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DC Comics spoils Joker reveal, irks Greg Capullo

From "Batgirl" #14, by Ed Benes

Despite the best efforts of the Batman creative team to keep the Joker’s new look under wraps, DC Comics spoiled the big reveal Monday with the release of the November solicitations, which show a knife-wielding Clown Prince of Crime front and center on the cover of Batgirl #14. Needless to say, Batman artist Greg Capullo, who redesigned the Dark Knight’s arch-nemesis, was none too pleased.

“As careful as I’ve been to save revealing our new Joker, the powers that be have let it out ahead if our book,” he wrote on Twitter. “Stay tuned fir MY pics. In my younger days, I’d have punched several holes in the walls of my office by now. Rest assured, I will give you terror when I draw him.”

Reintroduced in DC’s New 52 as a homicidal maniac being pursued by police, the Joker was last seen in Detective Comics #1 where, imprisoned in Arkham Asylum, the Dollmaker surgically removed his face. Although much of Gotham presumed the Joker dead, last month DC released a grisly promo image teasing his return in October’s Batman #13, which kicks off the “Death of the Family” crossover (a nod to the 1988-89 story arc in which the Joker killed the second Robin, Jason Todd). That image, of a piercing blue eye peering out of the darkness and through the carved-off face of the classic villain, was followed by the cover for Issue 13, which depicts the partially obscured face of the Joker reflected in a hand mirror.

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Four-minute preview reveals Batman Live to be a trippy fever dream

While the pre-overhaul Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark seemed somewhat avant garde, maybe even surreal, with its eight-legged spider goddess, Swiss knife-inspired villainess and DayGlo Goblin, the upcoming Batman Live struck me as pretty straightforward: For all of its bullet-time effects, the first trailer for the arena tour looked like someone had simply translated Batman: Hush into a live-action production.

But then today England’s Liverpool Echo released a four-minute sneak peek of the show, and “straightforward” went right out the window. The sequence, bathed in black light, is somehow both languid and manic, with Batman confronted first by a gigantic head of Joker, and then by his minions — who form the teeth of the demonic maw before dropping down and rolling onto the stage. The scene turns even more disturbing as the henchmen form into some kind of psychedelic majorette troupe that’s seen too many performances of Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. All the while, Dick Grayson is being held captive in … a big hamster ball.

Watch the trailer after the break (you won’t be sorry). Batman Live opens July 19 in England, and then finds its way to North America in August 2012. After seeing this delirium-inducing preview, all I can say is it can’t get here soon enough.

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Joker breaks out the crowbar (again) in Detective Comics #881

A sequence from Detective Comics #881, by Jock

Last night Jock offered a sneak peek at “some Joker business” from August’s Detective Comics #881, the conclusion of his well-regarded run on the series with writer Scott Snyder, and the final issue before DC Comics’ big line-wide relaunch. It’s “the issue everyone will be talking about,” the publisher promises. That may be hyperbole, of course. But it also may be because Jock’s snapshot of a crowbar-wielding Joker harks back to a 22-year-old scene from Batman #427 that didn’t turn out so well for the character on the receiving end. Oh, sure, Jason Todd got better; it just took him 15 years.

Check out the original sequence after the break. Detective Comics #881 hits shelves on Aug. 10.

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Jock unveils Joker pin-up for upcoming Detective Comics cover

With DC riding high on the news cycle given their plans to relaunch their superhero universe come September, leave it to none other than superstar artist Jock to show there’s still some great comics to look forward to between now and then.

Over on his always active twitter feed, Jock premiered a Joker cover presumed to be for an upcoming issue of his current series Detective Comics. What do you think?

Within 9 minutes Jock obtained over 25 retweets of this image, leading the artist to remark that he’s “NEVER had a response like that before. hit a nerve? maybe a funny bone….”

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Wolverine #1, the top seller in September

Publishing | John Jackson Miller delves into September’s grim direct-market sales figures and discovers a (relative) bright spot: Sales of lower-tier titles — those that don’t crack Diamond’s Top 300 — appear to be increasing, to record levels. “How do we know?” Miller writes. “Believe it or not, a record for high sales was actually set in September. The 300th place comic book, Boom’s Farscape #11, sold more copies to retailers in September than in any month since November 1996: 4,702 copies. That’s a record for the period following Marvel’s return to Diamond. This bellwether tells us about the shape of the market, and how prolific the major and middle-tier publishers are; when many of their titles are being released and reordered, higher-volume titles tend to push farther into the list.”

However, the higher you go on the list, the worse things look: “The average comic book in the Top 25 is selling more poorly in 2010 than in 2003. At the very top of the chart, 2010’s average top-sellers are about 25% off what the best-sellers of 2003 were doing.” [The Comichron]

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Calvin and Hobbes, meet Joker and Lex

Joker and Lex

Wow. I knew Lee Bermejo could draw some steely-lookin’ bad guys, but I didn’t know he could also channel Bill Watterson so well I’d have a hard time telling the two apart. Behold “Joker and Lex,” Bermejo and writer Brian Azzarello’s Calvin and Hobbes-esque contribution to the Superman/Batman all-star 75th-issue spectacular. I don’t even wanna think about what the rules of Jokerball would be in the alternate universe where this strip is a universally beloved classic — let alone what kind of “Joker peeing” stickers it might have spawned.

(via Topless Robot)

Straight for the art | Jim Lee’s iPad fingerpaintings

The Joker by Jim Lee and his iPad

The Joker by Jim Lee and his iPad

The benefits of early adoption: As Apple’s iPad takes the world by storm despite its dubious utility, DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee is taking his iPad and creating some pretty lovely portraits of Batman’s rogues gallery. The Dave McKean/Arkham Asylum-influenced Joker above is one of a pair of images of the Clown Prince of Crime Lee posted to Twitpic after losing his first and (according to him) best one to a crash, and there’s a Catwoman — “fingerpainted” on the iPad screen using Sketchbook Pro — below. Stay tuned to Lee’s Twitter account for more, I would imagine (and hope).

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