P:R Approved: Rafael Grampá’s Joker!

Note: Heath Ledger made the Joker scary again, and then Greg Capullo doubled that. Now Rafael Grampá has gone and tripled it with this stunning illustration. Now admittedly part of what makes this excellent is Grampá’s style, but there is a redesign here — showing how just the smallest iterations of a design can improve them vastly. – Chris A.

12 comments to “P:R Approved: Rafael Grampá’s Joker!”
  1. It’s difficult to find a new way to depict a feature of a well known character. We’ve seen the Joker with a over-sized (yet actual) smile, extended lipstick smile , surgically altered smile, self induced scarred smile … but this is the first time I’ve seen a fully painted (tattooed?) smile with teeth and all.

    I’d like to see if it works with him really smiling or would it be confusing showing teeth within teeth? Or maybe this version of Joker isn’t even capable of really smiling or some reason, that could be an interesting twist.

    Anyway, nice sketch and points for coming at it a new way.

  2. Very cool, but with no lips that is major speech impediment. Not as menacing when he says “kah aah gat ne vatman!”

  3. That’s really creepy and effective. I agree that a lot of it has to do with the illustration style, however – curious how well it would work with more human facial proportions and less “scaly” skin. Looks like it’s a combination of tattoos and scarring. Either way, a pretty fresh take.

  4. Very interesting take.
    I must be one of the few people who didn’t find Ledger’s Joker scary though… I always thought a key aspect to the Joker was that he did unspeakable things, yet somehow managed to be genuinely humorous at the same time… highlighting just how conflicted we ourselves are, without really needing to say or add anything more than that. In the comics and the 1989 film, the Joker electricutes a guy to a crisp, kills people with laughing gas and generally dispatches people willy nilly, always in a cartoony, surreal and comedic way.
    The Joker’s harsh social comment about us is already there: “Are you laughing? Find it funny even just a teensy bit? Then my point is proven: you’re just as bad as me!”
    Making the Joker look extra creepy and serial killer-y… and a lot less funny… isn’t that kind of taking away a key component of the character?
    This is not to say that I don’t like Grampà’s work. It’s a great illustration and I love how much detail has gone into it (even the scruffily tied tie)… but it’s yet another post-Nolan interpretation of the Joker that I’m just not that much a fan of. I’d love to see how Grampà would tackle a more humorous, less grimdark Joker :)

  5. No, that’s not the Joker. That is Baron Zamedi. Totally wrong iconography.
    That would only work if his mouth was sewn shut and he had a PEG four nourishment. Now THAT would be creepy.

  6. I’m with Thomas on this one. I feel like people trying so hard to make the Joker scary miss the point of the character. Imagine if a smiling, happy cartoon character tried to actually use cartoon violence in the real world; it would be horrifying to see, especially when you start off laughing. Plus, my favorite incarnations of the character keeps Batman on his toes because he doesn’t know if the caper is going to be silly, mischievous and innocent or hellishly evil and scarring. This joker can only be scary and it takes away from the kinds of stories you can tell with the Joker

  7. I think it’s an interesting redesign, and would be fun to explore in some version of the Batman universe. You have to give credit for trying something that I can safely say I’ve NEVER seen done with the Joker before.

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