Some folks find clowns funny. Others find them scary. And apparently, others still find clowns simply irresistible. There have been a lot of clown characters in comics, sometimes just as actual clowns who make people laugh and entertain, but there have also been supervillains and superheroes who have dressed as clowns or used clown gadgets, and they’ve run the gamut from heroic to horrifying. A chosen handful of clowns have actually found romance outside the big top or at least a good time, and those are the ones we’ll talk about today.
RELATED: 15 of the Creepiest Clowns in Comics
Of course, some clown characters are more famous than others. We’ll be talking about the famous comic book clowns as well as some lesser-known ones who were involved with men and women. A few had long-term relationships and were even married for years, while others were just a one-night stand. Some clowns have had children, letting them fill their big shoes, while others have just put back on their baggy pants and moved on. With clowns on everyone’s mind lately thanks to 2017’s movie remake of Stephen King’s It, CBR wanted to review 15 times in comics that clowns got busy.
15. HARLEY QUINN
The most famous clown in comics is the Joker, and Harley Quinn is just as well known as his partner in crime, but they also have a romantic relationship. While they’ve shared plenty of hugs and kisses, the question of whether the Joker has actually had sex with Harley Quinn in normal continuity is up to debate, since we’ve never seen the two in bed together. Yet in the Injustice: Gods Among Us comic series, it’s been solidly confirmed.
In Injustice: Year 2 #7 (Tom Taylor, Bruno Redondo, Tom Derenick, Mike S. Miller), Black Canary was fighting Harley Quinn when they stopped to talk and Harley revealed she had secretly given birth to the Joker’s daughter, Lucy. Even the Joker didn’t know she existed because Harley didn’t want to interfere with his “work.” It’s hard to think of Harley and the Joker in bed together, but it happened.
While we don’t know if the mainstream Joker and his clown-like assistant Harley Quinn have ever had sex, we’ve seen Harley with plenty of other characters. One of them has been Deadshot, the assassin with perfect aim who’s been an enemy of Batman for years, but also a member of Suicide Squad.
Harley was also a member of Suicide Squad, and the sparks flew between the two of them, although it was one-sided. At one point, Harley even knocked him out and forced him to wear the Joker’s disembodied face. Though Deadshot seemed to dislike her at first, things changed in later issues. As if we needed confirmation, 2012’s Suicide Squad #3 (Adam Glass, Cliff Richards) has a scene where Harley had sex with Deadshot in a bathroom.
13. TAMRA JOHNSON
In Astro City, one of the most well-known clowns isn’t a supervillain, but a superhero. Jack-in-the-Box is a crime fighter with a ton of wacky gadgets, including extending arms and legs, and electrocuting noses he puts onto criminals. In real life, Jack-in-the-Box is Zachary Johnson, a brilliant inventor whose father created the persona and he continued it. He constantly struggled with his legacy, and that included his children.
His wife (news anchorwoman Tamra Dixon) obviously didn’t have a problem with his clown costume, because in 1997’s Astro City #11 (Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson) she revealed she was pregnant. He was also visited by his future children who tried to kill him for failing to raise them properly. He ended up retiring to spend more time with his wife and child. Good move.
12. ALAN SCOTT
In the 1940s, the original Green Lantern was Alan Scott, who found the magic lantern that let him bring his imagination to life as green constructs. One of his allies was his secretary, Molly Maynne, or at least he thought she was an ally. In reality, she was secretly moonlighting as one of his worst enemies, the clown-themed supervillain Harlequin. With clown tricks and henchmen, she would pull off crimes and even worked with him on occasion.
In reality, her identity as Harlequin was all an insane plot to get Scott’s attention. Scott was actually attracted to Harlequin but kept his distance until his first wife Rose died. He turned to Harlequin, realizing he loved her all along, and the two were married until their history was erased in the New 52.
11. EVERYONE (ACCORDING TO DUELA DENT)
If you asked Duela Dent (the psychotic supervillain who often wears clown-themed outfits) who her father is, she’d say everyone. In her first appearance in 1976’s Batman Family #6 (Bob Rozakis), she claimed her mother slept with the Joker and she was his daughter. Yet in the same issue, she also claimed to be the daughter of the Riddler, Scarecrow, Catwoman and the Penguin. She also claimed to be the daughter of Two-Face before changing her name to Harlequin to join the Teen Titans.
Her superhero career was short-lived, though. In the New 52, Duela Dent was changed to become a mad woman living in the sewers who just found the Joker’s severed face and tried to have his blood injected into her to make her a “blood relative.” No sex required in that version.
In 2007’s Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society by Sean McKeever and Jamal Igle, we saw an alternate reality called Earth-3 where superheroes had become villains and supervillains became heroes. One of the most notorious was a struggling comedian who fell for a beautiful woman named Evelyn Dent. Sadly, Evelyn suffered from split personalities and disappeared. When he made jokes about the city’s villain Owlman, the Batman-like criminal sliced his face to make a huge smile, and the comedian turned himself into the Jokester.
As for Evelyn, she eventually became the schizophrenic Three-Face and gave birth to the Jokester’s daughter, Duela Dent. The two of them worked with the Riddler until the Jokester discovered them. The reunion didn’t end well as Earth-3’s Duela escaped to another universe and was killed by a Monitor.
9. MR. ANGEL FACE
In 1998’s Spider-Girl #2 (Tom DeFalco, Pat Olliffe), the MC2 alternate version of Spider-Girl first met Crazy Eight, an acrobat who used rigged eight-balls to commit crimes. Before long, Spider-Girl met his brother Funny Face who wore a jester’s costume and tried to organize her enemies into the Savage Six. Both brothers were nothing compared to their mother, a psychotic criminal called Angel Face.
It was never revealed who the father of Funny Face and Crazy Eight was, but we do know insanity ran on the mother’s side. She was locked in a mental institution until Crazy Eight was killed and Funny Face broke her out. The two of them went on a rampage to avenge the death until Spider-Girl finally put an end to it.
Punch and Jewelee were a pair of supervillains who first appeared in 1967’s Captain Atom #85 (David Kaler and Steve Ditko) but were reintroduced into DC continuity in 1988’s Secret Origins #28 by Robert Greenberger and Rob Liefeld. In the new continuity, a love-struck couple who worked as puppeteers in Coney Island were also thieves at night until they found a cache of alien weapons. With their new tools, the couple became the clown-themed villains Punch and Jewelee.
The two were lovers and often fought Nightshade and Captain Atom, but in the post-Crisis continuity, the pair were forced to join Suicide Squad. After Jewelee became pregnant, she and Punch quit the team. Over the years, the two have alternated between quitting their life of crime and returning to it. In the post-Flashpoint continuity, Punch and Jewlee have returned, as insane as ever.
7. MISS LOCKE
The supervillain Arcade is stylish and demented, often called a clown even though he doesn’t wear big, floppy shoes or a red nose. What he does have is a love of lethal gags, which he uses in his work as a killer-for-hire, forcing his targets into deadly theme parks he calls Murderworld. That often brought him up against superheroes he had been hired to kill, including the X-Men and Spider-Man.
Arcade’s assistant and lover first appeared in 1978’s Marvel-Team Up #65 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Known only as Miss Locke, she usually helped him by tricking people or luring them to Murderworld. She and Arcade also tried to kill each other in a twisted game until she went too far and he killed her. Good times.
In 2011, a new Power Man teamed up with Iron Fist in Power Man and Iron Fist #1 by Fred Van Lente and Wellington Alves, along with a twisted clown called Pagliacci. Pagliacci was the leader of a group of European assassins who dressed in opera costumes named Commedia Dell’Morte. The opera troupe had been cursed by Baron Mordo for stealing from him, trapping them in their opera masks forever.
When Power Man and Iron Fist met them, Pagliacci was in pursuit of one of their own, his wife and lover named Columbina. Columbina had been kidnapped by their rival, Crime-Buster, who had been trying to get the same contract when he took her to the US. Her mask was put on another woman who became Columbina, but removed and Pagliacci took the mask with his wife’s soul to parts unknown.
5. MRS. CLOWNFACE
Written and drawn by Jason Pearson, Body Bags was first published in 1996, a bloody and controversial series about Mack Delgado, a knife-wielding assassin who wore a clown mask and went by the name of Clownface. He was an old pro at the business of killing people for hire, but his life was turned upside-down by the appearance of his daughter named Panda. The father and daughter became a team of “body baggers,” working together on contracts while squabbling about their relationship.
Apparently, Clownface’s ex-wife had been an unnamed police officer who gave him a child, but she was never seen in the original series or the follow-up stories. It was a shame we never found out more about “Mrs. Clownface,” because there was certainly a story to tell about how she got involved with a clown-themed murderer.
4. ROBERTA WHIMPLEY
One member of the Spider-Family named Jessica Drew (better known as Spider-Woman) has her own clown-themed enemy known as Killer Clown. First appearing in Spider-Woman #22 (Michael Fleisher, Frank Springer, Mike Esposito) in 1980, Casper Whimpley once had dreams of becoming a clown, but was stopped by his domineering wife Roberta Whimpley. She did more than just force him to get a better career; he was driven to become a serial killer attacking women with clown-themed weapons.
Roberta didn’t think much of his job as an accountant, but she had no idea he would sneak out at night, electrocuting women with joy buzzers or strangling them. Spider-Woman finally stopped his reign of terror, and we never found out what happened to Mrs. Whimpley, other than that she probably didn’t approve of his new career as a super-villain, either.
In the mainstream DC universe, Thomas Wayne and Martha Wayne were the wealthy parents of Bruce Wayne who were killed in a mugging, driving Bruce to become Batman. However, in the 2011 alternate timeline seen in Flashpoint #1 (Geoff Johns, Andy Kubert), Thomas and Martha Wayne were the ones who survived and it was Bruce who was killed in the mugging. The event tore the Wayne family apart, driving Thomas Wayne to become a version of Batman, but Martha Wayne went down a darker path.
In the Flashpoint: Batman – Knight of Vengeance miniseries (Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso), we discovered that Martha was driven insane by the loss of their son. She carved her face into a smile and became the Flashpoint’s version of the Joker. The two former lovers ended up facing off in a deadly duel where she killed herself. It was a twisted romance, indeed.
2. MRS. LANE
The Jester was a police officer who dressed as a court jester to fight crime in the Golden Age with clown-themed weapons and gags. He was brought into DC’s continuity as a member of Earth-2’s All-Star Squadron, but it was revealed that the Jester had been a member of a secret society called the Arcadians. He found an unnamed woman, and we wish we could talk more about her, but the comics never got into much detail. We don’t even know if they were married.
What we do know is that she gave him a son who went into politics instead of crime fighting, but Lane’s son was suspected of disloyalty by the Arcadian elders and murdered. In 2011’s Freedom Fighters #3 (Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Travis Moore), Lane had turned to his grandson and the two of them became villains, killing Arcadians and kidnapping the Vice-President.
1. WILMA BARBERA
Spawn #2 (Todd McFarlane) introduced the villain Violator, an evil clown who tormented Spawn. In Spawn #167 (David Hine, Brian Haberlin), Violator became Barney Saunders, who had been sleeping with a married woman named Wilma Barbera, and jumped into a garbage chute to escape her husband. Trapped in the garbage chute for days, he was found by Violator who took over his body and became a new Clown.
The new Clown caused all the residents of an apartment complex to go insane and started attacking each other, all part of a plot for Spawn to open a portal to Hell, but Saunders was able to regain control when he saw Wilma. It turned out that Saunders had a bit of a grudge against her for leaving him to starve to death and get eaten by rats, so he took her with him.
Which clown are you surprised to see got busy? Let us know in the comments!
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