The transformation of a wild card in a deck of playing cards to a homicidal criminal haunting the streets of Gotham carries plenty of ancient and modern meaning. When you wear a Joker Tattoo, you tell an ages-old story about taking the world in stride. In today’s article, let’s talk about the tale of the Joker—the old playing card, the classic comic figure that rivals Batman, and the tattooed character in Suicide Squad. Each type of Joker tattoo takes a different spin on the meaning of humanity that we will see today. Prepare yourself for a gallery filled with Joker Tattoos, all collected to awe and inspire you!
Joker Tattoo Meaning
Card manufacturing companies started including the Joker in their decks in the late 1800s, but the card itself existed before then in the form of two tarot cards. The first and most obvious correlation, the Fool tarot card, represents the essence of life’s journey. The Fool plays exactly like the Joker in tarot card games.
The Joker’s other tarot association, the Magician, represents talent, capability, and dexterity. The Magician bridges the gap between heaven and earth, and this trait carries over to the Joker we know today. A simple Joker tattoo design can have the letter J, a five-pronged star, or a star in a circle to represent its meaning. Another good Joker tattoo design, the jester himself, looks more easily recognizable.
Joker Tattoo Comic
The Joker character in the comic series Batman (and its many spin-offs) represents the opposite of Batman. Together, they form a foil. Despite his role as the main character, Batman comes off as unrelatable. The death of his parents might seem tragic, but Bruce Wayne himself has immense wealth, a large company to tend to, and a paper-thin sense of ethics. On the other hand, the Joker served his country, wears the scar of his past on his face, sends clear messages, and wields a solid (if also very psychotic) sense of ethics. If Batman is the hero, the Joker is the anti-hero. That’s someone relatable who we all understand, even if we don’t agree with him.
We glamorize the Joker and get tattoos of him because we are no stranger to cynicism. The Joker represents the negative part of the human race. Just like inked demon wings or painful quotes, a Joker tattoo reminds us that nobody’s perfect.
Suicide Squad Joker Tattoo
Comic-wise, the Joker does have a tattoo—a large red dragon on his back. For the Suicide Squad, the designers took liberties with the original Joker design and made him appear more modern and gangster-like. The metal grill, plethora of tattoos, and more human makeup direction accomplish that, though some might find him a little too bland now. To practice for the film, Jared Leto spent time with psychopaths and reading up on shamanism. His on-point line delivery impacts watchers like us and inspires us. That’s where a Joker tattoo comes in.
The Joker wears many recognizable and poignant tattoos that depict his past. A Joker tattoo hand has a mouth over the skin, and lifting it to your face makes you appear to smile no matter what expression you have. The iconic Joker hahaha tattoo blends modern art with typography, and the simple meaning is that he’s the Man Who Laughs. Inked on his right arm, a robin with an arrow through it tells a clear story that any Batman fan would know. His other tattoos reference either his luck—with plenty of card-related designs—or himself. Jesters with hammers, huge smiles, or simply ‘God’s Only Child,’ show his twisted sense of self.
A Joker tattoo is more than a homage to the comics and movies, though. They show the dark side of you—the dark side that’s in all of us—and your ability to control it. Many people go through their lives thinking they are practically angels. We know the truth. Without the law, instinct can rule us. Do we let our needs and desires take over in an emergency? Or do we stick to our guns and try to live as righteously and morally as possible?
A Joker tattoo reminds you every day of the choice we make as human beings. It tells us that while there is darkness inside of every heart, there is a choice to be wise as well. Whether you embrace your darkness or seek to smother it, it exists. Good and evil are not black and white, but shades of gray, and how you choose to make things clear is up to you.