‘Batman: Death of the Family': Joker mask paired with Vol. 3 release

April 04, 2014 | 4:42 p.m.
The Joker (Greg Capullo / DC Comics)

The Joker (Greg Capullo / DC Comics)

Scrambling for that perfect way to commemorate Batman’s 75th anniversary? What about wearing the Joker’s face?

DC announced Friday its fall release plans for writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo’s “Batman Vol. 3: Death of the Family,” which collects “Batman” issues No. 13-17 and will come paired with a replica hand-painted vinyl latex mask of the Joker, complete with sewn-on hair and a white elastic band.

The mask is a homage to the original cover of “Death of the Family,” which depicted the skinless face of the Joker, removed at the behest of the Clown Prince of Crime by Dollmaker as a symbol of his rebirth.

PHOTOS: The Joker through the years

The “Death of the Family” series was lauded as a jolt of life for the Batman universe and responsible for creating a new chapter in the Joker mythos. The dark and disturbing tone of the story line was reminiscent of “A Death in the Family” — the infamous 1988-89 story line in which readers voted to kill off the new Robin, Jason Todd, leading the Joker to beat him to death with a crowbar — and “The Killing Joke,” Alan Moore’s legendary take on the Joker, which revisited the character’s origin story and left Barbara Gordon paralyzed.

In a 2012 interview with Hero Complex, Capullo talked about the difficulty of interpreting a character like the Joker, such an iconic character in the mythology of Gotham.

The Joker Mask Set and Death of the Family Vol. 3 (DC Entertainment)

The Joker mask set, left; “Death of the Family” Vol. 3. (DC Entertainment)

“I hadn’t been reading Batman, so I wasn’t aware that he’d had his face cut off,” the artist said. “So Scott says to me, ‘Well, he’s gotta reattach his face in some way.’… When he told me that, it just became how do we reattach it? Does he sew it back on, or what? So I just threw some things at Scott, and when Scott told me he wasn’t going to be dressed in the traditional suit, looking all dapper, and that actually he was on a mission, going to work, and he was going to be wearing mechanic overalls, it just seemed like a natural progression to make it more utilitarian. Nothing neat and clean. You know, like, ‘Let’s get some belts and some hooks and some wire, and let’s makeshift something that will hold my skin in place.’ And that just presented a lot of things visually that we can make comical or extremely terrifying all in one stroke.”

Fans looking to celebrate one of the Dark Knight’s most infamous face-offs can purchase “Death of the Family” Vol. 3 on its own and as a set paired with the mask on Sept. 24.

– Justin Sullivan | @LATHeroComplex

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