The Joke’s on You: The Best Tricks of the Clown Prince of Crime!
The Joker has many faces in the DC Universe: he’s the Clown Prince of Crime, the Harlequin of Hate, and the Jester of Genocide. In every version and every story, The Joker is a different kind of crazy. He covers the whole spectrum from being just plain silly to absolutely mad. But whether it’s fighting Batman or fighting bureaucracy, he always has the last laugh.
Let’s rummage around the looney bin and bring out a few of the best jokes that The Joker has pulled. This list will go from silly to scary really quick!
You may have thought we were joking when we said that The Joker fights bureaucracy, but in one of his more unique schemes, all he really wanted was a copyright. After The Joker dumped toxin into Gotham City’s harbor, the fish supply became freakishly mutated. Every fish had a face that was incredibly similar to The Joker’s signature smile.
The Joker wanted a copyright so that he could make money off of nearly every fish sale in the Gotham market, but no one can copyright nature! So he held all of those bureaucrats hostage when they refused his scheme.
There are lots of fish in the sea, but nothing is romantic about the smell of these Joker fish.
While we’re on the topic of romance, we’ll dive into an episode of Batman: the Animated Series, called Joker’s Favor. This episode was a pivotal point in the development of Batman’s Rogues Gallery, because it was the very first appearance of Harley Quinn.
In the episode, The Joker chases a man into the woods for shouting at his driving. He makes Charlie agree to doing him one little favor, whenever he asks. Charlie agrees, but leaves town and changes his name to keep him and his family safe.
The Joker stalks him and keeps track of him for 2 years, just so he can call on him when he needs- 2 years of obsessive note taking and blackmailing, keep track of every little detail. “You’ve become a hobby of mine.” And after those two years, The Joker finally asks Charlie for his simple favor- to open the door for Harley Quinn at Commissioner Gordon’s testimonial dinner.
The Joker always plays his cards just right, and he always has a bigger plan coming. And thanks to this, Harley became an iconic accessory to his crimes as her popularity inspired the show’s writers to keep her on as Mistah J’s best girl.
In the an episode of the Justice League Animated Series called Wild Cards, The Joker hides a time bomb in Las Vegas. He also hijacks an entire broadcast station and reveals that only the Justice League can disarm the bomb or else he’ll remotely detonate it- he has cameras placed all over town so he can observe the proceedings. The team flies in, discovers that there are actually 25 hidden bombs, and works hard to disarm all of the weapons before their 23 minute countdown expires.
The Joker also has the Justice League fighting against The Royal Flush Gang, a team of superhuman villains that work for The Joker, trying to distract the heroes from disarming the bombs. Of course, the Justice League is able to succeed in time despite the distractions.
At the same time, The Joker creates a live TV show that entertains millions of people across America while they wait for the Justice League to prevail. He captivates the audience and enchants them with stories of love, trust, and heroism. When he’s finally got everyone watching, he uses the final member of the Royal Flush Gang- Ace- to make every single person watching the show go completely insane thanks to her ‘basilisk gaze’ ability. That was the whole reason for the bombs- to get millions of people paying attention to his show while he used Ace to mesmerize their minds!
He’s a master strategist and maniac who always has a trick up his sleeve.
The Pencil Trick
One of The Joker‘s most well known ‘magic’ tricks is the Pencil Trick from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. He walks in to a gang meeting with a bomb strapped to his chest, and shows them a brilliant disappearing act. He slams a man’s head down straight onto a pencil, before leveraging his position to convince the gang to work with him.
As chaotic as The Joker is, he constantly and endlessly planning. In that way, both Batman and The Joker are incredibly similar. Batman plans for every contingency and trusts absolutely no one, save for Alfred. But even his trust in and compassion for his sidekicks have been used against him before.
The Joker always knows how to strike closest to the heart, and tries to force Batman to face his greatest fears.
Death of the Family
In one bone chilling comic called Death of the Family, The Joker takes it further than he ever had before. In this story, The Joker cut off his face over a year earlier. Everyone thought he had disappeared, but when he comes back, he comes back with a vengeance. He thinks that Batman has become weak and slow, and so his plan is to restore Batman to his former glory by cutting out all the weakest links of his life.
Batman wakes up at a table with Nightwing, Damian, Red Hood, and Batgirl, all with black hoods covering their faces. Then he invites Alfred to serve them dinner, and we see that Alfred has been terribly infected by The Joker toxin. Alfred pulls out their dinner platter. It’s faces. The faces of every member of the Bat Family. The Joker lets out a shriek of laughter. Even though he didn’t serve their real faces, his only desire is to terrify Batman into becoming the best version of himself.
The Joker’s most nightmarish acts aren’t always against Batman though…
In the storyline leading up to the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game, The Joker uses Scarecrow’s fear toxin on Superman. This distorts Superman’s vision, and make him see Lois Lane as his rival Doomsday. Superman does the inconceivable, and brutally defeats the ‘villain’ that he thought was Doomsday…
Once Superman comes to, he realizes what he’s done and immediately seeks revenge. He kills The Joker without a second thought. Then, he decides that the only world safe from evil is one where he is in control as supreme Dictator.
Even in The Joker’s absence, the mark he made is permanent. The Joker’s ‘jokes’ truly are timeless.
If you’re a fan of Batman’s fanatical foe, you’ll get a kick out of our The Joker Premium Format™ Figure as well as the Nightmare Joker Statue. They both make brilliant and bizarre new additions to your DC Comics collection.
Still can’t get enough of this villain’s antics? Check out our podcast of the Top 10 Joker Schemes in the DC Universe.
What’s your favorite gag pulled by The Joker? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!