Despite the best efforts of the Batman creative team to keep the Joker’s new look under wraps, DC Comics spoiled the big reveal Monday with the release of the November solicitations, which show a knife-wielding Clown Prince of Crime front and center on the cover of Batgirl #14. Needless to say, Batman artist Greg Capullo, who redesigned the Dark Knight’s arch-nemesis, was none too pleased.
“As careful as I’ve been to save revealing our new Joker, the powers that be have let it out ahead if our book,” he wrote on Twitter. “Stay tuned fir MY pics. In my younger days, I’d have punched several holes in the walls of my office by now. Rest assured, I will give you terror when I draw him.”
Reintroduced in DC’s New 52 as a homicidal maniac being pursued by police, the Joker was last seen in Detective Comics #1 where, imprisoned in Arkham Asylum, the Dollmaker surgically removed his face. Although much of Gotham presumed the Joker dead, last month DC released a grisly promo image teasing his return in October’s Batman #13, which kicks off the “Death of the Family” crossover (a nod to the 1988-89 story arc in which the Joker killed the second Robin, Jason Todd). That image, of a piercing blue eye peering out of the darkness and through the carved-off face of the classic villain, was followed by the cover for Issue 13, which depicts the partially obscured face of the Joker reflected in a hand mirror.
Capullo’s own cover for November’s Batman #14 (below) only reveals the character from the back — “This was the most I wanted to show you all,” the artist said on Twitter — while Ed Benes’ Batgirl illustration provides a largely unobstructed view of the Joker’s new look, which includes a leather head strap, presumably to keep the skin in place. “Try not to look at it,” Capullo cautioned. “Wait for ours if you can.”
“The more I’ve thought about the Joker leak, the more I began thinking that it may have been for the best,” he continued. “The fact is, the way Scott [Snyder] and I will give you the Joker may have been too much for some with out this diluted sample hitting the web. DC, rightly so, had concerns about our images and story. Perhaps they leaked this intentionally to test the waters or to acclimate your minds to what is coming from us. Team Batman knows how to do one thing. Destroy. So, even if you do see the leak, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Trust me. I’m still not going to reveal my sketches. I won’t let this incident blow the whole works. Be patient. Terror is heading your way.”
Batman #13 goes on sale Oct. 10.