October 13, 2008

It’s been awhile since I’ve been truly stoked to know that a comic or graphic novel is coming out, but this Halloween, Joker comes to town.

Joker is an upcoming hardcover graphic novel written by Brian Azzarello. The novel, as the title suggests, is a story that centers on Batman’s main foe and Gotham City’s favorite asshole, The Joker. Apparently, according to early reviews, it’s one of the most horrific and scary interpretations of The Joker ever, and that’s including Heath Ledger’s excellent film portrayal in The Dark Knight.
Just to hammer home the idea that this Joker is scary and completely nuts, here’s the cover….



If the art style looks familiar to anyone out there, that’s because it’s done by Lee Bermejo, the artist behind the covers to the Hellblazer comic series. However, if you like Keanu Reeves more than you do quality entertainment, you might know Hellblazer as that book that the film Constantine was “based” on.

Funny story: The artist and the writer of Joker developed their interpretation of the titular villain to be menacing and ugly (inside and out) and based it around the notion of “if he were real, how could you make him scary?” So they gave him a hunched posture, untamed his hair, dialed down his clothes and gave him a Glasgow smile. Hmm…. Why does that sound familiar?
Azzarello and Bermejo started development of Joker in 2005, and when they got to around page 40 of drawing the book, the first images of Heath Ledger’s Joker surfaced. I would’ve paid money to see their reaction to viewing it for the first time.

Anyway, the plot focuses on The Joker being released from Arkham Asylum (possibly for good behavior?) only to discover that Gotham City’s underworld has changed. Instead of the crime factions respecting each other’s turf, a gangland civil war is taking place between the mobsters and the costumed crazies. Because of all of the infighting amongst the different families, the cuts for all of the major crime bosses has dwindled. Refusing to accept the meager scraps that are handed to him, The Joker decides once and for all to destroy everyone and take it all for himself.
To make it more interesting, the whole story is told from the perspective of one of The Joker’s subordinates, who gives a first-hand account of The Joker’s descent into madn– well, further madness, I guess.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m stoked for it. A nice, scary, violent, insanely graphic, well-told Joker story just in time for Halloween. Color me tickled pink!