Batman: The Killing Joke Homage Covers
Batman: The Killing Joke (March 1988)
Writer: Alan Moore
Cover Artist: Brian Bolland
Penciler: Brian Bolland
Colorist: John Higgins
Batman: The Killing Joke, published in 1988 by DC Comics, is a one-shot graphic novel featuring Batman and the Joker, popular characters who appear in DC Comics. The Killing Joke was written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland. The plot is loosely adapted from the 1951 story arc “The Man Behind the Red Hood!” as the Joker’s origin is presented in flashbacks as the Joker attempts to drive Commissioner Gordon insane while Batman desperately attempts to stop him. Many consider The Killing Joke to be the definitive Joker origin story and one of the best Batman stories ever published. The novel won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album in 1989 and appeared in the New York Times Best Seller List in May 2009. The story has likewise had a far-reaching impact on DC Comics and its characters, including the shooting and paralysis of Barbara Gordon (a.k.a. Batgirl), which motivated her to become Oracle to continue fighting crime alongside the Bat-inspired heroes of Gotham. The book has been reprinted multiple times in softcover, and in a deluxe hardcover edition which features new coloring by the original artist, Brian Bolland, to create a more somber, realistic and subdued palette than the original.
Perhaps its primary accomplishment, the novel developed the Joker as a tragic character: a family man and failed comedian who suffered “one bad day” which finally drove him insane. This origin story inspired in part the award-winning 2019 film Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix.