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Joker #1
Credit: DC Comics

The Joker...there's a guy you hear about a lot these days. A little more than 10 years after the late Heath Ledger stunned the world with his contemporary take on the Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight, the Joker got his own solo movie that made Joaquin Phoenix the second actor to win an Oscar for playing the character. And yet, for all the attention the Joker gets in pop culture (you can play him in Mortal Kombat now!) he hasn't had much time to himself in the pages of comics...until now, that is. DC Comics announced on Wednesday that a new ongoing Joker comic is launching next spring. It will be written by James Tynion IV (Justice League Dark, The Department of Truth) and illustrated by Guillem March.

“When I was approached by DC about the concept of an ongoing series spotlighting The Joker, I thought, ‘What would that book even look like?’” Tynion, who will be writing The Joker alongside his pre-existing duties on Batman, said in a statement. “I’m excited to share this story in a way that honors everything that a series about The Joker can be, while coming at if from an exciting, unexpected angle. I’m also thrilled to continue working with Sam [Johns] and Mirka [Andolfo] to expand the Punchline story we began in November as a back-up feature in this new ongoing Joker series. The Joker War was only the beginning of the terror and mayhem we’re creating!”

As Tynion's statement indicates, the new series will build off Tynion's recent Batman storylines — mainly, the "Joker War" crossover event, and the introduction of new Joker-influenced characters like Punchline. In the wake of the Joker War, the titular supervillain is now the most wanted man in the world. DC's plot tease indicates that Batman's old ally Commissioner Jim Gordon "realizes this is the last manhunt of his life and vows to track down Gotham’s worst nemesis, completing his storied career." In a tweet, Tynion clarified that "as much as Joker is a Joker book, Joker is a JIM GORDON book."

This is not the first time the Joker has had his own monthly comic from DC. The first attempt was a 1975 series written by the late DC legend Denny O'Neil that ran for nine issues before cancellation, with a 10th issue completed from drafts and published in October 2019. But this will be the first time the Joker has gotten an ongoing comic in the 21st century, with the kind of worldwide fandom he has now. Maybe this time his solo outing will last.

The Joker #1 is set to hit stores March 9, 2021. Check out the main cover by March above, and a variant by Frank Quitely below.

Joker #1
Credit: DC Comics

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