All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.

Batman : The Killing Joke

By Alan Moore, Brian Bolland
1988
48 Pages

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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.

 

I’ve been busy lately. Really Busy. So busy that the last time I posted a book review was 19 days ago. I have not completed a book in nineteen days. Excuse me while I combination vomit and bury my head in the scorching sands of book blogging shame. That’s a messy and wholly unpleasant mental image.

Anyway.

I’ve had the 20th-anniversary special edition of this particular title sitting on my book pile for ages and ages, and the need to actually complete something, mixed with the internet hype over the soon-to-be-released animated film compelled me to finally dig into it.

Disclaimer : I’m not a huge Batman fan. Or honestly, most DC superheroes. I didn’t even see The Dark Knight Returns until it was on DVD. Batman v. Superman : Dawn of Whatever was a hard pass, and I’m pretty indifferent about Suicide Squad. Sure, movieverse and comics verse are two different things, but I needed to establish my interest level somehow, and prior to this story I had only ever read the Frank Miller titles. So now you know!

Killing Joke, Like Miller’s Year One, is hailed as one of those aforementioned classics, and it’s not hard to see why even as a non-diehard. This is a story less about Batman and more about his enigmatic arch-rival- The Joker. Newly escaped from Arkham Asylum, the story cuts back and forth between past and present as the source of the villains insanity is revealed.

The character is taunting, traumatizing, and utterly crazy. His madness combines with a truly unsettling dilapidated carnival locale, and questions about the nature of insanity are asked and expanded upon. It’s downright creepy, and I’m thrilled that the animated movie (which comes out at the end of July) is going to stay R-rated and true to the mature roots of the story.

Should You Read This?

Yes! And I’m saying this as someone whose blood runs Marvel red. The story is shocking, disturbing, and incredibly well written and illustrated.

Also, I found that my base knowledge of the characters (based on cultural osmosis) was enough to clue me into everything I needed to know- so  don’t feel like you have to study up before jumping in!
Summary from Goodreads

Goodreads