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The Joker - Greatest Stories Ever Told: Graphic Novel Review

The Joker - Greatest Stories Ever Told

Recommended Graphic Novel for Students

THE JOKER - GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD
by Shaina, StageofLife.com College Intern and uber-comic-book Fan Girl.

For all the Joker fans and Harley Quinn wannabes, this comic is for you. GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD is a collection of Joker comics from 1940 to 2007. The best of the best DC collection of the Joker they say. Not to be confused with DETECTIVE COMICS #27 (1939), BATMAN #1 (1940) is the second Batman comic to be produced.  In the first installment, the Joker is seen but he is not yet the Joker, but rather a man under the guise of the Red Hood looking to make a little extra cash illegally. He falls into a steamy vat of acid and emerges in the sewage-like river, disfigured to the liking of a clown with a grotesque permanent smile.

One of the greatest aspects of this graphic novel collection is the change of comics over time. Comics change from narrative and campy, to grotesque and violent. Joker himself changes from a giddy serial killer, to a campy trickster figure, and then back to a cold-hearted and twisted maniac who delights in murder and mayhem. The comics themselves also reflect the time period.  We see many 1950’s comics are low-violence (to none at all) since it was the McCarthy-era when comics reflected the attitude of the times as parents worried comics poisoned children’s minds. 

What makes this collection intriguing is of course, The Joker.  He reflects those dark, deep and unspoken inner desires - our urge to be care-free or those more sinister thoughts of ruthlessness without consequence.  He reflects the trickster in many of us, trick and get the treat of revenge and not be on death row.

Some post 1992 comics are of course included and the best part is the comics included have our favorite Princess of Crime, Harley Quinn. One of the comics, THE LAUGHING FISH (1978) is also included, which is the comic made into an episode of the Animated Series. Harley is seen in the episode, but not in the comic since she does not appear until 1992. There are other stories that could have been included, and the book made a bit longer. But due to time sake and budget the book was narrowed down by the editors to reflect the biggest changes in Joker history and reveal more of his character. THE KILLING JOKE was not included because of the intense violence and psychological effects, as well as sales. Some comics are best left to be sold solo..

NOTE:  This graphic novel is recommended for mature students only, i.e. late high school or college.

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