Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: The Killing Joke

(Found in the Graphic Novel section at CARL)

The Killing Joke is the story of One Bad Day. The Batman had a bad day once. It informed the rest of his life. So did the Joker. Now the Joker is out to give Jim Gordon the worst day of his life, just to prove that that is all it takes to move someone from 'normal guy' to insanity.

This "one-shot" Batman story was written in the 80's by comic great Alan Moore (The Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, etc) but still holds up to modern audiences. There's a level of grit and violence that moves away from the lighthearted 1960's Superfriends and brings the story of the Dark Knight and his oldest enemy into a darker and perhaps more realistic context.

Some ideas were lifted (lovingly) from this comic and used to great effect in The Dark Knight, such as the idea of the Joker as an agent of chaos, and the Joker's attempt to take eveyrthing away from a "good man," in an attempt to drive him to madness. It's not a story for kids, or the faint of heart. It is a valuable piece of comic book history that explores the psychology behind the hero and the villian and what it takes to make someone either.

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