“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day. You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. I can tell. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up as a flying rat? You had a bad day, and it drove you as crazy as everybody else… Only you won’t admit it! You have to keep pretending that life makes sense, that there’s some point to all this struggling! God you make me want to puke. I mean, what is it with you? What made you what you are? Girlfriend killed by the mob, maybe? Brother carved up by some mugger? Something like that, I bet. Something like that… Something like that happened to me, you know. I… I’m not exactly sure what it was. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another… If I’m going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!” These immortal lines were uttered by the Joker in Alan Moore’s controversial graphic novel The Killing Joke in 1988.
The Killing Joke is arguably one of the most important Batman stories in his 77 year history and this summer it’ll be released as an animated feature film starring Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (The Joker). WB Animation and DC Comics released the official trailer last month, while the preview or behind the scenes featurette was leaked online. The behind the scenes featurette was interesting as some scenes were shown and the cast and crew talked about the significance of The Killing Joke and its legacy in the Batman mythos. From what I gleamed from the trailer, the voice acting was superb, especially when you have the definitive voices of Batman and the Joker (Conroy and Hamill) involved, you know things will be good. The only downside I saw with the trailer was the animation. The animation seemed a little off and not as fluid as some of DC Comics other animated films. I guess the animators wanted to go with a retro feel for the animation style? Not sure, if it works, but nevertheless, I’m still optimistic about this film and I hope to have a full review out this summer.
Overall, The Killing Joke shows how terrifying the Joker can really be. Reportedly, Heath Ledger was given a copy of the graphic novel to help prepare him for his role as the Joker. In fact, the reason why the Joker in the Dark Knight gives a different origin for his scars is a reference to what the Joker says about his past. The Killing Joke certainly had an impact on Batman’s and Joker’s immortal battle with each other, but it also had a chilling effect on Barbara Gordon’s (played by Tara Strong in the film) life. If you have a chance to read The Killing Joke or want to learn more about Batman and the Joker, I recommend this dark story.
Check out some of the images from The Killing Joke animated film below: