The Joker

First appearing in the debut issue of the comic book Batman, The Joker appeared as a fictional supervillain in 1940. DC Comics is responsible for publishing the comic, but the creators are Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. Both Kane and Robinson claim responsibility for creating the Joker as a character, so who should get the credit is a contentious issue. Finger as the writer is, however, acknowledged by both Robinson and Kane. Following his initial appearance in 1940, the idea was to kill him off in subsequent issues but the editors stepped in and kept him alive. Even today he is still considered to be an archenemy of Batman.

The Joker has appeared in more than just the comic book, also showing his face in a number of movies and TV shows. He is introduced in the comic books as a criminal mastermind with a very warped and sadistic sense of humour. Also portrayed as a psychopath when he first made an appearance. The Comics Code Authority was introduced in the 1950s and this forced the Joker’s creators to make him more of a goofy prankster with a much lighter personality. He did, however, return to his darker persona in the 70s. The Joker has been able to play a part in many of Batman’s defining storylines, thanks to his position as Batman’s nemesis. Examples of this are when he paralyses Barbara Gordon and when he murders Jason Todd, Batman’s ward and the second Robin.

Gambit

Appearing in Marvel comic books, Gambit is a character that’s purely fictional. He is usually associated with the X-Men and initially appear in Uncanny X-Men Annual number 14, followed by an appearance in Uncanny X-Men number 266. Both of which were published in 1990. His character is the brain child of Chris Claremont, one of the top comic producers of all time, and he’s been brought to life by the illustrations done by Jim Lee.

Who is Gambit?
Born with the name Etienne LeBeau in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was kidnapped shortly after his birth. It was the LeBeau Clan Thieves Guild that kidnapped him before giving him away as a tribute to the Antiquary. This unwelcome upbringing didn’t serve him well in later life and it meant that very few of his villainous acquaintances actually trusted him. Gambit possesses superhuman abilities that means he can control, create and manipulate objects using pure kinetic energy. He is a mutant that uses his superpowers to great effect. Charging various objects, for example playing cards, with kinetic energy and using them as explosive weapons he can throw. Other skills he possesses are hand-to-hand combat, card-throwing and he is an excellent bo staff user. He also happens to be very knowledgeable. One of his favourite pastimes is gambling and playing in casinos. He has a love interest in the form of Rogue and their on-off relationship creates a consistent amount of stress. His love of Rogue shows that he does have a more sensitive side and he is also very proud of his Louisiana heritage.

2 Face Harvey

Another super-villain that makes regular appearances in DC Comics publications is Two-Face Harvey Dent. Bill Finger and Bob Kane are the creators of this character who is another of Batman’s adversarys. His first appearance was in 1942 in Detective Comics #66 and from that moment to this day he has been a thorn in Batman’s side. Harvey has made it into the list of the Top 100 Comic Book Villains of All Time and comes in at number 12.

What is 2 Face Harvey’s story?
Harvey Dent hasn’t always been a bad guy. He used to be an upstanding member of Gotham society when he held office as the District Attorney. More recent versions of Harvey’s life story make him a close and personal friend as well as an ally of both James Gordon and Batman. Events took a wrong turn when he was hideously disfigured when a mob boss threw acid at him during a court trial. Harvey didn’t take his injuries very well and the scarring on the left side of his face drove him insane. His personality change led him to adopt the “Two Face” personal and he turned to crime. He also gained an unhealthy obsessions with the number two and duality. Over the years writers have chosen to give a number of different reasons for his mixed up personality. Bipolar disorder, dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia are just a few of the issues he has had to deal with. To help Harvey make his life decisions he used a two sided coin, also damaged during the acid attack. He considers it to be his lucky charm and all important decisions rest on a flip of this coin.

Tony Stark (Iron Man)

Another character that has recently received a lot of attention is Iron Man. There have been a series of movies in which he has appeared but he was first brought to our attention in Marvel comic books. His first appearance in print was in 1963 when he was featured in Tales of Suspense. His creator is writer and editor Larry Liever and has been brought to life by the artists Jack Kirby and Don Heck. Iron Man has been one of the best selling comic books of all time.

Who is Tony Stark?
His real name is Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark, a business magnate, ingenious scientist and playboy. His ingenuity leads to him being kidnapped and being forced to build a weapon of mass destruction by his captors. While in captivity he suffers a severe chest injury. Rather than creating the weapon he creates a very powerful suit of armour that he wears in order to escape and also to save his own life. A number of improvements are made to the suit and Start also adds weapons and other technical devices. All the improvements are designed and added through Stark Industries, his own company. The suit brings with it a new persona for Stark as well as the name of Iron Man. He keeps his identity secret at first and becomes a vehicle for his creator to explore various Cold War themes. In later years and as the character develops more contemporary issues are incorporated into the stories.

Oswald Cobblepot (The Penguin)

Not the scariest of names for a supervillain, but Oswald Cobblepot, better known as The Penguin, is one of Batman’s longest standing enemies and another worthy member of his rogues gallery. The character was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and first appeared in Detective Comics #58.

Who is the Penguin?
The Penguin is a well-known mobster in Gotham City, but considers himself to be more of a gentleman criminal. He’s often seen wearing a top hat and tuxedo. The character is inspired by an advertising mascot of the time, a penguin with a top hat and cane that promoted Kool cigarettes. He’s a short, chubby man with a long beaky nose and the weapons he uses are high-tech umbrellas. The cover for his criminal activities is a nightclub called the Iceberg Lounge and it’s a place that Batman sometimes frequents in order to get information about the criminal underworld. The Penguin dreams of being a wealthy, powerful and respected master criminal and the wealth he has allows him to mix with Gotham’s elite. Often found gambling and in casinos he is able to slip back into his luxurious lifestyle, even though he has a violent criminal history and prison record. There are even occasions when he tries to enter the political world, launching himself with very expensive election campaigns.