JOKER WAR started this week. And people like it! Hooray! That’s always a massive relief. The best and worst thing about working on this arc is that we’ve been working ahead for MONTHS now. Jorge is almost done with Issue 100. The upside, is being able to look at the whole thing and tighten the screws to make it the best it can be. The downside is working in a vacuum, not being able to hear what people are connecting to while we work.
But I’ve been feeling good about this one.
In this issue, we also finally got the first in comic appearance of Punchline where she’s drawn by her co-creator, Jorge Jimenez! I love the personality he gives her. And we’re only getting started… Just wait until she gets her rematch with Harley Quinn in a few issues. Jorge knocked it out of the PARK. He knocks every issue out of the park.
I really think you can see a whole new generation of superhero art coming into fashion, that takes a lot of influence from Manga and Anime without mimicking it, while feeling very classic superhero as well. There’s a great dynamism to all of that art, and it makes me want to write deeply exciting comic books to match its dynamism. Jorge embodies all of that, and there’s a youth and vibrancy to his work that’s just unmatched. He, alongside Tomeu Morey, are doing the work of their lives on this story, and it is absolutely drop dead gorgeous.
Next issue, you all get to meet Clownhunter. He is my other weird baby, and I love him. The above is the Derrick Chew variant of Batman 99, and it looks SO COOL! There’s going to be a lot of Clownhunter stories between now and the end of the year, so I hope you all love him as much as I do. The story in Joker War Zone that I got to write for James Stokoe is a particular favorite of mine, and starts to reveal more about who this kid is until his mask. Clownhunter isn’t a bat-family member, he’s a teenager who’s grown sick as hell of a city that keeps letting the Joker attack again and again and again. He’s decided to solve the clown problem in a more permanent way. He has a history with clowns, and absolutely hates them. You won’t learn that full history for a little while yet, but it’s coming.
I also talked a bit about Ghost-Maker in a few interviews I did for Joker War. He’s got a brief cameo appearance in 100, before he comes into play in a big way with the story arc that starts with 102. I am very excited about this character. There’s a big part of me that just wants to drop the design of the character into this newsletter, but I think DC PR would send its ninjas to come decapitate me in the night. You’ll see it a bit closer to the . There’s a lot to say about him, but the core concept has been sitting with me for a long, long time. This character is Batman’s teenage rival. When they were both young men, they were going around to the greatest crimefighters in the world to learn their craft. Ghost-Maker thought Batman was a spoiled rich kid with childish views of right and wrong. He still thinks that. They’ve had an uneasy truce for years to not interfere with each other, but after Joker War? Ghost-Maker thinks its time for Gotham City to have a new hero.
Seriously, I can’t wait for you to meet him.
Now, does this all tie into what I was playing with in regard to The Designer and Cassandra Wycliffe Baker from These Dark Designs? Absolutely, it does!! Everything matters!
The other thing I let slip in one of those interviews is that I’m going to be bringing back Harper Row, Bluebird, in a project I can’t talk about directly yet. She and her brother Cullen serve as a perfect mirror to the sort of work I’m looking to do. Joker War is designed to change Gotham City, and I need more characters in hand that serve as the voice of the “man on the street.” Another character I’m excited to be giving more play is Leslie Thompkins.
Anyways. I’m excited. We’ve got plans. That’s the thing about you all meeting these new characters. I’ve already co-written a oversized one-shot about one of them, written an annual for another, and we’re pitching something in the digital space for a third… And that’s not counting the plans for the characters in 2021. We’re making big crazy plans. I made these toys to play with them, and I am very, very excited to play with them! Now I want people to make actual toys and statues of them so I can ACTUALLY play with them!
This is where the experimenting I was talking about in my independent work pays off in my Batman work. There are so many Batman stories out there, in every medium you can imagine, I want to make sure the main Batman title is a book telling stories you literally CAN’T get in any other medium. These new characters are a big part of that. You’re only going to get them here.
But that’s what comes AFTER Joker War. We still have a whole war to go! Stay tuned.