One is a crazy, violent, psychologically unstable lunatic, dressed up like a loon, hellbent on destroying everyone around him for insane reasons, who is not above torturing his friends, and has psychologically hurt a young boy named Robin... and the other is the Joker.
Ever since the two first crossed paths in 1940's Batman #1, the destinies of Batman and the Joker have been inextricably linked. However, while Bats does his darnedest to ignore this connection, the Joker openly admits to needing his Dark Knight in caped armor.
Though he might not understand his feelings entirely, because deep down beneath all that madness and faceprint is something deeper. Something, dare we say, even tender and loving.
After all, love and hate are different sides of the same coin-- just ask Science. It has been found that the nervous circuits in the brain responsible for hate are the same as those that trigger during feelings of romantic love.
Don't believe us? Just watch The Notebook. It is basically a retelling of the relationship between Batman and Joker, only with a lot more yelling and crying.
These two may be polar opposites, but you know what they say about opposites don't you? Here are the 15 Times The Joker Proved That He Secretly Loves Batman.
15 Joker and Batman Have a Good Laugh Together - The Killing Joke
Making someone you care about laugh is a great feeling, isn't it? The Killing Joke is the Joker at his most dastardly. Yet despite all the horrific fiendishness that preceded when Batman finally bests him in the end, ole pointy ears doesn't beat the the Joker.
He extends a loving hand. "I don't want to hurt you… you needn't be alone."
Maybe it's just the love that one shares for a really close friend who tries to hurt you and your entire family a lot. Maybe it's the love of a man who secretly wants nothing more than to retire and spend the rest of his days making out with a clown.
Who can say? What we can say is that the Joker finally gets a laugh out of Batman, and it's the happiest moment of his life.
14 Lego Batman Makes Joker Cry - Lego Batman
During their opening battle in the 2017 movie, Joker gives Bats an ultimatum: save the city by disarming a bomb or catch his greatest enemy. Lego Batman takes option C and insults the Joker instead-- because Batman does not do "ships."
The Joker made the classic mistake of putting all his feelings out there. In response, Batman makes it clear that he and the Joker are not "a thing" and that there is nothing special about their relationship, as he is currently seeing several enemies at the moment.
With that, he flies off to save the day, leaving the Joker behind to feel Batman's biting words where it hurts most -- his Lego heart.
Granted you would probably cry too if Batman said you meant nothing to him.
13 Joker Admits To Being In Love With Batman - Catwoman #14
When Joker had his own face removed just so he could wear it as a mask while kidnapping the entire Bat Family, dousing them in gasoline, and pretending to serve them their own faces, wasn't he just doing it out of love?
In Death of the Family, Joker's endgame is to end the lives of all of Batman's allies, as he feels they've made him weak. Going to all that trouble just to "help" Batman hints at the depth of Joker's infatuation. This perhaps even demonstrates his jealousy over not being a part of Bat's family.
In fact, throughout the entire arc it's both implied and stated outright that the Joker loves Batman.
At one point Joker and Catwoman actually argue over loving him, and when she accuses the Clown Prince of being in love with Bats, he replies, "Of course. Isn't that obvious?"
12 Joker Assaults Batman - Batman: Arkham Asylum
Death in the Family wasn't the first story arc to outright declare the Joker "in love" with Batman. That honor goes to the 1989 graphic novel, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Penned by Grant Morrison, the character was famously portrayed as being fixated on Bats.
In fact, Morrison initially wanted to dress the Joker up in black lingerie to hammer the point home, but DC's editors feared audiences might assume Jack Nicholson's upcoming portrayal in Tim Burton's movie would also be dressed as a woman so it was scrapped. What remained, however, was the underlying intimate tension.
In the story, Batman is forced to run both a physical and psychological gauntlet as he tries to save hostages at Arkham Asylum, which has been taken over by its inmates. By far the best scenes come in the Joker's aggression towards Batman, embodied in the moment when Joker calls him "honey pie" and slaps him on the behind.
11 Batman and Joker as Husband and Wife - Flashpoint
Even in different universes, the Joker and Batman can't help but get together. Though, to be fair, in the alternate timeline of Flashpoint, they were already a married couple.
In this universe, Bruce Wayne passes away instead of his parents.
In response, Thomas Wayne takes up the persona of Batman while his wife, Martha, reacts as most mothers would by cutting open her cheeks in a permanent smile and becoming the Joker.
Husband and wife naturally become archenemies, but when the opportunity presents itself to rewrite history and save their son, the two put aside their differences and lovingly embrace.
This just goes to show us that no matter what universe these two find themselves in, they are one little boy's death away from making out.
10 Joker Tries to Induce Batman - Batman #66
We'll just say it right off the bat: the 1950s were a different time-- a more innocent time. They were a time when one could say the word "boner" and not break out in a fit of giggles.
So when the Joker becomes obsessed with tricking the Dark Knight into making the greatest "boner" of his career during 1951's Batman #66, it doesn't mean what you would think. In fact, as later editions came out, the word "boner" was replaced with "mistake" to prevent any such confusion.
However, we did some fact-checking. Use of the "boner" that you're thinking of first dates back to 1919, so it definitely had the same \ connotations as it does today when this comic was written.
Don't think for a second the writers (or the Joker) didn't know what was going on when Commissioner Gordon tells Batman, “I’m worried about the boner he is readying for you.”
9 The Joker Just Can't Help Himself Around Bats - The Dark Knight
More often than not when it comes to Frank Miller's classic graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, the spotlight is on Batman and Superman's epic brawl. However, perhaps even more amazing was the characterization of the Joker.
After the aging Batman retired, the Joker went into a catatonic state at Arkham Asylum. However, once the Dark Knight returns, his foe immediately awakens with renewed vigor. His first stop? A television talk show where the Joker is analyzed as being intertwined in a mind game with Bats.
While you can't believe everything on TV, there's strong evidence throughout Joker's appearance that suggests that his feelings for Batman go beyond merely wanting to assault the superhero endlessly.
Least of which are all the times he calls Batman “darling” and “my sweet.”
8 Frank Miller Reveals the Truth About Joker's True Feelings
When asked about his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller admitted to intentionally writing the character as being gay.
In fact, he referred to the entire Batman/Joker mythos as a "homophobic nightmare," claiming that Batman sublimates his urges into crime fighting, while the Joker demonstrates his true feelings through overt sadomasochism. This is something rarely touched on due to the industry's fear of getting too political.
With that in mind, take a look at the final struggle between the two characters in the graphic novel, highlighted by their closeness and the intimacy of the Joker's knife. It's basically choreographed as a love scene.
Are we reading too much into this? Certainly Frank Miller doesn't think so: "It’s always been there, I just spelled it out a little more plainly."
7 Lego Batman and Joker Finally "Link Up"
Things in Lego Gotham are getting tense. A bomb has just exploded and the entire city is being ripped in two.
In one last effort to save the day, using nothing but their interlocking head's and Batman's shredded abs, the Lego people of Gotham build a bridge that relies on one thing and one thing alone to work -- Batman and the Joker coming together.
Still bitter over the last time Lego Batman burned him, Joker at first refuses. However, then Batman says the one thing Joker has been waiting his entire life to hear.
Lego Batman wants the Joker to help save the city so that he can "help save us."
That's all J-Bird needed to hear. They then link up, hold hands, and crunch their way to connected bliss.
6 Joker Wants Nothing to Do With Harley Quinn
Isn't it odd how little Joker cares for Harley Quinn? They're perfect for each other. Sure, he's a sociopath, but she's not a bad catch as far as crazy people go.
Yet most of the time he barely wants anything to do with her. When he does keep her around, it's only because she's useful in helping enact his schemes or provides someone he can conveniently assault.
Despite all of that, Harley pretty much throws herself at the Clown Prince during every opportunity. What does she get in return? A punch in the face and a kick to the gut. She also gets tied up in chains.
Even that one time when the Joker half admitted to having feelings for her, he couldn't stand the idea so he tried to fire her into space.
Is he afraid to admit his true feelings, or could it be because his heart and soul lie elsewhere?
5 Joker Is Sad When Batman Passes Away - Batman: The Animated Series
In the episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", the Caped Crusader is seemlingly killed by a hapless gangster named Sid the Squid. News spreads and Gotham's criminal elite come out to see if the rumors are true. When they appear to be, the Joker holds a funeral with a touchingly insane eulogy for his departed foe.
Visibly saddened at the loss of the one person who gave the Joker reason to get up in the morning, he is joined by a tearful Harley in crying out, "We loved you Batman!"
Maybe the Joker's gloom is over never getting the chance to live out his dream of ending Bats' life himself. However, is there more to it than that?
Does the Joker really want Batman dead, or does he want a companion to have and hold for eternity?
You don't give a speech like that if you don't care.
4 Batman Sees Love in the Joker's Eyes - Batman #15
As we said earlier, the Death of a Family story is basically one long unmasking of the Joker's love for Batman.
While some might think that when we previously mentioned that he told Catwoman he's "in love" with the Caped Crusader, Joker was just, well, joking, there's someone else far more reputable who ends up weighing in on the topic. The greatest love expert of all -- Batman.
As to be expected, Batman trained himself to understand the language of eyes, and can see how someone truly feels just by looking into their orb holes.
This is a skill he puts to the test in 2013's Batman #15 when he takes a long, hard look into the eyes of the Joker, and feels a pang of terror over realizing that the villain's pupils expand and look back at him with love.
3 Joker Loves Him Like a Brother
A long running mystery in comics has been the true identity of the Joker. Not even the World's Greatest Detective has yet to convincingly solve it. However, if we are to believe a popular fan theory going around, the real answer lies in the DNA because Batman and Joker are actually brothers-- and the Joker knows it.
Is the Clown Prince in actuality Thomas Wayne Jr, Bruce's older brother?
Did he sustain a brain injury at a young age that caused him to go insane? Did the Waynes commit him to Arkham Asylum only for him to turn into the Joker? We may never know.
However, there's a reason why the Joker can never bring himself to kill Batman, and it just might be called brotherly love.
2 "You Complete Me" - The Dark Knight
Like we said at the beginning, unlike Batman, who can be a real stubborn jerk about his feelings sometimes (just ask Rachel Dawes), the Joker is fully aware of his need for Batsy.
Take the iconic scene in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, for example, when both characters put their insanity all on the table in the interrogation room.
Batman huskily cuts right to the chase with, "Why do you want to kill me?" The Joker doesn't miss a beat: "Kill you? I don't want to kill you. What would I do without you? Go back to ripping off mob dealers? No.... you complete me."
You don't go around quoting Tom Cruise movies from the '90s if you don't love someone. That's just a fact. The Joker knows Batman gives his life purpose. After all, he loves Chaos -- and who's more chaotic than the Caped Crusader.
1 Lego Batman and Joker Say They "Hate" One Another
When we last left Batman and Joker in the Legoverse, they had just "linked up" to save Gotham. It was a touching moment that saw over seventy-five years of speculation finally put to rest -- the Joker and Batman do need one another, and they know it. However, that was just the beginning.
As they stood atop the heads of all their friends high above Gotham, their Lego-y faces inches apart, fireworks going off all around, and the sun setting in the background, there was only one thing left to say: "I hate you."
It's the type of moment dreams are made of. When you're a homicidal maniac who once skinned a man and ate all of China, you don't get much more emotional than that.
Are you convinced that the Joker loves Batman? Do you disagree? Join the conversation in the comments!