Batman has often used his detective skills to stop the Joker’s plan, but the clown prince of the crime has been overcome by at least one superior investigator.
Ask the cartoon fans the identity of Joker’s greatest enemy, and they will rightly say Batman, but while Dark Knight may be unparalleled as a vigilant, even he would admit that Clown Prince of Crime has entangled himself with a better detective – namely, Sherlock Holmes! In the 1976s Joker # 6, the villain matched sense with, and was eventually surpassed by an actor who thought he was Sherlock Holmes. The story is written by the legendary Denny O’Neil with art by Irv Novick and ink by Tex Blaisdell.
Since the Joker’s first appearance 81 years ago in Batman # 1, he has been the Dark Knight’s biggest enemy, returning with new and even more grotesque schemas each time, seriously testing Batman’s “no-kill” rule. In 1976, The Joker got his own solo title, which would run in nine tracks. The series, written by some of today’s top writers, including Elliot S. Maggin and Dennis O’Neil, saw the Joker either team up with or fight other DC villains; a memorable problem so the joker and the scarecrow throw down on their respective toxins. In number six, the Joker fought master detective Sherlock Holmes … so to speak.
The edition opens at a rehearsal for a play by Sherlock Holmes. The joker who wants to be embarrassed all history’s greatest detectives, robs the theater company and slips in disguised as Moriarty. During the robbery, Clive Sigerson, the actor portraying Sherlock, is hit in the head. As a result, Sigerson thinks he really is Sherlock Holmes – and the Joker is Moriarty. Sigerson leaves for the Joker, but before he leaves, the play’s director asks a stage hand to follow the actor, and readers learn that the stage hand is named Watson! The couple pursues the Joker and refers along the way to several classic Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes and Watson eventually corner the Joker on a yacht. Holmes hits the Joker with a high-pressure water pistol, knocks him out and leaves him to the authorities. The question ends with an ambiguous tone: did Sigerson, as a result of concussion from the concussion, think he was Sherlock Holmes, or did he really channel the character’s core spirit?
Sherlock Holmes was the finest detective in his era, with a very analytical mind and a keen eye for observation. Holmes was one of the many influences Bill Finger and Bob Kane drew on for the creation of Batman. It’s easy to see why the Joker hates Sherlock Holmes – he sees so much of Batman in Holmes that he’s forced to humiliate him. But more than that, Holmes’ analytical mind is the opposite of the chaos the Joker stands for – the Joker wanted to humiliate Holmes by recreating some of his most famous stories, but in the end “Holmes” turned it back on the Joker, which in the end end led to his downfall.
It’s also possible that the Joker somehow knows that the real Sherlock Holmes – who exists in the DC Universe cannon – has also acted as an ally of Batman and strikes, as usual, at anyone whom Dark Knight loves or respects. . Sorry for Joker, even an imitation of Sherlock Holmes was enough to take him down, showing that while fighting crime does not have to mean being a better detective than Batman, it certainly helps.
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