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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 130

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at a story that made the Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told list, the first appearance of the Joker in Batman #1, by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson!


While I’m sure that there are better examples, Batman #1 is still a pretty damned amazing entrance for a new villain. Check it out…

How effectively spooky and scary was that?

I love that Batman isn’t interested yet.

Eventually, Batman DOES get interested, and Finger and Kane are very blunt with their take on the Joker…

he IS the toughest foe Batman had yet faced!

It’s nice to see that the Joker is ultimately caught through detective work, even if it is as simple as “follow anyone who leaves”…

Love the infrared lights.

The actual capturing of the Joker comes from Robin remembering something Joker said, which kind of cheesy, but the fact that he was there to HEAR what the Joker was saying was at least due to detective work, so I think it all balances out in the end.

A great introduction for a great villain! And to think that they were planning on killing him off in the second story in the book! It’s not like they didn’t know that Batman was a hit by this time, it was the debut issue of his own solo title! They knew he was popular, so you’d think that they’d want to keep around a character that THEY even said was a great foe for Batman.

Ah well, thank goodness for editorial interference, I suppose!


Peter Woodhouse

May 11, 2010 at 4:53 pm

When I read this as a boy in the “From the 30s to the 1970s” big reprint book, it freaked me out – the Joker death grin, the fact he impersonated the police chief. Great story – love how he was a homicidal maniac (“Die!) from the get-go. Englehart/Rogers’ “Laughing Fish” 2-parter riffs heavily on this classic.

Denny O’Neil/ Neal Adams restored the Joker to his roots (as they had with the Batman, following Frank Robbins and other’ work in the late 60s onwards) with the sublime Batman #251 “Joker’s 5-Way Revenge”.
That’s 3 from the Joker top ten stories – why didn’t I do that bloody list? Tec 504’s “Joker’s Rumpus Room Revenge” was good – Starlin cover, Newton art I think.

The Man Who Laughs, eat your heart out.

‘Hey, Bruce! Murder!”
“Not now, kid. Can’t you see I’m smoking a pipe?”

Those amorphous speech balloons are making me queasy.

Ethan Shuster

May 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm

It really is amazing how this is so much like the later “recent” interpretations of the character. Even this, again, reminds me of the Dark Knight. The Joker killing prominent citizens, even after warning people that he would. And he even disguises himself as a cop.

What I wonder is, maybe it would be silly to assume it but, could this be the first time a super villain character somehow takes over the airwaves? It has happened countless times since then, in media all over. I’m always interested in trying to discover the origins of a cliche. All villains have done this over the years. I’ve been watching DVDs of the old G.I. Joe cartoon and it’s done by Cobra every other episode, it seems.

John Trumbull

May 11, 2010 at 7:33 pm

STILL one of the all-time best Joker stories.

The second Joker story in Batman #1 has one of my all-time favorite pieces of cheesy comic book dialogue. “This man — he’s not really dead! He’s not dead — AND he’s going to live!”

Man, Joker in this story is just a psychotic killer! Remember when Joker was FUNNY? This Bill Finger guy, what’s he thinking, writing Joker? Joker should be making FUNNY JOKES, not this slasher villain guy!

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