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A 50-Year Visual History of The Joker in Movies and TV

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The clown prince of crime made his onscreen debut 50 years ago. While The Joker has graced DC’s pages since 1940, his look has (arguably) changed the most through TV and film adaptations—and Burger Fiction gave his many incarnations a proper and thorough send-up.

Though they’ve previously chronicled the small and large-screen appearances of comic book heroes like Iron Man and Captain America, this visual history is much more varied and interesting. Villains like The Joker get to reflect the cultural fears of the age they appear in, which partially explains why Heath Ledger’s anarcho-terrorist interpretation resonated so strongly with many people. (And why Jared Leto’s Joker feels so deeply irrelevant.)