The New Joker Is Covered in Tattoos

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The new Joker is covered in tattoos. Director of Suicide Squad, David Ayers, presented this photo of Jared Leto in role of “The Killing Joker.”

“Leto’s Joker retains the chalky pigmentation, dark eyeliner, and green hair the character's known for, but features some new tattoos,” writes Mitch Dyer of IGN.com, “including a skull-faced Jester, and some iconic Joker imagery—including a wide smile and long strings of laughter. Additionally, you can see a series of Ace of spades, and ink reminiscent of Joker's chattering-teeth toy on his left hand, and the usual purple glove (albeit a rubber one) on the right.

A deeper dive into the ink was done by Russ Burlingame of Comicbook.com. Along side his take is ours in italics:

First of all, we have Joker/card-based tattoos. The four of a kind (presumably with a Joker for the fifth card) says "All in" beneath it. The skull-in-a-jester's cap is a popular image in pop culture and with tattoo artists based on a Google Image search, but I don't know of any particular story in which either played a big role for The Joker (although Batman does have that giant Joker card in his cave).

The Jester looks very Californian, fine-line black-and-grey. We think it looks a bit biker-y but with a Mexican flavor.

The "Damaged" forehead tattoo seems likely to be a wink and a nod to Charles Manson's face tattoos, given the "Joker's the craziest guy ever" vibe we're getting here and that's been present basically since The Dark Knight Returns popularized the idea of trying to psychoanalyze these characters.

The elegance of the font chosen plays against the cackling of his Ha tattoos. The particular typography script is very graceful making it seem that, yes, this character is damaged but he is well aware of the predicament. He might be The Joker but he isn’t foolish.

The laughter is familiar enough; again, we get a bit of a callback to that same Bolland image. Beyond that, though, we have two different kinds of laughter scrawled in different tattoos, and the font/handwriting on them don't match what we see in the Bolland image. Rather, they evoke Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on a Serious Earth and Joker, the original graphic novel from Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo.

By the way the thickness goes from faint to heavy and back to faint, it looks like it was scrawled into the walls of a rubber room using ones bloody fingernails. As in at first he was just clawing, then he started to bleed out, and then the pain in his body fought him to stop and the blood ran thin.

 Joker's Last Laugh Wallet available in the InkedShop.

Joker's Last Laugh Wallet available in the InkedShop.

We also get two different mouths—one on one of his forearms and the other on his un-gloved hand. It looks like they're different representations of Joker smiles over the years, with the one on his forearm resembling the smile Jock gave the character during his time drawing Batman and the one on his hand being a little more ragged—maybe like (again) the Bermejo image at right or even Heath Ledger's The Dark Knight joker. It seems as though this Joker will acknowledge the history and the ever-changing nature of the character a bit.

We’d bet anything that the forearm smile will be put in front of his actual smile in the picture. It is essentially the finger-moustache tattoo that were all the rage on the inside of people’s index fingers.

He's got a trio of unidentifiable tattoos—one on his bicep, one on his right side wrapping around to his back and one across his belly. It looks to me as though the one on his belly might actually just be a stylized font that says "Joker," but I could easily be wrong there. It's hard to tell what thing on his arm is, other than that it looks like some kind of bird. Maybe the laughing fish, though? And the one on his back looks like at least two words and that what we can see is that the first word ends in "O'S" or "OS" -- I can't tell if that's an apostrophe or just shadow—and the second word end in "LY." It's underlined hysterically, which makes me think maybe the second word is "only."

This will be the most-badass belly rocker since Tupac’s “Thug Life.”

There's also a stray "J" on his face that reminds me a bit of a teardrop tattoo and some work around his eyes that makes his face look "cracked" and also makes me wonder whether the dark areas around his eyes are actually tattoos too.

The "J" piece? Looks a lot like the "I" in our logo….