Sean Gordon Murphy has been teasing out details from his Batman solo project for weeks, releasing tantalizing pieces of artwork and clues via his Twitter account. Now, we finally have our first concrete details about the writer/artist's ambitious Gotham City-based project, and it's probably not what anyone expected: Batman: White Knight will cast the vigilante's classic nemesis the Joker in the role of Gotham City's protector, as he attempts to save it from the criminal machinations of a bat-costumed Bruce Wayne.
"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," Murphy told Wired in an interview announcing the series. "[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."
"It's sexy to think crime can be stopped with a fist, but the real solution is a lot more boring than that: education, increasing wages, and building trust," Murphy added. "The line Batman rides between 'noble vigilante' and 'overzealous oppressor' will always be shifting as our own society changes."
Though he stopped short of revealing his series' premise ahead of the official unveiling, Murphy has been teasing his plans to add his own spin to the Batman mythos. One of his earlier tweets, in which he shared his take on the Joker, promised, "My Batman story makes it OK to have a crush on Joker!" With the Clown Prince of Crime (and apparently his longtime girlfriend Harley Quinn) now cast in the role of savior rather than enemy of Gotham, it's now clear that he really meant what he wrote.
"We know the Joker is a genius, we know he's relentless, and we know he can play the crowd, so why not make him a politician?" Murphy said of the Joker's new role. "Frank Miller modeled him after David Bowie. Chris Nolan showed him as a controlled sociopath. I see the Joker as Don Draper."
Batman: White Knight #1, by Sean Gordon Murphy, arrives in stores Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.