Batman: White Knight will be the new comic book project from writer/artist Sean Gordon Murphy, and it promises to offer Batman fans a bold new vision of the character's mythos - including a very different depiction of The Joker.
Murphy has now revealed that one big change to his version of The Joker will be that the character has the real name Jack Napier, which fans will remember as the name of the gangster played by Jack Nicholson in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie, who eventually became The Joker.
Murphy dropped that bombshell on Twitter, stating the following:
Big news: JACK NAPIER will be the name of my JOKER. Warner just approved--1st time Napier has been in a comic (minus Burton adaptations). pic.twitter.com/u4YwZLMmGL— Sean Gordon Murphy (@Sean_G_Murphy) August 17, 2017
In Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) is a heavy-hitting enforcer for mob boss Carl Grissom. When Napier leads a burglary of the Axis Chemicals plant, Grissom sets him up for a fall by calling in the police. During the raid, Napier faces off against The Batman and ends up falling into a vat chemicals, which transform him into The Joker.
Batman: White Knight will explore a version of the Batman mythos in which Gotham City is terrorized by the figure known as The Batman, while Joker is actually a hero, dedicated to protecting the citizens.
As Murphy told Wired:
“My main goal was to undo the comic tropes while changing Gotham from a comic book city into a real city—a city dealing with everything from Black Lives Matter to the growing wage gap. [But] rather than write a comic about the wage gap, I gave those ideas to the Joker, who leads a kind of media war against Gotham’s elite by winning people over with his potent observations and rhetoric... We know the Joker is a genius, we know he’s relentless, and we know he can play the crowd, so why not make him a politician?”
This will depiction of Joker will be the first time the Jack Napier name has been used in the comic books (excluding direct tie-ins to Burton's '89 movie). Needless to say that piece of nostalgia will only go so far if Murphy's concept doesn't connect with fans.
Batman: White Knight #1 will be on shelves Wednesday, October 4th.