The Joker has undergone significant change over the course of his history, but one thing that a lot of modern fans might not know is that he was genuinely terrifying dating all the way back to day one. His first appearance in Batman #1 makes no qualms when it comes to portraying him as a remorseless killer, taking the haunting visual imagery from director Paul Leni’s silent masterpiece The Man Who Laughs (1928) and twisting the once-heroic jester portrayed by Conrad Veidt into a murderer with a penchant for elaborate showmanship.
In the comics of the mid-’50s, the Batline had been steered away from the occasionally grisly content of the early days towards more family-friendly fare in response to the birth of the Comics Code. Likewise, the campy fun of Batman ‘66 had become the definitive take on the character in popular culture. Regardless, the Joker has more or less remained a horror across the decades, and when writers began once more to embrace mature themes, he was one of the first to step up the brutality. The Joker: Clown Prince of Crime (1975) shows us a criminal mastermind with a callous disregard for life, regardless of whether or not Batman happens to be around to see it or not.
Discusses The Joker: Clown Prince of Crime #1-10 [Read more…] about The Joker’s “Last” Laugh In The Clown Prince Of Crime