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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Joker: A Visual History of the Clown Prince of Crime Book Review

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The Joker: A Visual History of the Clown Prince of Crime Book Review

About the Book: A comprehensive look at the greatest comic book villain . . . ever. Since his first appearance in 1940’s Batman #1, the Joker stands alone as the most hated, feared, and loved villain in the DC Universe. Though his true origins may be unknown, the Clown Prince of Crime’s psychotic appearances in hundreds of comic books has shaped the way we look at Batman, comic books, and ourselves. Indeed, a hero is only as good as his nemesis, so the Joker’s heinous crimes, including murdering the second Robin and paralyzing Batgirl, have elevated Batman to the highest levels of crime-fighting, and we, the readers, to the finest levels of quality pop-culture entertainment.

The Joker is the first retrospective chronicling one of the most groundbreaking and game-changing villains of all time, and contains images from his more than seventy years in comics by comic book artists and writers such as Bob Kane, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson, Dick Sprang, Grant Morrison, Dave McKean, Neil Gaiman, Geoff Johns, Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, Brian Azzarello, Bruce Timm, and Paul Dini. Also included are images from his various film, television, animated, and video game incarnations, such as the timeless interpretations by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Heath Ledger, who won his posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. This book is a must-have for fans and anyone who wants to die laughing.

Our Take: This new book is the first time we get a focus spotlighted on Batman's #1 villain...the Joker.  Prolific author Daniel Wallace does a masterful job of peppering in dynamic and colorful imagery amidst an in-depth and informative history of the clown prince of crime!  The book covers his inception..all the way through the movies and cartoons to the present day.  

The images are taken from comic book pages, sketches, animation cels and other work from artists, such as Tim Sale, Sam Keith and Jim Lee.  I have a pretty extensive knowlege of the Joker and I learned a few things from this great behind the scenes look at the greatest comic book villain of all.  The introduction by Mark Hamill is a great touch in this high-end hardcover book from Universe publishing.  The book retails for around $50, but its well worth it!   The cover features a dust jacket with "Killing Joke" artwork that wraps around a purple and green "Ha Ha" cover. 

A lot of books are released each year that spotlight Batman, but this rare new look that focuses on the Joker is a welcome breath of fresh air.

How to Buy: