"Gotham's" Cory Michael Smith Savors the Arrival of the Riddler
In this feature, I spotlight five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).
After the Joker’s seeming death in Batman #40, we will take a look at five times in early Batman comics where the Joker supposedly fell to his death.
The Joker recently seemingly was killed in Batman #40…
This reminds me of a remarkable stretch of stories in the early history of Batman.
As you might already know, Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson planned on killing off the Joker in his second appearance in Batman #1. Editor Whitney Ellsworth “saved” the Joker’s life by adding a bit where an EMT remarks that the Joker somehow survived his seemingly fatal knife wound. Thus began a remarkable string of comic appearances where the Joker would show up, fight Batman and Robin and then seemingly plummet to his death at the end of the comic, only to show up the next time around.
It begins with Detective Comics #45…
Then it goes into the pages of Batman, where it gets really weird.
First, Batman #4…
Next, Batman #5 opens with a funny panel:
“Well, I’ll be damned. He actually DID die.”
But, of course, he did not. But at the end of the issue, does he die?!
Nope, as he returns in Batman #7….
I love how Batman is even starting to think, “Eh, whatever, dead…not dead…who cares?”
Things take a turn with the following issue as Joker is ARRESTED instead of killed! This leads to a string of arrests for Joker rather than “deaths,” which is why, I suppose, Batman is so willing to believe that this next death in #12 is for real…
Oddly enough, when the Joker shows up the next issue, Batman doesn’t even acknowledge his “death” the previous issue…
This then leads to the Joker going back to being just arrested, which continued for many, many years.
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