Joker has finally arrived, drawing a ‘mixed’ response (to say the least) but one thing its done has ignited interest in the super villain himself. But with potentially thousands of Joker stories out there, where do you start and what are the best comics to check out to fully appreciate the Clown Prince of Crime’s long history? Never fear, Bookstr is here with some superb recommendations!
5. ‘Batman number 1′
Image via the Great comic Book heroes
Batman’s first solo title also chronicled the first appearances of Catwoman and the Joker. The Joker appeared right out of the gate and put a huge mark on the franchise. While Batman had fought other super villains before, such as Dr. Death and the Mad Monk, the Joker cemented his reputation as Batman’s nemesis almost immediately. This first appearance is quite old but showcases the Joker’s traits in just 11 pages: his sadistic blend of comedy and violence, his brilliance, his signature traits such as the laughter, the purple suit, white skin, and Laughing Gas, not to mention managing to outfox Batman for most of the issue. Its a great introduction to the iconic character that’ll leave you hungry for more!
4. ‘the Laughing fish’
image via Ign
The Laughing Fish is a 70s story and shows the Joker at his best. Bankrupt, the Joker poisons Gotham’s river and changes the fish to give them all his signature smile. He tries to copyright them but the bank refuses, as you can’t copyright a natural resource. At an impasse, Joker begins murdering everyone who stopped his scheme, all in quite gruesome fashions. Its a dark noir story that nevertheless shows the Joker as equally funny and psychotic, especially with a scheme that makes sense to him alone.
3. ‘Arkham Asylum: A serious house on a serious earth’
image via batman wiki
Eesh, look at that mug. This story is one of the darkest Batman tales and the Joker certainly stands out amongst the cast. As Batman journeys into Arkham to take down his entire cast of villains. A simple story turns completely off the rails once Batman heads inside, as he experiences surrealism, the darkness of humanity and so, so much symbolism. Its a story not for everyone but if you want a scary Joker, look no further than this borderline literal monster.
2. ‘Gotham Central: Soft Targets’
Image via Amazon
Soft Targets is the second arc in Gotham Central. This spinoff showcases the lives of cops who work at GCPD, as opposed to Batman himself and the insanity of trying to be a cop in Gotham. The Joker is a fleeting presence here but he make his threat known by killing police officers, showcasing what happens to cops who are so often the cannon fodder of criminals. By giving the police the focus, the Joker becomes much more terrifying and when he does physically show up, he’s almost larger than life thanks to the unique storyline. A hard recommendation, no pun intended.
1. ‘Going Sane’
Image via Batman wiki
What would happen if the Joker was cured? In this storyline, the Joker thinks he’s killed Batman and with no arch enemy, his insanity vanishes. He becomes sane and forms a loving relationship with a woman. Taking the alias of Joe Kerr, the Joker seems to have left his evil behind but that all changes when Batman resurfaces. This is a great story with Joker front and center, examining his madness and his obsession with Batman. It also offers a rare glimpse of him as a normal man.
Image Via Batman Wiki