A vast majority of their thugs dress as clowns, with red triangles over their left eye.
Little was known of their past besides what Batman deciphered from newspaper clippings. They came from the Red Triangle Circus, a once-celebrated circus that visited Gotham. After the Red Triangle Circus returned after a brief hiatus, it sported a new addition: a freak-show featuring a Poodle Lady, the World's Fattest Man and an Aquatic Bird Boy. After numerous reports of missing children, the GPCD closed down the circus fairgrounds, but at least one freak-show performer vanished before he could be questioned.
The group began to operate as a criminal operation using Gotham's sewer tunnels. They started to appear after Joker's defeat, perhaps taking some inspiration. Commissioner Gordon and Batman began to gradually take note of their increasing activity before the Lighting of the Tree Ceremony, at which they launched a theatrical attack on the crowd. The circus gang emerged from an oversized gift box in the middle of Gotham Plaza and starting terrorizing the crowd with gunfire and torch jugglers. The Organ Grinder destroyed the lights and ornaments on the tree using an old-fashioned gatling gun hidden in a music box. During their this attack, Batman intervened, using the Batmobile. Two clowns landed on the hood of the car, firing submachine guns pointblank at the windshield visor to no avail. The pair flew off the car and into a storefront window after slamming the brakes. Following this, the Batmobile extended a hydraulic jack to make a stationary 180° turn to set fire to a Firebreather using its flaming jet exhaust. The Dark Knight emerged from the vehicle, laying out a Skull Rider in two strikes as he approached a hostage situation. A Terrifying Clown was holding a stun gun to a frightened girl. This clown was defeated by Batman using his Grapple Gun, freeing the woman. By that time most of the gang had disappeared from the plaza and Batman walked down an alley after being approached by the Commissioner. Members of the circus gang were able to capture magnate Max Shreck using a trap door to the sewer. During this time the Batmobile was left unshielded in the plaza, leaving an opportunity for it to be examined by the gang.
Riot in the streets
The gang was ordered to loot a storefront area to defame to the current Mayor, but Batman appeared and defeated them once again, many clowns were left unconscious in street to be arrested by the police. He used a Super-Batarang to take out several clowns surrounding him, but it was snatched by the Ratty Poodle before it could return to his hand. The Thin Clown attempted a suicide bombing on Batman, but he used the Sword Swallower's blade to cut the bomb from his chest immediately after knocking him out. After hurling a small clown with one arm, Batman was confronted by the Tattooed Strongman outside Gotham Plaza Cathedral. The bomb still in hand, Batman feigned a right cross to the Strongman's face, using the opportunity to place the bomb in his sash. Batman then struck him more forcefully into a sewer construction opening, where the bomb went off, killing the thug. This seemingly brought an end to the riot.
The gang leaders moved into Oswald's office building, where Organ Grinder created Batmobile blueprints based on conjecture after studying the vehicle, as Penguin was keen to turn it into a bomb and kill Batman. Snake Woman, Poodle Lady and the Thin Clown began constructing missile launchers. One day during this, Catwoman infiltrated the top of the building and asked to have a meeting with Penguin.
After Catwoman convinced Penguin to frame batman first, the gang were to hot-wire the Batmobile to be operated remotely using a kiddie ride in Cobblepot's campaign trailer. Knifethrower Dame used a device to hack open the shields of the Batmobile, hiding in the shadows to record the signal that controls the car's shields. Then Penguin kidnaped and murdered Gotham's Ice Princess, framing Batman for the act. While the police and Catwoman kept Batman occupied, Thin Clown, Sword Swallower, Snake Woman and the Organ Grinder were successful in sabotaging his Batmobile to rampage throughout Gotham (until Batman disconnected the Beacon Rod).
Kidnapping Children of Gotham
During the chase, Batman recorded the Penguin's disparaging remarks about the people of Gotham and later plays them during his next rally, destroying his image and forcing him to retreat to the sewer, where he reveals his plan to abduct and kill all of Gotham's wealthy firstborn sons as revenge for what his parents did to him. Cobblepot killed the Fat Clown after he questioning the slaughter of innocent children. Organ Grinder operated a circus train while gangmembers like Snake Woman, Sword Swallower and the Knifethrower Dame put young boys into its trailing animal cages while their parents attended the Maxquerade Ball. However, Batman foiled the kidnappings and captured almost all members on the convoy. Organ Grinder's Monkey was given a note to inform Penguin of this, marked with a bat-insignia.
Penguin's final attack
Angry after the defeat of his initial plan against Gotham's elite, Cobblepot radio controlled his Penguin Army to bomb the plaza and kill civilians of every economic status in downtown Gotham. The Poodle Lady manned the controls in the old igloo announcer stand at the Arctic World pavilion. Batman and his butler, Alfred, jammed her signal and ordered the penguins to head back to the zoo grounds. Frightened, when the Batskiboat was approaching, the only five remaining members of Red Triangle Gang escaped, abandoned their leader who died soon after during his fight against the Batman.
Notable members like the Poodle Lady and the Thin Clown, as well as several acrobatic clowns are still at large. They carried on after Oswald's death, albeit to a lesser extent. The Neon Gang seemed to outman them in the later years and muscled their way to Gotham's top street gang.
- Organ Grinder -Field leader (incarcerated)
- Poodle Lady
- Thin Clown
- Fat Clown (deceased)
- Knifethrower Dame (incarcerated)
- Tattooed Strongman (deceased)
- Sword Swallower (incarcerated)
- Snake Woman (incarcerated)
Other notable members
- Acrobatic Thug (incarcerated)
- Terrifying Clown (incarcerated)
- Firebreather (severely burned, possibly deceased)
Minor clown thugs
- Rocket Launcher Clown (incarcerated)
- Crossbow Clown (incarcerated)
- Spinning Clown (incarcerated)
- Nunchaku Clown (incarcerated)
- Dagger Clown (incarcerated)
- Screaming Clown (incarcerated)
- Unicycle Clown (incarcerated)
- Batman Returns
- Batman Forever (Novelization)
Behind the Scenes
- In the film they only ever refer to them as Circus Gang or Red Triangle Gang. Marketing material identifies with the run-on term, Red Triangle Circus Gang.
- When Batman read newspaper articles on the Red Triangle Circus, it's interesting to note that there seemed to be a picture of Minnie Woolsley (Koo-Koo the Bird Girl) and two unidentified people with microcephaly, although they were never mentioned performing in the circus' freak-show.