In the nearly 80 years that he’s spent terrorising Gotham City, he’s gone by many different names. John Doe. Jackanapes. The Clown Prince of Crime. Puddin’. The Joker’s true identity is the card he’s always played closest to his chest, but it’s about to be revealed in DC’s upcoming Batman: White Knight.
Image: DC Comics
Yesterday, White Knight writer and artist Sean Gordon Murphy took to his Twitter account to share a bit of rather significant news — something he’d just gotten the clear from DC and Warner Brothers to reveal to the public, along with a bit of art from the book:
Big news: JACK NAPIER will be the name of my JOKER. Warner just approved--1st time Napier has been in a comic (minus Burton adaptations). pic.twitter.com/u4YwZLMmGL
— Sean Gordon Murphy (@Sean_G_Murphy) August 17, 2017
Jack Napier, you’ll remember, is the same name of the man who eventually becomes the Joker in Tim Burton’s Batman from 1989, meaning that in a way, we’ve known the Joker’s true identity for almost three decades now. It’s also interesting to note that the Joker was also identified as “Melvin Reipan” in Dennis O’Neil and Bret Blevins’ Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight from 1993. “Reipan” spelt backwards, is Napier.
Because White Knight takes place in an alternate universe where Batman has become the ultimate evil plaguing Gotham and the Joker is the one hero fit to stop him, this new-ish identity for the Joker can be considered another entry in the long list of aliases he’s used to perpetually keep people on their toes. But given DC and Warner Brothers’ blessing and the prominent place that Jack Nicholson’s performance as the Joker has in the Batman canon, this name definitely ranks fairly high on the list.
Thank goodness it didn’t turn out to be something terrible like... Jerome Valeska. Can you imagine? That’d be insane.