As we previously reported, the ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ premiere took place at San Diego Comic Con this weekend, where the creative team answered questions about the film and announced the upcoming slate of DC Animated Originals films. In a post-film Q&A, the creative team behind the film engaged in a discussion that became heated with a fan about one of the most controversial scenes in the film.
WARNING: This article contains minor spoilers about the ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ animated film. Proceed reading at your own risk!
The R-rated cinematic animated adaptation of the 1988 graphic novel of the same name expanded the backstory of Batgirl. In the graphic novel, Barbara Gordon is infamously shot by The Joker as soon as he sees her, which is her first appearance in the book; in the film, the first 20 minutes are dedicated to her character, focusing on her inner struggle on whether to hang up the vigilante life or continue to deal with her conflicting feelings about Batman. After a tenuous verbal exchange with Batman, she kisses him, and even though the next part takes place off-screen, it’s heavily implied that the two have sex.
Reportedly, fans applauded this moment during the showing of the film, but during the Q&A after, differing opinions emerged and things started to escalate. A fan asked: “You have talked about how you wanted to give Barbara more story… and yet the story you gave her ended up being about the men in her life. Why?” Screenwriter Brian Azzarello responded by saying:
“[Barbara] is stronger than the men in her life in this story. She controls the men in her life in this story.”
As the fan walked away from the microphone, he shouted something along the lines of “Yeah, she was stronger because she used sex,” to which Azzarello contentiously replied:
“Wanna say that again? Pussy?”
Other fans began shouting in defense of the original question-asker, saying that the team added in the sex and that Batgirl was “pining after Bruce” in the film. Azzarello countered by saying, “I don’t think she’s pining over Bruce at all. She’s pining over the violence.”
Bruce Timm, the film’s co-director, jumped in at 9this point with his opinion on the matter:
“It’s complicated… I actually like that in that opening story both Batman and Batgirl make a series of mistakes and then it kind of escalates, because Batman kind of overreacts and then she overreacts to her overreaction. That’s a very human thing. There’s clearly an unstated attraction between the two of the characters from the very beginning and I think it’s there in the comics. If you go back and look at the Adam West show, it’s there in the Adam West show. It’s subtle, but to me it’s always been there.”
After the panel, Azzarello took to Twitter to offer an apology of sorts – it certainly is hard to tell whether he’s being sincere or facetious.
Y’know, there’s enough name calling in the world, so goddamn me for adding to it. I’m going back in my cave now, to chew on a bone.
— Brian Azzarello (@brianazzarello) July 23, 2016
Tony Schaab misses ‘Futurama’ so much that he made himself a best friend out of a silver trash can and has daily internal debates about cutting off his head and sticking it in a jar. A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Facebook and Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.