The Joker is easily one of the most enigmatic characters in comic book history, especially because he has had so many different origins and names it's hard to keep track of it all. The upcoming comic book Batman: White Knight will take this iconic character in a whole new direction, as he re-enters civilian life, having been cured of his criminal insanity, and the name he's taking will be quite familiar to Bat-fans. Writer and artist Sean Gordon Murphy confirmed on social media today that The Joker's "real" name in this upcoming comic will be none other than Jack Napier, the same name of Jack Nicholson's Joker from the 1989 Tim Burton classic, Batman. Here's what Sean Gordon Murphy had to say below.
"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)."
The news broke on Sean Gordon Murphy's Twitter this morning, which was accompanied by some comic book artwork from Batman: White Knight, with the first issue debuting October 4. Aside from Tim Burton's Batman, the name Jack Napier has been associated with The Joker before, with Mark Hamill portraying this Joker character in Batman: The Animated Series in the 1990s, and David U. Hodges playing him in 1995's Batman Forever. This version of Jack Napier is believed to be much different than any that have come before. Here's the official plot description for Batman: White Knight below.
"Batman: White Knight is told on an epic scale, but at the heart of it all is the tragic story of a hero and a villain, The Batman and The Joker. The question is, which one is the hero and which one is the villain? The Joker's been called a maniac, a killer, and the "Clown Prince of Crime" but "white knight"? Never. Until now. Set in a world where the Joker is cured of his insanity and homicidal tendencies, The Joker, now known as 'Jack,' sets about trying to right his wrongs. First by reconciling with Harley Quinn and then by trying to save Gotham city from the one person who he thinks is truly Gotham's greatest villain, the Batman."
Batman: White Knight #1, written and illustrated by Sean Murphy, arrives on October 4, and will be the first in a seven-issue mini-series, but don't be surprised if this is the first and only time Jack Napier will be seen in the Batman comics. There are often major changes to characters like this in self-contained stories, which is exactly what this seven-issue mini-series is, so don't expect this civilian Joker to stick around in the comics. However, this may not even be the strangest in the upcoming crop of Batman comics.
DC released new comic in June called Batman vs. Elmer Fudd, where the Caped Crusader squares off against the lovable Looney Tunes character, Elmer Fudd. The story centers on a "chance meeting" Elmer Fudd has with Bruce Wayne, which leads Fudd to start obsessing over Bruce Wayne and Batman, stalking him throughout Gotham City. This comic was part of DC's mash-up special with Looney Tunes. While we wait for more on Batman: White Knight, take a look at the tweet from Sean Gordon Murphy, which includes new artwork of The Joker, along with more artwork from the comic.