Since Batman goes around using all sorts of stuff from his utility belt to defeat enemies, it’s only reasonable that his most infamous enemy does the same thing. In a slick story from 1952 we find out that The Joker wises up and decides to carry a bunch of trick novelties, such as exploding cigarettes, to escape police capture. This was back when The Joker lived up to his name and used shenanigans to get away with crime.
The event takes place in Batman 73 (from 1940, the first volume) and Joker gets fed up with Batman’s upper hand. He always has the edge he needs because of his utility belt. When Batman escapes capture using gas pellets, Joker starts to see where his frustration has been coming from. He decides to even the playing field with what essentially amounts to more pockets around his waist. Astonishingly nobody ever thinks to check Joker’s utility belt when he is being frisked. He keeps surprising them with pranks like a hand buzzer and fake snakes.
A news article boasts how Joker’s utility belt is plaguing the city, and how the Crime Clown stole a leaf from Batman’s book. Batman looks in the newspaper with disgust. It turns out that one of Joker’s best gadgets in his belt is a cork filled with paralyzing gas. Next thing we know, Robin is on a conveyor belt to be burned alive in a fire pit. (That escalated quickly!) Batman then, ironically, ransacks Joker’s utility belt when he isn’t paying attention and pandemonium breaks out. When captured, the commissioner arranged it so that Joker would be made foreman at the belt factory while in prison.
This was the third story in Batman 73, since the comics back then used to be a great deal. Yes, three full stories in one comic. These days you’d be lucky to get three full stories in a year. I forgot how these older comics used to have some lighthearted humor as well. Somewhere along the line, probably after The Dark Knight Returns, The Joker turned all serious and a deadly foe rather than providing entertainment and making a fool out of Batman all the time. Be sure to add this comic to your collection if you are a serious Batman fan.