The Trickster(pop culture)
In folklore, a trickster is a creature, sometimes sly, sometimes silly, that violates the rules; Loki is a trickster, and so is Bugs Bunny. In Flashlore, the Trickster similarly bends the laws of nature and of man, always for profit and often to pester, and has done so for two generations of Scarlet Speedsters. The movers and shakers behind the lore of the Silver Age (1956–1969) Flash, writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, rolled out DC Comics' Trickster in The Flash vol. 1 #113 (1960). As teased on Infantino and inker Joe Giella's eye-popping cover, this newest of the Fastest Man Alive's rapidly expanding Rogues' Gallery defies logic as he eludes the Flash by running on air. This costumed crook has no superpowers, but instead gains his light-footedness from his “Airwalker Shoes,” offering the ultimate in getaways. He learned this trick during his days as the youngest member of a family of circus aerialists, the Flying Jesses, but with a name like his—James Jesse—is it any wonder that he would turn to crime, especially after growing obsessed with the exploits of his infamous “reverse namesake”? Intoxicated by the thrill of thievery after using his Airwalkers to conduct armed robberies—of in-flight planes!—the Trickster, the Flash's most garishly garbed foe (an orange, yellow, blue, and black vertically striped outfit with a domino mask and a cape), darts through a Central City stealing spree until tripped up by the Sultan of Speed. The thrill of the chase was the Trickster's primary appeal. Flash covers from the Trickster's subsequent appearances depicted the Fastest Man Alive always a couple of steps behind Jesse, trailing him by running on telephone wires, or being repelled away from the mocking villain as the Trickster scooted away on a tricycle. An occasional member of both the Flash's Rogues' Gallery and the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the Trickster migrated to Hollywood after the Flash died in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (1985), and after a few tussles with Blue Devil applied his gimmickry to a movie special-effects career. In the real world, a Joker-like Trickster popped up in two episodes of CBS's live-action drama The Flash (1990–1991)— the only Flash villain to appear in costume on the show—with Star Wars' Mark Hamill having the time of his life in the role. Hamill returned to the role in 2005 to voice the Trickster on the animated series Justice League Unlimited (2004–present). An altercation with the demon Neron gave comics' Trickster a taste of hell in the crossover Underworld Unleashed (1995), inspiring him to clean up his act and become a Federal Bureau of Investigation informant, helping bust criminals with insider information. By the mid-2000s, however, it seemed as if Jesse was returning to his old tricks. The Flash III, who followed in the Silver Age speedster's footsteps, had his first run-in with the all-new Trickster in The Flash vol. 2 #183 (2002). Spiky-haired wild child Axel Walker survived his parents' divorce with a mistrust of people—his credo is to trick others first, before they get the chance to trick you. Axel ripped off the Trickster's costume, trading in his Air Jordans for Jesse's Airwalkers to become the new Trickster. An expert hacker and gamer with an inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, the Trickster chased after Flash's organized Rogues, ready to sign up, and while at first disregarded by the more experienced supervillains he soon became one of the gang. Wearing an updated version of the original Trickster's uniform loaded with Flash-confounding gimmicks like itching powder and liquid-gel snares, Walker is wreaking havoc in the Flash's Keystone City, and loving every minute of it!