The Joker: The Clown Prince of Crime

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7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Classic goofy Joker stories

Falls into a weird in between period between the Batman TV series and grittier Joker stories

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Joker

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer:  Dennis O’Neil/Elliot S! Maggin/Martin Pasko

Artist: Irv Novick/Dick Giordano/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez/Ernie Chen/Vince Colletta/Tex Blaisdell/Frank McLaughlin

# of Issues: 9

Release Date: 2013

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The Joker #5

Reprints The Joker #1-9 (May 1975-October 1976).  The Joker might be locked up in Arkham Asylum but that doesn’t mean he can’t cause Batman and others problems.  With the lax security, Joker finds himself on the loose in Gotham and the countryside out to raise hell and cause crimes.  The Joker believes he is the number one criminal in the land and the joke is on anyone who tries to cross him!

Written by Denny O’Neil, Elliot S! Maggin, and Martin Pasko, The Joker:  The Clown Prince of Crime is a DC Comics super-villain Batman spin-off title.  Featuring art by Irv Novik, Dick Giordano, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Ernie Chen, Vince Colletta, Tex Blaisdell, and Frank McLaughlin, the comic was cancelled after nine issues but a tenth unpublished issue was released digitally in December 2019.

The Joker is an odd comic.  It is an early foray into super-villains having their own title.  Marvel followed soon after with Super-Villain Team-Up, but both titles didn’t have a very long shelf life.  The Joker:  The Clown Prince of Crime has a weird tone that is both classic comic and feels out of place.

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The Joker #8

During Batman’s TV run, DC Comics got pretty “goofy”.  Villains like the Joker were all about weird crimes and rarely did any real or lasting damage.  Murder generally seemed to be off the books.  The Joker series falls between this and the grittier 1980s where an “anything goes” mentality ruled.  In this collection the Joker bounces back and forth from silly crimes to darkness where he will randomly kill people with his laughing gas.  The tone as a result is a bit all over the place and makes the stories a little less carefree than they initially appear to be.

That being said, The Joker series feels like classic DC Comics.  There is a wholesomeness to it despite the occasional murder.  The Joker’s crimes involve stealing paintings, kidnapping cats, facing off against other criminals, and switching personalities with Lex Luthor.  The stand-alone issues always resolve themselves in the end and the Joker generally pays the price for his crimes (and when he doesn’t, another criminal usually pays).  It is a comic that can jump from facing off against Two-Face to a battle of wits with an actor who thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes.  It doesn’t always make sense, but it can be fun.

The Joker is a quick little read that carries no weight.  It doesn’t feel like anything in this collection alters comic reality or affects the next issue (which wasn’t uncommon in the 1970s).  As a result it is an easy comic collection to pick up and put down.  The art is solid and also carries that classic comic style which isn’t too inked or too light.  If you want a read that feels like it is made for all ages, The Joker:  The Clown Price of Crime might be a good answer.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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