Why Don't People Like The Killing Joke?

I personally enjoy it, but I know people don’t. Why not?


The comic or the movie? I know the movie wasn’t liked


I am willing to go on a tangent for you. But I would like clarification if you are referring to the comic, movie or both




@Jurisdiction Prepare for a rant! I’m gonna just start with the comic, let you respond, then I’ll move onto the movie.

To be fair, I hesitate to call the entire story bad. There are parts that are still great! I like taking a look into a “potential” origin for the Joker. The little scene in Arkham when Batman is talking to the fake Joker does show the comic is bringing in real world psychology a bit more than the usual superhero flair. And the art is also quite good, it’s moody and creates a dreary atmosphere that fits in with what the Joker is doing.

But lets now get into the dicier parts. I don’t mind stories where the hero and villain argue over philosophies and such. They can lead to some really great character work. However, I can’t help but feel that the comic - knowingly or not - is siding with the Joker. A big part of that is that final scene where Joker tells a joke and then suddenly he and Batman are laughing together. That is so out of character for Bruce that it’s jarring. Now, some people could argue that this could be interpreted as Bruce finally breaking before killing Joker, hence the whole “ending is open to interpretation” stance. But that gets thrown out of the window when you realize Barbara’s paralysis was made canon. So thag moment between hero and villain is just bizarre. Admittedly, thats more on the fault of DC than Moore, but still.

Speaking of Babs…the OTHER major reason this comic doesn’t sit well with me. One of the biggest examples of fridging a female character, Babs being shot and paralyzed, Joker taking inapproriate pics of her against her will as she is bleeding, and then using this not to develop her character but to torture Jim Gordon and givr Batman another reason to find Joker. I think Moore once said he asked his editor to do this and, according to Moore’s own paraphrasing which I admit could be a bit inaccurate, he was told “yea…cripple the b****”

This…is distasteful. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this (you know I’m tagging @DC89 for this). And it just goes to show that Moore was so focused on adding in “real world” elements and violence without ever stopping to think if this actually benefitted the story. I think in recent years he has admitted he no longer cares for this story, so at least there is that. But its for these reasons thag this is more of a…mixed bag for me.

Let me know what you think before I go on to discuss the movie


That’s fair


And now the movie!

Grabs a bottle of whiskey, opens it and slowly chugs half the bottle before slamming it down

Let’s start easy and talking about the animation itself. The style utilized for the movie is just too…standard. it’s visually very similar to a bunch of other DC animated movies. Which is fine. But it also doesn’t take advantage of the different storytelling medium. There are a bunch of things they could have done, like have fun with some scene transitions or play around with how they present certain scenes and environments, but they just don’t do it. Its like they are afraid to make significant stories to the actual Killing Joke material. The characters are too stiff in movement and a lot of the voice acting, while fine, is directed to be too serious and oftentimes they come across as tired. This combined with the lack of a more energetic or imaginative approach to the animation style just makes it kind of a slog to get through.

Now let’s talk about the “prologue” or addition story added. You can just tell right off the bat that it is NOT on the same level as the actual comic stuff, no matter how hard it tries to be. You got cliche lines and characters (including a stereotypical gay best friend for Babs). And for some reason, we are focused kn this random mob guy in a movie that is supposed to be about the Joker. Why not have Batman and Batgirl work a case thag connects to the Joker and eventually leads Batman to talking to Joker in Arkham? This additional material is sub par and is confused on what it should be doing to support and elevate the rest of the movie.

And while I criticize Moore for what he did to Babs, what Brian Azzarello (who wrote the film adaptation) did is WAY worse! First of all, do NOT have her and Bruce get together like that! There are SO MANY reasons why this is terrible! The power dynamic, the fact Bruce is supposed to be more of a father figure to people like Babs and Dick and all the others, but also because it is just one of many examples of how they tore down Babs in this version as someone who is only being a superhero for the thrill of it and have her more focused on her whatever kind of relationship she has with Bruce than as the interesting and bada55 character she is SUPPOSED to be! This movie made her obsess with the men of her life, objectifying and fetishizing her, and essentially turned her into some sort of bimbo with a lot of her behavior.

Also, they did NOT need to stick with paralyzing her. She could get shot, recover, join Bruce at the carnival but stay with her dad after rescuing him. She could be used as another examplr of how not everyone breaks down after one bad day, as another way to refute the Joker’s philosophy. But nope! Gotta stick to the comic for some god forsaken reason.

Finishes the rest of the bottle of whiskey before breaking it on the ground

Sorry, still have a lot of pent up anger about that movie. Does this give you a clearer idea?


I do lol. Thanks @EDT!


It thoroughly sides with rekoJ ehT. He’s the protaganist of this nightmare. In every way full stop.

I was expecting this a55hole “psychiatrist” to show up any minute in the story while I was reading it:

Over the years Moore has expressed legitimate regret for having a hand in this story.

Pure uncut abomination. Such incredibly lazy, uncreative, and, frankly, predictable storytelling when it comes to BG. So many “writers” like Brian Azzarello love to put my gurrrlll in the corner. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :angry: No? Welp, can you say ‘Three serokJ’?

It was like watching her get brutalized by the a55hole craven maniac AND Azzarello at the same time.
:pleading_face: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

You’re right- they didn’t. Azzarello felt it necessary to go further imagery wise into the sexual assault that that rat sh*t clown perpetrated on BG in his little personal torture tale. Unbelievably disgraceful move on his part.
:angry: :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: :angry:

Ps. This is not all I have to say on this story. I’m just getting warmed up.


I really can’t add much more than EDT said, as I agree wholeheartedly. I was bothered by what happened to Barbara Gordon when I first read it decades ago. Since then, having lost someone I love to violence, it outright upsets me.


I couldn’t tell you, @Jurisdiction, as I actually like the comic.

As for giving Barbara the Fridge treatment, perhaps they did. Of course, this was right around the time DC graphically beat Jason Todd down with a crowbar and then blew him to hell so it’s not like the Bat editors were simply looking for a woman to mess up.

Putting the actual comic aside for a moment, the aftermath was done brilliantly imo as Barbara Gordon became my absolute favorite heroine in comics to this day - The Oracle.

Her rising to the ranks of Morrison’s JLA and headlining the popular Birds of Prey series, along with her constant appearances in the Bat books and spin-offs.

I might suggest that they fridged The Oracle back in 2011.

“Sorry guys, remember this is the DC Universe, and if martians can exist, that means disabled people shouldn’t.”



Thanks for the insight everyone


they could have kept disabled characters around but new52 made two disappear

probably more but two i know of


The problem with that though was that it was never the plan to do that for Babs. It was the result of everyone else who came afterwards. I think John Ostrander was the one who gave Babs the Oracle persona in his Suicide Squad book. Babs could and should have been handled better in the Killing Joke


i dont think i have to list why i hate the movie but doing it anyway

babs and bruce


I acknowledge that and why I said “putting the comic aside for a moment”…

I wanted to be clear that I don’t give Alan Moore or TKJ editor credit for Oracle.


I’ve never seen the movie as I saw/heard plenty of bad reviews and why.

Still like the comic tho


heads to nuclear bunker until after @DC89 posts :worried:


Yea…apologies to @Jurisdiction for pulling her to this thread. I might not have fully understood the wrath she will soon unleash


My issue with this story is that so many people point to it as The Joker story and it just isn’t. He does a lot of awful things in this story but they really aren’t Joker things. It is just an awful character doing awful things to some of the best Bat-characters that were there at the time.

And then almost every Joker related story since feels the need to call back to it somehow since. It really isn’t necessary.

Plus, all the behind the scene stuff is gross too.

It was just an un-necessary story. There were other ways to show Joker being a horrible character. Doing all of those things wasn’t needed.

And, people can like the stories that they like. I’m sure I like stories that people in this thread hate. This one just happens to have a lot of heated opinions over it.