A fun, frightening, and always fascinating look into the psyche of a madman: the Clown Prince of Crime, the Harlequin of Hate—The Joker! Since he first fought Batman in 1940, The Joker has evolved into one of popular culture’s most complex and confounding psychological creations: both a criminal mastermind and an unhinged psychopath now starring in his own film. In The Joker Psychology: Evil Clowns and the Women Who Love Them, Dr. Travis Langley, author of the bestselling Batman and Psychology, returns to Gotham City to explore the twisted psyche of this great supervillain, as well as the personalities who are inexorably drawn to it. Paying special attention to the strange dynamics of relationships like the one between The Joker and Harley Quinn, this collection of 15 chapters (including some very special interviews with the people who brought The Joker and Harley Quinn to life in comics and onscreen), this collection analyzes:
- Why a bright, laughing monster who looks like a clown could be the ultimate antagonist to a grim, brooding hero who looks like a monster.
- The relationship between a therapist and her patient—and what happens when a therapist crosses the line, as Harley Quinn does when she falls for The Joker.
- How a smart person could fall for the most dangerous of criminals.
- Why so many fans find Harley Quinn inspirational.
- How different kinds of therapy could (or could not) help twisted minds like Mister J and Harley Quinn.
- The development of a fictional character that so completely embodies psychopathy (including interviews with creators who have shaped The Joker's character over the years).
About the Author
Travis Langley, PhD, authored the acclaimed book Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight. He is the series editor for the Popular Culture Psychology series, including The Walking Dead Psychology, Wonder Woman Psychology, and Captain America Vs. Iron Man (with foreword by Stan Lee) along with looks at Star Wars, Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Doctor Who, Daredevil, Westworld, and more. A distinguished professor of psychology at Henderson State University, he teaches on the psychology of crime, mental illness, media, and social behavior. He lives in AR.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments: Accomplices vii
Foreword: That Thin Line Michael Uslan xv
Introduction: Who's That Clown? Travis Langley 1
1 Which Joker? Travis Langley 11
2 Who Created the Joker? Travis Langley 28
3 Horror: A Clown, at Midnight Eric D. Wesselmann Travis Langley Vanessa Hicks 56
Case Report I (1940): Risk Management Assessment for the Psychopath Colt J. Blunt 76
4 The Spotlight: The Flamboyant Criminal Shelly Clevenger J. Scott Jordan 83
5 Trickster and Shadow: Jungian Archetypes Larisa A. Garski Justine Mastin Ashley Myhre 93
6 Humor: Who's Laughing? Travis Langley Sibe Doosje 106
Case Report II (1966): Risk Management Assessment for the Narcissist Colt J. Blunt 122
7 Insanity: Getting into Arkham (On Being Insane in Insane Places) Martin Lloyd 127
8 Cult of Personality: Personality and Crime Colt J. Blunt 147
9 The Brain: Built to Be Bad? Travis Langley 163
Case Report III (1974): Risk Management Assessment for the Legally Insane Colt J. Blunt 173
10 Lies: Why Lie on the Couch? Billy San Juan Travis Langley 179
11 Relationship Abuse: When the Joker Isn't Funny Wind Goodfriend Ryan Harder 197
12 The Allure: The Therapist Who Falls Leandra Parris Eric D. Wesselmann Shelly Clevenger Amanda Vicary 220
Case Report IV (2000): Risk Management Assessment for the Machiavellian Colt J. Blunt 242
V Wild Card
13 The Rivalry: These Two Guys Travis Langley 247
14 Trauma: More Than One Bad Day Leandra Parris Eric D. Wesselmann 270
15 Therapy: Can Counseling Cure the Clown? Travis Langley Apryl Alexander Vanessa Hicks William Sharp Justine Mastin Yoni Sobin Jenna Busch Asher Johnson Erin Currie Kathleen La Forgia 286
Case Report V Current Recommendation: Risk Management Assessment for the Sadist Colt J. Blunt 308
Last Laugh: Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Travis Langley 312
About the Editor 315
Special Contributors 316