The Jester

Created by Paul Gustavson
'jester

NAME + ALIASES:
Charles "Chuck" Lane (deceased)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Unnamed parents (deceased), unnamed wife and daughter, unnamed son (deceased), Charles Lane II (grandson, Jester II), Walter Delane (ancestor)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Arcadians, Freedom Fighters

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Smash Comics #22 (May 1941)

APPEARANCES:

  • Freedom Fighters v.2 #4–5
  • Smash Comics #22-85 (May 1941–Oct. 1949)
  • Starman v.2 #46
 

Jester II

NAME + ALIASES:
Charles Lane II

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Charles “Chuck” Lane (Jester, grandfather), unnamed father and grandmother (deceased), unnamed aunt

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
The Arcadians

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Obscured: Freedom Fighters v.2 #1 (Nov. 2010, ) Fully Revealed: Freedom Fighters v.2 #3

APPEARANCES:
Freedom Fighters v.2 #1–8

+ History

Splash from Smash #50 (1944); artist uncertain (Pete Riss??).

The Jester was another long-running creation by Paul Gustavson, who did the feature for its first two years. The hero’s original costume featured a skull that disappeared after six installments.

starman #46
From Starman #46. Art by Gene Ha.

Recently, the Jester’s history has been greatly embellished by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti in the pages of Freedom Fighters. Officer Chuck Lane’s Quality adventures remain intact, but the DC story revealed that his family was descended from Walter Delane, the court jester to King Arthur. His family members were part of a secret society called the Arcadians, who helped found America and manipulated its progress. On his death bed, Lane’s father advised him to police not only his city, but also his nation. He assured Chuck that America would win World War II thanks to a new weapon in development. Chuck took his father’s advice and interpreted it by emulating other mystery men. (Freedom Fighters vol. 2 #4)

As an officer, Lane was a rookie on the New York City police force. As the Jester, he gleefully fought crime in ways beyond his policeman’s purview. In costume, he employed a rubber clown head (dubbed Quinopolis in Smash #47) to bean his pursuers—a calling card designed to taunt the police. In his first case, Lane was called to the home of a wealthy woman whose fortune was targeted by Looie the Moose. As the Jester, he tied a rope onto a thug and threw the man out the window. Vigilante antics like this infuriated Lane’s boss, Inspector Mulligan. (Smash #22)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

DC/Legacy

The Jester’s first DC Comics appearance was as a member of the All-Star Squadron. After Pearl Harbor, he decided to enlist his services with this group (All-Star Squadron #31) and participated in several of their missions. (#50, 60) He also joined the Freedom Fighters. (Freedom Fighters v.2 #4)

The second Jester was also named Charles Lane, the grandson of the original. When the Arcadians murdered his father, this boy trained with his grandfather for revenge. The plan involved kidnapping the Vice President, Marion Allstot. He challenged the Freedom Fighters to collect a series of artifacts for him in exchange for her life. (Freedom Fighters v.2 #1)

[ Q C. ]

Notes

Paul Gustavson’s “Honeybun” strip in Police #72 also featured a character dressed up in a red-and-green jester suit.

The Jester from Batman #24 (1944). Art by Dick Sprang.

There have been a few other DC characters called the Jester, mostly take-offs from the popular Batman villain, the Joker. One of these goes all the way back to Batman #24 (Aug./Sept.1944). In a time travelling adventure, Batman and Robin visited ancient Rome and helped an aging charioteer win his last race and defeat a Roman gangster called Publius Malchio. A good-natured harlequin called the Jester —who looked startlingly like the Joker—aided them. This Jester's harlequin costume was thoroughly anachronistic, but the story left it deliberatelyk ambiguous, the question whether these events were real or simply a dream/hallucination induced by Dr. Carter Nichols' time-hypnosis technique. Thanks to Aaron Severson

In 2010, while the Joker character was "hands-off" to anyone but Grant Morrison, another Jester appeared. This one was probably a hallucination, the product of the troubled mind within Dr. Jeremiah Arkham. While he was running Arkham Asylum, the doctor "saw" a man who looked like the Joker but preferred to be called the Jester, the Joker's "evil twin." (Arkham Reborn#3, Feb. 2010) Eventually Dr. Arkham was himself found to be insane (Batman #697), and after his own confinement, he continuted to hallucinate this Jester. (Detective Comics #864, June 2010)

+ Powers

The Jester had no metahuman powers. He was a crack marksman when it came to throwing his rubber accessory, Quinopolis. The weapon packed a powerful punch and somehow returned to sender.