Usually, here on What Were They Thinking? we look at some really bad or misguided storylines, hence why I always say it's the place where we look at the stupidest and most ill-advised things in comic book history. But this week, we're going to look at a storyline that actually is a certified classic, or at least a hugely important storyline with many excellent qualities, that has one of the oddest story tangents when you consider why it is so famous. That story would be this:
Everyone knows A Death In The Family. It's the storyline where the readers voted to kill a child that they didn't particularly like all that much. You know, good wholesome fun. That all came at the end of a storyline that saw said unpopular child, Jason Todd, searching for his real mother, before meeting his end at the hands of Joker.
So, what's weird? Well, who actually remembers what Joker was doing for the rest of this story? It kinda gets overshadowed by the whole "killing a child" thing. Well, what he was doing was, stealing nuclear weapons to sell to terrorists and then becoming the Iranian Ambassador to the U.N.
Yup, that's Joker, wearing a keffiyeh, representing one of the most dangerous rogue nuclear states in the world whilst saying that both he and that country's leaders are insane and love fish.
I... I get it, in context of the story. A large portion of it takes place in the Middle East and it was a great opportunity for a nasty and unnecessary jab at a country that America doesn't get on with by comparing them to a homocidal lunatic who had just done some child murder. Plus Joker had given some terrorists a nuke to destroy Israel with, so that's plus points for the Iranians I guess (Read very increadulously)? Still doesn't make much sense but at least there is some sort of comic book logic there (and as we all know, comic book logic works different from real logic, like cartoon physics is different from actual physics i.e. if you fall from a great height you don't make a human shaped hole in the road and then get up again, you go splat and all your insides end up outside your body).
As I said at the top, we've covered a lot of "bad" storylines here on What Were They Thinking? but not everything we cover has to be bad and I thought this was a good example to illustrate the point. The storyline was controversial, yes, but most people would agree that DC were right to run the storyline and kill off Todd. However, just because it is a meritous episode in DC's history doesn't make it immune from having moments where you just go "what were they thinking when they wrote that?" and you can't read this and wonder aloud why the hell DC would make Joker a foreign ambassador (a move out of the most cartoonish period of 60's Batman) from Iran in a storyline where they'd just put a character to death by phone vote.
And with that