Mark Hamill is best known for his role as the Jedi Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise, however for comic book junkies like us, his most iconic role is the animated version of The Joker.
Hamill brought the true comic book nature of the Clown Prince of Crime's to life using only his voice, which he manipulated perfectly to convey a silly clown and a psychotic killer. Out of all the Jokers of the past, current, and quite possibly the future, Hamill's animated character has the most range.
He began his long-lived career as the definitive voice of The Joker when he landed the role in 1992's Batman: The Animated Series. Other actors might have taken on the infamous Joker mantle (both live-action and animated) once or twice, but Hamill himself has been the main voice behind The Joker for 24 years - making him the most heard Joker of all time.
He's Family Friendly
If you're an '80s or a '90s kid, then you most likely were first introduced to The Joker (other than the comics) in Batman: The Animated Series, mostly because we were still a bit too young for Tim Burton's live-action Batman in 1989. At least, this is how I personally met The Joker and he became my favorite villain, ever. First impressions are important and can permanently stick in a kid's brain.
Because Batman: The Animated Series was mostly marketed as a children's cartoon, The Joker couldn't kill. Instead, he painted huge grins on the faces of his victims and his guns shot "bang" signs rather than real bullets, making him the most family friendly.
It was suitable for kids to watch Mark Hamill's animated version of The Joker, because although he was scary, he was still silly. Do you remember the first time you met the animated version of Penguin? Because I certainly don't...prevnext
He's the Most Balanced
In addition to sadistic psychopath, Hamill was able to show us the many faces, feelings, and characteristics of the Jester of Genocide. He maintained a balance between total clown and murderous villain and even showed us The Joker's caring side in his on-again off-again (mostly abusive, but sometimes romantic) relationship with Harley Quinn.
Before Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn did not exist. So this was the first time that we saw The Joker actually care about someone else other than himself. Hamill's version didn't fall heavily to either side of the spectrum, he stayed right in the middle and maintained an even keel.
He was able to give us a silly clown full of fun jokes, but also a crazy clown with twisted tricks - and all at the same time...prevnext
He Has the Best Laugh
According to Hamill himself, The Joker's laugh illustrated his mood, so it was rather important to get it right for each scene. He even used to sit in his car on the Los Angeles freeways perfecting different laughs for a wide-variety of situations.
His laugh ranged from funny and comical to completely wild and unhinged, and sometimes even downright terrifying. Most would say that best rendition of Joker's laugh is thanks to Mark Hamill. He spent hours reading the comics and instantly noticed the range of written sounds involved each time Joker laughed. In addition to the simplistic "ha-ha," his speech bubbles included a lot of "hee-hee" and "hoo-hoo" with an occasional hiss or evil cackle.
Because a lot of important storytelling can only be communicated through sound, Hamill brought the various telling versions of Joker's laugh to our ears. Out of all The Jokers, his laugh rattled our ear-drums like no other...prevnext
His Unique Approach
It's a normal practice for voice actors to sit in chair in front of their microphone and read their lines. However, Hamill took this basic method one step further. While the rest of the Batman: The Animated Series cast sat in their chairs, he stood up and physically acted out his lines. He rattled his fists, jumped around, and even threw his head back in maniacal laughter.
He did this to fully engross himself in his character. Even though the audience wouldn't be able to see him, he knew that certain movements would make his words real and believable. Hamill might have looked completely insane, but some of his motions we're actually used for the show.
He wasn't just voicing The Joker, he was being The Joker...prevnext
He's the Longest-Running Joker
Hamill has tried his hardest to retire from this role, but the allure of being the most notorious Batman villain. In fact, he was technically "in retirement" when he accepted the role of The Joker in the R-rated animated feature-length film, Batman: The Killing Joke.
It all began in 1992 when he didn't even think he had a chance at landing the role in Batman: The Animated Series, little did he know that his 24-year iconic role was just starting. Since his first appearance in BTAS, he also starred in the following:
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker
- Batman: The Killing Joke
- The Adventures of Batman & Robin
- Batman: Vengeance
- Batman: Arkham Asylum
- Batman: Arkham City
- Batman: Arkham Knight
- Superman: The Animated Series
- Birds of Prey (live-action)
- The New Batman Adventures
- Justice League
- Justice League Unlimited
- Static Shock
Thus, making Mark Hamill, the longest-running Joker in DCU history...prev