Time To Panic When The Joke’s On You
Jan 19, 2018
by Vince Brusio
Jody House has an interesting gig over at DC’s Young Animal, as she’s on board a strange, surreal ship without a compass, and yet the passengers are from a city that most of us would recognize — in part. In Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #1 (JAN180247), Violet Paige is a stranger in a strange land, even though that land is one she normally would call her home. Up is down, black is white, and Violet has to navigate it all the while contending with what used to be the world’s most dangerous jokester. In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, writer Jody Houser tells us it might be time to panic as Violet Paige has been thrust into a high-tech town that has zero tolerance for caped crusaders.
Vince Brusio: This series is described as a “different Bat-time, different Bat-channel.” Obviously a reference to the 60s TV show. Is that why the Joker on the front cover resembles Cesar Romero? Who made that call? What’s the significance?
Jody Houser: In this case, it's a very literal statement about the setting. It just happens that there was a perfect Batman-related phrase to describe the change in the status quo of the book.
Vince Brusio: The fallout from the “Milk Wars” is said to have impacted Violet Paige significantly. Could you elaborate? What psychic or physical scars keep her up at night? How is she processing the aftermath? Where is her head? And do we really want to know the answer to these questions?
Jody Houser: Expanding on the last answer, the events of Milk Wars pulled Violet out of her own reality. And the place she was sent back to isn't HER Gotham. Wrong universe and wrong year. She doesn't have her resources or support. And in this world, the people she has been trying to take down have somehow managed to take over all of Gotham City.
Vince Brusio: The world has been taken over by the Collective. That’s a bleak picture in any native tongue. The world has been consumed by a central force? Prior to us seeing the visuals in the book, are there any details you could part with so that we can better imagine the dystopian landscape? Are we going to be looking at something straight out of David Lynch’s Eraserhead, or are there other shades of grey for us to interpret?
Jody Houser: The Collective is the group who founded the Gather House program that turned Violet into who she is, the nouveau riche who were looking to gain a foothold in a city where the power structure is heavily steeped in history. Their vision for Gotham is what we've been calling "neon noir"--a lot of gentrification for starters. It's a city being remade.
Vince Brusio: The book’s description says that the Joker is a sad clown that’s been reduced to making balloon toys. Wow. Talk about a fall from grace. The world’s most notorious homicidal maniac is now a broken-down circus reject that twists inflated latex for a living? Did the Joker have a stroke? What brought about this cataclysm? What does it smell like?
Jody Houser: There have been some fascinating explorations of what happens to the Joker when Batman vanishes. Playing in another reality gives us a chance to try our take on it.
Oh, yes, obviously Batman isn't around. It would be hard for The Collective to take over if he was.
Vince Brusio: How does Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #1 fit into the culture that’s been created by DC’s Young Animal? How does this book show us it’s wearing the Young Animal team jersey?
Jody Houser: Like the other Young Animal titles, we're looking to make this as weird and wild a ride as possible. And playing in a different reality means we can push Gotham and its familiar faces even further than we did in the first year of the series.
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.