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"Batman: The Killing Joke" Talkback (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'DC Comics and Collectibles' started by James Harvey, Oct 13, 2002.

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Rate and Comment on "The Killing Joke"

  1. *****

    52.6%
  2. ****1/2

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  3. ****

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  1. Zoddman

    Zoddman Made for your pleasure

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    Bob Kane loved anything Batman that had his name on it. Miller gets the credit for DKR, so Kane denounces it.
     
  2. Barb Gordon

    Barb Gordon Nin-Mod

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    This is really such an amazing peice of work. As an Oracle and all around Barbara Gordon fan it always seemed an essential peice to have, even if I wasn't going to end up liking it or not. It's where so much started and ended. It is downright creepy, what Joker does do Barbara, even moreso to her father, and how Batman handles it all. Here truly is a psychopath of the worst sort. I enjoy Joker's origin because in all actuality, it probably isn't his origin to begin with. Like he said, sometimes he remembers it one way, sometimes another. He can make his past as sappy as he wants to win someone over - but even at this point, I don't think that even the Joker knows how it all started anymore.
    Alot of people seem really upset with Joker shooting Barbara. I'm not sure if it's because it meant she couldn't be Batgirl anymore, or that they simply didn't like the act of what he did and how abrupt it was. Frankly, as fun and interesting as Barbara was as Batgirl, she was just a copy of Batman. A wannabe, a girl joining the all boy's club and somehow sticking it out. But she was always following along. As sudden and horrific the act it, and as bitter as Barbara is for it, she's better this way. Not that I want to see her paralyzed, but it took such an act for her to develop even more. She can and did go past the Batgirl stage. She's something no one else is, she's the best at it, people come to her - she is in her own realm where she basically rules all. That's a huge leap from kinda tagging along with other capes in Gotham. Now she's doing something she loves and knows, vigilantes come to her for information, etc. That's a pretty nice accomplishment. And even beyond that, being shot doesn't really do jack squat for her. It doesn't make her weaker in any sense at all. She can still kick some bad guys rear, there's no question about that.
    Now sometimes I still debate whether she was violated by the Joker or not. He shot her - well that's a given we all know. He took pictures of her - a given as well. He put her in different positions - the pictures sort of relate that story. But did he rape her? Bullock tells Batman that that her friend found her their naked, and that pictures had been taken of her. But that's it. He does seem to not go into further, very much suggesting more then taking pictures happened. But I don't really think that would fit the Joker. He's psycho, a maniac, a killer, but a common rapist? I really don't buy that. Him shooting her point blank and taking pictures, that I can see, that suits him, that would be fun for him. But going beyond that, I just don't buy it.
    On an ending point, this book really is great because even though something life changing happens to Barbara Gordon, and even though she isn't in the story all that much, the futhering of her character continues. I mean, she's just been shot, was stripped naked and had taken pictures of her while she was in excrutiating pain - and what's the first thing she thinks about when she wakes up in the hospital? Her father. Not really about herself, not oh god I can't feel my legs. She asks about her father, she's freaking out over what the Joker could be doing to him. I found that to be a very intense peice of characterization.

    ~Barb
     
  3. James

    James Administrator
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    Never noticed that. The parallel went way above my head. The more that's said here, the more I need to actually own it!

    I've always seen the two of them as sociopaths. Two extreme ends of the spectrum. One Law, the other Chaos. Very different outlooks, but as with all extremes, they are as much united as they are different. I thought the end reflected this position extremely well.
     
  4. James

    James Administrator
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    I had to pop in again and say I totally agree. It was horrible act, yet it has made her one of the most unique and indepth characters we have in main stream comics. It did pull her out of both Bat and Dick's shadow and give Barbara her own identity. a great role model for thinking women as well as those who are disabled. A brave move by DC.

    Again, I'm here to agree with you. I've heard this and did wonder it once, but that's not his style. Firstly I've never seen him as a character who would rape. There is no hatred of women, no need to control or dominate. It's not him. He hates women no more than he hates anyone.
    He does it to send a message and I always felt with a sort of naive innocence that would shock him if you suggested to him that he violated her in that manner. His interest is Jim. He cares little to nothing over Barbara. Not even enough to hate her with that sort of intensity.
    In a way, it makes tha act colder. There is no personal feeling, there is no desire or interest. Just a means to an end.
     
  5. Barb Gordon

    Barb Gordon Nin-Mod

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    Something I'd passed over when reading, at the end Joker mentions: "I shot a defenseless girl. I terrorized an old man." I don't think he's the kind of guy who wouldn't admit to doing things, he's proud to own up to something he did, yet here all her says is shot. He could have said shot and raped, shot and violated, or whatever, but he didn't. Taking the pictures was a side thing, not as awful, kinda, compared to the actual act of shooting her. So if he had physically done something, why wouldn't he have said anything? Just wouldn't make sense to me why he wouldn't.

    ~Barb
     
  6. Terminatah

    Terminatah Badass Cyborg

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    And it's not even a matter of whether he would want to rape her or not. The whole purpose of shooting and stripping her was so he could put those pictures up in Jim's ride through the tunnel of madness. It was about Jim, not Babs.

    -Terminatah
     
  7. Barb Gordon

    Barb Gordon Nin-Mod

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    yet another good point! One that I think is continually overlooked a lot of the times. It's quite true that this was what changed Barbara's entire life and occupation BUT that's not what this story was about whatsoever. Joker's aim was to drive Gordon over the edge, and Barbara was just a pawn in that game. Which can make her situation even more aggravating, I mean, he cripples one of his foes without even knowing it!

    ~Barb
     
  8. TheScarecrow

    TheScarecrow The Master Of Fear

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    The Killing Joke is an awesome Batman vs. The Joker story. This is the most evil version of The Joker that I've ever seen. He shot Barbara in the spine just so he could make his point, nothing more, and that is extremely chilling. Every word of phrase spoken here about this book applies to my thoughts.
     
  9. Reptile_Orion

    Reptile_Orion Member

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    The Killing Joke is one of my favorite Batman stories. The art is really good and the story is top notch. I loved the way it ends. I thought it was really twisted what the Joker did to Gordon.
     
  10. Robin

    Robin Guest

    I read that this story will be included in that Alan Moore collection that DC is releasing next week. Is this the first time this story has been collected outside of the one-shot? My copy of the comic is in very rough shape, and I'd like to get a new copy that doesn't have the pages falling out!
     
  11. Leaping Larry Jojo

    Leaping Larry Jojo Searching for a map

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    Alan Moore wasn't especially proud of this story. I liked the Joker stuff in it--and the ending is kind of poignant...but it does feel a bit "slim" by Alan's standards, and I'm not just talking about the number of pages.

    Great Brian Bolland art though.
     
  12. Terminatah

    Terminatah Badass Cyborg

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    Moore has stated that he was just coming off WATCHMEN, so he gave the story a very "Watchmenesque" tone that I guess he feels wasn't the best idea, looking back on it. But I may be misquoting. Does anyone have any actual statements he's made about it? Because while I do see a lot of WATCHMEN in the story, I do not think it is subpar by any means.

    -Terminatah
     
  13. Stu

    Stu Marvel Animation Age Webmaster
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    I believe it's a story he was never too bothered about writing or something, he doesn't consider it to be among his best work, that's for certain.

    Given that this is the only Moore story I've ever read, I really enjoyed it, mainly for the art than the story. Bolland draws a perfect Joker, arguably the best representation ever. I'm not so sure Joker needed too much of an origin, but, it all works. A solid effort from all.

    ****
     
  14. Jon T

    Jon T Friendless Spidey

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    I do recall a recent radio interview he did with Stewart Lee where he reiterated that he didn't feel that The Killing Joke wasn't his best work, mainly due to it not fully analyzing both the Joker and Batman. In the context of the many Batman graphic novels released since then however, he did admit that the story does stand up rather well!

    One thing I've always wondered about though; was this story always meant to be in continuity? Clearly it ended up being part of the ongoing continuity, but I have the feeling that Alan Moore was probably given carte blanche with the story, under the pretext that it was to be a totally stand alone tale. Does anyone else know any better?
     
  15. Silly McGooses

    Silly McGooses Active Member

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    When I was seven, this book was in the lost and found box of my elementary school. It stayed there for a year, and I was always tempted to pick it up because I was a huge Batman fan. By the next year I realized that it wasn't going anywhere, so I took it.:anime:

    One of my favorite Batman stories, really The Joker's finest hour.
     
  16. Anthonynotes

    Anthonynotes Active Member

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    Not reread it in some years now, but recall thinking it was "OK, if a bit bizarre [even for the Joker]". :)

    Re: the first poster's opening statement:
    Actually, the Joker's "origin" (such as it is) was IIRC first given in a 1951 comic story (the "anonymous gangster known as the Red Hood trudging through chemical wastes near a playing card factory and becomes the Joker" version), so "The Killing Joke" isn't "the first time" it was revealed. :)

    -B.
     
  17. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu That's 'Cause I ATE IT!!!
    Staff Member Moderator Reporter

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    Howdy,

    I believe the prestige format one-shot is still available, so if you don't want to buy the full-size Moore TPB, you can just ask your shop to order the one-shot for you. If you already own the prior "Alan Moore DC" paperback, then getting the prestige format book will probably be more cost effective and get you the story on glossy paper to boot. If you don't, then you should get it whether or not it includes "The Killing Joke," especially because I think the new TPB also includes "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" now, which may be worth the price of admission alone ;).

    Regarding Moore's comments about this book, I lifted this quote from this interview:

    This interview is old, mind you, and I don't see too many deeper themes in any of his ABC comics work (other than Promethea), and this interview is from some years ago. I also don't see much of a problem with just being a Batman and the Joker story, especially when it's as well done as this one.

    Regardless, I still like the book despite its many critics, even if I squirm a bit while I'm reading it. It does a pretty fine job of making you feel sorry for the Joker while really wanting Batman to pound the crap out of him at the same time.

    -- Ed/Ace
     
  18. Cortez2301

    Cortez2301 Active Member

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    Hey james.listen my grandpa got the alan moore graphic novel which contains this story.he didn't give it to meyet but would you say i'd enjoy this story,as in is it worth it?
     
  19. Beat

    Beat Retired

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    Batman laughed because at that point, he realized just how far everything had gone. He had nothing left to do, and when he looked at fate...:lol:

    This is definetely a great stand-alone story. However, I still wonder if it should have been incorporated into regular continuity.

    EDIT- Man, this is an old thread.
     
  20. Eddie G.

    Eddie G. Former Wolf/Writer.

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    I think it was also symbolic of Batman and Joker basically being equally insane, but being on two ends of the spectrum. The Joker has this insane hatred for humanity (the mental patient who won't cross the light) and Batman has this insane hope for humanity (The mental patient with the flashlight). Based on this I also always figured that Batman's laughing because he truly gets it, he understands why the Joker does what he does. He understands because he's doing what he does for the exact same reasons, Batman really does get the joke.

    I also like how it really isn't a happy ending at all. The Joker fails to prove his point that the world is meaningless and that everyone can become evil or bad just through chance. Batman however also fails to prove his point by not being able to bring the Joker to his side. It's a pretty cool paradox where nothing is proven.
     

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