Why Is a Kid Batman’s Crimefighting Partner?

| July 12, 2010

I’m getting ready to do a panel at Comic-Con later this month to discuss Batman’s crimefighting partnerships. Last year Dr. Robin Rosenberg and I got to discuss the psychopathy of the Joker with creator Jerry Robinson, “The Laughing Fish” author Steve Englehart, The Dark Knight executive producer Michael Uslan, and TV’s original Batman himself, Adam […]

Comic-Con Joker Panel Was Wild: Recap and Reflections

| September 6, 2009


It’s amazing how much information a single experience might yield. A few months ago, Peter Coogan – who, with my colleague Dr. Randy Duncan, co-founded the Comics Arts Conference, the academic conference-within-the-convention held in conjunction with both WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con International – asked if I’d like to help moderate a CAC panel on […]

Comic-Con: Jerry Robinson, Michael Uslan, and Adam West on the Joker’s Origins

| August 31, 2009


Continued from “Comic-Con Excerpts: The Joker’s Relationship with Batman.” Concluding our report on the San Diego Comic-Con International panel “Is the Joker a Psychopath? You Decide!”  which our own Papa Llama, in his secret identity as psychology professor Dr. Travis Langley, moderated and co-organized. Other panelists: Dr. Robin Rosenberg (therapist and editor – The Psychology […]

Comic-Con Excerpts: The Joker’s Relationship with Batman

| August 29, 2009


 Continuing Papa Llama’s report of his San Diego Comic-Con International panel with fellow psychologist Dr. Robin Rosenberg, comic book writer Steve Englehart, The Dark Knight producer Michael Uslan, and Batman himself, Adam West: After Steve Englehart discussed via telephone why he felt that the Joker is insane, I asked my fellow panelists for quick thoughts […]

Comic-Con International Joker Panel: Actors Playing the Card

| August 11, 2009

Cesar Romero as the Joker (1966-1968).

One topic I wanted to introduce during our San Diego Comic-Con International panel on the psychopathy of the Joker was how the role affected the actors. We’d lined up the Joker’s creator Jerry Robinson and “The Laughing Fish” author Steve Englehart to discuss the comic books and producer Michael Uslan to discuss filmmaking, but didn’t […]

Comic-Con Panel Excerpt: Would the Joker Date?

| August 8, 2009

Front row: Harley Quinn, Ultimate Tommy Cash, Erica Ash, Thad Allen, Thomas Sepe. A full house. Can you spot all the people standing in back?

Toward the end of our San Diego Comic-Con International panel on the psychopathy of the Joker, an audience member asked the panelists whether we thought the Joker’s association with Harley Quinn has been good or bad for the character’s mental health. I’m not going to point out every time the audience laughed because nearly every statement that appears below got a big laugh. Plain text cannot convey the entertaining quality of Jerry’s delivery – his simple “I would” cracked people up – or how Adam was clearly engaging in tongue-in-cheek humor and knew darn well what was going on every step of the way.

Interview: The Joker’s Maker Tackles The Man Who Laughs

| August 5, 2009

Dr. Travis Langley (Papa Llama - right) thanks Jerry for many things.

Part two: Jerry Robinson discusses the Joker’s enduring qualities with Drs. Robin Rosenberg (The Psychology of Superheroes) and Travis Langley (Papa Llama) in preparation for a San Diego Comic-Con International panel with film producer Michael Uslan and actor Adam West on the psychopathy of the Joker. Jerry refutes the long-standing story that Bill Finger created the Joker based on actor Conrad Veitch from the silent film “The Man Who Laughs” while fully acknowledging Bill’s importance as the character’s co-creator, with a nod to Bob Kane.

My Conversation With Batman (Robin Couldn’t Make It)

| July 24, 2009

Adam West and Dr. Travis Langley (Papa Llama) discuss their upcoming panel on the psychopathy of the Joker. Photo by Adam

As we mentioned previously (“Catch Us at Comic-Con 2009 (with Adam West update)”), Adam West agreed this past week to join our panel at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Con International convention on the psychology of the Joker, specifically on the character’s potential psychopathy. It was already one heck of a group even without Adam, but in addition to Dr. Rosenberg’s question about psychopathy, I wanted to add some discussion regarding how the role affects the actors. Having produced the last six films, Michael Uslan can tell us some things about Nicholson and Ledger – and now Adam can help us compare that to how Cesar Romero related to the part.

Interview: Meet the Joker’s Maker, Jerry Robinson

| July 21, 2009

Detective Comics #69, cover art (November, 1942). Artist: Jerry Robinson. Publisher: DC Comics. Collection of Jerry Robinson.

This Saturday at Comic-Con, our own Papa Lama (Dr. Travis Langley) and his fellow psychologist Dr. Robin Rosenberg (editor, The Psychology of Superheroes) will delve into the psyche of Batman’s arch-nemesis, the Joker, with the help of an illustrious panel of industry professionals, starting with the man who created the Joker back in 1940. Recently Travis and Robin enjoyed speaking with Jerry for the better part of an hour.

Catch Us at Comic-Con 2009 (with Adam West update)

| July 20, 2009


Join Alex, Nick, Marko, Ultimate Tommy, and friends for San Diego Comic-Con International panels this Friday and Saturday. This just in: Adam West (Batman TV series, The Family Guy) is joining Dr. Travis Langley (Papa Llama around here), Dr. Robin Rosenberg (editor, The Psychology of Superheroes), Jerry Robinson (artist, creator of the Joker), Steve Englehart (comic book writer, “The Laughing Fish”), and Michael Uslan (producer, “The Dark Knight) to discuss exactly how crazy the Joker really is.