6. The Man Who Laughs
The Man Who Laughs gives the modernising treatment to the Joker’s original appearance in Batman #1, and it’s actually rather good. The title itself is actually a homage to The Man Who Laughs film, which inspired the Joker back in 1940 with Conrad Veidt’s portrayal of the eponymous character.
The Ed Brubaker, Dough Mahnke comic also serves as a sequel of sorts to Batman: Year One, showcasing The Dark Knight’s first meeting with the Clown Prince as the first of Gotham’s supervillains embarks on a murderous rampage – ostensibly without rhyme or reason.
It’s a suitably dark tale, and one that touches upon the various origins of the character sporadically throughout. It’s also a story that spotlights the relationship between Joker and Batman in a really compelling way, and though the film hasn’t touched upon the Caped Crusader yet, if it does, The Man Who Laughs provides the building blocks with which to forge that relationship anew.