In his semi-regular email newsletter, which you can sign up for here (we HIGHLY recommend it), current Batman scribe James Tynion IV revealed details for the next few issues of Batman, Joker War, and two of his newest characters.
Of note, Tynion explored the who, what, where, and why of Clownhunter — a character he’s only teased with a name-drop in previous emails. According to the writer, this character was born out of the Internet’s reaction to Punchline. As Tynion explains, “I think the current generation of comic book reader is HUNGRY for its own generation of comic book characters. Characters they get to participate in the introduction of, and they get to learn the origin of, and see how other characters react to them…”
Seeing the reaction to Punchline and how readers want to be fleshed out, newer characters they can claim ownership of inspired Tynion to create Clownhunter as a fully formed character to offset the Batman and Joker dynamic of the upcoming Joker War arc. Clownhunter represents the point of view of Gothamites during the war. He’s the POV of those living on the ground as two titans go at it once more. He’s also intended to be a new champion to live beyond the events of Joker War, so long as readers will have him.
Tynion also provided further insight into this new character’s psyche. He wrote, “CLOWNHUNTER is a quiet, weird kid who lives in the Narrows. He mumbles jokes to himself under his breath, but doesn’t speak up in class or while he’s gaming late at night. When he was a kid, he saw his parents killed by the Joker, and his life was saved by Batman. He idolized Batman for years. But when Joker War starts, and Batman can’t stop it out the gate, he picks up a baseball bat, hammers in the Batarang Batman gave him as a kid, and goes out to start killing the Clown gang members terrorizing his neighborhood.”
As to how Clownhunter is different from Punchline, Tynion added, “He’s a different sort of vigilante. Vigilantes in Gotham normally come with high tech costumes and gadgets. He’s more lo-fi, and more willing to cross the lines that the usual vigilantes don’t. There’s a dark, young city brewing underneath Batman’s feet in Gotham… On one hand we have Punchline, who represents a new kind of villain, a kind of young person radicalized into believing something deeply dangerous… On the other hand, we have Clownhunter, who sees himself as a hero, but has tossed out the entire moral playbook of Batman, and doesn’t respect his old ways of looking at the world.”
A character concept sketch by Batman artist Jorge Jimenez was released with this announcement. You can see it below.
We will get our first look at Clownhunter in action in the pages of Batman #96, after the Joker War has already begun. Though we’ve got our first tease of Punchline, we’ll see her more in the spotlight with June’s release of Batman #92.
Tynion also provided a checklist that details which issues of Batman the Joker War will encompass and which tie-ins readers should look out for. Check it out below.