Category Archives: Joker

In one of the more insane stories from this Joker mini-series, the Joker and Lex Luthor swap emotional states. For a story written in the late 70’s its super meta because Lex and the Joker don’t exactly swap brains, they semi-swap personalities.

This story is basically a Saturday Morning cartoon in comic book form. (Edit: Saturday Morning Cartoons don’t really exist anymore and if you missed that blessed era in history, I weep for you.)

The story starts out with The Joker sitting in a movie theater wearing a HILARIOUSLY RIDICULOUS AFRO wig (yeah hes’s still got the same pasty white face, red lips and rictus grin) watching a news reel(?) documentary of some of his past highlights.

Joker goes sane

What? Why would any theater show that? And just for posterity, I have to say it again… HE’S WEARING A GODDAMN AFRO WIG.

Joker wears an Afro

Lex Luthor, who also just happens to be sitting in the same theater (WHAT?) hears Joker laughing and turns just in time to see the clown rushing out of the theater. Despite the Jokers HILARIOUSLY RIDICULOUS AFRO, Lex stops him in the atrium and they start talking. Lex Luthor, the greatest criminal mind of our time and a mass murderer are just hanging out in a movie theater having a chat. Then they go across the parking lot and get a burger. Let that sink in.

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Ok, I’m going on too long so I’ll just skip to the good stuff. Here’s the stuff you need to know quickly:

  • Lex tries to hatch a plan called Operation Mindbreak. The plan is to put on a stupid looking helmet (think Cerebro from the X-Men) to drain the Green Lantern of his willpower.
  • Green Lantern is asleep and Lex is interrupted by before launching his brain rays and is thus unaffected.
  • The Joker barges in Lex’s secret hideout (he scaled the building using suction cups) and grabs the other helmet and puts it on.
  • The machine somehow manages to force Lex and J to swap personalities.
  • The story is batshit crazy (pun intended) and the writers know it.

Joker goes saneJoker goes sane

The Joker is still the Joker, except now he’s not a goddamn maniac. He has the criminal focus of Luthor. However at his core, he’s still the Joker and has the presence of mind to know that he is still in full control of his Id but it’s his ego and super-ego that has been swapped out.

Luthor on the other hand is no longer the cold, calculating, ruthless businessman/super-villain… he’s stark raving mad. He’s in in possession of Jokers ego and super-ego and has gone completely insane. He’s laughing maniacally, is just as unpredictable and what is even more terrifying, he likes it!

In an interesting back and forth, Lex states, “I don’t want to be sane again! When I was sane, I did everything because I hated Superman! Now I don’t hate anyone!”

Joker goes saneJoker goes saneJoker goes sane

To which the Joker responds, “You were driven by your hatred– Now you’ll be driven by your madness! You’re still in the same hell — only with different scenery!” For a story so Saturday Morning Cartoon this is surprisingly deep. But then it all goes back to schlock with more suction cup wall walking, jet boots and the Jokermoblile. Eventually Lex and Joker switch identities back, pass out in an alley (on top of each other) and get arrested.

Joker goes sane

So. Damn. Strange.

Joker with an Afro

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The Joker in love! When the Joker falls for the siren call of the lovely Dinah Lance, it’s up to Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, to come to the rescue!

Released: 8/6/1975

Cover: Ernie Chan

Writers: Elliot Maggin

Pencilers: Jose Luis Garcia Lopez

Inkers: Vince Colletta

Batman slapping robin meme

The Joker beats Robin to death. (Batman: A Death in the Family)

Sometime in late 1987, DC Comics and Batman editor Dennis O’Neil became aware that Jason Todd had become unpopular with readers and decided to remove him from the Robin role. The question was how to do that. Seeking a new way to interact with fans, and perhaps inspired by references to a dead Jason in Frank Miller’s non-canonical future history comic book miniseries, The Dark Knight Returns, the company set up two 1-900 number 50-cent hotlines giving callers the ability to vote for or against Jason’s death. The call-in period started after publication of the issue in which Jason and his mother are trapped in the warehouse.

Over 10,000 votes were cast, with the final vote being 5,343 votes for Jason to die over 5,271 for him to live. DC published A Death in the Family to massive media attention, some of it critical. Over a decade later, in a Newsarama interview conducted alongside writer Judd Winick, O’Neil said: “I heard it was one guy, who programmed his computer to dial the thumbs down number every ninety seconds for eight hours, who made the difference.” If true, that would have amounted to over 200 votes (and 100 dollars), certainly enough to decide the count. There is no way to confirm that rumor, but it adds uncertainty to the question of whether the poll was an accurate measure of what fans wanted to happen to Jason Todd.

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The issue of Jason Todd’s death was often raised over the years in the mainstream Batman stories, becoming almost as important a factor in his life as the death of his parents. It intensified Batman’s feud with the Joker, making it even more personal. In the course of the Batman: Knightfall story arc, Batman is exposed to the Scarecrow’s fear toxin, causing him to hallucinate about Jason’s death. However, instead of fear, he reacts in rage, and brutally beats the Joker while screaming Jason’s name. He often visits Jason’s gravesite and raises his death as a factor in his reluctance to take on new sidekicks, such as Tim Drake (the third Robin and current Red Robin), Stephanie Brown (the fourth Robin, and third Batgirl), Cassandra Cain (the second Batgirl), and Damian Wayne (the fifth Robin). Jason is memorialized in the Batcave; his Robin costume is preserved under glass, along with the epitaph “A Good Soldier.”

In the Hush storyline, it was hinted that Todd is alive, as a young man who strongly resembles him is standing on his desecrated grave. However, in the end, Batman finds that it was Clayface mimicking the role. In the “Under the Hood” arc, it is revealed that it was Todd whom Batman had fought, but he then switched places with the shapeshifter in collaboration with the villains Hush, Riddler, and Talia al Ghul. Todd reveals himself to Batman as the murderous vigilante, the Red Hood. Jason cripples Black Mask’s criminal organization in Gotham, and kidnaps the Joker and beats him with a crowbar in an abandoned building. During the ensuing struggle with Batman, Todd detonates the building, but he, Batman and the Joker survive.

The details of Todd’s return are revealed in Batman Annual #25 and Red Hood: The Lost Years #1-6.

 

From: Batman Vol.1 #427, 1988