Laughing in Fear: Twelve Moments That Defined the Joker

All the world loves a clown, so get ’ s all show Joker some affection. For eight decades, the Joker and his iconic smile has been an authoritative contribution of the Batman mythos, serving as a chaotic proportion to the Caped Crusader ’ s sense of judge and order. Batman wouldn ’ triiodothyronine enjoy the popularity he has today without his greatest bane, and like the Dark Knight, the Joker has grown and evolved since his debut into the villain we love today. so, to honor Gotham ’ s greatest villain, we ’ ra taking a count back at twelve comedian book moments that helped to shape the Clown Prince of Crime .

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01 numbers2016 5e9904ebab0860.21693941His First Kill

The Joker beginning appeared in 1940 ’ randomness Batman # 1 and he hit the ground running ! While it takes some characters years to develop and evolve, the Joker that readers met in 1940 is largely the same maniacal villain we know today. Don ’ metric ton let the Golden Age prison term period jester you into expecting a more subordinate criminal. If anything, this early joker was even MORE black ! Everything was here in his first gear narrative, from his iconic purple lawsuit, to his poisonous Joker Venom, to his appetite for mangle. It was a man named Henry Claridge who had the respect of being the Joker ’ s beginning kill, which the Clown Prince followed by murdering three more people all in the same narrative. He about killed Robin, but it would take another few decades before he achieved that dark goal. still, the Joker was already a terrific couple for Batman in 1940, and the Clown Prince was just getting started .

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02 numbers2016 5e990503153452.88714712His Origin Revealed

In 1950, readers learned more about the Joker ’ randomness beginnings in an beginning history that still persists to this day. Detective Comics # 168 sport Batman investigating a cold case—the disappearance of a condemnable called the Red Hood. After robbing a card company, Red Hood escaped through a chemical plant and dove into a vat of toxic pine away to avoid Batman. The ad lib float turned his hair green and skin bright white, into the familiar grimace of the Joker—this was a reasonably big surprise to readers of the time who assumed it was constitution !
This early floor may be one of the most important joker tales ever published, considering the number of times it ’ sulfur been referenced in later comics and democratic media adaptations. Joker ’ s “ chemical bathe ” has largely become the Joker ’ s agreed upon lineage and was used in Tim Burton ’ second 1989 Batman film and on Fox ’ s Gotham. Plus, the diagnose Red Hood has become iconic in its own right, thanks to a Joker mangle victim named Jason Todd .

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03 numbers2016 5e99051a0c58d2.03489562Joker Gets a Boner                              

You ’ ve seen the internet memes, and we ’ ra here to tell you that it ’ s not a photoshop ! The Joker ’ sulfur harangue about boners comes from a real number comedian. Don ’ thymine believe us ? Check out Batman # 66 ( if you can find a replicate, that is ) to read the Joker ’ s curious dialogue yourself .
Are you all done giggle ? Before the days of Fortnite, TikTok and AirPods, the word “ blunder ” was another manner of saying “ epic fail. ” But even more remarkable ? If you can stop snicker and look beyond the dated dialogue, Batman # 66 is a fun report where the Joker tries to redeem his dignity to the Gotham bid, but Batman keeps on beating him. however, the internet never forgets, so we have a feeling the Joker will be trying to live this one down for a long time .

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04 numbers2016 5e99052e34e0d0.71384475The Clown Prince Makes a Murderous Comeback

Imagine a adaptation of the Batman mythos where the Joker international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate about. It ’ randomness hard to fathom, isn ’ t it ? Believe it or not, that ’ s just how the earth of Gotham looked before the Joker returned in the classical Batman # 251 .
The Clown Prince of Crime had been absent for four years as the Batman titles were trying to find a more ground border on and had refrained from using some of the hero ’ s more colored villains. however, you can ’ triiodothyronine sideline the Joker for long and his hark back wound up being his deadliest report in years. recently escaped from Arkham ( which was unnamed at the time ), the Joker began killing his old crew members, committing murder on panel for the first base time in 31 years. This story, “ The Joker ’ s Five-Way Revenge, ” is where many of the Clown Prince ’ second familiar tropes began, such as his Arkham incarcerations, his reluctance to murder Batman and his more streamlined redesign. If you love Mark Hamill ’ sulfur translation of the Joker from Batman : The Animated Series, you have this floor to thank .

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05 numbers2016 5e990545608938.44377031Joker Gets His Own Title

In 1975, the Joker did something no other DC villain had done before—star in his own ongoing series ! The Joker ran for nine issues and featured the Clown Prince going up against non-Gotham superheroes and rival super-villains. It was something of a curious title. Since the Joker was the protagonist, the restrictions from the Comics Code regarding the book were a bit compressed, forcing all the stories to end with the Joker receive deserts for his crimes. The villain ’ randomness bloodlust besides had to be toned down, but the series still effectively captured the Clown Prince of Crime ’ s essence. The schemes were nutty, the guest stars were inspired and the entire series made for a playfulness reading know. unfortunately, the amusing was cancelled after the 9th topic, but the Joker wasn ’ t going anywhere. He still had big plans in Gotham .

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06 numbers2016 5e99055f4985d7.86270766Gone Fishin’

In 1978, the Joker unveiled another flex scheme in Detective Comics # 475 —Joker fish ! After pisces from Gotham ’ second contaminated waters are found displaying an eerie Joker smile, we learn it ’ s all part of the Clown Prince of Crime ’ s latest plan. Step one : make Joker Fish, step two : copyright Joker Fish, dance step three : ? ? ? ? ?, and step four : profit !
true, it ’ s a reasonably foreign plan, and it hits a snag because there ’ s no way to profit off of a fish ’ sulfur physical appearance and you can ’ triiodothyronine copyright wildlife. Unsurprisingly, the Joker doesn ’ t take the news excessively well and begins lashing out. This authoritative bipartite by Steve Engelhart and Marshall Rogers featured the Bat-Villain at his baneful and his most unpredictable. Haven ’ metric ton read the comedian and are wondering why the floor sounds then familiar ? It might be because it was belated adapted into one of the most memorable episodes of Batman : The Animated Series .

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07 numbers2016 5e990576c65189.97142778All It Takes is One Bad Day

In 1988, Alan Moore and Brian Bolland came together to produce one of the most ill-famed Joker stories of all time— Batman : The Killing Joke. The brief, mature-readers graphic novel takes a attend at what drives Batman and the Joker ’ mho conflict, as the Dark Knight makes one last try to end the motorbike of violence. Of course, Joker has no interest in ending any violence and makes his intentions known by breaking into Commissioner Gordon ’ second house, crippling his daughter Barbara and kidnapping Jim. As the Clown Prince tries to drive Gordon delirious through psychological agony, he thinks second to his own origins .
The reserve contains flashbacks to the Joker ’ s life before he became a condemnable, using elements from the original Red Hood history and fresh ideas conceived by Moore. notably, for the foremost meter, the Joker is presented as a tragic figure in The Killing Joke. possibly he was just a valet who wanted to do the right thing, but one regretful day drove him harebrained. Of run, the history leaves it ambiguous if what we witness is his real past, and that ambiguity is carried over to the history ’ s final pages american samoa well, which have led fans to wonder why Batman is laughing with the Joker. The Killing Joke may be 32 years old, but it calm inspires just angstrom much discussion and debate today as it did when it was first published.

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08 numbers2016 5e99058d4cf0f2.37226638A Death in the Bat-Family

How do you follow the most noteworthy Joker narrative of all meter ? That ’ randomness easy, you kill Robin !
“ A Death in the Family, ” which ran in Batman # 426-429, hinges on a cooling scene where the Joker ambushes Robin ( Jason Todd ) and beats the Boy Wonder otiose with a crowbar, leaving him tied up in a warehouse with a bombard. normally this would be the part of the narrative where Batman shows up in time to save his best pal, but sadly, the Dark Knight was besides deep. however, before you get besides brainsick at the Joker, know that his success here had some unexpected help. A 1-900 number polled fans over whether Robin should live or die, and well…death won out. “ Death in the Family ” raised the stakes for Batman and the Joker ’ sulfur competition, and although Jason Todd was late revived, the murder remains one of the most evil things the Clown Prince of Crime has always done .

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09 numbers2016 5e99059f650581.49660534Joker Gets a Girlfriend

In 1950, the Joker was given an beginning. In 1978, he was given a fish. And in 1999, he got a girlfriend ! Harley Quinn, the Joker ’ south devoted and lovesick spouse, is arguably the most survive thing to come out of Batman : The Animated Series ( and surely one of the best ). Viewers loved her chemistry with “ Mistuh Jay ” and enjoyed the room she brought out new sides to the Joker ’ south personality. As a consequence, it was a no-brainer to bring her to the comics .
Harley Quinn made her continuity debut in 1999 ’ south Batman : Harley Quinn one-shot. Like her enliven counterpart, Harley was the Joker ’ randomness psychiatrist at Arkham who decided that she ’ five hundred quite be his girlfriend than his shrivel. These days, Harley is about more celebrated than her homicidal ex-husband, and she ’ south presently starring in her own hit animated series. Ms. Quinn may have left the Joker buttocks, but their days together changed the Clown Prince, whether he wants to admit it or not .

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10 numbers2016 5e9905b141d209.86549010Another Gunshot, Another Gordon

In Detective Comics # 741, the Joker gave readers however another reminder of how barbarous he can be when he murdered Sarah Essen-Gordon in cold blood. The shocking fib was the concluding chapter in the year-long “ No Man ’ randomness Land ” saga, and Gotham City was starting to return back to normal. But the Joker couldn ’ thyroxine resist one final caper, so he kidnapped a group of babies. When Commissioner Gordon ’ s wife Sarah discovered the Joker in the Gotham City Police Department basement, she confronted the Clown Prince without backing. Sarah managed to save the babies, but in commute, the Joker coldly shot her in the lead. When Jim Gordon learned his wife had been murdered, he snapped and about executed the Clown Prince. Batman managed to calm the Commissioner down, and Gordon merely wound up shooting Joker in the knee. Chillingly, this amused the villain, who thought it was a reference to the fact that he crippled the Commissioner ’ s daughter Barbara .
The scene is heartbreaking, and it ’ s another exercise of Joker cruelly taking something away from Batman ’ sulfur world .

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11 numbers2016 5e9905c9975661.70156479The Joker Rules the World

If you ’ re silent reading this, you ’ re credibly thanking your lucky stars that the Joker is a mortal valet. If person a dangerous as him besides happened to have superpowers…well, who knows what he could do ?
That question was explored in a 2000 storyline called “ Emperor Joker, ” which is curiously enough, a Superman storyline. In “ Emperor Joker, ” the Clown Prince convinces the herculean prankster Mister Mxyzptlk to give him his powers, which the Joker uses to remake the populace in his crazy trope before setting his sights on the Dark Knight. The Joker kills Batman, revives him, then finds another painful way to kill him, then revives him, and continues with this bicycle for what seems like everlastingly. fortunately, the DC heroes are able to trick the Bat-Villain into losing his powers, but they won ’ triiodothyronine be forgetting the reign of Emperor Joker anytime soon .

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12 numbers2016 5e9905dc8a5391.48240949Breaking Up the Bat-Family

In 2011, DC Comics relaunched all their titles in what was called The New 52, and of course, the Joker played a memorable role. After escaping from Arkham Asylum in Detective Comics # 1, he infamously sliced off his own face and disappeared for months. however, he wasn ’ t gone retentive. The Joker resurfaced in a 2012 Batman crossing event called “ Death of the Family ” where he psychologically tortured all of Gotham ’ randomness heroes. He kidnapped Barbara Gordon ’ randomness mother, targeted Dick Grayson ’ s circus friends and just generally found creative ways to attack Batman ’ s allies in personal ways. ultimately, the Joker demanded that Batman choose between him and his family. Although the Dark Knight refused and was able to defeat the Joker, the Clown Prince ’ s psychological war had a major impingement on Batman ’ randomness allies, who no long trusted the Caped Crusader. Joker efficaciously put a rift in the Batman Family, making it appear that he was the victor after all .

calm smiling ? Well, you should know this about our character sinner. The Clown Prince of Crime is far from done, and with a starring function in his own ongoing comedian along with some high gear visibility DC Black Label books now in stores like Joker/Harley : criminal Sanity and Suicide Squad : Get Joker !, it appears that the Joker, appropriately, may have the last laugh. Heh heh heh … hour angle hour angle … HAHAHAHAHA ! ! !
DC FanDome returns on October 16, 2021 ! For more articles like this one, and to stay up to date on all the latest news, visit

Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about television, movies and comics for, is a regular subscriber to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, “ Gotham Gazette. ” Follow him on chitter at @ TBUJosh .
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Joshua Lapin-Bertone and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.

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