Who's crazier--Batman or the Joker?

The dearth of stupid polls on the front page of CS saddens me. I blame myself but shall punish others.

For purposes of this poll, Batman is the comics’ Bruce Wayne as written since, oh, 2000. The Joker is the Joker from the same period.

I’d say they are equally nuts, in different ways. And I wouldn’t even say Bats’ insanity is less harmful.

Batman, if he’s prepared?

Given how I voted, I obviously agree with your second sentence.

Joker, hands down. Deep down, I think Bruce’s superficially looney decision to dress like a bat and fight crime comes from a genuinely rational and altrusitic desire to prevent anyone else from having to go through the tragedy that he did. The Joker wants to inflict chaos and ugliness on all humanity for reasons only known to him. Bruce is a cop, the Joker is a terrorist.

My understanding of Batman is largely based on the movies, in which Batman really isn’t nuts at all.

The Joker, in the movie, was not legally insane but he was certainly a psychopath.

That’s why I specified the comics, though I wish you had been more clear which movies you refer to–the Burton/Schumacher quartet, or the Nolan duet. Nolan’s Bruce Wayne is clearly not crazy, or even immoral; he’s doing what he does in a calculated way for calculated reasons, and I believe him when he says he anticipates eventually going to jail for it.

The Schumacher Batman was a clown, so I’ll ignore him.

As for Burton’s…I’m sorry, but that boy’s not right.

In the current DC continuity, just putting the costume on isn’t crazy. Neither Wayne nor Kent invented the idea (which I think is a shame in the latter case); there was a long-standing tradition before even their parents are born. But the sum total of Batman’s methodology is crazy in a way that, say, Supes, Wonder Woman, & the various Flashes are not. (Except, of course, for the fact that they tolerate him.)

I dunno, I think Superman is a bit neurotic in the way that only a godlike being can be.

The question was answered definitely in The Killing Joke.

I’d say that Batman is no more nuts than pretty much anyone who’s a member of Green Peace–which is probably half of this board. If you’re no more insane than significant portions of the population, you’re just an asshole, not a nutter.

I would have chosen option #5 (from the top) for technical accuracy, but I couldn’t pass up choosing #7. :smiley: You can optionally subtract one and move it into #5 if you want a correct survey answer.

I disagree. Clearly (to me at least) the crazy part is the putting on the costume and setting out to fight crime in the first place. Seeing as in Batman’s world that almost doesn’t count as an eccentricity even, then all the rest is perfectly reasonable/rational. If you are going to do it, then Batman’s way is the best one I can think of. Sure, the guy has some deep emotional issues, but they aren’t really all that unusual and (when you discount the superhero stuff, which you must) don’t even come close to making the man crazy.

To be honest I haven’t read many DC comics. My experience comes from the few I’ve read (there’s one that takes place on Halloween that has Batman and the Joker in it, then there’s one where Joker and Batman are both searching for a killer, Batman to stop him, the Joker because he doesn’t like competition and I’ve leafed through the series where Gotham is abandoned by the US government- can’t remember what ANY of them were called) and from the movies I’ve seen (Batman Begins, Dark Knight, Batman Returns and Batman and Robin) as well as long, long talks I’ve had from friends.

I’m not entirely sure if Joker is nuts. Dressing up like a clown and holding a city hostage doesn’t make you nuts. For a guy who’s supposedly crazy, he has a really good grasp on reality, given his ability to predict how all the variables in his schemes will behave. I don’t think Batman’s nuts, either, but I think it’s irresponsible of him to refuse to kill the Joker given that the Joker, over and over and over, breaks out of the Asylum (sometimes killing dozens in the process) and goes out on killing sprees. If he could be locked up securely I would agree that not killing him is the moral thing to do- but by refusing to kill him Batman is basically allowing the Joker to murder again.


People write this all the time here and I just don’t get it. Even setting aside Batman’s moral code, surely the decision that a person is too dangerous for society at large and must be killed doesn’t belong to any single man, much less one that’s so personally involved in the issue, but instead must be arrived at by due process. It doesn’t matter what the Joker has done I just can’t see how Batman killing him in anything that’s not self-defense can be justified (though it could be excused). It would be wrong for a cop to kill the Joker once he’s been contained, so how can it be okay for Batman, who’s not even been appointed by society for his job to do so? If the Joker must die then he should be sentenced to death, not executed by a vigilante.

And once again Chuck gets it in one.
Not sure what year “The Killing Joke” was done, but I’m too lazy to go look it up. Anyone that hasn’t read that, I can highly recommend it. Neither of them will ever quit doing what they do. Neither would be who they are without the other. They are the two sides of the same coin.

“Oh no! You’ll turn the light off when I’m only half way!”

Also highly recommended, “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader”.

Surely the Joker’s incarceration should be left to the authorities and not to some vigilante! What, they can’t do the job so Batman has to? The same logic applies to killing the Joker.

The police can arrest the Joker (or ask for Batman’s help to do so) but can’t judge him then pass sentence and execute it. It’s not even as if it’s impossible to hold the man. He remains imprisoned for months at a time, he’s been tried several times and once was even sentenced to death (the sentence was annulled when it came to light that the Joker was innocent of that particular crime). I’ll agree with you that having a vigilante helping with the policing is already troublesome from several perspectives (though people in the DC universe don’t really seem to mind most of the time); but what the vigilantes do is police work. They investigate crime and arrest people, which, for all I know, could even be legal. Where I live I can detain someone until the authorities arrive if I’ve seen this person commit a crime. They don’t act on behalf of the judicial system all by themselves. If it’s Batman’s duty to kill the Joker why can’t the same be said of any cop in Gotham? Or of any Arkham orderly or doctor?

He fulfills the role of a police officer? Then he should fulfill the role of an executioner. Batman doesn’t just detain someone until the authorities arrive, he takes the law into his own hands. He just decides to stop one arbitrary step short of saving the lives of potentially hundreds of Gotham citizens.

I think there’s a big difference involved between what Batman does and what you propose he should do, you don’t. The way I see it Batman doesn’t pass judgment, he just sees to it that the criminals are available for the judging.

Let’s just agree to disagree on this.

Joker. The Bat is obsessive, with a narcissistic streak, and occasionally displays a lack of empathy.

Joker is obsessive, narcissistic, completely lacking in empathy, occasionally delusional, and actively homicidal.

Animal control should be in the hands of the proper authorities, too, but wringing your hands while a rabid dog is running loose when you—and possibly only you—have the means to stop it doesn’t register as “moral” in my book.

Hell, if he’s so against killing, why doesn’t Batman take responsibility for incarcerating the Joker himself? He’s surely capable of figuring out a way to keep the Joker contained—and clearly he’s not going to be cheating him out of the desperately needed psychiatric help he’d get at Arkham, which is either nonexistant, or completely ineffective. Maybe he could even do it legally—get Wayne Enterprises to branch out into private prison/mental hospital contracting, and wrangling his way into getting jurisdiction for the “insane” supercriminals in the Gotham area. Surely he could afford it—and he’d probably make up a lot of the costs from what he WOULDN’T have to spend tracking down and fighting his villains in the first place, with the benefit that they’d murder fewer people.