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CSBG Archive

2011 Top DC Characters #4

After nearly 1,400 ballots were cast, YOU the reader ranked your favorite comic book characters of all-time from 1-10. I assigned point totals to each ranking and then tabulated it all into a Top 50 list. We’re now revealing that list throughout September. Here is the master list of all the characters revealed so far. The countdown continues…

4. Joker – 2667 points (18 first place votes)

Created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson, the Joker made his debut in the very first issue of Batman, and soon became a mainstay Batman villain, being one of the few Bat-villains to continue fighting Batman from the Golden Age through to the Silver Age.

It was actually in the Silver Age, when Julie Schwartz took over, that Joker basically vanished from the Bat-titles, only to be brought back by Denny O’Neil a number of years later. In the 50s and early 60s, the Joker had lessened from a murderer to basically being an annoyance, but O’Neil brought him back as an insane sociopath, the characterization that has, for the most part, persisted to this day.

In the 1980s, Joker achieved his two greatest blows to Batman, when he both murdered Batman’s partner, Robin (Jason Todd) and crippled the daugher of Commissioner Gordon, Barbara (who was, unbeknown to the Joker, the hero Batgirl). He then later murdered Commissioner Gordon’s wife, as well!

The Joker continues to make routine appearances, showing up to fight Batman from time to time. He maintains his position as the most prominent Batman villain there is. In the first Batman story in the new DC reboot, Detective Comics #1, Joker is featured prominently and goes to some drastic measures by the end of the issue. Time will tell how much of Joker’s history has remained the same in the reboot.

12 Comments

figured when the joker showed up on the list he would be in the top five.

The Crazed Spruce

September 28, 2011 at 7:29 am

The Joker is definitely DC’s most iconic villain, and definitely deserves a place in the Top 5.

And yet, I left him off of my list. Definitely an oversight on my part. He’s one of about a dozen characters that I’m kicking myself for forgetting when putting my lists together.

The Crazed Spruce

September 28, 2011 at 7:30 am

(And I definitely used “definitely” a little too much in that last post. Definitely.)

So, does Dick Grayson pull the upset over Superman? Wally West almost did last time.

Wow. Dick Grayson over Joker? Good job, Dicky!

I think you may want to correct your comment about Julius Schwartz. The Joker was a regular of the “New Look” Batman, with several iconographic cover appearances. For example, Detective issues 332, 341, 365, 388, Batman 186. It is true he wasn’t used as often as in the Jack Schiff, but even back then he only showed up around once a year or so.

Joker was on my list. Easily my favorite bad guy in comics. That said, I do think he has been way too overexposed in the last decade or so, though. It seems like every new writer on Batman wants to make sure they get to play with all the cool toys, so they throw in pretty much every iconic villain Batman has ever faced. It’s definitely diluted the appeal of the character, in my opinion. I think they need to have at least a 1 year moratorium on the Joker showing up in any stories.

Joker used to be my favourite DC villain, but the above-mentioned overexposure combined with the fact that he’s committing more and more horrible murders with every appearance just makes him not much fun to read about anymore and also makes Batman’s “if I kill you I’m just like you” mantra ring more and more hollow and sappy and plain stupid nowadays…

Still enjoy him in the odd Elseworlds-type appearance and loved him on Batman: The Animated Series where he was still dangerous and funny and formidable but without leaving the huge misery in his wake that seems mandatory in the comics.

Brian, I’m sooo glad you mentioned Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson as co-creators. Well done.

Joker would have been on my shortlist.

It looks like my votes for Herr Starr, Ambush Bug, Alfred Pennyworth, Jim Gordon, Two Face and Mr Zsasz came to nothing then :(

@ Rebis: was Bob Kane even involved in the creation of the Joker? I know that for legal reasons his name has to be mentioned, but did he really have anything to do with it?

@The Crazed Spruce: you forgot to put the Joker on the list? I wouldn’t answer any knocks on your door in the near future.

Didn’t expect Joker to make the list – I don’t know why, guess I was just thinking of heroes.

For me Lex is the best DC villian (did he make the top 50?)

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