DC’s Black Label continues to carve out its niche as a place for people to make more Joker comics with Joker: Killer Smile, a new comic from Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino hitting stores in October. Additionally, the imprint will move outside its comfort zone for a non-Joker comic also written by Lemire, with Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Sotomayor: The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage. That one will be out in November.
DC media partner io9 had the EX-X-XCLUSIVE reveal of both titles, alongside an interview with Lemire. Joker: Killer Smile will pit the villain against a mental health professional at Arkham Asylum named Dr. Ben Arnell, presumably because his health insurance won’t cover his criminal psychiatric treatment. In the interview, Lemire explained why the world needs yet another Joker comic.
io9: The Joker’s obviously a beloved character, but his popularity has lead to the character being picked apart and dissected from so many perspectives over the years, that there are times when you can’t help but wonder what new ground can broken with him.
But in responding to another question, he did provide some insight into what his Joker comic will be about.
I wanted to tell an intimate story about how the Joker’s evil is something that can devastate a normal family or a relationship as much as it devastates society as a whole. That the idea that really grabbed me, that sense of terror that would come from letting something like the Joker into your family. As someone who has a family myself, that kind of chaos and darkness infecting my personal space is the scariest thing I can think of, and so I started there.
In The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage, the titular Question will be trapped in a reincarnation loop in Hub City beginning in the 1800s, clearly a metaphor for the comic industry’s inability to move onto new ideas and insistence on constantly rehashing the same concepts over and over again with stuff like multiple Joker comics. Lemire said of the series:
As much as I loved Denys’ run, we’re not exactly trying to continue that story with this series because it isn’t my place to do that, but I did want to remix and revisit some of the ideas at work there in a way that made them feel even more relevant in 2019. There’s a lot of that same ambition to tell a story with a political edge and social relevance, but it’s also a really just a great detective story.
Joker: Killer Smile hits stores on October 30th with The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage in stores on November 20th.