Yesterday, DC announced a Killing Joke animated movie. LET THE NERDS REJOICE! This is huge in nerd and geek culture. Some of the newly initiated ask why? Well little nerdlings, I will break down why it is so great to see one of the most important Batman stories coming to, at least, the animated screen.
Killing Joke came out in March 1988. It was written by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland. If anybody in the 80’s were big names in the comic book industry, it was these guys. Moore already had all of his amazing Vertigo run’s and his smash hit miniseries Watchman. Bolland had Judge Dredd and Camelot 3000 under his belt. So for these two coming together on a one issue Batman vs. Joker story. Every reader knew they had to tighten their belts and get ready for the roller coaster to come.
Even though the names behind the story were huge, the real reason behind the comic’s impact is the story inside. Inside this 46 page tale, we have one of the key versions of Joker’s origin,
the handicapping of Barbara Gordon,
the humility of James Gordon,
and lastly Batman finally reaching his breaking point.
Reading this story as a young kid, the graphic nature of the story never really hit me. I just thought it was a cool Batman and Joker story, but inside these pages are some of the most graphic depictions of torture and pain that has ever been in a Batman comic.
As a full grown adult reading this issue, it still holds up and I believe it will always hold up. The story is a masterful attack to everything Batman thought was safe, and by the end, depending on how you read it, he breaks his one rule and ends the Joker’s life.
Everything but the end of this book is still in the Batman canon, so the aftershocks of what happens in this book shook the fans to their core. For years Barbra was crippled and she had to fight against her disability. Batman had to see a daily reminder about how he failed, and Gordon had to live through the darkest torment no other man could survive.
As a fan of comics in general, when such a iconic and key piece of literature come to life in live action or animated feature we should get excited. This is a way for us to share these stories with new fans easily and jump start their passions to read more and learn more. We also get to hear voices and movements that we have imagined for years. Knowing the powerhouses behind this project, my hair stands on end just thinking about It.
So all I have to say to sum this up is, don’t screw this up DC.