Comic books are home to some seriously ridiculous characters. They can have goofy costumes, absurd powers, and get up to all manner of silly antics. But, that’s part of why they were dubbed the funny books!
One such yuckster is James Jesse, a/k/a the Trickster. The Flash villain was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, making his first appearance Flash Vol. 1 #113 (June-July 1960). A practical joker and con man, he uses ridiculous, albeit dangerous, implements like explosive teddy bears, itching powder, potato head bombs, exploding rubber chickens, even candy in his plots.
Trickster started out as an acrobat in the circus before seeking a life in crime like his reverse namesake, Jesse James. One of his earliest acts was to create shoes that allowed him to walk on air for the trapeze act he did with his family. In his first appearance, the Flash is able to discern that Trickster’s in the circus, based on his colorful Harlequin costume.
During the Underworld Unleased miniseries he tricked his way into Neron’s domain, not knowing that the demon was trying to create Hell on Earth. When Jesse realized Neron’s plan and that he was the devil incarnate, he tricked and defeated him with Captain Marvel’s help. Once the situation was resolved, Trickster was annoyed that no one knew of his brilliant trickery and decided to work for good to avoid another trip to Hell.
Trickster started using his con artist skills for good while also collecting supervillains’ weapons to destroy them, lest they fall into the wrong hands. While helping his old girlfriend Mindy Hong defeat Neron for a second time, he learned that he had a 12-year-old son named Billy.
His next move was to work for the FBI for a while, including in a case during Rogue War when Top brainwashed several members of the Rogues. Trickster gathered reformed Rogues, including Captain Cold, to fight Top. Though it took a long time, Trickster and Pied Piper were able to sort their memories from Top’s hypnotic influence.