Sean Gordon Murphy makes Batman a villain in “Batman: White Knight” miniseries

This October, Batman becomes a bad guy.

Sean Gordon Murphy, illustrator of The Wake, will helm a miniseries that puts a twist on the Batman mythos: Batman is the villain and the Joker is the hero.  After being cured of his madness, Joker makes it his mission to take down the Batman, using social issues to make his case rather than repaying violence with violence.

In a Wired exclusive, Murphy reveals details about his long-gestating project and how he approached his alternate reality take on Batman.

My main goal was to undo the comic tropes while changing Gotham from a comic book city into a real city—a city dealing with everything from Black Lives Matter to the growing wage gap,” Murphy says. “[But] rather than write a comic about the wage gap, I gave those ideas to the Joker, who leads a kind of media war against Gotham’s elite by winning people over with his potent observations and rhetoric.

A lot of these tropes have popped up in Batman comics over the years (Joker has been “cured” of his insanity before, for one), but not having this take place in the main DCU should allow for Murphy to explore these characters in a more “real world” Gotham.

Head over to Wired for more details and preview images.  Batman: White Knight begins on October 4th.

UPDATE: Here’s DC’s full press release.

Sean Murphy’s BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT Arrives October 4

In a world where Batman has gone too far, the Joker must save Gotham City.

Superstar writer and artist Sean Gordon Murphy (PUNK ROCK JESUS, THE WAKE) brings you his tale of a twisted Gotham in a seven-issue miniseries with a massive cast of heroes and villains. BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT is told on an epic scale, but at the heart of it all is the tragic story of a hero and a villain, The Batman and The Joker. The question is, which one is the hero and which one is the villain…?

The Joker’s been called a maniac, a killer, and the “Clown Prince of Crime” but “white knight”? Never. Until now…

“We know Joker’s a genius, we know he’s relentless, and we know he can play the crowd, so why not make him a politician?” said Murphy. “Why not strip away the psychosis (the thing that’s holding him back) and let him challenge Batman unimpeded? And to make it even scarier, what if he did it legally and without breaking any rules, so that Batman couldn’t stop him?”

Set in a world where the Joker is cured of his insanity and homicidal tendencies, The Joker, now known as “Jack,” sets about trying to right his wrongs. First by reconciling with Harley Quinn and then by trying to save Gotham city from the one person who he thinks is truly Gotham’s greatest villain—the Batman.

“Seeing Gotham for the first time with clear eyes, his psychosis now cured, he starts to understand the absurdity of vigilantism and how Batman’s actions are only contributing to Gotham’s endless crime cycle,” said Murphy. “Joker sets out to beat Batman by becoming the White Knight that Gotham really needs.”

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #1, written and illustrated by Sean Murphy, arrives on October 4. Cover artwork by Murphy with color by Matt Hollingsworth.