Comic Legends: How Was the Joker Allowed to be Anarky's Father?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and fifty-seventh week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

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Alan Grant got DC to reveal that the Joker was Anarky's father by promising to revert it later in the series, but the series was canceled before he could do so.


I'm Going With True

One of the more memorable antagonists during Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle's long run on Batman together (first Detective Comics, then Batman and then Shadow of the Bat) was Anarky. Anarky was a brilliant young man who pursued anarchistic goals as a vigilante.

In 1999, Grant and Breyfogle collaborated on an Anarky ongoing series.

In Anarky #8, Anarky meets his birth mother. She tells a story about her past relationship with the Joker to tell Anarky who his father is.

Anarky breaks into Arkham Asylum to confront the Joker about his paternity.

After helping to stop a Joker-led escape from the Asylum, Anarky drives off into the night, worried over his connection to the Joker.

That was the last issue of Anarky.

How, then, did Grant and Breyfogle get the chance to reveal such major news? Even Grant and Breyfogle knew Anarky wasn't exactly a major series. So how did they pull it off?

Grant and Breyfogle discussed the topic with my buddy Daniel Best. Daniel actually suggested this story for a legend over a decade ago. I work slow sometimes.

As it turned out, Denny O'Neil only allowed Grant to make the reveal on one condition. That condition was that Grant would later reveal that it WASN'T the truth. The problem, of course, is that Anarky was then canceled before Grant could write the reversal!

Grant explained to Best:

Alan Grant: Denny only let me write that story under protest, he was totally opposed to Joker being Anarky’s father and said under no circumstances would DC allow that.

Norma Breyfogle: I remember that he didn’t like it and I was surprised he was that adamant. It was my idea at the time, by the way.

AG: I talked him into letting me write the script anyway by saying the story would create a lot of interest and then maybe in six months time I would write the rebuttal, which proves that Anarky wasn’t the Joker’s son, that he was really supposed to have been and Denny said OK but of course the monthly title got cancelled long before that point. [laughter]

NB: As it stands it could very well be that he is the father, which I like. Do you remember Denny giving you any specific reason for why he didn’t want the Joker to be Anarky’s father?

AG: No, he didn’t. I asked him for a specific reason and he just said, “I can’t allow you to do it. DC will never accept it. Paul Levitz will never accept it.”

That's hilarious (the discussion then turned to how Grant Morrison had just recently brought Batman's son into the picture, so why not Anarky as Joker's son?).

Thanks to Daniel Best, Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle for the great information!

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Did The Santa Clause inadvertently have a sex line number in it?

Part 3 will be up Sunday night! Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com!

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