Batman No. 1
|Writer(s)||Bill Finger (uncredited)|
Jerry Robinson (uncredited)
|Letterer(s)||Jerry Robinson (uncredited)|
|Editor(s)||Whitney Ellsworth (uncredited)|
|Release Date||Spring, 1940|
Batman No. 1, the very first issue of the Batman comic series, first published in the Spring of 1940.
 The Legend of the Batman -Who He Is And How He Came To Be!
This is the same story from Detective Comics#33 (Nov. 1939), reprinted at the beginning of Batman#1 for readers unfamiliar with Batman's origin.
 The Joker*
This story begins with an old couple listening to the radio in their home, and suddenly the program is interrupted by a pirate broadcast. A voice that is described as "toneless & droning" announces that at twelve o' clock midnight, he will kill Henry Claridge and steal the Claridge Diamond. The voice ends the transmission with "Don't try to stop me! The Joker has spoken!" Later that night, at the home of Henry Claridge, the police wait for the Joker to strike. The clock strikes twelve and no sign of the Joker, but Henry falls to the floor and begins to gag. Slowly, the facial muscles in Henry's face begin to pull into a "repellent, ghastly grin." The police check for the diamond, and as they closely examine it, they realize it's a fake, and under the jewel case is a carefully placed Joker playing card. Next, the Joker is first seen brooding in his lair, talking to himself about the poison he injected into Mr. Claridge the previous night. The Joker explains that it was a special variation of the chemical, one that takes effect in exactly twenty four hours. He delights in the fact the police are unable to figure out his scheme.
The next day at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson sit and read the media coverage of Henry Claridge's murder. Dick asks Bruce why they won't go after the Joker, but Bruce simply says "the time isn't ripe." That night at nine pm, the Joker makes another threat over the radio. This time he says he will kill Jay Wilde and steal the Ronkers Ruby. The police arrive at the home of Mr. Wilde just as they did before, and once a again the target dies at midnight, with a "smile" on his face. Only this time a strange gas flows from a suit of armor in the room, and all the police fall unconscious with the sign of the Joker on their faces as well. The Joker is revealed to have been in the armor the entire time, holding a special gun that shoots the gas. After the Joker takes off the armor, he talks to Jay Wilde's corpse for a moment, while taking the Ronkers Ruby, telling him he's glad he brought him so much cheer. On his way out, the Joker removes his hat and takes a bow, telling the police that they would meet again.
The police begin searching everywhere for the Joker, but to no avail. The mob is also agitated by the Joker's recent actions, because he is moving in on their racket. One mobster in particular, Brute Nelson, puts the word out that he's going to kill the Joker, and that he thinks the Joker is a "dirty yeller rat." The news travels quickly through the criminal grape vine, and eventually Batman finds out. Deciding that time is ripe, he tells Dick to stay at home, and he must go to Nelson's home alone. Brute Nelson has a trap set for Joker, he sits in his living room alone, pretending to be relaxing as he enjoys a smoke, while he has his crew hidden in the next room, waiting for Joker to make his move. However, they are completely unaware that Batman has already broken in and is waiting for the Joker as well. As Brute waits he makes a comment about the Joker being a joke, just then Joker steps through the window with a gun drawn. Brute's men burst threw the door, they take aim when suddenly the hear Batman's boots scrape the floor at the top of a staircase. The Joker is momentarily forgotten as Batman leaps down and tackles the gangsters. As Batman fights Brute's goons, Joker tells him that he won't even waste his Joker Venom him, opting to use an ordinary pistol instead. Joker fires sever shots in to Brute's chest as heads back out the window. Meanwhile, Batman bashes the last two goons over the head with wooden chair and begins to chase the Joker. The Joker jumps in a red convertible parked outside and takes off. A few moments after that Batman jumps on the back of the car, the Joker pulls out his pistol but Batman grabs his arm before he can fire any shots that could hit him. While the two of them are struggling, the car careens off of a bridge, and Batman tackles the Joker out of the car before they go with it. After they get up the two engage in direct melee combat. The Joker unleashes what's described as a "haymaker" on Batman's jaw, knocking to the side the bridge. Then Joker kicks Batman in the head, the force the blow knocks him unconscious as well as off the bridge and into the river. The Joker revels in his victory over the Batman briefly, then flees into the night thinking Batman is dead. The shock of the cold water quickly revives the Dark Knight. When Batman swims to shore, he says that his feels as if it were going to burst at any moment. He also states that he has at last met a foe that can give him a good fight.
The following evening at eight pm in Wayne Manor, Bruce and Dick listen to the radio for the Joker's next threat. The Joker says that he will kill Judge Drake at ten o' clock because he once sent him to prison. Later at Drake's home, the clock strikes nine, and the Judge worries that he only has one hour to live. The Chief of police tells him not to worry, and that he has men posted all around the house. The Chief asks the Judge to play a game of cards with him, to help take his mind off things. An hour later, the end of their game draws near, Drake says he can't win the game because he'd need the ace of spades. The Chief says Drake couldn't of won anyway, because he holds the winning card. As he says this he smiles and holds up a joker card. Drake quakes with fear after learning he had been playing cards with the Joker the entire time, just after that the clock strikes ten and Drake suffers the effects of Joker Venom. The Joker exits Drake's home, still in the guise of the police Chief, and tells the guards outside that Drake is dead, and that the Joker has won again. As he leaves the property he is followed by Robin, because Batman told him to follow anyone who left Drake's house. Robin tails Joker to an old deserted house, and starts snooping around the rooms. While walking around the dark house, the Joker sneaks up on Robin and bashes him in the head with a nightstick.
Meanwhile, Batman is still at Drake's home and searching for clues. After a while he realizes Robin is must have followed a lead, so he gets out a infrared lamp(which he claims to have invented) to follow Robin's foot steps. Batman explains that the reason Robin's foot steps are luminous in the infrared light is because the bottoms of Robin's booties are sprayed with a special chemical. When Batman arrives at the abandoned house, the Joker has Robin tied up, and is about to give him an injection of Joker Venom. Batman crashes threw the window and starts punching the Joker, then he throws Joker into a chemical table that triggers a small explosion and fire. Joker grabs his Venom Gun and sprays Batman with the paralysing gas. As Batman's jaw tightens into a joker grin, Joker says he'll leave him & Robin there to perish in the flames. But the Joker was not aware of his "amazing recuperative powers", as he quickly recovers and carries Robin out of the burning house. Once outside, Robin tells Batman that Joker next plans to kill Otto Drexel and steal the Cleopatra Necklace. They head over to Otto's penthouse and find the Joker trying to get in through the window. Joker starts wildly shooting the Batman with a gun, but it has no effect on Batman's bullet proof vest. After Joker empties his clip on Batman he throws the gun at him and jumps to the next rooftop. Robin is waiting for him and slides toward hims, delivering a powerful kick to Joker's face that knocks him off the building. Batman saves the Joker before he hits the ground, and gives him one final punch to the face. The next day the Daily Star newspaper headline reads: BATMAN CAPTURES JOKER, and that he was found in front of the police station. The final panel of the story shows Joker behind bars, smiling, saying that he knows a way out and that he will have the last laugh.
 Professor Hugo Strange and the Monsters
 The Cat*
 The Joker Returns
Two days after his capture, the Joker sits in his jail cell, angered at the fact that they could capture someone of his intellect. The Joker unscrews two false teeth from the back his mouth and explains that the teeth contain two different chemicals that when mixed together, creates a powerful explosion. Moments later, the explosion occurs and destroys the cell wall, allowing the Joker to escape. Jokers says "au revoir gentlemen!" to all the presumably dead police officer bodies as he walks out. Why the Joker waited two entire days to do this is unclear. A short while later, Bruce & Dick hear a radio announcement about Joker's escape, the announcer reveals the two surviving guards were "overpowered" by the Joker. Dick is surprised that Joker could manage such an escape, but Bruce isn't, and suspects that Joker's next reign of terror will soon begin. The next panels show a shadowy figure waking through a cemetery in the moon light. The figure moves a headstone and descends into a secret chamber, the Joker is revealed when the light switches on in his secret laboratory. Soon after that, the Joker terrifies radio listeners yet again, this time threatening Police Chief Chalmers with death at ten o' clock. At the police station, Chief Chalmers is surrounded by patrolmen in his office. The Chief receives telephone call, and he asks the caller to speak a little louder, then the voice shouts: "JOKER!" Chief Chalmers falls to the to the ground, and the sign of the Joker spreads across his face moments later. The police find a dart in the Chief's ear, and figure that the loud scream caused vibrations to launch to the dart into his ear.
The following day, a famous painting is stolen from an art gallery, and in it's place a joker card is found. A rare gem is also stolen and the jeweler is found dead, with the sign of the Joker on his face. Joker appears over the radio again, saying that at eight sharp he will enter the Drake Museum and try to steal the Cleopatra Necklace yet again. The police arrive at the museum, and eight o' clock the Joker emerges from a golden sarcophagus and sprays his Venom Gun at them. After all the police are neutralized, he grabs the necklace and Batman appears out of nowhere. After a quick melee skirmish, Joker knocks Batman out once again. While Batman lies dazed on the floor, Joker grabs an ancient battle axe from the wall and attempts to decapitate Batman. Batman barely rolls over in desperation, and the axe only delivers a "glancing blow", which renders him totally unconscious. The Joker hears more police arriving and runs away before he can finish Batman off permanently. As the police enter the museum they find Batman unconscious, and attempt to unmask him. Batman abruptly springs up off the floor and knocks two police officers unconscious. The rest of them open fire on him and Batman jumps through a window and pulls himself onto the roof in midair. The police run to the window and think Batman has somehow mysteriously vanished.
After the many failures of the police department's efforts to capture & hold the Joker, a Reformer named Edgar Martin starts making speeches to the public about the police department's incompetence, and that the Joker must be caught by any means necessary. The next panel shown is in the Joker's lair, where he is working in his chemical lab. He laughs about Edgar Martin talking too much, saying that he may get a sore throat and that he has the medicine for it in his test tube. Next Joker makes an announcement via radio transmission that Edgar Martin will die the following night at nine o' clock. Again, the police swarm the home of the Joker's next target. Despite the fact that they have never stopped Joker from killing someone in the past week, they still have the utmost confidence in themselves. One of the officers suggests that Edgar play some solitaire with a deck of cards lying on a table. Edgar begins shuffling the deck, then cuts himself with one of the sharp edges of the new deck. He thinks nothing of it and lays the first card down on the table, a joker card. Startled, he throws all the cards down and shouts: "Jokers! All Jokers!!" He then dies from the Joker Venom placed on the sharp playing cards, it is unknown if this happened at exactly nine o' clock or not.
The next day, Bruce Wayne visits his friend Commissioner Gordon, and they discuss how the police might trap the Joker. Bruce comes up with idea of giving heavy publicity to a rare gem, and having a group of cops wearing gas masks waiting for him when he goes for it. Gordan puts the plan into effect and the newspapers start making many references to the famed Fire Ruby. The Joker scans the news with interest, he suspects a trap but decides to try for the Fire Ruby anyway. He announces it over the radio and sets usual date, the following night at exactly nine o' clock. The following evening the Joker is seen leaving his secret lair in the cemetery and breaking into the penthouse where the fire ruby is kept. Once inside, the lights flick on and the police surround Joker. They see Joker reaching for a gun and warn him that his Venom Gun won't do any good, due to the fact that they're wearing gas masks. The Joker drops to the ground, pulls two pistols and performs a swift tactical roll as he kills three officers and dodges shots fired by the rest. The Joker runs for the roof and shoots another policemen as he runs out the door at the top of the building. Robin is waiting Joker on the rooftop again, and follows Joker as he leaps to the next building. Before Robin can make the jump, Joker punches him in the face, causing him to fall. Robin grabs onto a flag poll, Joker wonders where he is since he didn't hear the boy's body hit the ground. Joker spots Robin dangling off the flag poll and takes aim, then Batman shouts and tells Joker to stop. Joker turns his attention to Batman and says he knows he wears body armor, and that he going to shoot him in the head. As Joker backs up to get a proper shot at Batman's face, he ends up directly under Robin, who lets go to fall onto the Joker's back. Joker drops his gun and Batman pummels Joker with couple of punches. Joker pulls a knife but Batman grabs his arm, and they start struggling, the knife comes dangerously close to Batman's neck. As the knife gets closer, Batman suddenly let's go of his arm and swiftly backs up, causing Joker to stab himself. The Joker looks down in shock, then begins to laugh and shout maniacally and finally die. The police spot Batman & Robin, so they quickly flee the scene, causing the police to believe that Batman murdered the Joker. Later, in the interior of an ambulance, a paramedic examines the Joker's body and says he isn't dead, and that he is going to live.
* -These stories were originally untitled and were later titled in DC reprints for reader convenience.