Two sides of the same coin

The Batman and the Joker are more alike than not


Graphic by Victoria Van

Story by Jhovany Perez, editor in chief

What is the only thing that separates you from the Joker and Batman? One bad day. That one day is what establishes both the Joker’s and Batman’s character arcs; it’s that common theme that makes them into who they are.

Batman and Joker are thus, in this manner, two sides of the same coin.

Batman came about when he witnessed the murder of his parents in Crime Alley. He fell into a depression and vowed to bring murderers, like the one that killed his parents, to justice. But, he has one rule in order to avoid becoming like the murderers: never kill.

The Joker, on the other hand, has many origin stories, but the most well known is that he was a struggling comedian. Bills after bills piled up, and he couldn’t stay afloat, so he turned to crime. He became known as the Red Hood and constantly robbed in order to support himself and his wife. However, one unlucky day, he was caught by Batman and accidently fell into a tank filled with chemicals which bleached his skin white and altered his personality. He turned insane and embodied chaos itself.

Batman, on the other hand, stood for sanity and justice. Although Batman and Joker are opposites, both of them are brought into existence because of a specific bad day. If Bruce Wayne never witnessed the death of his parents, Batman as we know him wouldn’t exist. If the Joker hadn’t been caught on that day, he never would have become the Joker.

It is through their experiences of loss that they became who they are, yet they both embody different schools of thought.”

— Jhovany Perez

Batman doesn’t become pessimistic after his parents’ death. Instead, he continues to believe that all human beings are naturally good and that a collection of bad days is what leads people to make bad decisions. Joker, on the other hand, becomes altered after he falls into the tank. He begins to believe that all humans are naturally chaotic and evil — hence his desire to constantly destroy and cause chaos; he wants to return things to their natural state.

They both do what they think is right, and both have their own ways of convincing the other. Joker, in many instances, does the cruelest things to Batman, like torture Jason Todd to death or brutally beat Officer Gordon, but Batman has always refused to kill the Joker — even though he is perfectly capable of doing so. This demonstrates Batman’s fixation on his philosophy of people being naturally good; Batman believes that there is still some way of saving the Joker. Yet, the Joker commits all of these horrible acts against Batman to show him that there are evil people in the world, and that there is no salvation for them besides death.

In this way, they are two sides of the same coin. Their very being, in essence, is intertwined by one bad day; they are defined by it. There is one question we can take away from this: are we also essentially defined by one bad day? And if so, are we Batman or the Joker?