BATMAN ON FILM, since June 1998!
OPINION

THE DARK KNIGHT'S JOKER: A Fan's Perspective
Author: Cary Ashby
Sunday, May 26, 2007

My hat goes off to whomever came up with the brief, but brilliant, online promotion coordinating our first official look at Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent with the subversive approach to "revealing" Heath Ledger as The Joker. It was powerful, ingenious and most importantly, got fans' attention.

The flurry of activity created within a matter of days did everything an Internet promotion needed to do. The "I Believe in Harvey Dent Too" Web site epitomized the intentions of the so-called "guerilla marketing." The tactic even reminded me of something a certain Clown Prince of Crime might do. It initiated the all-important buzz over The Dark Knight.

Taking the vandalized site down and replacing it with not one, but two, hidden messages gave something to the Internetters - and suddenly took it away. The result? More buzz, conspiracy theories, and speculation!

Well done!

THE JOKER'S LOOK

That skull-like disfigured face is one only a mother could love.

I stand by my previous opinion that Ledger is an unconventional choice for The Joker. The casting announcement caught everyone off-guard, came out of nowhere, forcing fans to reconsider director Christopher Nolan's vision for TDK. Sound familiar?

Then came “The Big Internet Reveal.”

Is the TDK’s Joker conventional? No way.
Does it remind me of The Joker? Sure.
Is it what I expected? Absolutely not, but it creeps the you-know-what out of me and I can't get the damn image out of my head.

To be honest, I was turned off at first by the picture. It was too big, too disgusting and repulsive. I virtually jumped back from my computer when it showed up, big as life. I was pissed at Jett for putting on BOF, known as a no-spoiler site. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Once that picture was released, it was not considered a spoiler by BOF. Honestly, did you think I wouldn't run it? - Jett]

Then I REALLY started looking at it -- again and again. Onto another Web site with a news bit about it and I looked at the picture again. Then, I found myself showing it to some co-workers who I thought might be interested.

“I'll be damned,” I thought, Nolan has suckered me into being fascinated and curious. The blistered lips and cheeks looked "right" for someone who suffered an industrial accident. The blackened eyes give The Joker more than a passing resemblance to a skull – death personified. The mess of red lipstick looks like what a psychotic madman might attempt to replicate to look like a clown.

“The Ledger-Joker” -- if indeed this is what he'll look like in TDK - nails the creepy impression clowns gave me as a child. I wanted to look away, but I couldn't. I wanted to like it, but that pasty face creeped me out.

Suddenly it didn't matter that my first look at the "new Joker" didn't include his green hair or purple clothes, much less a smile. It might be better that way. I can only imagine how evil and devious the TDK’s Joker will look when Ledger opens his eyes and cracks that first villainous smile.

Brr.

Do you remember the words Nolan and Ledger have used to describe The Joker? Creepy and sinister. And that's exactly what we're getting.

Now I can almost forgive Nolan for showing us the goods so soon. And if seeing this picture doesn't get you excited about July 18, 2008, you're crazier than The Joker himself.

BOF contributor Cary Ashby writes a twice-monthly comic book column for the "Norwalk Reflector." He is the newspaper’s crime reporter. Cary has an extensive collection of Batman comics and has been an avid fan for nearly 30 years. He can be reached via e-mail at ashby@goreflector.com.

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