Top Ten Best Joker Stories

To go along with the recent Top 10 Lamest Batman Villains post, here’s top 10 list of the best Joker stories. The criteria in picking these was that it had to be a story that features the Joker, not just a great Batman story that the Joker appeared in briefly. If you’re a Joker fan, you owe it to yourself to read all of these.

“What? Not laughing yet? Just wait ’til I get to the punch line.
It’ll kill you! HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa”
~The Joker

Batman 663

10. The Clown at Midnight

by Grant Morrison & John Van Fleet (2007, batman #663)
Grant Morrison returned to Batman after eighteen years to write the seminal modern Joker story. If you like Heath Ledger’s Joker in the Dark Knight movie, then you will absolutely love this story!

The Great Clayface-Joker Feud

9. The Great Clayface-Joker Feud

by Bill Finger, Jim Mooney & Sheldon Moldoff (1963, Batman #159)
Batman, Robin, Bat-Girl, Batwoman, the Joker, Clayface, twists, turns, battles, surprises… what more could you want!?!

Mad Love

8. Mad Love

by Paul Dini & Bruce Timm (1994, Batman Adventures Graphic Novel)
From the people who brought you Batman the Animated Series comes the best Joker love story around, and also one of the most hilarious comics you’ll ever read. Dive into the shallow end, and try not to hit your head against the insane love affair between Harley Quinn and Mr. J.

The Laughing Fish

7. The Laughing Fish, The Sign of the Joker

by Steve Englehart & Marshall Rodgers (1978, Detective Comics #475-476)
A quintessential classic Joker tale. During the 70s, writers stopped portraying the Joker as a campy villain, like in the TV show, and yet Englehart perfectly wove a corny yet serious tale.

The Joker\'s Five-Way Revenge

6. The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge

by Denny O’Neil & Neal Adams (1973, Batman #251)
Heralded as the first story to strip the Joker of his 60s campiness. This tale along with Neal Adams terrifying pencils, portrays the Joker as a true psychotic maniac. And the Joker goes after his own henchmen.

Death in the Family

5. Death in the Family

by Jim Starlin & Jim Aparo (1988, Batman #426-429)
This time the Joker kills someone very close to home for Batman and Bruce Wayne. No other death, save for Bruce’s parents, had such a resonating effect on the Dark Knight as did the death of Jason Todd.

Batman 1

4. Batman vs The Joker

by Bill Finger, Bob Kane & Jerry Robinson (1940, Batman #1)
This is it, the first appearance of the Joker, the one that started it all.

The Man Who Laughs

3. Batman: The Man Who Laughs

by Ed Brubaker & Dough Mahnke (2005, Graphic Novel)
Ed Brubaker wrote this wondrous story as a sequel to Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One and to Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Not only did he pull off this gigantic daunting task, but he crafted one of the best Joker stories ever.

Arkham Asylum

2. Arkham Asylum

by Grant Morrison & Dave McKean (1989, Graphic Novel)
What happens when the inmates take over the asylum? Grant Morrison not only showed us that, but re-invented The Joker into a totally deranged maniac that puts on a different persona like we put on clean underwear. A chilling tale to say the least.

The Killing Joke

1. The Killing Joke

by Alan Moore & Brian Bolland (1988, Graphic Novel)
Certainly number one on many people’s list, and rightfully so, easily the best Joker story of all-time. A masterful tale that changed Batman and Barbara Gordon’s life forever.

“Any man can have one really bad day and end up just like me.”

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