"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"

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  1. James Harvey

    James Harvey The World's Finest
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    Discuss this classic Batman story, re-released in a new hardcover title!

    BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE

    [​IMG]

    Written by: Alan Moore
    Art by: Brian Bolland

    For the first time the Joker's origin is revealed in this tale of insanity and human perseverance. Looking to prove that any man can be pushed past his breaking point and go mad, the Joker attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon insane. After shooting and permanently paralyzing his daughter Barbara (a.k.a. Batgirl), the Joker kidnaps the commissioner and attacks his mind in hopes of breaking the man. But refusing to give up, Gordon maintains his sanity with the help of Batman in an effort to best the madman.

    Comments? What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Brian Cruz

    Brian Cruz Surf's Up

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    Truly one of the most definitive Batman stories.
     
  3. rggkjg1

    rggkjg1 Batman v Superman

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    i just got this book today. only one word can describe the killing joke: word. this story is amazing, well written and great art. im glad i got see the joker's origin, i didn't see that one coming. and batman, he laughed. i didnt see that coming either.
     
  4. Daredevil_2003

    Daredevil_2003 The Man Without Fear

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    I loved it. I don't like how Batman laughed at the end, though, I just don't get it. I mean, what in the hell would posess him to laugh!? I fail to see what was so funny. Was it Barbara being shot in the spine and then raped? or was it Jim's kidnapping and being carted around naked while enduring Joker's sick mental and physical torture?
     
  5. rggkjg1

    rggkjg1 Batman v Superman

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    i think batman was laughing because the joker said he did not want to work with batman to become rehabilitated. joker tells his joke and laughs with batman. then batman beats the crap out of him for what he did in the comic. when batman said lets work together to rehabilitate you, he was pretty much saying i wont beat you up if you work with me. then when batman was laughing, he was saying you had your chance.

    well, thats the way i see it.
     
  6. Patrick Bateman

    Patrick Bateman Telling it like it is

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    "You'd turn it off when I was halfway across." :D

    I can see why Batman would laugh. That joke was funny! This is truly one of the top 5 Batman stories ever.
     
  7. Marc

    Marc Friend from another star?

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    One of the best Batman stories ever. Alan Moore wrote a great story, but Brian Bolland's art was what really shined.

    If you ask me, Batman laughed at the end because he realized what a pathetic individual the Joker really was. Batman saw that his arch-nemesis isn't some brilliant criminal mastermind, but just a hopeless psychopath.
     
  8. MattL.

    MattL. Active Member

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    I loathe this turd of a graphic novel.

    It was all just an excuse to violate Gordon and gratuitously destroy Batgirl. Shock value disguised as intellectual writing. Oh thank you Alan Moore for coming down from on high and gracing us with your truth that Batgirl is some kind of silly idea that must be grinded into the blood and dirt. (Unless of course shes a ninja girl, oh thats ok then) Not that I'm disputing any merit the character has in her Oracle incarnation, but to me shes Batgirl and this thing pompusly raped it all.

    Easily one of the worst comics showcasing the worst apsectsof the modern era. For all the knocks that people can give Silver Age or Bronze Age (yes theres alot of silly stuff) this is proof that grim n' gritty can be just as dumb as 52 flavors of Kryptonite.

    I dont know the man personally so I have no basis for genuine hatred of him. However, when it comes to his work I have never, and I will never, ever forgive him for what he did to Batgirl.

    With all due respect, [explitive deleted-Cal].
     
  9. rggkjg1

    rggkjg1 Batman v Superman

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    hmmm. at least barbara didnt get killed.
     
  10. Marc

    Marc Friend from another star?

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    One thing you have to realize Matt, is that we can’t know which plot points are Moore’s and which are from the editor. For all we know Alan was strongly against doing what he did to Barbara, but the editor’s will is law. But if we’re going to blame Alan for what he did, then shouldn’t we blame Gerry Conway for killing Gwen Stacy? She was the greatest thing that ever happened to Peter Parker. Conway destroyed an innocent, wholesome girl and made Peter an angry, brooding vigilante. Or how about Jim Starlin? He murdered Jason Todd. Joker may have delivered the killing blow, but Starlin ordered the hit (or was it the public?). The editor makes the rules. They’re not always wise or fair, but they are the glue that holds a book together.

    And should we be angry with Alan for what he did recently to Mina Murray in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? It was the attack on Barbara all over again. A helpless girl defiled by a sadistic madman. But it’s fiction, and more importantly, it advances the plot. To quote Barbara, the Joker wanted “to prove a point.” The “destruction” of Batgirl served a purpose: to push Batman over the edge, and it worked.

    But all this brings us to our “other” argument: REALISM! Bad things happen to good people. If you ask me, Barbara was a useless character as Batgirl, but has found a new existence and a new purpose as Oracle. That brings up another thing. In my opinion, in the Batman universe, all things must revolve around Batman. Robin, Alfred, Batgirl, Joker, etc, they’re just props basically. They’re all part of what Batman is, but ultimately they’re all expendable.

    Anyway, I’m rambling, and I fear we might drift off topic. Do we really want to destroy this thread like we did to “Ultimate Marvel”? Let’s continue in that other thread I started last week if you want. Unless rggkjg1 doesn't mind us continuing here?

    - Cap
     
  11. Russkafin

    Russkafin Bringer of Darkness

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    If you guys liked The Killing Joke, I can't reccomend Moore's "Watchmen" highly enough. If you haven't read Watchmen yet, check your local comic store or Barnes and Noble and see if you can find the trade, I can say it is probably one of the best things I've ever read, comic book or otherwise.
     
  12. Blue121

    Blue121 Active Member

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    I read the comic, it is a very interesting read. Good stuff.
     
  13. TimTwoFace

    TimTwoFace Mod, and Minotaur Bait
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    I think the story is one of the best Batman stories ever, and is easily the definitive Joker story. We finally get a good look at his psychosis and can almost feel sorry for the ol' koot.

    Driving Batman and Gordon mad? Great idea - that describes the Joker's M.O. totally. He doesn't kill because he likes to kill - he kills cuz it's a joke to him and he wants to test the two people he actually does respect to some degree (Batman and Gordon).

    As for what happened to Batgirl - at the time, it was a HUGE deal, just as killing off Robin was (which happened the same year, in 1988). In retrospect, I think it made her a stronger and better character - it defined her. I'm still out to lunch as to whether she was actually raped in the story, though - she was raped of her dignity, yes, but I don't know if it was actually physically done. Of course, we'll never know - and that possibility makes the Joker all the more dispicable.

    -Tim
     
  14. Zoddman

    Zoddman Made for your pleasure

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    I like this book very, very much with one very large detail:

    I hate, hate, HATE! Joker's origin in this book.

    Sorry, out of any single villain in the Batman, or any comic universe, the Joker is NOT the one I want to feel sympathy for. Making him an innocent turned insane by terrible circumstanses really rubbed me the wrong way. This is a character that has ruined hundreds upon hundreds of innocent lives, and I find out he use to be a nice guy?

    Sorry, not gonna buy that. Even before he was the Joker, he should've been screwed up, shoul've been slightly to the left of reality in his thoughts. While in school, he should have been doodling pictures of people being Murdered and contorted in the most sickening ways possible. He should have been killing dogs and cats and chickens in the street for the sheer animalistic thrill. He should have murdered his parents and joined the Gotham City crime syndicates.

    I don't want to feel sympathy for the devil, I want him to remain the villain I love to hate.
     
  15. TimTwoFace

    TimTwoFace Mod, and Minotaur Bait
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    Oh, even after this story, I still don't feel sympathy for the guy. If he took the Mr. Freeze-route of villainy and only hurt those that got in the way of giving his wife the life he wanted to give her, then he'd be sympathetic. However, I do like seeing that, even with the Joker, he has his own side of the story to tell. My heart doesn't go out for him - I mean, it does, ALMOST, but as soon as he shoots Babs just for kicks he's lost all hope in winning over my favour.

    -Tim
     
  16. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Frog of Thunder
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    Howdy,

    Just a few riffs on that:

    1. Is the origin still official DC/Batman canon? I thought it was presented as one possible origin. For all we know, the whole thing was a persecution complex the Joker dreamed up himself. Personally, I much prefer this origin to the "unnamed gangland enforcer" one presented in the Mask of the Phantasm movie.

    2. Understanding what kind of thing creates a monster doesn't exonerate them when they do something horrible. Best example I can come up with for that is the Unabomber -- I actually agree with a number of points in his long, ranting manifesto, but that in no way excuses the fact that he killed and maimed many people using explosives sent through the mail. Just 'cuz the Joker was some poor schlub trying to get ahead doesn't mean it's OK for him to go on mass killing sprees or shoot librarians.

    3. (This may take a while) There's two parts to this. The whole issue starts with Bats visiting the Joker in Arkham, telling him that "We're going to kill each other someday," and trying to take some step to prevent that from happening. At the end, Batman tells the Joker something like, "Gordon's fine. Maybe it was just you all along." What that tells me is that 1) underneath that ghastly exterior and the horrific actions, there IS still a human being, but 2) that human being is just as responsible for his actions as anybody else (except apparently several of our elected officials, but that's a matter for another thread :)). The origin sequence pulls the neat trick of humanizing the Joker, while still holding him ultimately responsible for his own actions.

    One of the best sequences in a comic ever:

    Panel 1: "We're sorry, but your wife was heating up a baby bottle and..well, it overloaded and she died."

    Panel 2: Nothing.

    Panel 3: "What?"

    I think it was that sequence that made me truly recognize the power of a wordless panel, and how comics play with time far differently than any other medium. I think the only writer that can use wordless panels more effectively is Dave Sim in Cerebus.

    I never really liked the Laughing Batman ending, either, but the Joker's joke does have a point. A guy dressed up like Dracula is throwing out a rope of sanity to an insane, homicidal clown. The laughter might just be Batman's (or perhaps Alan Moore's) way of accepting the full insanity of the situation.

    Is it grim-n-gritty, representational of all that was wrong with the comics of the 90's? Yeah, probably. However, I'll take this comic over just about every other one out there that used twice the violence the none of the intelligence, and where the sadistic violence to a character had no motivation other than "being cool" or selling comics.

    -- Ed/Ace
     
  17. Leaping Larry Jojo

    Leaping Larry Jojo Searching for a map

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    I disagree. From most accounts, the sickest criminals tend to be just like him. They were often quiet, polite and frustrated as youths...then one day, they just snap. The Joker *was* screwed up as a young man (read the dialogue again--he wasn't really that nice), and we don't even know what happened to him before he got married. My assessment of the Joker is that he was a frustrated young guy who just snapped. Is that an excuse for his later behaviour? No. But it is fairly realistic. I believe that ANYONE, ANYONE under the right circumstances can fly off the handle. You, me, Oprah Winfrey, whomever.

    And we also must ask, was this really his origin? This origin was seen through the Joker's memories. He's a crackpot--maybe the whole narrative was a joke to him. Who knows?

    As for Moore's misogynistic tendencies, well, I don't know. He's had a habit of "dirtying" his female characters, (See Watchmen, League of Gents, From Hell, etc,.) even though he's a married man with a generally normal young daughter. I would say that it's a plot device he tends to trot out habitually, but not necessarily a show of hatred for female characters. I think Frank Miller tends to be just as bad in this case.

    Barbara didn't get raped, I don't think. The point was that he took pictures of her to drive the Commish insane, which he failed to do in the end.

    Why did Batman laugh at his joke? Well, it wasn't a knee-slapping joke--in fact, it was a pretty grim joke. When the Joker says, "You'd turn it off halfway across," he means that you can't trust anyone, even someone who you think to be your best friend. Batman can certainly relate to this. When has Bats ever totally trusted anyone? (other than Alfred?) NEVER. He doesn't even totally trust Robin half the time. Secondly, this scene alludes to the fact that they're BOTH nutty. Batman is a nut. No sane human would act the way he would. No sane person would be as obsessed as he is. The only thing is, out of tragedy, Bats chose to save people, while the Joker chose to not care anymore and kill. Like Ace said, Batman trying to help the Joker would be like a nut trying to help a nut! Get it? Hahahaha! :D
     
  18. Joker85

    Joker85 Clown Prince

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    This is a fantastic story and one of the best Joker stories ever told! Parts of this novel are very disturbing, and creepy. What happens to Gordon and Babs is about as chilling as I've ever seen a comic come. I loved seeing Joker's origin told this way. He was a victim of circumstance,but that really doesn't make me feel sorry for him. He may be crazy but he's responsible for what he does. I've often wondered if perhaps it was the deathof his wife and unborn child that pushed him over the edge. That maybe he wasn't crazy until that night, but the emotional loss did as much damage as the acid. I definitely think that this comic defined Barbara Gordon and in the longrun made her a much better character. And I love how it happened. All those times she put her life on the line with Batman in costume and walked away...and she gets shot answering her father's door. This is truly one of the most moving and chilling comics ever written!
     
  19. Zoddman

    Zoddman Made for your pleasure

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    In response to everybody who responded to my post:

    I understand that's why you like this origin, that it makes him all the more "realistic" but the man obviously hadn't done anything morally wrong until AFTER he became the Joker. Joker should've been a bully, a snob, and a little bit obsessive before he finally snapped. It just made the character all the more interesting because, frankly, there was NOTHING you could relate to him on.

    I already understand the actions, and am sympathetic, of villains like Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman. I don't WANT to understand the ultimate comic-book villain.

    P.S. While the "origin" of the Joker in this isn't technically canon, most people don't take that into consideration.
     
  20. Leaping Larry Jojo

    Leaping Larry Jojo Searching for a map

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    True. It kinda takes some of that aura out of him--I don't think they should have showed his origin at all--at least not like this. They could have hinted at parts of his origin through people he knew, and conversations, but I think just laying it all out might have been a mistake.

    That said, I thought it was still a very good read.
     

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