13 Great JOKER Covers to Make You Mad With Glee

The Man Who Laughs…


To celebrate the release of my newest book, The Man Who Laughs: Exploring the Clown Prince of Crime — edited with Rich Handley and featuring essays by a top-notch group of contributors, including 13th Dimension regulars Paul Kupperberg and Jim Beard — Dan Greenfield asked me to throw together a collection of my favorite comic book covers that feature the Joker. That’s a hard thing to do, but I’ve settled on the ones below. (On any given day it could be a different list.)

Anyway, one thing I need to get out of the way: I’m not including 1973’s Batman #251 on this list because it’s an obvious choice. I know it; I love it. You know it; you love it. An oversize print of it is hanging on my office wall right now, signed by Neal Adams. As far as Jokers go, the ’70s Joker is my undisputed favorite, as is this cover. So let’s just all agree that this is a great cover and move on.

And now, in no particular order, here are 13 GREAT JOKER COVERS TO MAKE YOU MAD WITH GLEE:

Batman #429, (Pub-dated Jan. 1989). Is that Alfred on the cover? No, it’s the Joker in a top hat, white gloves, and a monocle. Look at his face. Does he know something?

Mike Mignola

Batman #23 (June 1944). I love Golden Age comic book covers because they’re just so ridiculous. You won’t find a chess match in the book at all, yet here’s a fun metaphor right on the cover. I wonder how an actual chess match between those two would play out?

Dick Sprang

Batman #148 (June 1962). The Joker appears to be looking right into the face of an unmasked Batman! Oh the humanity! It’s a good thing that beacon is SOOOOO bright that the Joker is blinded, thus denying him the satisfaction of knowing the Caped Crusader’s true identity. Great Scott!

Sheldon Moldoff

Batman #321 (March 1980). It’s the Joker’s birthday! You might want to think twice about accepting that invitation, though. You might end up strapped to a flaming firework candle. Now that I look at it again, this cover is pretty terrifying!

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Detective Comics #880 (Sept. 2011). I suppose I like this one because I enjoy abstract art. The Joker only has eyes for Batman here. I also love how all of the little bats come together to form the Joker’s face, subtly suggesting that Batman himself created the Joker.


Detective Comics #69 (Nov. 1942). Another classically ridiculous cover featuring the Joker coming out of a genie bottle, pointing two guns at the Dynamic Duo. After all these years, Golden Age Joker covers are still so much fun to look at.

Jerry Robinson

Batman #291 (June 1977). Before there was “Who Shot J.R.?” there was “Who Killed the Batman?” I’m a sucker for ensemble covers and the Joker’s defacing of Batman’s gravestone makes me chuckle every time. Classic Joker.

Jim Aparo

Batman #451 (July 1990). Look at that green-haired goon having himself such a great time. OK, so it’s not the actual Joker. It’s just an imposter, but the imagery of him shooting holes through some bats, giant teeth as white as his face, bullet shells flying, with the Batman lurking behind him is deliciously memorable.

Norm Breyfogle

Detective Comics #168 (Feb. 1951). Where’s the Joker? He’s right there under that red hood, of course. The Red Hood switcheroo is a classic Joker tale and this tease of a cover promotes the mystery (and the story) quite well.

Lew Sayre Schwartz pencils, George Roussos inks

Detective Comics #85 (March 1944). What could be worse than the Joker and his crazy capers? TWO Jokers! Continuing what I call the “yellow spotlight” theme, here’s a great cover featuring the Joker dueling with himself, or so it seems. Fun!


The Joker #1 (May 1975). I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this great ensemble cover. It also sets the tone for the short-lived series, emphasizing Joker’s ego as he states that “This magazine belongs to Batman’s Number One foe… ME!” Very meta.

Dick Giordano

Detective Comics #475 (Feb. 1978). It’s been said that good covers will sell the comic books. If you saw this one on the stand, how could you NOT buy it and find out what the heck it was all about? A true classic.

Marshall Rogers pencils, Terry Austin inks

Detective Comics 566 (Sept. 1986). I love the design of this one. The way the text uses the perspective to its advantage is perfect. The ensemble of rogue portraits is exciting. Why does Batman have photos of these villains on his walls? Speaking of which, I think I need a print of this cover on my wall. To eBay I go, old chums!


The Man Who Laughs: Exploring the Clown Prince of Crime is out now. The 218-page softcover book of essays from Crazy 8 Press lists for $24.95. Click here to order.


— THE MAN WHO LAUGHS: Dig This INSIDE LOOK at the Upcoming JOKER Anthology. Click here.

— Why CESAR ROMERO’s JOKER Was Perfect For the Swingin’ Sixties, by JIM BEARD. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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    • Great covers. Love Detective 566 really cool issue by Colan.

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  1. I had been away from comics from 1970 to 1977. I took a part tome job in a convenience store that had a spinner rack. The first comic that intrigued me was Batman 291. And I became a comics reader again.

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    On the same cover Catwoman is already on. Always a favorite part of BATMAN #291… lol.

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  3. The Joker sure is no joke — he’s one of the DC Universe’s strongest villains. 🙂

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