The Joker (comic book)

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Cover of The Joker #1 (May 1975). Art by Dick Giordano
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
FormatOngoing series
Publication dateMay 1975-October 1976
No. of issues9
Main character(s)The Joker
Creative team
Created byBob Kane
Bill Finger
Written byElliot S. Maggin, Dennis O'Neil, Martin Pasko
Penciller(s)Ernie Chan, José Luis García-López, Irv Novick
Inker(s)Tex Blaisdell, Vince Colletta, José Luis García-López, Dick Giordano, Frank McLaughlin

The Joker is a comic book series published by DC Comics starring the super-villain the Joker. It ran nine issues from May 1975 until October 1976.

Publication history[edit]

Dennis O'Neil, who wrote the first issue of the series, recounted that "I stopped by Julie [Schwartz, Batman editor]’s office, and he said, ‘We’re going to do a Joker book.’ I know that alarms went off, I could sense the problems that such a thing would entail … but it was a job.”[1] The series was launched in May 1975 by O'Neil and artist Irv Novick.[2] In order to have him work as a protagonist, writers on the series toned down the Joker's insanity and to adhere to the Comics Code Authority, each issue would end with the Joker being apprehended, only to escape at the beginning of the next issue. Batman did not appear in the series, and the Joker was forbidden to murder anyone in the pages of his own magazine.[1]


When a villain named Senor Alvarez breaks Batman's enemy Two-Face out of Arkham Asylum and insults the Joker as being "not a superior criminal", the Joker breaks out of Arkham and decides to get revenge and prove he is a "superior" criminal.[3]

  • No. 2, July 1975 - "The Sad Saga of Willy the Weeper"

The Joker teams up with a villain called Willie the Weeper, who has a habit of crying when he tries to commit a crime and laughing when he sees others cry, to help him steal platinum after Willie the Weeper breaks him out.[4]

  • No. 3, September–October 1975 - "The Last Ha Ha"

After a battle with the Joker, the Creeper gets amnesia and is persuaded he is the Joker's ally.[5]

  • No. 4, November–December 1975 - "A Gold Star for the Joker"

The Joker falls in love with DC hero Green Arrow's girlfriend Dinah Lance and gives her a choice: Marry the Joker or die![6]

  • No. 5, January–February 1976 - "The Joker Goes 'Wilde'!"

The Joker competes with Justice League foes the Royal Flush Gang for a valuable painting done by the late artist Thaddeus Wilde.[7]

  • No. 6, March–April 1976 - "Sherlock Stalks the Joker"

When the Joker hits an actor playing the famous detective Sherlock Holmes on his head with a pipe, the actor believes he is Holmes and that the Joker is Holmes' archenemy Professor Moriarty and goes "stalking" the Joker with the help of a stagehand (who used to be a sailor who worked on the docks) named "Dock" Watson.[8]

  • No. 7, May–June 1976 - "Luthor -- You're Driving Me Sane!"

An experiment goes awry and switches the Joker's insanity with Superman villain Lex Luthor's genius.[9]

  • No. 8, July–August 1976 - "The Scarecrow's Fearsome Face-Off!"

When the Joker steals some "Fear-Gas" from S.T.A.R. Labs, he ends up competing with fellow Batman villain the Scarecrow to see whose "fear-based" weapon is the best. The Joker wins.[10]

  • No. 9, September–October 1976 - "The Cat and the Clown"

The Joker and Batman's "frenemy" Catwoman end up competing for a movie actor's trained feline sidekick. Catwoman's victory leads to a two-way rivalry..[11]

Unpublished issue[edit]

The letters page of The Joker #9 (Sept.–Oct. 1976) mentions that Martin Pasko was writing a Joker vs. the Justice League of America story titled "99 and 99/100 Percent Dead!" to appear in The Joker #10, which was never published. In the end notes of The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told (1989) it is noted that The Joker editor Julius Schwartz had no recollection of this story ever being completed. However, Pasko found xeroxed pages of the story which he sold on eBay in 2011. A cover for issue #10 was drawn by Ernie Chan, but it was never finished. [12] The Joker #10 story is slated to be published for the first time in DC's The Joker: Bronze Age Omnibus, which also contains The Joker #1 through #9 as well as other published Joker stories from the 1970s.[13]

Collected editions[edit]

  • The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told includes The Joker #3, 288 pages, January 1989, ISBN
  • The Joker: The Clown Prince Of Crime collects The Joker #1–9, 176 pages, November 2013, ISBN 978-1401242589
  • The Joker: Bronze Age Omnibus collects The Joker #1–10, 808 pages, August 2019, ISBN 978-1401293406



  1. ^ a b Stewart, Tom (August 2009). "The Joker's Not So Wild! The Clown Prince of Crime in his Own Magazine!". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (35): 40–43.
  2. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. It may have been an unusual idea at the time, but writer Denny'Oneil and artist Irv Novick decided to feature a villain in his own comic book. The Joker only lasted nine issues.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Novick, Irv (p), Giordano, Dick (i). "The Joker's Double Jeopardy!" The Joker (May 1975)
  4. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Novick, Irv (p), García-López, José Luis (i). "The Sad Saga of Willy the Weeper!" The Joker 2 (July 1975)
  5. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Chan, Ernie (p), García-López, José Luis (i). "The Last Ha Ha" The Joker 3 (September-October 1975)
  6. ^ Maggin, Elliot S. (w), García-López, José Luis (p), Colletta, Vince (i). "A Gold Star for the Joker" The Joker 4 (November-December 1975)
  7. ^ Pasko, Martin (w), Novick, Irv (p), Blaisdell, Tex (i). "The Joker Goes "Wilde"!" The Joker 5 (January-February 1976)
  8. ^ O'Neil, Dennis (w), Novick, Irv (p), Blaisdell, Tex (i). "Sherlock Stalks the Joker!" The Joker 6 (March-April 1976)
  9. ^ Maggin, Elliot S. (w), Novick, Irv (p), McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Luthor -- You're Driving Me Sane!" The Joker 7 (May-June 1976)
  10. ^ Maggin, Elliot S. (w), Novick, Irv (p), Blaisdell, Tex (i). "The Scarecrow's Fearsome Face-Off!" The Joker 8 (July-August 1976)
  11. ^ Maggin, Elliot S. (w), Novick, Irv (p), Blaisdell, Tex (i). "The Cat and the Clown!" The Joker 9 (September-October 1976)
  12. ^ "Ernie Chan 1970's DC Joker Cover -- Unpublished". Comic Art Fans. n.d. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  13. ^ "DC to Publish Long-Lost JOKER #10 Four Decades Later". 13th Dimension. November 19, 2018.
  14. ^ Jones, Ben (director); Krieg, Jim (writer) (April 15, 2011). "Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!". Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Season 3. Episode 1. Cartoon Network.

External links[edit]