John Carpenter, the legendary director of Halloween, The Thing, and Escape from New York, adds the Joker to his horror-filled body of work.
DC has announced that the horror icon will co-write The Joker: Year of the Villain #1 along with Borderlands 2 writer Anthony Burch. The two previously collaborated on Big Trouble in Little China Old Man Jack, a miniseries chronicling Jack Burton’s last adventure in the style of Marvel’s Old Man Logan. The comic will be illustrated by Phillip Tan and Marc Deering.
The 40-page one-shot will tie into the Year of the Villain event DC has been building up to in the pages of Scott Snyder’s and James Tynion IV’s Justice League (in addition to the 25-cent Year of the Villain comic released back in May 1 of this year).
Carpenter and Burch are set to explore the Joker’s reaction to Lex Luthor’s vision of a new world order, in which apex supervillains stand united under the banner of the Legion of Doom to become the leaders of the universe. It sounds like a change in status quo the Joker is struggling to accept.
One is hard-pressed not to think what John Carpenter would have done with a Joker movie during the height of his career. It could have possibly been a slasher combing the most terrifying elements of Halloween (1978) with some of the campiness of the Batman ’66 TV show. Joker could’ve been presented as a more theatrical and way more verbal version of Michael Myers but still shrouded in mystery as to his origins. Or perhaps we could’ve gotten a film based on his origin story that would frame Gotham City as an urban nightmare on the brink of absolute ruin, inspired by the aesthetics of Escape from New York (1981). It would’ve been accompanied by a dark synth soundtrack composed by Carpenter himself, capturing the Clown Prince’s own brand of comedic carnage. I don’t think Batman would’ve featured heavily in the movie, if at all. Joker would’ve taken center stage with an unwillingness to share in the spotlight.
We might get a glimpse of what that movie would have been like when the comic releases on Oct. 9, just five days after the premiere of Todd Phillips’ Joker movie. It will be interesting to see how Carpenter’s Joker inserts himself into the long tradition of Jokers we’ve been treated to in both comics and film. I believe there’s room for comparisons between Jokers throughout all mediums to get at which one is the most impressive, imposing, terrifying, or funny. Can there ever be a discussion on the best Joker without considering Mark Hamill’s Joker from Batman: The Animated Series? Without Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Joker from Death of the Family?
We will have to wait and see what John Carpenter’s Joker brings to the table, other than a tweaked hand buzzer and his signature laughing gas.
Be sure to reserve your copy in your local comic shop.
(Cover photo by Gabriel Serrano Denis)