Batman: The Killing Joke Challenge…

So I was chatting with a game friend, ComicGuy, the other night about how I collecting comics in the 90s(well mostly stopped).  I also said that I was mostly into Marvel, especially the ex-titles.  My buddy is a big Batman buff and was listing off some of the Batman stories I had read.  I mentioned owning a few of the Knightfall issues but he groaned when I said I hadn’t read the story–aside from a wiki synopsis.  He said above that though, I should read The Killing Joke.  It’s actually more about the Joker than Batman but he insisted I acquire it and read it.  So I challenged him.  I told him if he could write a pursuasive article for Nerdimports then I would go ahead and buy Batman: The Killing Joke and I’d read it.

“Challenge Accepted” was his reply and 3 hours later I received the following:

Batman: The Killing Joke Comic Book Review = One Of The Most Noteworthy Batman Stories Of All Time

The Killing Joke is quite an intriguing Batman comic. There is no doubt that it is among the most influential Batman stories worthy of great honor, and it is also among Alan Moore’s greatest works. It was back in 1998 when The Killing Joke was released, and it tells one of the most “definite” origin story of the Clown Prince of Crime. Then again, even the Joker himself is a bit clueless about his own beginnings. Nonetheless, this origin story is not just filler; rather it provides a solid foundation to the psychological drama. Considering how psychotic the Joker truly is, the Joker does not want to feel responsible for his actions and decides to try to prove that “all it takes is a little push” to drive any man to madness.

As a result of Joker’s experiment one of the most startling moments in DC history is set in motion. The continuity of Batman comic books was affected for the next 15 years and for Joker, it was nothing more than just another casual killing spree.

However, there is an important point that many readers tend to miss out when deciding to read The Killing Joke. The comic book is not entirely about the origin of the Joker; rather it examines the nature of human beings. After capturing Commissioner James Gordon, the Joker manages to turn him into an irrational and wild madman. This proves that any person can go a bit crazy in the Joker’s position. However, it all comes down to whether or not Gordon outlives captivity while maintaining his sanity. If this was the case, it proves that every sane person have some insanity buried within them, which can surface under the right circumstances. Of course, the only way to answer these questions is to read The Killing Joke.

Apart from the psychological and social undertones, Alan Moore truly wrote a masterful story. Flawless and smooth transitions are featured in each scene, so the story is able to easily intertwine between past and present, with the Joker attempting to make James Gordon go insane just like him. When it comes to comics books, art like that of Brian Bolland is rarely seen. No poses are reused excessively and there are no set-ups. What makes The Killing Joke an unparalleled Batman comic is the fact that the organic art of Brian Bolland and the rhythmic dialogue of Alan Moore are a perfect match.

Many writers fail to notice that ultimately clowns are people who arouse or deserve pity, but Alan Moore understands this. Alan Moore knows that there is always a sad story behind the smile of a clown, and the same goes for the Joker as well. Sure, the Joker is merciless and a savage mass-murderer, Alan Moore shows him as a pitiful, susceptible and a wretched figure who like Batman, is involved in never ending violence

You cannot call yourself a true Batman aficionado until you read The Killing Joke. It may not end up seeming like the best and the greatest Batman story ever, but at the end, it will leave you laughing for sure. Unlike any other comic book in history, The Killing Joke has been reprinted countless times, and it is still promptly available. Even if you have read it, it is still certainly worth rereading.

— Well I think he met my challenge so now I have to meet his.  I’ll be acquiring the book ASAP and I’ll try to post a follow up with my own thoughts as well.

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What do you think?