“The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore

Holy shit Batman! I knew from other books that referenced this comic that the Joker shot Barbara in this one.

I did not know that Gordon was with her at the time and that the Joker tore off her clothes and took pictures of her afterwards (so disturbing).

The Joker origin story I feel may or may not have been the “true” one as Joker himself even says he gets murky on the past. The fact that he and Jeannie had a baby on the way and his comedy career wasn’t going anywhere…it makes a certain sense. Jeannie laughing and saying he could always make *her* laugh seemed like some foreshadowing of Harley Quinn eventually since she too says that the Joker made her smile again.

That he used to work at a chem lab by a playing card maker ties in well to the story.

The fact that this book ends on a joke that literally would be “killer” has such a strong irony. It was unclear to me if Batman was legit laughing at the joke or if he was like sarcastic about the whole thing.

I feel like this was a well done story and the creepy factor was high. The juxtaposition of Barbara having on a yellow (happy) shirt as she opened the door with the events that followed was a great use of color theory and felt extra heartbreaking.

I enjoyed the story telling here and I liked seeing more of the connection between Batman and Joker. The earlier wordage Batman used when he thought he was speaking with the real joker being used again in the final scenes was great use of narrative story telling. Huge props on that.

I understand why this work is so heavily referenced in critical writings on Batman. It was an iconic telling of events. It left a mark.

Highly recommend this one if you haven’t read it yet and are a fan of Batman.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

After shooting and permanently paralyzing his daughter Barbara (a.k.a. Batgirl), the Joker kidnaps the commissioner and attacks his mind in hopes of breaking the man.

But refusing to give up, Gordon maintains his sanity with the help of Batman in an effort to beset the madman.

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