He fought at the battle of the Keep at World's End. He escaped with the last boat to leave the Homelands. He and his brothers Vulco and Efram are the last surviving original Crow Brothers, its unknown what happened to their sister and her husband in the Homelands. Know he lives in Fabletown, and owns a barbershop. His only customer is Rapunzel, who's hair he cuts three times a day. He donates it to charity for wigs. He also is a bit of a jokester around his brother Vulco, joking around when Clara caught the bouquet at Snow and Bigby's wedding. Telling him he'd have to stop seeing Fair Katrinelje or Clare would burn him, in a joking manner.
Joel is featured in the arc The Hidden Kingdom, which is set at some point when King Cole was still mayor and Rose Red was still seeing Jack Horner. He's become Rapunzel's closest friend and confidante as he is assigned as the one who cuts her hair. He may also be in charge of who they donate her hair to as he informed her that they had to search for a new group as the owner of the charity was getting suspicious. Joel was also present when she got her strange message in Japanese hinting that her children were alive. Whether he really believes her or supports his friend, Joel accompanies Rapunzel, along with Jack Horner to Tokyo on a search for her children. Joel didn't exactly enjoy the travel as he soon got airsick from the plane ride. The group meets Rapunzel's former lover Tomoko, a kitsune and apparent member of the Yakuza. However, she calls it her "Fabletown". While Rapunzel and Tomoko got reacquainted, Jack dragged Joel into a drunken party of his own. Mostly Joel joined the karaoke and unfortunately got drunk. Its hinted he may have feelings for Rapunzel as he drunkenly tries to confess how he feels to her. Its not known if its how he felt or if he just really was drunk, after he was sober he quickly tried to apologize for how he acted.
Rapunzel, unlike him and Jack, had noticed that they weren't safe among Tomoko or her group. She quickly seduces him and has sex with him. Its not known if she really returns the feelings or not as she states "I'm not heartless" and had sex with him again, which she called "sweetness". Then quickly states they were breaking out, as they do Joel quickly realizes she only slept with him to make her hair grow again. But she explains to him also that they had to as a means of escape. Due to security cameras everywhere and yokai guarding the entrances, she knew Tomoko wouldn't just let them walk out.
Although the pair escaped, there was awkwardness between the two friends. Joel wasn't afraid to show how he felt. Though the friends seem to be at odds, Tomoko clearly saw Joel as a rival for Rapunzel. When her demon assassin Mayumi asked what to do with her crow "lover", Tomoko quickly instructed her to kill him. Back at the subway station, Rapunzel tried to say the sex could be meaningful and served a purpose. Whether hurt or feeling like she was using their friendship, Joel angrily lashed out. He accuses her of abusing their relationship while he's been patient and loyal to her to a fault, even when he had no idea what was going on. Its not known if he meant their relationship as a friend or as possible interest.
At first, it appeared calm between them when they reminisced about the first time they tried selling her hair. Thinking back, he soon tells her that he was sick of cleaning up after her and transformed into a crow and flew off. Though apparently hurt, she wasn't entirely shocked as it only reminded her of her past with the Prince. But whether out of love or loyalty as a friend, Joel eventually met up with her at Nara and offered his hat as an offering to the temple. The two hold hands and reconcile, as friends perhaps. As they enter the forests, Rapunzel opens up to Joel all about her past and as they do the pair come upon something.
They come upon what appears to be a well. Rapunzel soon tells Joel that they read her message wrong. The message didn't mean her daughters, it meant something else that grew from her. It meant her revenge, and just then Mayumi prepares to attack as what appears to be rounds of Rapunzel's hair come out from the well. Luckily Rapunzel is able to fend off Mayumi with her bezoars and the two leave to prepare for the final battle against Tomoko's group.
At first Rapunzel pleas with her to stop the fight and explains how the bezoars were created during her madness when she had been trapped down the well. She begs Tomoko to stop fighting and "go home". But Tomoko refuses and quickly pours bleach on Rapunzel's hair so her bezoars won't attack. Joel is the first to go to her side and throws water over her to stop the burning.
As the two watch the battle begin, Jack turns on Tomoko and attempts to steal the foxfire. But loses it, Rapunzel begs Joel to save it. As he does he's shot by one of Tomoko's men and is left gravely wounded, but alive. Rapunzel was shown to be distraught at the thought of losing him and begs her "children" to save him from the fall. Afterwards, Bigby, Joel and Frau Totenkinder watch as the Japanese fables return to their home.
After watching the two fight, Joel confronts Frau about Rapunzel's children. She reveals she's known all along who has them. But she informs Joel that the person who had them was a grave enemy to her; most likely meaning the Fairy Godmother. And told him that the enemy would use Rapunzel to kill her and all of Fabletown. She then persuades him to use a potion that would make Rapunzel forget everything, the current events, her daughters, the Hidden Kingdom, and Tomoko.
Joel's reasons are never fully said but he gives in to her persuasion and slips the potion into her water as they leave for America.
Currently its unknown if he still has feelings for her. And was shown to feel extreme guilt for deceiving her. As he was only seen in the past helping her cut off her hair. And was seen helping Red Riding Hood get her modern make over to impress Flycatcher. It is possible he may had let her go or is trying to move on as he was mentioned in issue 14 of Fairest. And had been interested in dating Princess Alder, only to be scared off by her brother.