'Doomsday Clock': Who Are the Marionette and the Mime?

When the solicitations for Doomsday Clock #2 first hit, fans speculated whose costume may have [...]

When the solicitations for Doomsday Clock #2 first hit, fans speculated whose costume may have been spilling out of a box on the cover.

The black and white uniform with a ruffled collar seemed to evoke a harlequin which, paired with a later image that depicted The Joker applying Veidt cosmetics, led some fans to believe it could be a version of Harley Quinn's costume.

...So close, and yet so far away: The costume belonged to The Marionette, and she and her husband The Mime are based on the Charlton Comics characters Punch and Jewelee.

"One thing that I thought Alan [Moore] and Dave [Gibbons] did so beautifully was, they took these echoes of Charlton characters," writer Geoff Johns explained to press during an event at New York Comic Con. "One of the things that frees Gary up to do this story is to introduce new characters, and there were these old Charlton characters called Punch and Jewelee that kind of became the inspiration -- just a touch of inspiration, just like question was for Rorschach. They only appeared in one comic, Captain Atom #85, which I have a copy of now. They're very different characters, but they're just there's an echo there, and I thought it kept consistency with what the rules they established."

Created by Steve Ditko and Dave Kaler, the pair first appeared in a Charlton book, but barely got any time to breathe before Charlton joined the DC Comics pantheon in the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The villains are a couple, who were puppeteers at Coney Island who made ends meet by moonlighting as thieves. After finding a box with alien weaponry, they taught themselves to use it in order to become supervillains and adapted the characters of Punch and Judy, characters featured in a violently comedic puppet show, to themselves.

After their careers as traditional supervillains ended, the pair would be recruited to join the Suicide Squad. After Jewelee became pregnant, they went straight for a time, but years later would return to thieving and even join the Injustice League.

In the post-Flashpoint DC Universe, Jewelee appeared as an inmate in Arkham Asylum, having been in a near-catatonic state since Punch disappeared two years before. In the "I Am Suicide" arc in Batman, the pair faked their deaths and got away together.

You can get a copy of Doomsday Clock #1 at your local comic shop or pick up a digital copy here.