Monday, 8 April 2013


They say that crime doesn't pay.

But it obviously does. That's the whole point. You take stuff that isn't yours to take.

Possibly they mean that, in order to get away with this sort of behaviour, you have to invest your time and money in nefarious schemes of such bewildering complexity that it takes either several issues or a ninety minute telly-film to unravel them.

And so, ultimately, the best criminals may only just break even.

Perhaps then, they do it for some other reason.

If you have no choice, if you are compelled to act against the law, then it behooves one to turn such endeavours into an art form.





Professor James Jimmy Jim Jimmy Jim Jim Jim Jim Moriarty is a retired station master and the “Napoleon of crime”, as described by Baileys-voiced justice-hustler, Sherlock Holmes. As an enabler and protector of the underworld, he’s more like the “AVG Internet Security of Crime”, and he is wont to pop up at massively inconvenient times.

The Joker is a supervillain in the various D.C. universes, the nemesis of Batman. As the “Clown-Prince of crime” he is a staunch monarchist as opposed to Moriarty’s republican tendencies. He is a white-faced, green-haired psychopath with a warped sense of humour. As such, he vastly prefers BBC 4 to BBC 3.


Well probably. It depends how and who they are on any given day. The Joker is so sane that he can pick and choose whether to be like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh or Michael Corleone and Beetlejuice’s grimly violent stepson. He may well be packing heat that results in blackly comic deaths and rictus grins, such as Joker Venom, acid squirting flowers, or balloons filled with poisonous gas.

However, because he is not an idiot, he will also counter these outlandish creations with the more traditional dispensers of bonus body holes: firearms, knives, and blunt trauma inducement devices. Voldemort, the Dark Lord and Nemesis of Harry Potter, could learn a lot from the Joker, but then (not that this blog wants to labour this point) Voldemort is a massive fanny and totally deserved to lose.

Moriarty may pack heat, sure, but he does so chiefly in the form of brains.

Deadly, sexy brains.

Feel how warm they are.


Moriarty, by virtue of enabling a multitude of plethoras of ne’er-do-wells, has much of the criminal fraternity of London owing him favours. Hansom cab drivers, internal-combustion-engined cab drivers, shoes; all of these aid him in his quest to abet nefarious deeds indeed. He can also enlist blind German mechanics to his cause. Blind German mechanics are among the most evil of blind mechanics (If you meet a blind Welsh mechanic, you should probably make peace with your shortcomings and put down some tarp).

His most hench of hench-type men was Colonel Sebastien Moran, crack-shot, nutcase, and head of the venerable Moran scion of writing and journalism. His thoughts on transgender and zombie outbreaks in the vicinity of Bow Bells are unknown.

The Joker has his henchmen and women (some of whom are more outrĂ© than others). If the Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo’s (light-hearted romp of a) tome Joker is anything to go by, the life of these henchpeople is nasty, brutish and short. Ah the world of crime, it is a tad Hobbesian is it not?

The Joker will occasionally form alliances with other criminal masterminds, if he feels the need to embark upon Event Crimes, which are like normal crimes but with a bigger publicity campaign, a reversible death, and a questionable decision to make someone’s costume plungier.


The Joker has many nuances, although these have only become nuances due to the acquisition of new and differing character traits over time. Ditto Moriarty. This is what happens when you’re not in control of your destiny.

You may be familiar with this concept.

Let’s face it; we’ve all got a lot more in common with the Joker than Batman. It’s easier to relate to someone driven to mania by circumstances than a millionaire bat-fetishist ruthless maintaining the status quo through the theatrical application of fear.

Also, both have a keen sense of humour. I’ve found that people are prepared to tolerate all manner of personality problems if you bring the lulz. The Joker is, obviously, an ostentiously mischievous sort, and Moriarty had a recurring role in The Goon Show.

If you aren’t familiar with The Goon Show, it’s like The Mighty Boosh crossed with a Variety show crossed with racism.

It’s funnier than it sounds.



Today, the Joker has decided that he needs to be every kind of him. Moriarty has decided similarly, although he has something of a limited choice, but it works for him. He is comfortable in his own skin, and has home advantage.

A few actors owe Jim a favour, so posting a YouTube video of a posturing Knight and Squire boasting of their recent besting enrages the Joker into coming over here upon breaking loose from Arkham. Again. A tad theatrical perhaps, but nonetheless entertaining, muses Moriarty.

Pride, though, comes before a fall. Also ‘of lions’. Write that down.

The Joker arrives in Blighty suddenly, near the end of an issue, so the reader isn’t disposed to ponder his means of transportation (Boat? Plane? Cycle-powered dirigible?) because they’re so impressed that he’s just turned up like that. I mean, wow, it’s the Joker. Who saw that coming? Yet again, the slow boring aspects of supervillainy are cruelly overlooked in favour of stuff that is “exciting”.

Moriarty’s Goons are taken by surprise. Neddy, Eccles, and Major Bloodnok are preserved in amber and reduced to the size of flies on a whim, where they will be eventually cloned and restored to life at a theme park invented by a kindly scientist, and everybody singes ‘Happy Birthday’ at them.

Clearly the Joker is in a Dadaist nightmare kind of moo glass eye stalking and a henge is what we find.

Well, thinks Moriarty, I see his rampant surrealism and I raise him egregious mania.

Hey Joe.’

The Joker whips round, like a beast whose feast has been interrupted.

Put it there,’ he says.

Nah, don’t think I will now,’ Moriarty saunters forwards, hands in pockets, making a £4000 suit look dishevelled and grinning like the glint of an axe. ‘What brings you to my manor, so to speak if you catch my drift as it were?’

I don’t respond well to taunts,’ says the Joker, pulling on his cheeks to expose the lower extremities of his eyeballs, ‘So I came here to kill you, and then do despicable things to your corpse so I don’t have to do anything similar to anyone else.’

Ah, so really you’re on a humanitarian mission. I can relate to that. I am a people person.’

Moriarty then unleashes a laugh that has much the same effect as dragging an icicle across one’s spine. The Joker joins in. A mountainous cacophony of disturbing glee peaks as Jim Moriarty’s nose starts bleeding.

His eyes turn hard. He coughs.

And so, at last, he understood,’ says the Joker, as Moriarty splutters, hacks, and collapses.

After a few minutes he stops twitching. The Joker solemnly prods at his body with his foot, turning it over to reveal a death leer that could rival that of an Aztec god.

Hah,’ the Joker says, ‘You disappoint me. Anyone who falls for the old “Joker Venom jets secreted beneath the eyeballs activated by buttons hidden in my cheekbones” trick is not a worthy adversary.’

Because his opponent is dead - and then and only then is this an acceptable time to do so – the Joker does a little tap dance. He clicks and spins and grins and kicks at Moriarty's ribs, but fortunately for fans of rhythm the bones breaking fill in as the Joker's soles miss the ground.

'Why are you so pleased?' shouts the Joker at the rictus grin, 'Do you like being beaten up or something?'
'Or something,' says Moriarty, and catches the Joker's boot. The American is spun around, and falls heavily onto his knee.

'You come round my neck of the woods,' says Moriarty, 'Then you need to remember: I'm connected. You get a paddle steamer over from the U S of A, my feelers are gonna find you and your pie.'
'What? How did you know? I thought no-one saw my method of transport.'
'As I said, I'm connected. I also know that no-one reading this knew of your method of transport, thus providing a reasonable level of surprise and impressive sounding foresight to my schemes.’

The Joker jumps back up onto his feet, testing his injured knee. It seems fine, so he pulls a knife on Moriarty.

In fact,’ continues Moriarty, as if oblivious, ‘I’m so massively connected that I can get in touch with chemists, and persuade them to alter the materials they provide to certain clients.’

I am so unbelievably hugely utterly like WAAAAAAAAAAH connected that I can intercept these orders and alter the product ultimately created to one of my design.’

I am so godlike and divine and happy to be here tonight to receive this blessing from the angels of the Lord, allelujah, that I have ingested a one shot serum fired from beneath someone’s eyeballs that increases rage, stimulated the brain, and results in a higher pain tolerance for a short period of time.’

Moriarty grins.

The Joker is forced to concede that, yes, that’s one mother of a freaky, demented smile.

Moriarty pummels him, until he explodes in a shower of alarm clocks, crying doves, and roads to nowhere.

Oh Mr Joker,’ says Moriarty, between giggling like a psychopath, ‘Why so serious?’




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