Loki, Ultron, Magneto… they’re great and all, but no super villain can hold a candle to The Joker. As has been widely covered, Jared Leto is playing the Clown Prince of Crime in ‘The Suicide Squad’ on the big screen, while Cameron Monaghan appears as a proto-Joker Jerome Valeska on ‘Gotham.’ Now Batman’s most persistent foe is returning to animation, in an adaptation of perhaps his most famous story, ‘The Killing Joke.’
Originally published in 1988, this one-shot story, written by Alan Moore with art by Brian Bolland, offered for the first time, a detailed origin for the colorful serial killer, casting him as a failed standup comedian who suffers a one-two punch of becoming hideously disfigured in a fail robbery attempt (foiled by Batman, no less) and losing his wife and unborn child in a freak accident. He went insane and came to the conclusion that life was a series of jokes, kicking off his seemingly never-ending killing spree. (Of course the story was conveyed BY The Joker, so its veracity remains debatable.)
The tale remains one of the most controversial in all of comics, mainly due to the use of Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl. Commissioner James Gordon’s daughter is shot and left paralyzed by The Joker, who then photographs her wounded and naked body, using these graphic images to torture her father. This story point remains so controversial to this day that a recent variant cover for ‘Batgirl’ #41 paying homage to ‘The Killing Joke’ (seen partially to the left) was cancelled before publication.
The conclusion of the story is also unclear as Moore flat-out states that Batman killed The Joker at the end. Since it wasn’t clear whether this story was intended to be canon or out of continuity, like ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ writers continued to use the villain even afterward. At this point, at least parts of the story, including Barbara’s shooting ARE considered canon.
DC animated architect Bruce Timm announced the animated adaptation at the SDCC ‘Justice League: Gods and Monsters’ panel.
DC Comics then tweeted the confirmation:
Batman: The Killing Joke is coming to animated film 2016 — Just announced by Bruce Timm at our JL: Gods & Monsters panel! #DCSDCC
— DC Comics (@DCComics) July 11, 2015
No further information was given, so no casting or a release date are known. Separately, longtime Joker voice actor Mark Hamill expressed a desire to reprise the role for this story saying it was a “wish unfilled.” What was revealed, were the other two DC animated movies for 2016:
Are you excited to see ‘The Killing Joke’ brought to life in an animated film? Or do you think the story is too violent and/or controversial?