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Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

Batman: The Killing Joke (edition 2008)

by Alan Moore

Series: Batman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,672802,225 (4.04)51
Title:Batman: The Killing Joke
Authors:Alan Moore
Info:Panini Verlags GmbH (2008), Perfect Paperback, 96 pages
Collections:Your library, Manga-Graphic Novels

Work details

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore

  1. 20
    DC Universe: The Stories of Alan Moore by Alan Moore (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: DC UNIVERSE contains THE KILLING JOKE in its entirety, along with a bunch of other great DC stories by Alan Moore. It's also only about 2 bucks more than the KILLING JOKE hardcover.
  2. 10
    Cover Story: The DC Comics Art of Brian Bolland by Brian Bolland (apokoliptian)
  3. 00
    Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told (DC Comics) by Mike Gold (FFortuna)
  4. 00
    Batman: The Man Who Laughs by Ed Brubaker (FFortuna)
  5. 12
    Batman: Cacophony by Kevin Smith (FFortuna)

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» See also 51 mentions

English (78)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  All (80)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)


I love the art, the story. Everything. I have read this a million times. It is just so good. ( )
  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
  nerdythor | May 30, 2017 |
Brilliant, brutal, and still relevant 20 years later. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
"We're going to end up killing each other, aren't we. Perhaps you'll kill me. Perhaps I'll kill you. Perhaps sooner. Perhaps later."

I feel like this is a good summary of Batman and the Jokers relationship. ( )
  Kenzer24123 | Oct 11, 2016 |
Access a version of the below that includes illustrations on my blog.

This is probably the most widely-read Batman comic that's not by Frank Miller. So of course it's by Alan Moore. Moore is an exquisite craftsman: the way this builds up tension is perfect. Of course, a large part of that's in the art, too, and Bolland and Moore make a helluva team here. It's great to look at and great to read.

But: really, this is it? Why is this one of the most read Batman stories? It's nasty, brutish, and short, and it all seems to be in service of those last two to three pages, which are brilliant, I think. I love the idea that Batman believes he or the Joker must kill the other,* but all that really happens is they share a joke. And kind of a dumb one at that. (Though I am familiar with the theory that someone is dying on that last page, I'm reading this as part of a sequence of stories, so it definitely can't happen in this context!) But I'm not convinced this story says enough to justify its existence. I dunno, maybe I'm overthinking it, but I admired this story intellectually much more than emotionally. Well crafted, but sort of empty, and cruel.

It seems pretty clear to me in reading The Killing Joke that Barbara was raped, but a lot of people (including Alan Moore, allegedly) insist that she was not. Again, this is something that I think changes if you view the story as in- or out-of-continuity. If it's out, then yes she was because there are some insinuations that don't make any sense if you don't think that's what they're adding up to. But if it's in, then pretty clearly not, because none of the subsequent 23 years of Barbara Gordon stories ever indicated something like that had happened. That said, the mental trauma this must have caused isn't really dwelt on at all by later stories, which mostly just focus on the physical act of crippling caused by Joker's bullet.

I did like "An Innocent Guy," an eight-page story written, drawn, and colored by Brian Bolland that is also collected here. It felt like "Harvey Pekar Does Batman," actually. Is that weird?

* I must say, this sticks out as odd in the context of my readthrough, in which the Joker has a been a major villain in exactly two stories (The Man Who Laughs, Batman: Batgirl) and a minor one in a few others (The Long Halloween, Strange Apparitions, The Cat and the Bat). If the previous 28 stories were all I knew about Batman, I'd be hard-pressed to identify the Joker as his greatest nemesis! He's been curiously absent from these tales. I feel like Two-Face probably pops up the most consistently. Or maybe, strangely enough, Hugo Strange. I should make a chart and find out.

Batman "Year One" Stories: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Jul 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alan Mooreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bolland, BrianIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Sale, TimIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
There were these two guys in a lunatic asylum . . .
"Hello. I came to talk."
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Disambiguation notice
This record is for the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. Please do not combine with the 2016 animated movie.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0930289455, Paperback)

The Killing Joke, one of my favorite Batman stories ever, stirred a bit of controversy because the story involves the Joker brutally, pointlessly shooting Commissioner Gordon's daughter in the spine. This is a no-holds-barred take on a truly insane criminal mind, masterfully written by British comics writer Alan Moore. The art by Brian Bolland is so appealing that his depiction of the Joker became a standard and was imitated by many artists to follow.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:53 -0400)

"One bad day. According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as The Joker, that's all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he's out to prove his deranged point. And he's going to use Gotham's top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and his brilliant and beautiful daughter Barbara to do it. Now Batman must race to stop his archnemesis before his reign of terror claims two of the Dark Knight's closest friends. Can he finally put an end to the cycle of bloodlust and lunacy that links thes two iconic foes before it leads to a fatal conclusion? And as the horrifying origin of the Clown Prince of Crime is finally revealed, will the thin line that separates Batman's nobility and The Joker's insanity snap once and for all? '' -- dust jacket.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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