Smell my finger

This is the Ha-Hacienda's Joker Hall of Fame, where the Joker's most memorable, most fantastic, and downright best comic book encounters are inducted into history (well, our history anyway).

For each Joker story the Ha-Hacienda inducted, we listed where it was originally seen, a brief synopsis (but beware that some of them may contain spoilers, so read at your own risk), and a list of any currently published collections the story can be seen in (including a link to order it from Amazon).*

Would you like to help us by nominating future inductees? Just e-mail us here at the Ha-Hacienda with your inductee nominations. To be extra helpful, when you nominate a story, please tell us if there is a collection that the story can be quickly seen in (we're not being lazy, but we just can't afford 52 thousand dollars for a 1943 comic book).

So, sit back, pull up some Smylex...and away we go!

*Throughout this page, we refer to two collections of Joker stories, The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told and Stacked Deck (which is a hardcover expanded edition of the former). Both titles are out of print, but copies may turn up for sale from individual sellers on Amazon's Marketplace or on eBay. Although those kind of online person-to-person outlets are great ways to find hard-to-find items, for your own safety please take a little caution when shopping. You know, we'd hate to see you get hosed.


THE JOKER HALL OF FAME


(Untitled)
Batman #1 (Spring/1940)

The Joker's legendary first appearance. In his debut, the Joker announces over the radio who he plans to kill and when. Many of the Joker's murderous trademarks are introduced in this story, such as the Joker's signature playing card and the infamous toxin-caused grin on his victims' faces! When the Joker officially makes his first appearance in the story (looking like the frequent-brooding Batman of recent years), he without a doubt looks more menacing than any foe Batman had met up until that point (and since!). This is a criminal who is deadly serious about his insanity...and creativity.

"It seems I've at last met a foe that can give me a good fight!"-Batman

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck; Batman: The Dark Knight Archives Volume 1


The Man Behind the Red Hood
Detective Comics #168 (2/1951)

While teaching a college course in criminology, Batman recalls an old unsolved case...that of the Red Hood. His students decide to re-open the case to solve the mystery for Batman. No sooner than this happens, the Red Hood himself returns from a ten year absence, determined to steal the college's payroll. Through Batman's observation skills, his students' help, and a certain clue from Robin, we learn that the Red Hood became none other than the Joker!

Anal retentive factual error: Batman says that the Red Hood was last seen ten years before the story takes place. Assuming we're not on "DC Comics Time" (if you know what I mean), that would mean the Red Hood became the Joker in 1941, one year after the Joker's first appearance!

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck


The Joker's Utility Belt
Batman #73 (10-11/1952)

Sick and tired of Batman and Robin always getting away with the help of their utility belts, the Joker designs a belt of his own. Despite its many goofy-sounding compartments (such as "Snake Pills"), the Joker's new belt does come in handy many times, including doing the ol' switcheroo with Batman's own utility belt.

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck


The Crazy Crime Clown
Batman #74 (12/1952-1/1953)

Wait a minute. The Joker escapes in the very next issue?? What the hell kind of security did the Gotham Pen HAVE back then?? Anyway, the Joker pulls off a series of crimes that seemingly sound crazy to everyone, including Batman. After being caught, the Joker is sentenced to a local mental institution (the precursor for Arkham Asylum maybe?), where it is revealed that the Joker's committing was all a part of his next financially advantageous plan! Batman enters the institution in disguise, but the Joker is already wise to our hero, traps the Dark Knight, and finds out his secret identity!

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck


The Great Clayface-Joker Feud
Batman #159 (11/1963)

If you ignore the ridiculous "young heroes in love"-style sub-storyline between Batman and Batwoman, and also between Robin and Batgirl, this storyline is a wonderful guessing game, as Clayface (the Matt Hagen one) and the Joker keep showing up the other at each of their crimes, like two chess players continually putting the other into "check." It all ends in an almost mind-boggling identity switch, something like the ending of an episode of Scooby-Doo.

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck


The Joker's Five-Way Revenge
Batman #251 (9/1973)

The Joker returns to Gotham City, deadlier than ever as he systematically kills his former thugs one by one...since he blames their snitching for his last imprisonment. Batman tries to prevent the murders, but inadvertently gets captured by the Joker himself! This is the one with the famous "Batman in the shark case" death trap!

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck


Death Has the Last Laugh
The Brave & the Bold #111 (2-3/1974)

One of the most outstanding pre-Killing Joke Joker stories. Someone's framing the Joker, and the Joker wants revenge as the cops hunt him down. Once Batman gets wise to the Joker's innocence, he must make an unholy alliance with his deadliest enemy in order to catch the real murderer! It's a wonderful tale that keeps the reader guessing until the very end.

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck


The Laughing Fish/The Sign of the Joker
Detective Comics #475-476 (2-4/1978)

The Joker poisons the fish in Gotham's lakes, causing them to inherit the hideous grin we all know and love. Now, the Joker wants to profit from this crime, and tries to register a copyright for "his" fish. Until he gets his fishy wish, the Joker kills off pencil-pushers one by one, eluding Batman and the Gotham P.D. at every turn. Meanwhile, Batman has some personal problems, as a woman he has fallen in love with has figured out his secret identity. And if that's not enough, Rupert Thorne is haunted by the ghost of Hugo Strange!

The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told; Stacked Deck; Batman: Strange Apparitions


Resurrection Night!
Batman #400 (10/1986)

Ra's Al Ghul releases all of the inmates from Arkham Asylum, assigning the Joker as their ringleader. As Batman battles all of his foes one by one, the Joker teams up with the Penguin to take out Commissioner Gordon! Forget about "Knightfall." This is the ultimate Arkham breakout story!

Catch as Catscan/The Last Laugh!
Detective Comics #569-570 (12/1986-1/1987)

The Joker has finally found out how to get to Batman...by getting to the woman he loves, Catwoman! As Batman, Robin (Jason Todd), and Catwoman track down the Joker, the Joker turns the tables on our heroes by kidnapping the Catwoman and brainwashing her back to the side of evil! The Joker and Catwoman team up, which makes things a little difficult for Batman, since Catwoman knows Batman's secret identity!

Be prepared for the most heart-breaking ending in the Batman mythos.

Stacked Deck


Did Robin Die Tonight?
Batman #408 (6/1987)

While the Joker only appears for the first quarter of this comic book, he changes the future Batman history dramatically by shooting Robin (Dick Grayson) and sending him down the side of a building to his death! As we all know, Dick survives and becomes Nightwing, but the Batman legend has never been the same since.

Boom


Batman: The Killing Joke (1988)

The ultimate, without question, Joker story of all time...as we not only see glimpses of the Joker's tragic origin (or do we?), but as the present-day Joker paralyzes Barbara Gordon and kidnaps Jim Gordon, hoping to drive him insane! Meanwhile, Batman seriously contemplates the future with his oldest foe. Words cannot begin to praise the writing by Alan Moore or the eye-popping art by Brian Bolland. This is the Joker, uncensored and unadulterated, and as mad as ever!

Smile

Batman: The Killing Joke (paperback; collector's set with action figures); DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore


A Death in the Family
Batman #426-429 (12/1988-1/1989)

In this era, it seems as though every time the Joker appeared, SOMEone was going to pay for it, and this is truly no exception. The Joker does what no other villain, ever, has been able to do...kill Robin! And adding insult to injury, the Joker has become an international diplomat and is protected from the law by immunity. Superman has even been called in to keep Batman away from the Joker...but can Batman just sit there as the murderer of his partner gets off scott free?

You know, Jason, NOBODY liked you!

A Death in the Family


Wildcard!/Judgments!
Batman #450-451 (6/1990)

The Joker is back in town...or is he???

Banker Curtis Base is assuming the guise of the Joker, not knowing that the real Joker survived the plane crash that Batman had hoped killed him...and is hiding in fear that he has lost his "humor." Will the Joker ever be the same again? And, more importantly, what will both the equally vengeful Commissioner Gordon and Batman do if they find either the real Joker or the fake one?!

Robin II: The Joker's Wild
Robin II: The Joker's Wild #1-4 (1991)

Batman is out of the country, so it's up to Robin (Tim Drake) to stop the Joker's computerized hijacking of Gotham City. During the course of this exciting storyline, the Joker not only learns that "Robin" did not, in fact, die...but also that he's defending the city on his own!

Um...what exactly do you mean Jo--oh, didn't see that last balloon at first.

Robin: Tragedy and Triumph


Images
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #50 (9/1993)

An eerie retelling of the Joker's first story, including revealing exactly who invented the gas that gives its victims the Joker's telltale grin...the Joker's own cousin Melvin Reipan, a quiet idiot savant. This is also the first time readers know a part of the Joker's real first name. Melvin keeps making the mistake of referring to the Joker by his real name, but the Joker stops him (Melvin is able to say "Cousin Ja--" before the Joker interrupts), telling him that he's now "Cousin Joker."

Wanna pet it?


This page was last updated July 21, 2008.

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