San Diego Comic-Con 2018
This Thursday’s DC Focus on Geoff Johns panel had Dan Didio questioning his friend Geoff Johns about his current projects. After talking about the upcoming Titans television show and Stargirl spin-off, Johns talked about his long-awaited comic series, Batman: Three Jokers. They revealed the cover art for the first issue, coming out this winter.
After discussing the earlier comics Geoff Johns wrote, Dan Didio, co-publisher of DC Comics, moved on to the future. On the large screen behind them, the cover to Batman: Three Jokers was premiered. Johns then went on to describe the series.
“So, this is a story [Jason] Fabok and I’ve been talking about for a while now and we’re doing it. It’s three issues. Three 46-page prestige format issues and we’re working on it right now. That cover of, I think it’s beautiful. Jay’s one of the, I think, best artists, and one of the few kind of up and coming artists. He’s relatively a young guy. He hasn’t been in the business that long. I think it’s actually kind of rare to find artists as good as him evolving as quickly as he does. There’s a lot Brian Bolland in there actually, when you look at it.”
“But this story is focused on, I don’t want to spoil it too much because everyone’s like, oh, it’s not about… it’s not about other dimensions or other Earths or anything like that. It’s a very grounded emotional story about the mystery of the Joker. And Batman’s kind of realization that there’s more than one out there and what does that mean. And it really focuses on Bruce, Barbara, and Jason. Those are the three characters it’s really focused on.”
Black Label Branding
Then Didio mentioned Batman: Three Jokers would be published under DC’s Black Label branding. However, some of the story still plays within DC itself. Johns responded, “Yeah, I was, when you guys suggested the DC Black Label I thought Jay and I were both really excited about it. Because it’s an opportunity to just tell our story without any constraints. And it’s been a blast so far. It’s going to take us a while to get it done, but we’re hoping it will be out sometime in the winter.”
Next, Didio asked how much of the story exists from the way Johns originally conceived it to where it is right now. Johns explained, “This story is exactly the same as– I mean I pitched you the ending probably a year ago. It’s exactly the same. Not the panels and the lines of dialogue. It’s evolved and grown just because it’s being written. But– I’ve never had a chance to tell a Batman– I’ve never really told Batman, beyond Batman: Earth One. I’ve never really done a Batman story. Part of that is because I feel like Batman’s awesome and great. There so many great Batman stories. And if I’m going to tell a Batman story, I want to make it a really special, cool, amazing story that no one’s ever seen before.”
A JOKER STORY
“There’s been a lot of Joker stories too. So, how can I tell a Joker story that’s emotional and epic? And this is all about character. It’s all about the kind of shared pain between Bruce and Barbara and Jason and how that’s affected each of them. And what the Joker really wants and what he’s up to. And at the core of the mystery of, what does the Joker really want? Is it just random, is it chaos, is it… it’s all about scars and feeling wrong. And feeling right. […] I could tell one Joker story. This is the Joker story I want to tell.”
Didio was interested in Johns take on the story. He asked if Johns thought of it as a Batman story or a Joker story. Johns replied, “I always think of it as the Joker’s story.” Didio commented, “I was always interested by your lack of interest in Batman. Which always seems—for most people who don’t know this, anybody who wants to come to DC, usually comes because they want to work on Batman. It’s one of the things we hear over and over again. And that’s the one thing that you’ve avoided consistently. And even now, you act like your avoiding it still. Oh, it’s a Joker story and doing a Batman story.”
BRUCE AND JOKER
“I actually love Batman. He’s one of my favorite characters. But again, it feels like there’s– and this does explore a new facet of who Bruce Wayne is. That’s never been explored in the comics. There’s a story that we’re doing, that I’m surprised has never been explored. And really tackles a core emotional issue of Bruce Wayne. And it does connect with Joker in a way that’s kind of changing it forever. Like by the end of the series, Bruce and Joker will have a relationship that is completely different than the one that they have now.”
THE TRUE JOKER
At the end of the panel Dan Didio tried one last time to get Geoff Johns to reveal something about the Three Jokers. Didio asked, “Is there one Joker in your mind that is the true Joker?” Johns instantly came back with, “You’ll have to read that in the book to find out.” Undaunted, Didio said, “Let me try again. Do you have distinctions between the three Jokers that identify them as different characters?” Johns firmly replied, “A hundred percent. But that might just be for my head.”
Geoff Johns went on to say, “You’ll see, there’s this really fun scene. I mean I’ll spoil it. Jay’s probably going to send me an email. Why did you tell a scene from the book. But I will anyway. There’s this really fun seen where there’s a Joker. He’s driving this truck. I won’t tell you what it is or what’s in it. And he goes to the woods. There’s a cabin with the light on and Joker walks up to the cabin. And he knocks on the door. The door opens and there’s a joker standing there wearing a Hawaiian shirt. And the Joker says that’s my shirt.”