Monday, December 6, 2010

1980's Flashback: The Killing Joke

"See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum ... and one night, one night they decide they don't like living in an asylum any more. They decide they're going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moon light... stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend didn't dare make the leap. Y'see... Y'see, he's afraid of falling. So then, the first guy has an idea... He says "Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk along the beam and join me!" B-but the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says... He says "Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You'd turn it off when I was half way across!"

Hard to believe that it has been more than twenty years since this seminal one-shot was published. There may have been no single issue with greater ramifications in the entirety of DC Comics publishing history. Addressing issues of the Joker's demented persona and the Dark Knights own sanity, "The Killing Joke" famously marked the end of Barbara Gordon's career as the original Batgirl and paved the way for her future role as Oracle, permanently paralyzed by the Jokers bullet, but perhaps far more effective as an expert computer hacker and provider of vital source information to Batman and the other champions who battle against evil within the fictional world of the DC Universe.

Batman: The Killing Joke was written by Alan Moore and drawn by Brian Bolland. The title has been continuously in print since 1988.

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