I don't know what's worse. Having this Sideshow Collectibles Sixth-Scale Joker figure standing on my desk, or knowing he's on a shelf or in a closet in his box, biding his time, chuckling under his breath.
Give me the Batman: The Animated Series Joker any day. At least I know my demise will be quick and off-screen, courtesy of children's television regulations. Take him out of that setting, apply any sort of realism to him, and you get the stuff of nightmares.
Leaving this one inside the box was out-of-the-question. It's a lovely box, nice and simple, seen here proving that I need a larger makeshift light box.
Open the lid, and the insert gives you a peek at the horror to come.
And beneath that...
I think I prefer him like this, sealed in a plastic tomb. Seeing him, encased, my imagination isn't quite as prone to picture him sitting up on his own, turning his head to face me. He can't cut his way out — his tools are sealed below him, out of reach.
He cannot reach his pistol, with its misleading novelty flag. He can't reach his dynamite, or his joy-buzzer hands, or his Joker Fish, or his lighter, or his switchblade. He can't access his optional head with its open-mouth grin and pimp hat.
If I want to admire the workmanship of his clothes, I can just stand up his trench coat.
That doesn't work. An empty purple trench coat begs the question what was inside, and I have no choice but to let him loose.
Any other character wearing the same outfit, lovingly tailored in tiny form, would be an object of ridicule, but there's nothing funny about the Joker. He takes all the fun out of fun, leaving what's left over for himself. He's a joy vampire.
Were I not so scared of him, I'd like the Sixth-Scale Joker a great deal. If I hadn't just read a comic book where he trains a gorilla to be his son in a house filled with the corpses of the folks who lived there before, he and I might get along.
The man wears spats, for crying out loud. No one who wears spats can be a bad guy. And he really rocks a purple fedora.
Just don't get too close.
The detail Sideshow's put into the figure — giving Batman's foil realistic clothes and accessories, and a face as close to human as he can get without wandering into Jack Nicholson territory — only heighten the unease of having him around. I suppose that's what his hardcore fans love about him. The madness. The playful menace. The fact that somewhere, deep inside this twisted creature, there was once a human being like you or me.
Toys and action figures like the Sideshow Sixth-Scale Joker here capture the spirit of the character far better than books or comics or posters ever could. The Joker is about taking the joyous, happy, innocent things in life — the things we find comfort or joy in — and making us fear them.
Things like action figures, for instance.
The premium Sixth-Scale Joker figure is available from Sideshow Collectibles for $189.99.