Article #19








Well sir, if you’ve followed what few trinkets of WTF moments I’ve passed your way, what you may have noticed is a funny little trend.  That is, what was once old is new again, or, problems/controversies of the past are also problems/controversies of the present.  Keeping in this similar vein is our current entry.


The Joker.  Batman’s arch nemesis, a character that easily rivals any of the “good guys” in comics in terms of recognition and popularity.  His origin is a classic, a desperate criminal plunges into the murky depths of a chemical vat to avoid capture by the grim avenger, and later emerges with chalk white skin, green hair, and a permanent grin stuck on his face.  This twist destroys his mind and he thus becomes the most feared and violent madman Gotham City has ever known.


But is that how it really happened?  Couldn’t there have been other extenuating circumstances that led to this tragic series of events?  I first came across this idea while reading the Batman Showcase trade available for sale, and in particular, Detective Comics #332 from 1964/5.


The story, in a nutshell, is this.  The Joker has been committing thefts where he creates a distraction by saying the most inane joke possible to an audience.  The crowd would laugh and laugh and laugh, allowing the Joker to steal whatever he wanted and make his getaway.  He even got Batman and Robin with the same trick!  What do I mean by “inane joke”?  For example, “Why do firemen wear red suspenders?” “To keep their pants up!”  What, you don’t believe me?  Then have a look at the page below:




Aha, but shortly after his latest theft, Batman and Robin are at the turning point!


dc332 001crop.jpg


There you have it, the Joker used Loco Weed to cause everyone to laugh.


And what’s another name for Loco Weed boys and girls?  If you said Marijuana, give yourself a pat on the back!  Good job!  And doesn’t everyone remember what the guidance counselor on South Park, Mr. Mackie, says “Drugs are bad, m’kay. Marijuana is bad, m’kay.”  So, as a public service, I would like all of you to please mail your marijuana to me and I’ll be sure to… ahem… dispose of it properly J


Or not.


I wonder if, besides laughing at everything stupid, Batman and Robin also noted “the munchies” in their list of symptoms?  Maybe they stopped for a Bat-Burger on the way home?


Speaking of public service, on the very next page Batman and Robin discover the cure for marijuana exposure.  I kid you not!


dc332 002crop1.jpg


That’s right, just take some Sudafed or any other allergy medication, and your right as rain!  Toke all you want in the morning, but still be sharp enough for the morning office meeting!


I’m a little worried about Batman and Robin though.  They say Marijuana is a gateway drug, and here are the caped crusaders downing pill after pill after pill.  Robin says it right there “Have we taken enough pills?”  You’re only supposed to take 2 at once!  Someone get a stomach pump!!!


Needless to say, our heroes eventually catch the Clown Prince of Crime, but not before a single point comes to mind.  If the Joker is fond enough to use Loco Weed in a crime, couldn’t he also be a regular user himself?  He always laughs uncontrollably, so that’s one.  Here’s a list of a few symptoms Marijuana users can experience:


Sleepiness, Difficulty keeping track of time, impaired or reduced short-term memory, Reduced ability to perform tasks requiring concentration and coordination, such as driving a car, Increased heart rate, Potential cardiac dangers for those with preexisting heart disease, Bloodshot eyes, Dry mouth and throat, Decreased social inhibitions, Paranoia, Hallucinations, Impaired or reduced short-term memory, Impaired or reduced comprehension, Altered motivation and cognition, making the acquisition of new information difficult, Psychological dependence


Check out the ones in blue.  How many times is Joker drawn with maniacal red eyes?  Decreased social inhibitions, paranoia and hallucinations? Something I’d associate with a crazy person.  Reduced comprehension?  The guy doesn’t know right from wrong, or he doesn’t care.  But more to the point, recall his origin…


He jumps into a chemical vat.  Voluntarily.  No one shoved him in originally (though I’m unsure if this has been ret conned).  Instead of giving up and going to jail for theft (at a chemical factory – honestly, who the heck robs a chemical factory?) for what, a year with good behavior, our bright boy takes the plunge!  And the effect?  Well, maybe it wasn’t just the chemicals in the vat that caused his physical (and mental) change… think about it…


Until next time!


IWI meets WTF Moment


DC Comics are wholesome comics, or so the saying went from the 50s into the 60s.  And then this panel comes along from Action Comics #360 (reprinting an earlier Supergirl story):




I nearly spit out my Kool-Aid when reading this.  I don’t know what’s more disturbing, the first line Supergirl says, or the fact she’s using her Super-Vision to spy on her new boyfriend!  Perhaps one of the creepiest thought balloons from the wholesome hero age.