“Batman kills The Joker…That’s why it’s called ‘The Killing Joke’”
While the big news to come out of Kevin Smith’s new “Fatman on Batman” interview with Grant Morrison is the new title for his long-teased Wonder Woman graphic novel, the most interesting part of the discussion may be when the subject turns to Batman: The Killing Joke.
The influential 1988 one-shot, by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, is perhaps best remembered for The Joker’s shooting of Barbara Gordon, leaving the once and future Batgirl paraplegic. But after listening to Morrison’s interpretation of the book’s ending, Smith realizes the impact of The Killing Joke is far greater: “Alan Moore secretly wrote the last Batman story.”
That’s because, as Morrison sees it, the final scene doesn’t simply depict the Dark Knight and his arch-nemesis sharing a laugh as the police cars arrive. Oh, no.
“No one gets the end,” the writer says, “because Batman kills The Joker. [...] That’s why it’s called The Killing Joke. The Joker tells the ‘Killing Joke’ at the end, Batman reaches out and breaks his neck, and that’s why the laughter stops and the light goes out, ’cause that was the last chance at crossing that bridge. And Alan Moore wrote the ultimate Batman/Joker story — he finished it.”
His mind clearly blown, Smith replies, “Get the fuck out of here! ” before Morrison continues: “But he did it in such a way that it’s ambiguous, so people will never have to be sure, which means it doesn’t have to be the last Batman/Joker story. It’s brilliant!”
“You’ve third-eyed me and fucking shattered my world,” Smith concludes. “That changes the framework from which I’ve viewed that story forever. [...] Alan Moore secretly wrote the last Batman story.”
“Of course he did,” Morrison agrees.
However, Moore has never viewed The Killing Joke as positively as either of those two, saying in a 2000 to interview that, “Brian did a wonderful job on the art but I don’t think it’s a very good book. It’s not saying anything very interesting.”
Listen to the full exchange between Smith and Morrison below.
(via Kieron Gillen and others)