Last week came word that the newly published Batman Giant #5 from DC Comics had arrived at Wal-Mart stores in the United States and featured a new story that purported to tell the secret origin of The Joker. Details were light about the story but now Bleeding Cool brings word on the plot of "Joker's Wild aka Whacha Got in the Trunk?" Written by Mark Russell with art by Christopher Mooneyham and colors by David Aaron, the story focuses on an up and coming comedian that can't seem to get his act together (literally and figuratively), in a tale that is equal parts Batman: The Killing Joke and the 2019 feature film, Joker.
In the story, the character is known simply as "Chicken Strips" after a heckling customer at the comedy club demands their ordered food from him ahead of his comedy set. In a narration the character, who looks vaguely Joker-ish, calls his comedy career "one humiliating spectacle after another." Later he's given the advice from Tony Finks, the owner of the Joker's Wild comedy club: "People don't want jokes, they want a Joker. A character." This inspires him to blow-up the comedy club with everyone in side it after saying a half-witty line almost exactly like Joaquin Phoenix's character on the Murray Franklin Show.
It's worth noting however that DC gave themselves an easy out with a note at the start of the story that indicates the origin may not stick. In an Editor's note, editor Katie Kubert writes: "This is likely not the actual origin story of The Joker, but just a legend that has been passed down within Gotham's comedy scene through the decades, growing and diminishing, changing with each teller who makes it their own..."
The variety and uncertainty in the origins of The Joker has become a staple more-so than the actual story of his origin, something that director Todd Phillips wanted to tap into purposefully with the film. While speaking in the in Joker: Vision & Fury, a 22-minute behind-the-scenes featurette included on the home release special features for the film, the director even cast doubt on the possibility that Joaquin Phoenix's "Arthur Fleck" is even the real Joker at all.
"There's many ways to look at the movie. He might not be Joker," Phillips said. "This is just a version of a Joker origin. It's just the version this guy is telling in this room at a mental institution. I don't know that he's the most reliable narrator in the world, you know what I'm saying?"