All this month on DCComics.com we're celebrating the 75th Anniversary of one of the DC Universe's... no, all of comics... no, all of FICTION's most popular and recognizable characters: the Dark Knight himself, Batman!
It seems like just yesterday that billionaire Bruce Wayne made the totally sane and reasonable decision to avenge his parents' deaths by dressing up as a giant bat and combating the criminals of Gotham City.
Since that first moment of vengeance-fueled vigilantism, Batman has grown from a comic book character to a multi-media sensation, featured in movies, television, video games, animation, and more. However, just as popular as the Dark Knight is his instantly recognizable and widely popular rogues gallery—none as popular and as well known as Batman himself than his chaotic counterpoint the Joker.
As today is April Fools' Day, we thought we'd add a little humor to our celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Dark Knight by taking a look at Eight of the Joker's Most Hilarious, Terrifying, and Hilariously Terrifying Jokes!
1. The Laughing Fish
From Detective Comics #475 and 476, the Joker poisons the Gotham harbor and mutates all the fish into Joker fish. That in and of itself is a pretty ridiculous thing to do, but the real kicker is that the fish aren't actually poisonous. His plan was to copyright the fish and gain a percentage of all the fish sold in Gotham. It's completely insane... but also sort of brilliant. The storyline was even adapted into an episode of Batman: The Animated Series.
2. Going Sane
A storyline running in Legends of the Dark Knight #65-68, the Joker thinks he finally killed Batman, which causes him to go completely sane, because you know, the Joker. Deciding to lead a normal life, he has plastic surgery to fix his whole face problem and he even manages to find a little romance. However, he apparently decided to throw one last joke in before completely leading a normal life with the name he chose for himself: Joseph Kerr.
Chased and shot at by crooks in a car, Robin gets some sudden help from a mysterious stranger who pulls up in a car of their own and tells him to get in. Robin enters, turns to the driver, and sees... well, you can guess. This is the opening setup to "Slayride" from Detective Comics #826. What follows is an incredible and pulse-pounding journey showcasing exactly what makes the Joker so terrifying and dangerous. It's hands down in our Top Five favorite Joker stories from comics, which is hardly unexpected as the issue was written by Batman legend Paul Dini.
4. "Joker's Favor"
Speaking of Paul Dini, the 22nd episode of Batman: The Animated Series featured not only the first appearance of Harley Quinn but also one of the Joker's most hilariously insane moments ever. We actually don't want to ruin the punchline to this one, so if you've never seen the episode, check it out, and then keep watching the rest of the series because BtAS is freakin' incredible.
5. Death of the Family
Although filled with many memorable moments, Scott Snyder's Bat-Family epic "Death of the Family" featured a perfect Joker gag near the end of the event. After capturing the members of the Bat-Family, the Joker had Alfred serve them up some platters topped with their faces... which he had cut off. It's a really freaky moment, but the real punchline comes afterward and perfectly encapsulates the Joker's twisted sense of humor.
6. The Killing Joke
Considered by many to be the quintessential Batman/Joker tale, The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland easily ranks as one of the greatest graphic novels of all time. At the end, Batman reaches out the Joker one last time, hoping to help him. After a pause, the Joker tells a joke (naturally). What makes the moment great, however, is that the punchline perfectly sums up the Joker/Batman dynamic and why in the end, there is no helping the Joker.
7. The Dark Knight's Magic Trick
When Heath Ledger's Joker made that pencil disappear, it instantly sold audiences on the actor's portrayal of the character.
8. Death in the Family
Remember that time the Joker beat Jason Todd to death with a crowbar? Readers actually voted for that to happen. Maybe us fans didn't think it'd actually happen or that it wouldn't be so brutal. Boy were we wrong. Looks like the joke was on us.
What are some of your favorite Joker moments? Let us know in the comments! And be sure to keep checking DCComics.com daily for more celebratory Batman features. And for more tales of the Dark Knight and his insane rival be sure to check out "Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years" and "The Joker: A Celebration of 75 Years" both out later this year!