1975 was a pretty big year for first issues. Everything from Justice, Inc. and Beowulf to the Invaders and the All-New, All-Different X-Men came alive in '75! Today we're gonna rap about a Famous First that was a looooooong time in coming--the first issue of DC's The Joker!
When the Clown Prince of Crime made his debut in the first issue of Batman way back in 1940, everyone knew that he was something special! So special that they "un-killed" him and brought him back asap. Of all the super-villains in comicdom, with the possible exception of Lex Luthor, The Joker is the comicbook villain who has become best known to the world at large. From Cesar Romero's turn on the Batman TV show (which Ol' Groove is digging daily--thanks, Santa!) to Jack Nicholson in the 1989 flick to Mark Hamill's spot-on cartoon characterization to the late Heath Ledger's evil Jerry Lewis in The Dark Knight, everyone knows the Joker. Back in 1975, comics didn't dominate the pop culture as they seem to do now, but there was still a strong interest in Jerry Robinson's villainous brain-child (thanks in no small part to Batman #251's "Joker's Five-Way Revenge"--perhaps the greatest single Joker story ever!)--and so in February, 1975, the Grinning Gangster finally got his own mag by the semi-regular Batman creative team of Denny O'Neil, Irv Novick, and Dick Giordano. Check out..."The Joker's Double Jeopardy!" (Guest-starring my personal fave Bat-villain, Two-Face!)
|Cover art by Dick Giordano|
The Joker's mag lasted a total of nine issues, with other creators like Elliot S! Maggin, Ernie Chan, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez adding to the ka-razee mix. So his mag didn't last as long as the lesser-known Marvel super-villain Doctor Doom's Super-Villain Team-Up (which made it's Giant-Size debut a couple months earlier), he's been treated much better by Hollywood. At least that's something, innit?