A Screwy Follow-Up
Okay. A while ago, I got into a spirited discussion with thehefner over on this page about our conflicting views of what consitues 'The Joker'. I generally preferred the Manchester-Grin version as seen in The Dark Knight, Azarello & Bermejo's Joker OGN, and (to a different degree), Grant Morrison's Batman run; he is more in favour of the DCAU, classic Joker with the purple suit and generally wacky behaviour.
This post is a sort of a capstone to that, containing pages from one of the best stories I've ever ever read featuring that latter DCAU version, one which also explores, to some degree, his chaotic personality. It was a crossover with Dark Horse - oddly enough, crossing over two 'TV Series' incarnations of characters in a comic book rather than their comic personas - and it began with the Joker failing to blow up a museum due to incompetent henchmen...until he came across a small piece of wood.
What resulted is entitled Joker/Mask, and it may be one of the Screwiest, funniest books I have ever come across. The book I scanned from is 96 pages long; here are approximately 20 of those pages.
At this point, the Joker has already 'tested' the Mask on his one remaining henchman, tricked him out of it, and assassinated him. The Cops have surrounded the already-evacuated Gotham Museum of Art also.
(I'm not sure if the writers - Henry Gilroy and Ronnie Del Carmen - had the correct handle on the Joker-Harley relationship - he's never really abusive to her in the entire story unless he has the Mask on.)
(The henchman was a baseball fan, and briefly used his powers to give Harley a makeover.)
I love the wild, animalistic responses he gives her. "EEE!" ARR!"
After appearing to kill Batman by driving him off a bridge, Joker goes on a ridiculously successful crime spree, but everyone thinks it's just The Mask/Bighead. Commissioner Gordon brings in Lieutenant Kellaway, the one cop who was always after Bighead in the old comics, but as he explains how the only hope they have is to simply contain Bighead and then trick him into removing the Mask...
Who here isn't thinking of giving Bullock a wedgie right now? Be honest!
Anyway. I can't post too much, but after this moment, the Joker gets his own TV show in order to better get his message out to the world and performs a hilarious public crime spree as Batman recovers from grievous injuries. Harley, miffed at how corrupt he is becoming, calls in a favour...
Incidentally, where the writers didn't quite grasp the Joker/Harley dynamic, they were FANTASTIC with Ivy; the character is smart, funny and affectionate towards Harley, and the most sexual thing she does in the entire thing is be a grown woman lounging around in a swimsuit made of leaves. They also ramped up the Eco-Warrior aspect considerably...
However, once she gets him to remove the Mask he is no longer under her hypnotic control, at which point he promptly smacks her down. Harley protests that he's not funny; he retierates that the mask only made him funnier, and decides to prove it by tying Ivy, Harley and his Producer to a Nuclear Bomb named Bob.
Batman briefly interrupts, attempting to defeat the Joker several times before he morphs into a Superman analogue and beats him up with a giant boxer's glove, prompting the trippy climax:
The day is saved, the bomb is disarmed, but one little score is still left to be settled...
And in the final page, Lieutenant Kellaway visits the grave of its most famous owner - Stanley Ipkiss - and drops the Mask onto a corpse dressed in a soiled, baggy yellow suit.
The whole book is fantastically silly and irreverent, which is what makes it so great. If you can get a copy - do so! You won't regret it.