Batman: Why the Joker Needs Punchline, Explained | CBR

One of the most talked about characters introduced to the DC Universe this year is Punchline, created by James Tynion IV and Jorge Jimenez in the pages of Batman as the Joker’s latest fiendish sidekick.

In an exclusive interview with CBR, Tynion IV revealed he came up with the character for narratively utilitarian reasons, to give the Clown Prince of Crime someone significantly less chaotic to command his gang.

RELATED: Batman: Clownhunter, Gotham’s Newest, And Oddest, Vigilante Joins Joker War

Tynion explained, “Joker needed to have a lieutenant if we were going to have ‘Joker War,’ because Joker isn’t really a general; Joker is going to do what Joker is going to do. Even though he can have a whole gang system around him, you need the person who’s actually telling the different gang members what to do, because Joker is just going to say something mysterious and then shoot one of them in the head and then go off and do whatever he wants.”

“Harley Quinn used to be in that role,” Tynion continued. “Harley Quinn was his top lieutenant who would have been the one helping manage all the gang members as Joker sort of does whatever Joker wants to do, so I needed a character in that role.”

Praising Jimenez’s designs for the character, Tynion noted that while Punchline may not be as random and unpredictable as the Joker, she is no less deadly. “Punchline represents young people getting radicalized by dark ideologies, and she has been radicalized by the dark ideology of the Joker. She’s a full believer in what the Joker is and what he represents, probably even more so than the Joker actually believes anything that he says that he represents because the Joker is more of a nihilist than he claims to be when he’s waxing poetic.”

RELATED: Batman: DC Releases Complete Joker War Checklist

Written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Guillem March, Batman #92 goes on sale June 9 from DC Comics.

Batman writer James Tynion explains why he decided to introduce the Joker's latest sidekick, Punchline, ahead of Joker War.

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