The Killing Joke

Last night Daniel wouldn’t let me go to sleep without first reading Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke.  I’ve wanted to read it ever since I read Watchmen and Alan Moore’s works came into my consciousness.  So, basically, ever since I met Daniel.  He finally purchased it a few weeks ago.  The art is spectacular and you can’t beat Alan Moore’s writing.  He truly weaves a story; it is my belief that just reading his writing is enough, that you don’t even need the art to get the story.  What makes his graphic novels so good is that the art really complements it, instead of just being pictures with his words on it.  The images themselves weave a story as well.

The Killing Joke was not a series of comics that were then compiled into a graphic novel, but instead it was a one-shot, with less than 50 pages, telling the story of the Joker’s origin…maybe.  One of the major themes is that one bad day can make you lose it.  That’s all it took for the Joker, and the Joker imagines that something similar probably happened to Batman.  The story is an interesting comparison of the two characters and makes you think about what they have in common, and what separates Batman from the Joker.

The 1989 film Batman, directed by Tim Burton, was loosely based on this graphic novel.  Most of the elements were changed, but the bones are there.  We ended up watching this film last night, and I think that’s what inspired Daniel to make me read it.  Of course, I’d planned on reading it anyway.

As with all of Alan Moore’s works, this is more than just a “graphic novel”.  If you have never read any of his works, you are seriously missing out on some fantastic storytelling.  If you haven’t read them simply because of the medium, I implore you to look past that and pick up V for Vendetta or Watchmen.  If you have the stomach for it, then definitely read From Hell.  He presents a very convincing and well-researched theory on who Jack the Ripper really was.

The Killing Joke, 2008 Hardcover Deluxe Edition


From Hell

V for Vendetta



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