I do like the Joker in 1983 is still carrying around a 1979 newspaper headlining Batman’s death .

§ August 24th, 2022 § Filed under multiverse talk § 15 Comments

So I was looking up some pricing info on one of those “Hot Comics Apps,” as I occasionally have to do out of self-defense, when I came across this note on the 2008 Justice Society of America Annual:

And here is said Old Joker of this newer version of Earth-2, as he appears courtesy Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway and Bob Wiacek:


SMILE FOR YOUR CLOSE-UP

Anyhoo, seeing that particular notation in the app made me say “Whoa, hold on, I know that ain’t true.” Yes, I totally said that out loud in the shop, how dare you doubt me. But the first thing I thought of after seeing it was Brave and the Bold #200 from July 1983, in which we also see an Old Joker, also from Earth-2 (the real one, not the “make Crisis on Infinite Earths never not so” version we got post…Infinite Crisis?). Here he is, via the talents of Mike W. Barr and Dave Gibbons:


All I can say is this Earth-2 version of the Joker aged a lot in two years, as in August 1981’s Wonder Woman #281 through #283, the Huntress back-up stories by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Steve Mitchell feature…you guessed it, the Earth-2 Joker, looking as hale and hearty as he ever did:


Now, trying to pin down exact ages for comic book characters can be tricky, but it’s my assumption that the Earth-2 characters, at least the ones introduced in the actual real-life Golden Age, more or less aged in real time (and yes, I know Roy Thomas retconned a little “energy boost” for all o’them in All-Star Squadron Annual…#2, wasn’t it?) which let us have 90-or-more-year-old JSAers runnin’ around well into the 2000s.

As such, assuming the Earth-2 Batman appeared in the fictional universe at the same time as in the real world, 1939, and a presumption that the Joker would be of a similar age, theoretically Joker could be somewhere around 70 years old in that Brave and the Bold issue. Kind of a rough seventy, to be honest, but being a super-villain probably isn’t the easiest of lifestyles, what with getting punched in the face all the time by the good guys.

I don’t think the B&B200 appearance necessarily contradicts his still relatively-youthful looks in those Huntress stories from a couple of years earlier. If he’d been in hiding and out of the clutches of the law, as per that storyline’s premise, and given the Joker’s own vanity, he probably had plenty of opportunity to wash that grey right out of his hair, apply the wrinkle cream, do his nails (I mean, honestly, look at the nails in those B&B panels), that sort of thing. You know, stuff he wouldn’t be allowed to do, most likely, during his 1983 imprisonment.

For comparison, here’s Old Joker from issue two of John Byrne’s alternate history series Superman/Batman: Generations II #2 (2001):


Looking a little more rough around the edges that the other versions shown here, I think. It appears this Byrne continuity starts about ten years earlier than the traditional Earth-2 superhero universe, which would put this Joker in 1975 at about the same age as our Joker appearances in Brave and the Bold and the Huntress stories.

I know, I know, all this talk about the Joker’s supposed age. I’d assumed he’s around Batman’s age, but honestly, who knows. That Joker movie would have him at, what, a couple of decades older at least? Anyway, the actual age of the Joker isn’t the point of this post, so much as “take information on Hot Comics Apps with a grain of salt” because, as shown here, they ain’t always right. And I’m sure these aren’t the only examples of Old Jokers predating that Justice Society Annual to boot.
 
 
 
 

Special thanks to the Crown Prince of Cookies, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull, for production assistance.

15 Responses to “I do like the Joker in 1983 is still carrying around a 1979 newspaper headlining Batman’s death .”

  • David Conner says:

    I may have qualms about the story (TBH I barely remember it), but that’s a pretty great Old Joker by Ordway and Wiacek.

  • philfromgermany says:

    Damn & excuse my faulty memory but isn’t there an old (around Batman 215 or B&B thereabouts) story where Dick Grayson as the new Batman discovers the culprit of some crimes is an old, disguised Joker who was believed to have died along with Bruce Wayne Batman? Or maybe Bruce Batman was dead but Joker was in jail but commited the crimes nonetheless?

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “Kind of a rough seventy, to be honest, but being a super-villain probably isn’t the easiest of lifestyles, what with getting punched in the face all the time by the good guys. ”

    I recall an issue where the Joker gave the diary he’d been keeping for years to somebody to read, and when they pointed out it was nothing but gibberish, he replied that he’d suffered dozens of concussions over the years from Batman’s punches, and so shouldn’t be expected to write coherently.

  • Daniel T says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t comment on the utter inanity of these apps being so desperate to create artificial first appearances that we end up with “1st appearance of Joker as an old man, in an alternate reality.”

  • Bully says:

    I’m still bothered by the Super DC Calendar 1976’s insistence that the Joker’s birthday is August 1, not April 1.

  • MisterJayEm says:

    “I’m still bothered by the Super DC Calendar 1976’s insistence that the Joker’s birthday is August 1, not April 1.”

    Well, I sure hope that April 1 is the Prankster’s birthday!

    — MrJM

  • Joe Gualtieri says:

    I expect this kind of thing from these apps, but in the specific instance, how did they not think of Dark Knight Returns, never mind any of the stuff you named, Mike?

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Well, I wonder if April 1st is the birthday of Airboy associate Link Thorne– aka “the Flying Fool” (created by Simon & Kirby for Hillman Comics) –whose motto was: “Will fly anything, anywhere, anytime…if it’s worth my time…I’ll go for a golden opportunity…if there’s enough gold in it!”

    Then over on Earth-616 there’s The Fool from The Brethren (created by Bob Harras, Tom Palmer, and Andy Kubert)…one would guess his birthday might be April

    Speaking of the late, great Tom Palmer–who passed away on August 18th–he gets my vote for best inker of the Bronze Age (sorry Terry Austin!) and also a great colorist. Palmer inking Gene Colan and/or Neal Adams was always the best! RIP and thanks for the superlative artwork!

    1st!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    When and if we finally get to see Michael Keaton as old man Batman in The Flash film…I would actually like to see Jack Nicholson as old man Joker–yeah, he died in the Tim Burton Batman film –but so what…he could be another old man Joker from another Earth or whatever. Of course, Nicholson is retired, is looking more like late period Orson Welles these days, and won’t do it, but the idea of it is certainly intriguing…

    Or else, it could be cool to see Willem Dafoe as old man joker (hey, if he can be The Green Goblin, why
    not?)…or what about Mick Jagger, who has begun to look more Joker-esque over time…? Or how about Alice Cooper as an old man Joker?

  • FatherTime says:

    It says something about the Silver Age on how stories of where Batman and Superman are old with long, white beards exist. But not Old Man Joker or senile senior citizen Lex Luthor. Which now that I write it,
    geriatric Lex as a Howard Hughes recluse type who torments Superman is a FANTASTIC take.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Geoff Johns gave us only 3 Jokers, but in Batman vol. 1, no. 55 (November, 1949) Bill Finger gave us: “The Case of the 48 Jokers!” Earth-Two rules!

  • […] Gualtieri has a question that should’ve occurred to me during my Old Joker […]

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I might be wrong, but I think that after Earth-Two was introduced as a concept, Earth-Two Golden Age Batman only appears in costume in JLA vol. 1, no. 82 ( August 1970), and then again in JLA Vol. 1, no. 135-137 (October-December, 1976), and, back in JLA vol. 1, no. 55 (August 1967) he is mentioned as being in semi-retirement when Earth-Two grown up Richard Grayson/Robin joins the JSA

    Also of some interest is that in JLA no. 136 Batman and Robin or Earth-Two battle Joker of Earth-Two –with help from Mr. Scarlet and Pinky of Earth-S (who are also battling The Weeper from Earth-S). So, discounting possible flashbacks where Earth-Two Joker maybe discusses his last battle with Earth-Two Batman in a villainous soliloquy in a Huntress back up stories in pre-COIE Wonder Woman comics (I guess I need to read those to see if something like this occurs!), JLA vol. 1, 136 might just be the last time the original Batman and the original Joker ever fought each other in pre-COIE DC history. Not that Joker is drawn to look old in that story, but he definitely should have been retirement age.

    Anyway, post-COIE with all the retconning I have no idea what DC has–or hasn’t done with G.A. Batman and G.A. Joker. But I guess I should check out the 2008 Justice Society of America Annual–that Jerry Ordway art is so great. A few last Batman of Earth-Two queries and comments: does anyone know why Batman of Earth-Two was barely ever allowed in JLA stories? I’m wondering if early on there was an edict against using both G.A. Superman and G.A. Batman in Silver Age JLA/JSA annual Crisis team-ups? After awhile, G.A. Superman starts to get used…with the graying temples and different “S” shield making him pretty easily distinguishable from Earth-One Supes. Maybe we never got to see Earth-Two Batman in early JLA/JSA Crisis stories because Earth-One Batman didn’t get his yellow oval until 1964…so, for the first four years of JLA stories it would have been too difficult for readers to distinguish Earth-One and Earth-Two Batman from each another. Then there’s that whole problem of which exact issues of Batman and Detective Comics should be considered the last appearance of G.A. Earth-Two Batman, and which issues mark the debut of Earth-One Batman? Or, are there interim over the top goofy issues of Batman and Detective Comics from the end of the ’50s that should just be considered the adventures of an “Earth-B” Batman?

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Tom Palmer–who passed away on August 18th”

    Gawd-dammit!

  • philfromgermany says:

    I am, obviously, a moronic imbecile. The story with the old Joker I was refering to was not a Silver age Batman one but from Superman/Batman Generations. So I was only off about 30 years.

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