane.
Very little is known about the Joker's history prior to choosing a life of crime, other than he was a poor man. His original birth name was never revealed.
Finding honest work unfulfilling of his personal ambitions, he turned to crime to amass a personal fortune for himself. He first gained attention in early 1940 when he was operating as a masked professional criminal leader known as the Red Hood. The Red Hood and his men attempted to rob a profitable manufacturing business adjacent to a chemical processing plant. Batman and Robin arrived on the scene and the Red Hood abandoned his henchmen, seeking to escape by running through the chemical plant. Batman and Robin cornered him on a catwalk and the Red Hood was left with little choice but to dive off the catwalk into a large vat of steaming chemicals. According on one printing of the Joker's origin, the chemicals were the inks used to make playing cards. The chemical factory was listed as the "Monarch Card company", which would prove to be prophetic in the criminal's own development. Batman and Robin naturally assumed that their adversary died being exposed to the heated toxic chemicals. The Red Hood actually survived the chemical bath and managed to escape through a drainage pipe that emptied out into the river. However when he emerged from the waste pipes, he discovered that the chemicals turned his hair green, his skin chalk-white and his lips rouge red. Driven partially insane from the experience, the criminal decided to pattern himself after the playing cards Joker character that the chemicals were used to create.
Soon after his recreation and new name, the Joker quickly became a noted criminal entity in Gotham City's criminal underground. He did this when he brazenly challenged Gotham's underworld and police department by announcing over the radio that he will kill three of Gotham's most prominent citizens: Henry Claridge, Judge Drake and Jay Wilde. Batman and Robin investigated the crimes and were startled to find the victims' bodies stricken with a macabre perpetual grin upon their faces. The Joker managed to trap Robin and was prepared to murder him with the same deadly Joker venom that he used on his other victims, but Batman rescued Robin and the Joker went to prison.
The Joker did not stay in prison very long however. He soon escaped via an explosive capsule concealed in a molar, and continued his never-ending crime spree. The Batman laid a trap for the Joker, baiting him to steal a valuable ruby gemstone. The plan worked and the Joker crossed swords with Batman and Robin once again. During their fight, the Joker was accidentally stabbed by his own knife and nearly died. He was taken to the hospital, but quickly recovered. A criminal cartel known as Crime Syndicate, Inc. took him from the hospital and offered them the position of leader of their gang. The Joker led Crime Syndicate, Inc. on a string of jewel robberies, but the organization collapsed after another encounter with the Batman. The Joker was left for dead inside of a burning building, but again, managed to survive.
The Joker's resilience and uncanny knack for cheating death came into play once again. While using a music store as a front for his criminal ventures, taking on the alias of A. Rekoj, he would hire thugs to steal for him. Ultimately, he'd reveal himself as the Joker and steal the loot from the thugs, who were completely flummoxed because they did not realize that A. Rekoj and the Joker were one in the same. During this caper the Joker once more ran afoul of Batman and Robin. Next the Joker stole a valuable item known as the Jade Buddha and fought the Dynamic Duo once again aboard a ship. The Joker was defeated and fell from the deck of the ship into the water, where he seemingly drowned.
He soon returned however and started up a new gang based on circus performers. It was at this time that the Joker's compulsion towards foiling the Batman intensified, and he deliberately began leaving riddles and obscure clues at his crime scenes, daring the Batman to solve them. He would also escape this caper, seemingly drowning when he tries to escape through a sewer tunnel, however he would survive this encounter as well. Joker's next plot would involve setting up an illegal gambling ship three miles into international waters with the aid of three other criminals: Queenie, Diamond Jack Deegan and Clubsy. Investigating the ship as Bruce Wayne, the Batman would learn of the Joker's involvement of the operation and end it's exploitation of it's clientele. The Joker would once more escape capture by jumping into the icy water below the ship, miraculously the clown prince of crime would cheat death once more.
The Joker's next caper would involve tricking the police and Batman to protect a panicky gem collector (in reality one of the Joker's henchmen) while he drugged and took the place of a visiting European nobleman Duke Michael to steal $10,000 in war aid that was raised by the people of Gotham City that the Duke was intending to collect. This plot was also foiled by Batman when he learns the truth, and while battling the Joker on a moving railroad car, the Joker falls off the car and down a cliff face after receiving a blow from Batman. Once again, the Joker manages to cheat death.
When Batman and Robin are called to Washington, D.C. to receive a Presidential commendation from F.B.I. director G. Henry Mover, the Joker intends to use the highly publicized even to attempt to assassinate his arch-foe. Waiting in the crowd with a loaded gun the Joker tries to take a shot at the caped crusader, however he hits Mover instead, and flees the scene. Due to his actions, a nationwide manhunt is called against the Joker. Batman chases the Joker across the country, as he goes on a crime spree in various states that spell out his name. Finally seeing the pattern, Batman apprehends the Joker in Rhode Island.
The Joker became more creative in his pranks, even to the extent of leading a group of henchmen dressed as police officers and firemen. The gang was short-lived however, as Batman and Robin quickly apprehended the Joker and his various goons. Breaking out of jail the Joker engages in a new scheme in which he and his accomplices go on a crime spree. In order to avoid suspicion of the Joker's men suddenly having a massive wealth, they would setup fraudulent lotteries and quiz shows so that the crooks "win" their proceedings of the crime. Although the Dynamic Duo expose the plot and round up the Joker's men, the Joker himself manages to escape.
When comedian Happy Hanson dies, leaving a great fortune his will stipulates that his estate is to go to the world's greatest comedian. Selecting five different comedians, each one is given a clue to the location of his money and the victor of a competition to see who can tell the funniest joke would be given all the clues and be awarded Hanson's fortune. Learning of this, and furious that he'd been overlooked, the Joker breaks out of prison and violently includes himself in the competition. He would murder each of the comedians, using jokes as his inspiration for how he murders his victims. Although the Joker manages to kill all the comedians and collect all the clues, he is once more foiled by Batman and Robin.
Escaping prison by means as yet unrevealed, the Joker has come to realize the implications of the massive ill-gotten wealth he has collected: He can't spend it without getting arrested. The Joker then decides that he should fake his own death, to facilitate this he throw himself to the mercy of the justice system and confesses all his crimes. The courts decide to give the Joker the death sentence, and when he is executed in the electric chair his body is recovered from the prison morgue by his henchmen. The men take the Joker to his secret hideout and use a solution of his own design to revive him from death. Revived once more, the Joker uses a the "double jeopardy" clause of law (in that someone who has served their punishment for a crime cannot be sentenced again.) The Joker goes about his renewed life with a clean slate. Putting up a false pretense that he is a law abiding citizen, the Joker once more engages in criminal activity. When Batman and Robin learn of the Joker's recent criminal activity they try to capture him, however the Joker manages to escape and is once more a fugitive from justice.
His next scheme involves using outside circumstance to try and foul up any attempts to capture him. A bank robbery is successful when the Joker puts in an ad seeking out old cars which end up jamming up traffic when the police try to stop the Joker. Then he poses as a magician to steal priceless jewels. His last attempted crime -- wherein the Joker poses as a sign painter -- fails when Batman gets wise the Jokers plan and captures him. When the Joker almost kills Robin by suffocating him with sulfur the Dark Knight gives him a good beating and leaves him in front of the court house.
The Joker's next scheme involved crimes that using slang terms literally, it ends with Batman defeating his arch-foe on top of a Army barrage balloon. However, during the fight the Joker loses his footing and falls into the raging waters below. Once more the Joker manages to survive he gathers some new henchmen to steal seemingly useless documents (a child report card for example) which is a cover for stealing signatures of wealthy men for fraudulent means. When Batman and Robin try to intervene, the Joker grabs hold of Robin and threatens to kill the boy unless he is assured freedom and a ransom of $100,000. The demand is met and the Joker gets away, but when he opens the bag that is supposed to be full of money, he is shocked to find that instead of cash there is a check for the amount. Although the Joker got what he wanted, he cannot cash the check without getting arrested.
Resurfacing again, the Joker attempts to blackmail various managers of businessmen to help in his recent robberies through fear of revealing dark secrets about their past. Batman and Robin once more manage to stop the Jokers plan, however the villain once more escapes in an aircraft during a battle at an aircraft factory.
When the local newspaper ends up publishing biting editorial cartoons depicting the clown prince as a buffoon who is easily defeated by Batman due to his arrogance, the Joker vows to initiate a series of crimes that will make the caped crusader look foolish to spurn an editorial shift of opinion in the hopes that the bad press would convince Batman to resign from crime fighting in shame. At first the scheme works, however Batman renews his resolve after Robin gives him a pep-talk, and Batman brings the Joker to justice and redeems himself in the public eye. As icing on the cake, Batman displays the Joker in a cage during one of his public lectures on crime-fighting.
Later, the Joker is aboard a plane that crash lands in the Ozarks, and the clown prince and his henchmen manage to parachute to safety. However, the Joker would end up hitting his head and suffers amnesia. Ending up in a town called Farr Corners -- a quite mountain town that has no knowledge of the Joker's criminal past -- the Joker becomes a good Samaritan, even turning over stolen loot. When his henchmen track him down seeking out their share of the loot, and they run afoul of Batman and Robin, the Joker suffers another blow to the head that restores his memory, and they are all apprehended.
Escaping prison once more, the Joker and his men take over a floral shop, and kidnap its owner. The Joker initiates an elaborate plot that involved chloroform filled bags of soil on a time release that they would sell to wealthy customers and steal from their homes. This plot was foiled once more by Batman, and the Joker is once more apprehended. When a man named Lyon goes on a crime spree and disguises himself as the Joker to pin the crimes on him, the Joker is furious and seeks to get revenge against Lyon. He ultimately traps Batman, Robin and Lyon in a lion cage. However, the Dynamic Duo manages to break free and apprehend both Lyon and the Joker.
The Joker would find freedom once more and establish another fraudulent operation, this time in cahoots with bogus scientist Ecla Tate and fraudulent mystic Swami Meera Kell. Using an abandoned movie studio they would construct realistic sets of past, present and future locations and trick clients into thinking they can travel to other eras in time to their own benefit and then extort them out of money. The scheme was once more foiled by Batman and Robin who arrest the entire gang.
When a West Virginian businessman named Hart commits a series of murders, and also tries to peg it on the Joker, the furious clown prince is forced to help Batman and Robin to stop this copycat to prove his innocence. Succeeding in this, the Joker manages to escape before Batman and Robin can capture him as well. The Joker's next scheme would involve committing crimes upside-down, the plot would also be foiled, but the Joker manages to escape once more.
The Joker would eventually be apprehended under unrevealed circumstances and serving a life sentence. The Joker however, manages to escape and commits a series of crimes that are based on common practical jokes. However, the Joker is duped into trying to use a seemingly empty van as an escape vehicle, and ends up hand himself over to the police officers hiding inside.
Back in prison, the Joker and the Penguin get in a heated argument over who is the superior bat-villain. This leads to the two breaking out and committing crimes to see who can pull off their caper and still manage to best the Batman. This leads to a three way battle between the two rival crooks, their henchmen and the Dynamic Duo. Finally realizing they have a common foe, the Joker and Penguin decide to team-up and easily defeat Batman and Robin. However, this union proves short lived when the two almost come to blows over what means they will eliminate their hated foes. The argument gives Batman and Robin enough time to escape, defeat, and turn the two villains over to the police.
The Joker once more escapes from prison and creates "Shadow City" a mock of a hidden city within a warehouse and played off as a secret part of Gotham City where patrons can achieve their heart's desire. He would use this fake city as a means of extorting people out of money. This plot, like all his previous ones, would be foiled by the Dynamic Duo. The Joker's other crimes at the time involved literally stealing a mansion, a plot with the Velvet Kid who posed as a reformed criminal that would exploit the security flaws of the homes of the rich, and attempting to extort Robin into reenacting humiliating fraternity initiations that he previously witnessed in order to keep Batman (whom the Joker captured) alive. Each of these plots ended in failure. His next crime involving robbing a series of wealthy men is similarly foiled by Batman and Robin.
The Joker would next attempt to commit a series of crimes that are an attempt to complete an acrostic that spells out his whole name. He succeeds in committing crimes that spell out the letters J, O, K and E, however he is captured and foiled by Robin. Realizing that Robin's involvement was the "R" he was looking for, the Joker considers his acrostic a success even though he was captured in the process.
Finally fed up with Batman's superior gadgetry that plays a part in foiling his criminal plots, the Joker builds a series of Joker themed devices such as the Jokermobile, the Jokergyro, and Joker-Signals and sells his services out to crooks who need his assistance in committing their heists. After a series of successes with this plot, the Joker is ultimately arrested once more by Batman and Robin.
Following this defeat, the Joker tried to commit a series of crimes based on a "royal flush" centered on diamonds, which would also end in failure at the Batman's hands. When a new television program debunking popular superstitions begins to air on television, the Joker decides to "prove them wrong" by committing a series of superstition based crimes, which is also met with failure thanks to the intervention of Batman and Robin. Another attempt of robberies dubbed the "Crime Parade", taking advantage of the "Tune Parade" radio show is also met with failure.
Following his most recent escape from incarceration, the Joker attempts to commit a series of crimes in reverse: In that, instead of announcing crimes he intends to commit, he boasts that he already committed them. When the flabbergasted victims of his jest would show that, no, they were not robbed one of Joker's men would be on hand to capture the intended loot. This plot was also foiled by Batman and Robin, Joker once more apprehended.
After winning big in an illegal casino, the Joker decides to use a gambling scheme to his next series of robberies. He decides to create a high stakes crime implicating Batman with a wager of peoples lives on the line. To facilitate this the Joker hires some accomplices to steal some medical Radium and tries to make off with the loot. When his hired help realize what they stole they surrender and face the law, while the Joker eludes capture by jumping off a cliff. However, he would eventually be capture through unrevealed circumstances. When he breaks out of jail next the underworld throws a party for his escape complete with giant greeting cards. Drawing inspiration, the Joker commits a series of crimes where he sends Batman cryptic greeting cards giving the caped crusader clues as to what he intends rob. This eventually works against home, and Batman captures the Joker once more. Another attempt at baffling the authorities with rebus riddles also ends with his defeat at the hands of the Dynamic Duo. When the Joker next kidnaps Dr. Wealter Timmins, an inventor of an invisibility serum. The Joker uses it to his advantage until his inability to stop boasting allows Batman to follow the sound of his voice and defeat the Joker once more.
Other schemes involve the Joker tricking people into setting up fake "funny robberies" where he really robs the person with the promise of giving them double what was taken and sheisters them by giving them two of something very worthless, again foiled by the Dynamic Duo. The Joker then attempts to write a book about comedy, but this involves stealing things that spell out "Ha! Ha! Ho! Ho!" forwards, which consisted of worthless items and then items that spell out "oh oh ah ah" that were of value, again this plan was thwarted by Batman. Another plot using sound effects to cause panic among people as a gimmick to commit their robberies is similarly defeated by Batman and Robin.
While in police custody, the Joker is questioned by Batman and Robin about his family lineage to try and see if Joker's criminal tendencies are hereditary. The Joker explains that he comes from a line of clowns. When Batman and Robin (in their civilian identities of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson) visit Professor Carter Nichols, who has invented a functional time machine -- the duo try to travel 100 years into the past to see if there is a historic root to the Joker's criminal tendencies. They are transported 100 years into the future accidentally instead, where they find the Joker's ancestor Rekoj is a law abiding citizen and that he is actually the police commissioner of 21st century Gotham City.
The Joker would continue to remain an active criminal after Wayne had retired from being Batman. The Joker would continue to engage Gotham City's costumed protectors Grayson who became Batman II and Wayne's daughter Helena who became the Huntress though usually with less frequency than his earlier years. But eventually, the Joker would tire of his criminal exploits, probably due to his advancing age and would surrender to prison.
The Joker's last known crime spree was when he learned that Wayne, who had been publicly revealed to be the original Batman, had died. Unable to accept that he had finally beaten his long-term adversary -- simply by outliving Wayne -- the Joker escaped prison and started up his old criminal exploits to draw Batman out of what the Joker thought was merely Batman's retirement. With Wayne dead, Grayson resumed his identity as the second Batman long enough to convince the Joker that Wayne was still alive and that the battle could resume at a later time. With the possibility of finally directly defeating the original Batman still in existence, the Joker allowed the Huntress to take him back into custody and his own retirement where he plotted out his eventual final battle with Batman. That battle never occurred as Wayne was dead, and Grayson was never again known to have resumed the identity of Batman after this case, feeling that he had already failed in the role of successor to Wayne despite convincing the Joker to peacefully surrender.
It is unknown whether the Joker escaped from prison in any further exploits, but if he did, he was successfully defeated and returned to prison.
The Joker either died from old age before the Crisis on Infinite Earths came to Earth-Two, or he died along all people who were on Earth-Two when that Earth was destroyed in the Crisis. Like everyone else of Earth-Two, this Joker was succeeded by his New Earth counterpart, the current Joker. Also like the original Earth-Two Batman, the Earth-Two Joker never met his Earth-One counterpart.