The Red Hood first appeared in Detective Comics #168 (1951), “The Man Behind the Red Hood”. In the original story, the man who is to later become the Joker was a master criminal known as the Red Hood. His costume was a large domed red helmet that looked like an eraser with a matching red cape. While attempting to rob a chemical plant, his men were killed and he was suddenly cornered on a catwalk by Batman.
Left with no alternatives, he dove into a catch basin full of chemicals and swam to freedom. He survived due to a conveniently breathing apparatus built into his helmet, however the toxic chemicals in the vat permanently discolored him, turning his hair green, his skin white and his lips red. Upon discovering this, he went insane, and adopted the persona of the Joker.
However, Alan Moore wrote an alternate origin of the Joker in “Batman: The Killing Joke,” in 1988. In Moore’s fantastic, retcon change to the already accepted Batman universe, the Red Hood is portrayed as a former chemical engineer, who is also a struggling stand-up comedian with a pregnant wife. He is approached by the Red Hood gang who want him to lead them through the chemical plant he once worked at, so they can rob the card factory next door. He reluctantly accepts, in order to make enough money to start a better life for his family.
The gang gives him the costume of the Red Hood. The day of the proposed robbery police inform him that his wife died in a freak accident. He attempts to back out of the robbery, but the gang strong-arms him into keeping his commitment. During the robbery, the plant’s security men spot the intruders and shoot the other criminals dead. The engineer tries to flee, but Batman appears and corners him on the plant’s catwalk. Terrified, he jumps off the catwalk into the chemical basin to escape. As in the previous origin story, he goes insane after discovering what the chemicals have done to his face, and becomes the Joker. The Joker himself is reluctant to admit that this iteration of his story is definitive, stating: “Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… if I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!”
Under The Red Hood
In this recent storyline, a new Red Hood appears in Gotham, written by Judd Winick. To brush up on a bit of history, in 1988 “Batman: A Death in the Family” was written by Jim Starlin where Robin #2, Jason Todd was brutally killed by The Joker. Writer Judd Winick, reintroduces the Red Hood but this time the Red Hood is revealed to be the resurrected Jason Todd out for revenge.
The new Red Hood, who kills as easily as any criminal, assumes control over various gangs in Gotham City and starts a one-man war against Black Mask’s criminal empire. He actively tries to cleanse the city of corruption, such as the illegal drug trade and gang violence, but in a violent, antiheroic way. He eventually comes to blows against Batman and other heroes.
The video is actually well worth watching. The Joker’s voice takes some getting used to, but the storyline and art are excellent.
Text borrowed from wikipedia