Posted Tuesday, August 16th, 2022 by Barry

The Joker’s Joke Book (1988) Tor

For the music lover today marks the 45th anniversary of Elvis’ death. For the non-holiday enthusiast, today is National Tell a Joke Day; not to be confused with International Joke Day which is July 1.

It is thought jokes have existed as early as 1900 B.C. Palamedes is often cited as the grandfather of the joke, outsmarting Odysseus in the Trojan War. That’s just a theory, but as good an origin for the joke as any.

If the birth of the joke is a mystery, so is National Tell a Joke Day.

Eighteenth-century Cornish-born Samuel Foote is considered the first stand-up comedian. His troubled early life led him to London, England, where he became a fixture of coffee houses. Using his natural talent for impersonation and quick wit, Foote was dubbed The Coffee House Comedian.

He would die of a stroke in 1777.

The Joker’s Joke Book (1988) Tor

Since then, many have followed in his footsteps.

Our emcee is not so much a joker by profession, but in name.

Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, the Joker of the DCU first appeared in Batman issue one, April 25, 1940.

His origin has been told and re-told, created and re-created. Just as his persona.

In the beginning there was a psychopath. The Joker would later be dumbed down to placate an audience that didn’t even read comic books. As mores changed, he would return to his murderous ways, in a chilling full circle.

By the late 1980s word of a major motion picture starring the Dark Knight and featuring his grinning nemesis unleashed a tsunami of merchandise.

Mort Todd, writer, illustrator, filmmaker, editor and publisher, brought The Joker’s Joke Book to the mass market in 1988.

Todd has a pedigree ranging from comic books to the music industry, drawing album covers, directing music videos and producing music. He launched Marvel Music at Marvel Comics, personally working with such artists as Mick Jagger, Gene Simmons, AC/DC and the estates of Elvis Presley and Bob Marley.

The 128-page paperback retailed for $1.95 featuring funnies your father would tell on a Sunday drive to church.

Today the book can be found on most of the primary secondary markets. Finding an audience may be harder.

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