Batman Writer Clears Up Punchline's First Appearance Confusion

James Tynion IV has introduced several new characters since he took over DC's Batman series, and one, in particular, has taken off in a huge way. That would be Punchline, a character who wasn't set to show up officially until Batman #92, but thanks to the way comics ship and the schedule for DC's Hell Arisen series, she ended up getting slated early. That's resulted in some confusion from DC fans regarding what her actual first appearance is and which issue to get if they want the true introduction, and it doesn't help that all of the issues are starting to be a bit hard to find. Tynion decided to clear things up on his Tiny Onion newsletter, giving fans an idea of what happened and which issue to grab.

"BUT, I also know there are folks out there getting burned," Tynion wrote. "Readers of the book who can’t get their hands on a copy of 89 or Hell Arisen. Retailers upset that DC didn’t let them know that it was coming. Everybody upset with me for tweeting that a certain issue was a “real first appearance” but not meaning that literally. And I understand where everyone is coming from (especially regarding my dumb tweet). So I apologize if Punchline mania has gotten you down, and I hope the reprints coming help calm that a bit. But I want you all to know what’s up and how all this happened."

"So, back in December, when discussions were starting about Joker War, I knew I needed Joker to have a lieutenant in that war," Tynion wrote. "A Number Two. We started cooking up the idea of a polar opposite to Harley Quinn, and Jorge designed Punchline. The design was fucking awesome and I didn’t want to wait to use her in a comic."

"I had written in some generic gangsters helping out Joker in Hell Arisen #3, so I emailed my editor on that book and said that rather than a generic person in a clown mask, let’s slip Punchline in there," Tynion wrote. "Then I realized that she was going to appear in Hell Arisen #3 a full month before she showed up in Batman, which wasn’t going to happen until issue #92. Thanks to the joy of double-ship comics, #89 hadn’t been written yet, so I decided to slip her in there, because it felt weird for her to pop up in an event mini that didn’t really tie directly into Joker War. So we snuck her in a couple panels to set her up in Batman first and foremost, in issue 89. Then I got permission to post her design online, and everything went nuts. Books started selling out, and I made the dumb comment that I was excited for her REAL first appearance in 92 (by which I only meant her entering the story and interacting with the other characters), and then folks were saying I was trying to say Hell Arisen wasn’t her first appearance, so on and so forth."

The hype around the character is high, and Tynion is looking to justify the buzz.

"The real truth is that new characters don’t always equal buzz. I think it’s the power of the design, the power of a dark new rival for Harley, and the excitement for a Joker story where readers don’t know what’s going to happen, because now there are new elements in the mix with the potential to change everything," Tynion wrote. "We weren’t expecting it, but we’re thrilled it’s captured folks attention and interest. And now the responsibility is on US to make her matter, to make her a character worthy of all that attention."

First up though is Batman #91, which is written by Tynion IV and drawn by Jimenez, Rafael Albuquerque, and Carlo Pagulayan, colored by Tomeu Morey, and inked by Albuquerque, Jimenez, and Danny Miki. You can find the official description below.

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"To save Gotham City, Catwoman will have to commit the greatest heist in the city’s history! But hot on her trail are the Penguin, the Riddler, a horde of assassins, and the master criminal called the Designer! And the most dangerous person standing in her way is the man she’s trying to save: Batman. And what complications will his arise from his new sidekick, Harley Quinn?"

Are you excited for Punchline? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MattAguilarCB for all things comics!

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