this is the entirety of my review. haha
jk there’s more
The Killing Joke is one of Batman’s seminal stories. Written in 1988 by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland, this story, which remains relevant and could be perceived as having been written today, completely skews the way in which we view the Dark Knight and how he got to become who he is when he is pit against his primary adversary, quite possibly the seminal adversary in all of comics, the Joker. The book is packed with innuendo and puns, which starts with the title “The Killing Joke”
If you look at the cover in the above image, you can see the very detailed art as well as the abundant use of lines and crosshatching to make the shadows and outlines and the use of inking to make the Joker look so realistic. You can see the detail from his glossy lips to his gloves. Alan Moore, the master storytelling craftsman, deftly weaves a brilliant tale of a down-on-his-luck man who is pulled into petty crime after his wife and children leave him because he is so pathetic and can’t hold a job or help his family in any way. The twists and turns are swiftly dealt in this story so you never know what’s coming on the next page-turn and when you do finally, reluctantly turn that page, you are often shocked by the horrific brutality and violence of what’s on the other side. I don’t want to go into spoilers because I don’t know how many of y’all have read this amazing book but in essence, it’s a riveting glance at the origins of the Joker after the man he once was (“I WAS ONCE A MAN!!!” -Cobra Commander from G.I. Joe) before and after he lost his mind, what happened to Barbara Gordon that eventually led to her becoming Oracle, and the extreme mental/psychological and physical torture endured by Jim Gordon and by Batman to some extent. The ending of the story is very controversial as people have been debating the reasoning and point of it for nearly three decades. Was Batman driven to the brink by the Joker who forced his hand and made the Dark Knight break his vow and kill his foe? Did Batman lose his mind in the torture tunnel and was it all a dream? Was Batman shot in the face? What does the final joke spat out of the Joker’s mouth mean? I know what I believe to be true, and I think and hope that Alan Moore did this on purpose to leave the reader hanging from the noose with their own interpretations and questioning their own beliefs. You must read this EXCELLENT book and find out for yourself. The image at the top of this post is one of Bolland’s most famous pieces, also from The Killing Joke along with the cover from the book. It shows the newly-formed Joker revealing himself from the shadows after he has lost his former humanity and sanity, and the HAHAHA’s repeating themselves, wrapping themselves, being expelled from and ingraining themselves into the Joker show his new mind as well as the character’s eternal expression that we are now so familiar with and the insanity that comes from within and without the existence of the human condition.
Alan Moore, the writer of numerous classic graphic novels and comic books like Watchmen, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Top Ten, From Hell, Miracleman, V For Vendetta, and dozens more, is well known for his hatred for mainstream comics, his reclusive nature at his home in Northern England in which he avoids interviews and press while practicing
witchcraft, yes, actual witchcraft with pentagrams and candles and shit, and so the comic book world was caught by surprise when Moore released this book and another one about Superman’s downfall under the DC banner a year after he wrote Watchmen for DC, as well as a couple books for Marvel, which don’t merit acknowledgement. Moore is known best for writing for smaller publishers on a part-time basis, like for Wildstorm, where he was given his own label called America’s Best Comics that was supposed to feature his stories exclusively, until about a month after Wildstorm’s creation, Jim Lee, another comic book veteran and icon, sold out the Wildstorm label to DC, shattering Moore’s dreams for his own independent label. He continued to publish for ABC (America’s Best Comics) for a while, putting out some great stories like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Top Ten. Then he went back to his hut and spent several years conjuring Lost Girls, the almost extremely pornographic fairy tale about all our favorite damsels in distress meeting up in the early 20th century, describing to one another their sexcapades and performing explicit acts of sexual gratification upon one another. In this image depicting Moore in a slightly ethereal background, notice his perpetual beard and hair which has been like this since he was kicked out of middle school for selling LSD, which is bullshit because more people need LSD, and the magical Lovecraftian and/or Wiccan rings on his fingers, which he also wears in perpetuity honoring his otherwordly lords and dark-arts practices.
Brian Bolland, on the other hand, isn’t on the other hand, at least when it comes to publicity and that kinda shit.. See what I did there? He’s actually quite similar to Moore. He is most well known for doing awesome, epic covers for numerous books but had done little to no interior work before The Killing Joke, which he drew awesomely and epicly. The degree of detail into which Bolland goes while drawing Batman, the Joker before and after the green hair and white face and huge smile, as well as Barbara and Jim Gordon is insane, and is what makes the reader expect that this book was written and drawn sometime in this decade by an Ethan van Sciver or someone like that. After this book, he went back to doing covers and wrap-arounds mostly. It’s a shame, a damn shame, that we probably won’t see any more interior work from him again in the future. The image at the top of this post is one of Bolland’s most famous pieces, also from The Killing Joke along with the cover from the book. It shows the newly-formed Joker revealing himself from the shadows after he has lost his former humanity and sanity, and the HAHA’s repeating themselves, wrapping themselves, ingraining themselves into the Joker show his new mind as well as his eternal expression and the insanity that comes from within and without the existence of the human condition.