Jack Nicholson’s Jack Napier aka Joker will be making his first comic book appearance in Sean Gordon Murphy’s upcoming tale Batman: The White Knight.
Murphy confirmed the news on Twitter.
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
What makes this extremely interesting is that the Joker is actually supposed to be the hero in the seven-issue miniseries while Batman becomes the villain. At least that is how DC Comics is marketing the book.
The Joker is supposedly cured of his homicidal tendencies and insanity. In an effort to make right all of his wrongs he changes his name and goes by Jack Napier instead of Joker. His first step on the path of good is coming to terms with Harley Quinn. Then he will become a politician and campaign against Gotham’s true enemy, Batman.
We know Joker’s a genius, we know he’s relentless, and we know he can play the crowd, so why not make him a politician? Why not strip away the psychosis (the thing that’s holding him back) and let him challenge Batman unimpeded? And to make it even scarier, what if he did it legally and without breaking any rules, so that Batman couldn’t stop him?
Murphy then details the reasoning behind Joker’s actions as a politician and how he now views the world:
Seeing Gotham for the first time with clear eyes, his psychosis now cured, he starts to understand the absurdity of vigilantism and how Batman’s actions are only contributing to Gotham’s endless crime cycle. Joker sets out to beat Batman by becoming the White Knight that Gotham really needs.
Murphy describes his Joker as Don Draper from Mad Men.
Frank Miller modeled him after David Bowie. Chris Nolan showed him as a controlled sociopath. I see the Joker as Don Draper.
It’s interesting that Murphy describes his Joker as Don Draper because Nicholson’s Napier wasn’t really anything like Don Draper. He was a mobster who went insane after being exposed to ACE chemicals. His entire mission was revenge. That doesn’t really sound like Don Draper.
It is possible that whatever cures Joker could have radically altered his psyche to become like Draper though. It’ll be interesting to see how Murphy transitions Nicholson’s Napier into a Don Draper or if he even uses Nicholson’s Napier at all. He could just use the name and not the actual Tim Burton character.
Batman: White Knight #1 hits comic book shelves on October 4, 2017. It will feature cover art by Sean Gordon Murphy with colors by Matt Hollingsworth.