In the upcoming miniseries, Batman: White Knight, by writer and illustrator Sean Murphy, Batman will become the villain while the Joker, now cured of his insanity, becomes the hero.
Murphy recently got approval from WB to use the name Jack Napier for his cured Joker. Fans will recognize the name as the one used for Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Tim Burton’s 1989 film, Batman.
In a recent interview, Murphy said:
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.
He continues to say:
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?
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.
Batman: White Knight #1, written and illustrated by Sean Murphy, arrives on October 4.
Cover artwork by Murphy with color by Matt Hollingsworth.