The 6 Bestest Jesters in Comics
The Joker movie comes out this weekend! But there’s a problem: I already did a List of Six about comic book clowns who aren’t the Joker. So what am I supposed to do now? How about the next best thing to clowns: jesters! Sure enough, there are a bunch of comic book jesters!
Were jesters real? Does anybody know? Obviously they exist in pop culture depictions of castles and kingdoms. But were they historically real? That sounds like a really fun Wiki Wormhole. Anyway, there are a bunch of jester-themed comic book characters, so let’s count them down in celebration of the Joker!
Join me after the jump for the six best jesters in comics!
6. Rongo the Jester
Let’s start off as obscure and as weird as we can possibly get! Rongo the Jester is one of five ancient gods from Oceania, back when humanity was still primitive. The Justice League faced off with these fiends in a really old comic, wherein the five gods joined together to become The Fiend with Five Faces. These gods live deep within the Earth, and emerge every couple of thousands of years to replenish their strength — but Rongo and everyone who isn’t the leader doesn’t remember the horrors they’ve seen over the centuries. Each time they emerge, they think it’s the first time. Look, this all sounds really weird, but Rongo dresses like a jester, despite being a primordial god-being. He counts for the list!
5. The Jester
The Crazy Gang is a weird, twisted, overall silly group of criminals from the crazier parts of 1980s British comics. They were a villain team that went up against Excalibur, created wholesale by Mad Jim Jaspers, who could warp reality and made himself a bunch of friends based on courtly characters, like the Red Queen and the Knave. The Jester was just as silly as everyone else, an acrobatic fighter who probably tussled a bunch with Captain Britain. He was created whole cloth by Jaspers, so he doesn’t have much personality or depth.
4. Funny Face
Funny Face was a villain to the spectacular Spider-Girl from the late 90s. She was the future daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, and a character with a ton of staying power. Funny Face was a total psycho, with an array of goofy weapons and a special battling wand that he named “Bunky”. Fun fact, Funny Face was the son of Angel Face, one of the villains from the short-lived good guy Green Goblin comic from the 1990s. That comic was one of my gateway drugs into becoming a full-time comic book fan, so Funny Face has a pretty important pedigree.
3. Chuck Lane
Chuck Lane was a jester-themed superhero who fought alongside the All-Star Squadron and the Freedom Fighters back during World War II. Chuck was a police officer whose parents were members of a secret cabal controlling America, and they convinced him to help usher the U.S. into WWII…which he accomplished by fighting crime as a jester? It’s complicated. Chuck was originally created for Quality Comics back during the Golden Age. When Quality was bought out by DC Comics years later, they didn’t bother to revive Jester into the modern day. Instead, he was eventually dusted off and retroactively made part of DC’s WWII hero teams. He was later dusted off again as part of a grim and gritty update, wherein he and his grandson, a new Jester, turned into domestic terrorists. Such are modern comics.
2. Punch and Jewelee
Punch and Jewelee are a pair of lovebird criminals who worked day jobs as puppeteers. When they found some wayward alien weaponry, they incorporated the gear into their puppets and based themselves off the classic Punch and Judy characters. They’re just a couple of flirty, lovey dovey super criminals who are normally seen working with the Suicide Squad. Once they settled down to live in the suburbs with their baby, and once Punch was killed. They’re a generally talented pair of baddies who work as disposable toughs, so good for them. Batman used them recently in a secret strike force, so at least he has faith in them.
1. The Jester
Like all the best villains at Marvel Comics, The Jester is one of those street-level nobodies who tries to rob banks and get rich with a funky gimmick. He was originally created to fight Daredevil, but he also occasionally tangles with Spider-Man. The first Jester was a failed actor who thought he’d have a better chance at getting roles if he also trained in acrobatics and other useful physical skills. When acting didn’t work out, he turned to crime, obviously. He had a pretty low key career until he was used as canon fodder in the much maligned Civil War II. The second Jester, who actually worked while the first Jester was still around, got his hands on the first one’s equipment and just went about as a second Jester. He was later killed by the Punisher. So not much of a career for the most famous and probably the lamest jester in comics!