As far as superhero schticks go, Batman's laid claim to the all-purpose utility belt. It's been his gimmick throughout the decades, even though other comic book characters have attempted to replicate the Caped Crusader's ever-prepared prowess. (See: the pouch-drunk 1990s. I swore I saw Cable pull a tub of hummus out of his thigh pocket once.)

But half a century ago, The Joker attempted to improve upon the Dark Knight's utility belt with his own, garbage-filled version. In 1952's Batman #73, the Clown Prince of Crime unveiled his evil utility belt. And — because this was a period in comics when it was criminally acceptable to squirt glue into children's mouths — The Joker mostly used gadgets that would make Adam West queasy with disbelief.

Our adventure begins with The Joker rankled that he was disqualified from the Gotham MOMA's Comedian Hall of Fame. Let's put aside every other improbable aspect of Batman comics (which is everything, except maybe Alfred's mustache) and relish that Gotham City has a museum wing devoted to abstract paintings of Laurel and Hardy.

It's reasons like these why Gotham doesn't have a population of 12. Batman promptly shows up and vexes The Joker with smoke pellets, throwing the clown into an impotent rage...

...until The Joker takes five and builds his own knock-off utility belt. Note that there's nothing murderous — remember this was an era when The Joker mostly just held up bingo parlors and paid his henchmen in free shampoo samples.

If this particular Joker starred in Tim Burton's Batman, nobody would die in that art gallery scene. No, The Joker would just waltz in peacefully blasting Prince's "Partyman" until Commissioner Gordon cited him for a noise violation. Anyway, my favorite part of the utility belt isn't the peanut-can fake snakes...

....or the Mexican jumping beans...

...or even the ROBIN SUCKS flags (which he tricks Batman into using)...

...but the cork. Yes, Joker clings on to a single cork, boasting about its Batman-defeating properties. I've rearranged two of these panels next to each other, so it looks like The Joker has been keeping his henchmen captive for days, monologuing about the same damn cork.

Batman figures out that the Joker's cork is used to hold back stupefying gas, until he is thwarted by his only weakness: drunk debutantes.

This caper ends with Batman dressing The Joker up as a flower. Hey, this was pre-Miranda Rights. You can read "The Joker's Utility Belt" at Grantbridge Street (link NSFW). And as a bonus, here are some other utility belts...

...like Batman's...

...Robin's...

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..and, uh, The Hulk's. I just assumed he carried a pair of XXXXXL purple parachute pants in a dubiously scented garbage bag.

[Via Atomic Surgery and 1980s Marvel]