His debut splash above was one of the most striking and vivid memories I had of "The Great Comic Book Heroes" and what hooked me on the Golden Age of Comics. From that moment I wanted to see all the different variations of the original creations.
The abject evil of the clowns face both attracted and disturbed me. After seeing this image I was hooked, as were the books publishers. I learned that there was a second story in Batman #1 featuring the death of this criminal creation. I finally had a chance to read the story as a Famous First Editions reprint. The Joker stabs himself and then begins to laugh and die...until an editor mentions this is a great character why kill him? It is then that a panel is changed to have a doctor declare that this man should not be but....he is alive! So we begin the many deaths of the Joker......and the creation of the Batman Rouges Gallery.
The current stories use these characters almost exclusively to sell comics, but Batman was created to thwart criminals not create them himself. While I enjoy the interesting character villains, I do miss the common battle, the battle for the safety of Gotham City.