The folks at Downtown Bookworks are at it again! They’ve been wowing us with the world’s finest children’s books for years, and now they’re breaking into the world of setups and punchlines with The Official DC Super Hero Joke Book.

Reluctant chuckles and hearty guffaws

Let’s get one thing straight before I go on: the jokes in this book are for kids. It contains a few gems that will impress adults, but by and large, the humor here comes from—and is aimed at—childish sensibilities. I read through once myself and wasn’t too impressed with the funnies (the rest of the book is another matter—more on that later). But then I passed it off to my middle son, and he did nothing but laugh and share jokes with his brothers for the next hour or more. He took it to school for show-and-tell the next day. He loves it.

And as I said, it isn’t all kiddie stuff. Some of the jokes are genuinely clever (the good kind of clever), even if they’re a little trickier to find.  I get the sense that authors peppered these in to reward those parents who patiently wait through all of the fragile puns and punchlines. Combined with the book’s other virtues (I promise, coming soon), these gems make this a worthwhile purchase for adult fans—even those without any Tiny Titans running around the house.

Still the best-looking kids’ books on the market

As with their other excellent titles, Downtown loaded up The Joke Book with an awesome assortment of classic artwork, ripped straight from the comics (with a few exceptions—mostly Bumblebee and Katana—by Scott Kolins). Most of the artwork is Silver Age, and it looks fantastic.

But where this book really excels—at least for us boring old people who are no longer fascinated by two words that sound alike—where this thing really shines is how deep into the roster it goes. I was super-impressed by some of the characters included in my youngest son’s board books, but this kicks things up another notch. Forget about kids’ books; in what book of any sort are you going to encounter Comet the Super-Horse or Streaky the Super-Cat these days? This book has Eclipso! Eclipso! It even has Elongated Man! Your average corporate exec would tell you having two characters as similar as Plastic Man and Elongated Man in the same children’s book is a mistake—that it’s too confusing. But here comes Downtown Bookworks showing more respect and reverence for DC’s characters than pretty much anybody, and giving us both.

Oddly, the Two-Face jokes don’t seem as corny—probably because they’re the exact sort of things he would have said in his early appearances in the comics, only meant as serious statements.

Get a copy for your kids—and maybe one for yourself, too

I gave my review copy to my son, but it wasn’t easy to part with. Whether you buy this for the jokes, the art, or both, it’s hard to think of any sort of person who wouldn’t find some value here. Downtown’s love for all of DC’s vast assortment of characters shows, and as a fan, that’s something you have to appreciate. And if you’re hoping to pass your love for these great stories and icons on to your kids, there’s no better way to expose them to this colorful bunch of heroes. If you love DC Comics, The Official DC Super Hero Joke Book belongs on your shelf. Find it now at comic shops, or wherever books are sold.