Sean Murphy's Got It Covered: Batman White Knight
What would happen if Joker was "cured" somehow--would he be a good guy, or would he be a greater threat than ever…
by Troy-Jeffrey Allen
Sean Gordon Murphy (Chrononauts, Tokyo Ghost, and The Wake) was already a highly sought after talent prior to 2018’s Batman White Knight. His vigorous art style had garnered a reputation for turning heads in Artist Alley, on the secondary market, and on comic shop new release walls. Some of that has to do with first impressions. The artist-writer just knows how to build an eye-catching cover.
“As always, the trick is to give shops the easiest cover to sell — something that showcases the characters in a clear, exciting way,” Murphy begins, explaining his methodology. “But also something that pops off the shelves. With so many comic covers being too bombastic, I try to keep mine clean and simple so it sticks out on the shelf.”
The cover he’s referring to specifically is the latest iteration of White Knight, a hardcover version (above) made exclusive to comic shop retailers. Outisde of the switch to hardcover, what makes this cover different from the previous version is its focus. “I love the idea of Harley being caught between the two versions of Joker — the devil and the angel,” Gordon Murphy describes. “And readers always like head-to-toe shots of characters, so I’m really happy with the bottom half of the cover.”
That’s not to say there aren’t similarities to the softcover version. Clean, simple, and eye-popping is the goal, but the artist also follows his muse. “I think it’s always fun to show Batman behind bars,” Murphy says about the upper-body of his image. “Hopefully this cover will be a crowd-pleaser that they can easily find on the shelf.”
In addition to writing and penciling, Sean Gordon Murphy also inks and colors traditionally (Note: Matt Hollingsworth colors the interiors of White Knight). Which, unfortunately for this “Got It Covered” article, means that the original pencils are inked and colored over as Murphy works towards completing his process. “I’m 100% traditional — pencils, inks, brush, quills, etc.,” says Murphy. “A lot of artists are working digitally, but I’ll always work with pen and paper.”
Sean Gordon Murphy didn’t rob us of some behind-the-scenes process art, however. Take a look at what it took to build DC Comics’ runaway hit of 2018.
As for The White Knight, he’ll return in 2019 with Batman: Curse of the White Knight.The hotly-anticipated sequel that Sean was nice enough to include in his collection of studio art below.
About Batman White Knight:
After years of epic battles, the Dark Knight finally finds a way to cure the twisted mind of his archenemy. The Joker…is now sane. The Clown Prince of Crime has now changed his ways, fighting for good in Gotham City, and it may just cause Batman to go over the edge of his own sanity.
Writer/artist Sean Murphy takes the helm of this Batman/Joker story like no one else could, delivering an alternative examination of the relationship between the greatest rivals in the DC Universe, exploring the darkest corners of justice and madness. This title is the first collected edition from the new DC Black Label imprint, and includes the entire eight-issue miniseries!
The DC Black Label hardcover of Batman: The White Knight (JAN198939) is available May 15th — only at comics shops.