Batman: The Killing Joke #1
By Alan Moore and Brian Bolland
Batman has long been one of the most popular characters in the DC Comics’ Justice League. His tragic story is well known, his billionaire parents murdered in front of his eyes, thus causing him to dedicate his life seeking revenge and vigilante justice.
Over the past 80 years he’s battled against many super villains such as the Riddler, Penguin, Bane and Two-Face. But perhaps none has given the Dark Knight as much trouble as the Joker. The two even square off in the latest online slots game from Playtech: Batman & The Joker Jewels. The online game is a throwback to the earlier days of Batman and the Joker, with the graphics following the styles of Adam West’s Batman from the 1960’s.
While Batman’s story is well known, we only learn about the Joker’s origin story in Alan Moore’s 1988 DC Comic – Batman: The Killing Joke #1.
Before becoming an insane criminal mastermind, the Joker was trying to make it as a comedian to support him and his pregnant girlfriend. But then he had “one bad day”, and as the Joker learned, all it takes is one bad day for you to lose your sanity.
The Joker’s goal is to prove that everyone is just one bad day away from losing their mind and going nuts. After shooting Commissioner Gordon’s daughter, Barbara, he kidnaps the Commissioner and takes him to a house of horrors, hoping to destroy Gordon’s mind, and ultimately bring down both Batman and Gotham City.
Batman takes the bait and meets Joker at the house of horrors in a daring attempt to rescue the captured police commissioner. During their final showdown, the Joker tries to convince Batman that they were cut from the same cloth. After all, it was just one bad day, the day Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed, and he went from a regular, albeit super rich kid, to dressing up in a costume and playing superhero.
While The Killing Joke #1 is a dark story, complete with torture, the shooting of Barbara Gordon in the stomach in front of her father and some disturbing imagery from renowned comic book illustrator Brian Bolland, it is considered to be one of the most important Batman comic books. It is the first time we are introduced to the Joker origin story, and it also helped put Barbara Gordon on the road to becoming “Oracle”.
Story lines from The Killing Floor have been incorporated into DC movies and story lines, but it wasn’t until recently that Warner Brothers teamed up with DC to create the animated movie, The Killing Joke, which debuted to mixed reviews in August 2016.