Bring on the clowns!
Of coarse everyone knows the clown prince of crime, but there are many other clown themed heroes and villains throughout comics history.
|Harlequin was one of the great tricksters, always getting one up on the pompous Pantalone. Pulcinella is his one of his dim witted cousins.|
With them occupying such a large spot in our cultures consciousness it’s no small wonder that the superhero genre would adopt images of them for superheroes. One of the first is still one of the greatest – The clown prince of crime himself, the Joker! He has been entertaining us with his nastiness since his first appearance in Batman #1, April 1940.
Another early clown hero is Quality Comics’ The Jester who first appeared in Smash Comics #22, May 1941. The Jester was created by the incomparable Paul Gustavson who was behind many great heroes of the Golden Age including the Angel, the Spider and the Human Bomb.
Another Golden Age clown is the Green Lantern's pernicious nemesis/love interest the Harlequin. She was an athletic, love starved girl who fell in love with the Golden Age Green Lantern and became the Harlequin to get his attention.
|Harlequin first appeared in All American Comics #89, Sep 1947 and was a frequent guest/foe thereafter. They eventually married in Roy Thomas' Infinity Inc.|
|The Jester first appeared in Daredevil #42, July 1968|
One of the most fun of the clown crime fighters is Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's Jack-In-The-Box. He is Zachary Johnson, a toy manufacturer who fights crime using weapons he developed in his company such as entangling confetti, and shock noses.
And for the last entry in clown criminals we come full circle back to Harlequin or Harley Quinn as the Joker's girl friend is called. Her creation is one of the more interesting stories of comicdom. Her first appearance wasn't in a comic at all but rather the Batman animated series. She proved so popular and enduring that she was eventually introduced into the DC Comics universe and she has been very popular ever since.
|Harley Quinn was created by Paul Dinni and Bruce Timm who would later produce the immensely popular Mad Love about her tumultuous love affair with the Joker.|