First and foremost, do not read any New 52 comics, which I will point out, before the pre-reboot comics.
Now, Joker’s origins — He has no solid backstory. Origins, schm-origins, but here are some of the several interpretations you can choose from. It’s not necessary to read them all, but it helps you understand what a mystery the Joker is, even to himself.
The Killing Joke
The Man Who Laughs
Batman #168
Lovers and Madmen
Batman #0, 21-24 aka Zero Year (New 52)
After that, you should read:
Batman #1
Batman #251 (this issue defines the Joker we all know today)
Batman #426-429
Joker: The Devil’s Advocate
Under the Red Hood
Hush
Mad Love
No Man’s Land; Azrael #53, Batman: Harley Quinn, Batman #570, Detective Comics #737, Shadow of the Bat #93, Azrael #60, Batman #573, Detective Comics #740, Batman #574, Legends of the Dark Knight #126, Detective Comics #741
Gotham City Sirens #19-24
The Last Laugh #1-6
Salvation Run #1-7 + Catwoman #75
Batman #879-880 (I would recommend reading this whole arc, actually)
Legends of the Dark Knight #142-145
Joker, the graphic novel
Birds of Prey #17, #120-124
Gotham Central #12-15
Batman: 80 Page Giant 2010
JLA #11-15

First and foremost, do not read any New 52 comics, which I will point out, before the pre-reboot comics.

Now, Joker’s origins — He has no solid backstory. Origins, schm-origins, but here are some of the several interpretations you can choose from. It’s not necessary to read them all, but it helps you understand what a mystery the Joker is, even to himself.

  • The Killing Joke
  • The Man Who Laughs
  • Batman #168
  • Lovers and Madmen
  • Batman #0, 21-24 aka Zero Year (New 52)

After that, you should read:

  • Batman #1
  • Batman #251 (this issue defines the Joker we all know today)
  • Batman #426-429
  • Joker: The Devil’s Advocate
  • Under the Red Hood
  • Hush
  • Mad Love
  • No Man’s Land; Azrael #53, Batman: Harley Quinn, Batman #570, Detective Comics #737, Shadow of the Bat #93, Azrael #60, Batman #573, Detective Comics #740, Batman #574, Legends of the Dark Knight #126, Detective Comics #741
  • Gotham City Sirens #19-24
  • The Last Laugh #1-6
  • Salvation Run #1-7 + Catwoman #75
  • Batman #879-880 (I would recommend reading this whole arc, actually)
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #142-145
  • Joker, the graphic novel
  • Birds of Prey #17, #120-124
  • Gotham Central #12-15
  • Batman: 80 Page Giant 2010
  • JLA #11-15
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