Robot 6

“Batman kills The Joker…That’s why it’s called ‘The Killing Joke’”

killing-joke-ending-cropped

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.

killing joke ending

(via Kieron Gillen and others)

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Comments

85 Comments

Wow…..Mind blown…Just wow. Ive never even considered that. Grant Morrison man….Wow.

The weird thing is, I remember thinking about that when I read it as a kid, but then, since everyone just said that it ended with them laughing together and since the Joker wasn’t dead (but Batgirl was definitely paralyzed), I just assumed that I misunderstood it. It really was a bit too much ambiguity for my 12 year old self to process anyway.

Holy shit. It…kinda makes sense when you think about it. Only Morrison, the master of double meanings, would unravel this.

More the point, re-enforces the idea that it was out of continuity and thats why he felt free to shoot Batgirl… DC decided to actually bring that in, which means that Batman had to let Joker live in the common interpretation

I always thought that Batman killed The Joker. He (The Joker) pushes Batman to his limits with everything that happens during the story.

Madness is not the problem for Grant Morrison; that he now fully believes his madness is his crippling flaw.

Naa, Batman wouldn’t snap The Jokers neck right in FRONT of those police cars driving up. They are both right in front of the headlights – I don’t see it happening. To me the ending works better and is more disturbing that Batman and the Joker both know that their lives will be forever entwined and for a brief moment they were just two men sharing a laugh – and knowing as soon as those police sirens stop things will go back to the way they were.

That maybe, in some other life, they both could have been friends.

Also, remember that Gordon tells Batman to do it “by the book” – no matter what the Joker did to Batman and the Gordons, he had to be brought in properly.

Although I like Morrison’s interpretation, erik’s comment shows why the original ending works.

Makes more sense. And helps people accept the idea of Batman laughing with the Joker. He wasn’t . He was laughing at him because this was the end. Also better explains the middle panel with Bruce leaning or grabbing the Joker.

talking a load of bs I’m afraid. it would contradict the theme of the story, and Gordon’s statement about bringing him in alive would be pointless.Moore is a very specific, writer whose every utterance he writes, every image he has drawn has meaning. plus Batman’s arm is round the shoulder not the neck, there are other sound effects including the laughs carrying on but somehow the only sound missing was the supposed neck crack. yeah right. also it would have been way to similar to what Miller did in Dark knight returns ance Moore is more original than that.
I’m shocked that Kevin Smith took his word for it.
Morrison likes to be subversive and reinterprets things to suit his view point, his whole Batman run is about that.
It would only be ambiguous if loads of people weren’t sure about the ending yet no one else has come to the same conclusion as Morrison.

it was possible to have Barbra shot as part of canon because of I’m right they published ‘The last Batgirl story’ shortly before that, I guess in anticipation of it.

True but remember that the things he did were to show Commissioner Gordon that even the best of us can go crazy after “one bad day”. Maybe after what Batman goes thru after that whole ordeal he ends up being the one that loses his moral center and offs the Joker.

It’s nonsense. Look at the Joker’s hands in panels 5 and 6. In 5 that could be a person being surprised but it can also be someone laughing. However the hand in panel 6 makes no sense if he is being attacked. Look at their feet in panel 7, those are the feet of two people standing, not in a violent struggle.

Plus there’s the symbolism of the line of light between them which is a reference to the joke of the two men in the asylum together. The light goes out in panel 9 and they remain trapped together.

I don’t buy it.
The only thing that vaguely supports the idea is the laughter stopping before the siren, but equally they could have just stopped laughing when the police finally arrest him. Joke’s over, back to business.
Also, Batman’s arm position doesn’t make any sense if he’s about to go for his neck and as Steve F pointed out, Gordon told him to bring the Joker in properly. The whole point is that he doesn’t break them and that no matter what he does to them and the people they care about they won’t cross that line.

I always read it “the Morrison way” but looking at Moore’s full script there is nothing to indicate that Batman kills the Joker. In fact, panel 3 of that last page includes “He & the Joker are going to kill each other one day. It’s preordained. They may as well enjoy this one rare moment of contact while it lasts.”

I’m /completely/ down with this interpretation, mostly because I’ve read a whole lot of Alan Moore comics, and this is /exactly/ what Moore does. He writes scenes that you have to read on two different levels, and challenges you to keep them together. Think of the shadow sex scene in Lost Girls, all the pirate stuff in Watchmen, a ton of stuff in Promethea.

Batman doesn’t kill the Joker, AND he kills the Joker. It’s classic Moore.

The strongest part of Morrison’s statement is that it’s open to interpretation. See how the first few comments buy it, with minds blown? Then the rest spiral into disbelief and denouncement? That actually proves how smart Grant’s comments are; he ignited a debate on a book from the ’80s that even the WRITER claims “didn’t say anything.”

Grant’s strengths now may not be his writing, but his commentary. He made a whole Batman arc that was essentially a commentary on the evolution of the character; that may have been a good transition out of comics and into more prose ABOUT comics.

Sigh… Grant (and now Kevin, it would seem) is seeing more than what’s really there. It’s a common defect that surfaces in fans particularly when they push their minds to interpret what the creator “really meant”.

It’s worth noting that the quote from Moore isn’t that The Killing Joke ““didn’t say anything” it’s that “It’s not saying anything very interesting.” He later goes on to say “But at the end of the day, Watchmen was something to do with power, V for Vendetta was about fascism and anarchy, The Killing Joke was just about Batman and the Joker – and Batman and the Joker are not really symbols of anything that are real, in the real world, they’re just two comic book characters.” He’s disparaging his own work because it’s only about Batman and the Joker. Even this discussion is just about “what happened between Batman and Joker on the last page?”

In a 2009 interview Moore was discussing the legacy and influence of Watchmen, Marvelman and other books and said:
Alan Moore: Again, it was never intended as a blanket approach for all comic books. It was just an experiment that I was trying, and it worked better in some cases than it did in others. Yeah, Marvelman and Watchmen—those are pretty good books. On the other hand, where I was doing the same things in The Killing Joke, it was entirely inappropriate.
Kurt Amacker: You think so?
Alan Moore: I think so. This has nothing to do with Brian Bolland’s artwork, which was of course exquisite. I’ve never really liked my story in The Killing Joke. I think it put far too much melodramatic weight upon a character that was never designed to carry it. It was too nasty, it was too physically violent. There were some good things about it, but in terms of my writing, it’s not one of me favorite pieces. (http://www.mania.com/alan-moore-reflects-marvelman-part-2_article_117529.html)

I find it funny, and kind of said that this bit of information is seen as “new”. I also feel old, because I had the same epiphany when I read the book, in the 90s, and shares a similar: HOLY SHIT DUDE! Moment with my comic book friends.

No matter the intent of the end, whether he wove extra clues and meanings into it, I agree with Alan Moore’s assessment of it overall (as stated above). It doesn’t really say much and alot of it is just pointless nastiness and violence to impress teenage boys. I’ve always thought it was a rather overrated book with nice artwork.

Michael Ellis Day

August 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I’ve heard people claiming that Batman kills the Joker at the end since the week that book was first published. Obviously Kevin Smith never heard this theory before but it’s nothing new. (Or maybe Smith was feigning surprise to kiss up to his guest?)

As others have pointed out, this wasn’t Moore’s intention. The point of the story was Bruce Wayne already had his “one bad day” when his parents were killed, and it made him Batman. The Joker had his one bad day and became the Joker. He theorizes that one bad day will therefore break Gordon, but he’s wrong. The story isn’t ABOUT Batman being changed or broken, it’s about Gordon. I’m not defending the comic; I think it’s offensive crap and the alleged secret identity of the Joker is completely lame. But it’s possible to figure out what Moore was trying to do in it, and it wasn’t what Morrison said.

It is an interesting interpretation but I do not think that is what Moore was going for.

In my opinion, they just stopped laughing because they do not want others to realize how similar they actually are. It will be their secret but the world cannot know that Batman is just as crazy as the Joker.

I remember someone telling me that you could interpret Batman reaching out his hand to Joker in those last panels as either him leaning on on Joker because he’s genuinely laughing as he sees the sad joke their lives are, or that he’s breaking Joker’s neck. Now, the whole thing with the light going out and metaphorically crossing the bridge tying back into Joker’s “Killing Joke” is something completely new to me and it’s genius. But then again, it makes sense that Moore would write that deep and Morrison picked up on it. That’s why they’re so good.

Morrison once again proves he’s an imbecile. Batman killing the Joker would completely betray not just the character, but that story. Even in the context of the story it would make zero sense for Batman to kill the Joker.

The ending is Batman and Joker laughing at their neverending existential clash. It’s too late for either of them. They will do this forever.

I thought it was pretty obvious Batman killed him when I first read it. But DC altered it from an Elseworld’s title or standalone book by incorporating it into the normal DC Universe. I’m surprised so many haven’t ever realised this.

They haven’t realized it because it’s blatantly untrue. Batman doesn’t even grab Joker’s neck, he grabs his shoulders! He’s bracing him in laughing.

They’re laughing at the absurdity of their situations in a brief moment of lucidity. It is a moment that will pass and they will continue as they were.

Morrison shouldn’t be let anywhere near Batman comics.

Vishal, remember that Kevin Smith is frequently super baked when he does these interviews. At least according to Jim Lee he is.

The quote from Alan Moore about Killing Joke doesnt surprise me. Give him enough time and he’ll say everything he’s done is garbage. Like the old joke goes:At his funeral he’ll want his name taken off his own tombstone.

I’m sorry, but this is a classic Morrison jabbing at Moore moment.

It’s similar to the sort of “ambiguity” people used to use when pointing at Theodore Roethke’s poem “My Papa’s Waltz,” indicating that it was written so ambiguously that the reader could not tell whether the father in the poem was abusive or loving.

All the while ignoring the fact that Roethke’s father was a drunk with a bit of abuse in his history.

In this case: no.

DC would not have published it had Bats snapped Joker’s neck. Bolland doesn’t draw that poorly. The symmetry between the opening and closing panels would be completely ignored. And an entire continuity of Bats’ stories would be repudiated.

Oh, and it would be stupid.

All the panels do is mirror the beginning panels.

I love Morrison, but his nonsense with Moore and vice versa is idiotic and sophomoric.

Go home Morrison, you’re drunk.

It makes me sad, not that people argue about what happened at the end of the story, but that people seem to be offended Morrison ( who I love and hate haha) would even talk about it. This is literature, it’s meant to be analyzed and reinterpreted. Personally, I think it’s an interesting way to look at it, but I doubt Moore meant it that way.

I don’t buy it. I think Morrison is just adding additional darkness into a story that doesn’t need it. I think he missed the boat here.

Leave it to Morrison to “interpret” Alan Moore that served his own purposes…

I can see how ultimate Fanboy Kevin Smith is reeled in by this OMG MIND! BLOWING!! REVELATION!!!, but as Phil pointed out above— it’s not there in the KILLING JOKE book, nor in Moore’s script for the story.

But BRAVO to Grant for continuing to fuck around with DC’s IP like this, and tweaking the minds of their remaining dedicated customers: the Scottish Lex Luthor stikes again!

Read the script Mt Phill posted folks! it clears things up pretty good, here’s the link again.

http://mistahphil.tumblr.com/post/58448812482/kj88

And add to that when Alan comments on that book he says he does not like it in part due to being too violent!

I had the same dark reading of that last page as Morrison’s back when it came out, but did not assume I was right, just that it might be implied.

Assuming what you think something MIGHT imply, is in fact true, is how we end up with conspiracy theory nuts.

[“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.”]

Screw him. I saw it as he sees it when I was younger… and I rejected the idea.

Especially considering the author thinks so little of it…. why should I?

“Hello. I came to talk. I’ve been thinking lately. About you and me. About what’s going to happen to us, in the end. We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we? Perhaps you’ll kill me. Perhaps I’ll kill you. Perhaps sooner. Perhaps later.”

These are the first lines of the book. They come back up towards the end, when the fight starts just before Batman frees Gordon and Gordon tells him about the photos of Barbara he was forced to see.

This is followed by Gordon telling Batman to bring Joker in by the book, to show him their way works. Batman makes no promises.

Because Batman himself realizes it doesn’t work. That until Joker is ended, things like Barbara’s spine will continue happening… and that he is culpable for everything Joker does in the future if he doesn’t accept his responsability to end him, that he is already responsible for Barbara’s spine.

At the start of the book, there are a few lines that aren’t repeated: “I just wanted to know that I’d made a genuine attempt to talk things over and avert that outcome. Just once. Are you listening to me? It’s life and death that I’m discussing here. Maybe my death… Maybe yours. I don’t fully understand why ours should be such a fatal relationship, but I don’t want murder on my hands.”

Later in the batcave Bruce continues on the theme of not understanding the Joker. “I don’t know him, Alfred. All these years and I don’t know who he is any more than he knows who I am. How can two people hate so much without knowing each other?”

The comic of course includes a retelling of Joker’s origin. The overall theme is that all it takes is one bad day to drive anyone mad. This of course is what he tries to do with Gordon. But further than this Joker directly and correctly guesses the theme is also appropriate for Batman’s own origin story. “You had a bad day once, am I right? I know I am. You had a bad day and everything changed. Why else would you dress up like 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!” In contrast to his own reaction: “When I saw what a black, awful joke the world was, I went crazy as a coot! I admit it! Why can’t you? … It’s all a joke! Everything anybody ever valued or struggled for… it’s all a monstrous, demented gag! So why can’t you see the funny side? Why aren’t you laughing?”

After winning the fight, Batman makes one last attempt to appeal to the possibility that it all could end some way besides one of them killing the other.

Joker responds that it’s too late for that, and closes with a joke: “See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum… And 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 moonlight… stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daredn’t 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 a 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!”

For Joker, there is no way out of his madness. Honestly, there isn’t for Batman either. Batman finally understands Joker, and must do what that understanding demands. And that is kill the Joker. And so he does. The laughing stops suddenly while the police siren continues. The headlights going out in the last panel, representing that it was the last chance of crossing the bridge, is a great catch, and the one part I hadn’t noticed.

“Death of the author,” yall. Doesn’t matter what Moore meant. What did did YOU think it meant?

“Holy shit. It…kinda makes sense when you think about it. Only Morrison, the master of double meanings, would unravel this.” – James

Erm, yeah… and people who’ve been reading the book for 20+ years and saw the ending was always plain to see. I honestly don’t see why everyone is so shocked. The first time I read it, I thought it was both of them that died (or killed each other at the same time)… They even say it in the story! “We’re going to kill each other, aren’t we? Perhaps you’ll kill me. Perhaps I’ll kill you.” Morrison’s theory is just one of a few that work.

I always read it that way (or at least thought it could be read that way). Surprised more people weren’t the same.

In the Killing Joke, Moore explains throughout that both the Joker and Batman were normal people who went through “one bad day” and lost their mind as a result. It does not happen to all people (ie Gordon) but it does happen to those two.

But the thing is they’re two sides of the same coin. Yes, both are doing what they do because of their “one bad day” but they are polar opposite in what they actually do. Their “one bad day” turned them into absolutes but opposite absolutes.

That is why Batman killing the Joker at that moment would not work. The whole point of the scene is that they are acknowledging how similar they actually are, sharing a brief truce and a laugh. The arrival of the cops forces them to stop. Batman will go back to fighting Crime and Joker will return to Arkham Asylum but for a moment they saw themselves in the other.

Also, if you read the script, it is pretty clear Moore just wanted the characters to just share the moment while it lasted, before the arrival of the cops and that he never asked Bolland to draw Batman snapping the Joker’s neck.
“Panel 3 – Now just a half figure of head and shoulders shot of the Batman from the front. The absurdity of the situation comes home to him, and one corner of his mouth twitches upwards. He and the Joker are going to kill each other one day. It’s preordained. They may as well enjoy this one rare moment of contact while it lasts. The Batman: heh.”
“Panel 5 – Now we see them full figure. There is a large puddle at their feet. They are now both helpless with laughter and have collapsed forward onto each other, both ragged and bloody, each holding the other up as they stand there clinging together in the rain.”

If you think batman would “have a laugh” with The Joker, your wrong. Batman is laughing because he has finally “snapped.” When does batman, not Bruce Wayne, ever laugh. Period.

Batman also never sits down…Just sayin’…

There is a serious illness with the people who, when presented Alan Moore’s script that PROVES he did not intend for the Joker to be killed and that it is not happening on that page, that they still believe Grant Morrison because he’s a god to pretentious simps who think he “gets” Batman.

Morrison is WAY off and he understands Batman the way my 50 something year old mother does. That is to say, not one bit.

If true, then this is an even worse Batman story than I previously thought.

there’s no way this is a new revelation. i love kevin smith, but he must have known this. any one with half a brain could see the double meaning at the end.

Thanks for the links of the last page’s script!

Is the entire script available? I know that for the longest time, only the first 10 pages have been available online.

Well done Sophia Moon, you kinda sold me on the ‘Joker murder’ angle, or at least the allusion to it. Also I agree that Batman would never have a laugh with the Joker unless he had finally snapped! The Joker just crippled and tortured two of his closest friends!

Also Moore’s script isn’t necessarily the final word, and people here are ignoring Brian Bolland’s input. Together they may have decided to make the suggestion of murder stronger in the finished product.

Morrison also mentions Bolland has admitted the Murder angle…must look into this.

Finally guys you don’t have to get so worked up about one interpretation of a story – it makes it so much richer and more interesting in my opinion.

David Whittaker

August 17, 2013 at 2:25 am

You could see it in any number of ways.

The Joker’s life dream has been making Batman laugh, so you could interpret it that he finally gets that. Most interpretations of the Joker Bat dynamic are that for all one half’s vengeance and the other’s murderous spite they actually sympathize/empathize/ pity each other, hence why they will never actually kill each other and rather Cary on down their paths towards trying to heal the other.

The joke about the two prisoners and the beam of light followed by the beam from the headlight of the police car could be interpreted to imply some kind of betrayal which could end in death.

If I learnt one thing in media studies it is that true art should be open to a multitude of interpretations, whereas product only seems to conform to a predefined set of conventions and thus a limited interpretation.

Moore is known for decrying his own DC work as shallow and meaningless and Morrison is well known to not be Moore’s biggest fan.

At the end of the day, for these works to serve their purpose we should be thinking up our own solutions to these riddles not relying on others to define our interpretations and way of thought.

yep. hes right. (note the EEEEEEeeeEEE)

batman realizes he is as insane as the joker.

David Whittaker

August 17, 2013 at 4:15 am

Composition would denote the EeeeeeEeeeee is the siren sound but I would be hypocritical to say this was the definitive interpretation.

Seems totally obvious to me. I mean, why pan away from Batman and Joker if not to hide something horrible and shocking? And the laughter stops – why? Because Joker calms down and quietly gets in the police car? I don’t know about neck snapping, but perhaps Batman strangles him, so there’s no need for a sound effect there. I think it’s a totally obvious suggestion by Moore and the artist. Anyway, of course Joker didn’t die there, but the ambiguity is not hard to see.

its both: the siren and the joker.

Es inteligente la opinión de Morrinson. Pero Allan Moore fué fiel a ambos personajes en toda la historia. Nolan refuerza esa historía en The Dark Knight en el interrogatorio dentro de la penitenciaría de Gordon. Moore cierra la historía con Risas porque ambos se necesitan y Batman no lo puede matar porque es su deber contrarrestar ese efecto. El Joker termina arrestado, es un circulo donde tu puedes tomar la historia desde cualquier pagina. Así de sencillo: Si el Joker no es arrestado ¿como procede al interrogatorio al empezar la narración de la historia?. Ese es el punto de vista secuencia. El interrogatorio ocurre después de la batalla en el Circo Abandonado.

Nonsense. The copcar’s light symbolizes not the Joker’s life that stops, but in fact stands for the boundary between good (Batman) and bad (Joker). With the light turned off, that boundary vanishes with them both becoming more alike than they’re willing to admit…

David Whittaker

August 17, 2013 at 11:44 am

Mischa, I like that.

It’s pretty obvious the Batman has finally snapped and realised that at the end the Joker’s “joke” is to be released from the endless cycle of violence. Joker knows that he’s going to kill again, and again, and again. Batman realises that the violence is only going to escalate after torturing Gordon and crippling and defiling Barabara, and his stance on not killing the Joker is also insane. He even says this in the narrative!! Thus he moves his hands from Joker’s shoulders up to his neck and begins strangling him, the police sirens drowning out and eventually replacing Joker’s scream. That’s why it’s off panel and that’s why the police car sound effect is present.

Of course it’s open to interpretation (not realy but I’ll throw the desperate a bone), but in terms of the narrative it’s the only ending that makes sense. Thus being an elseworlds title like Dark Knight (in which Batman also killed Joker.) To think it can’t be true because “Batman doesn’t kill, my fingers are in my ears, nananananana!!!” is as stupid as some of the posters here who believe they are the one true all knowing Batman fans.

You really cannot start your demonstration by “Batman has finally snapped”. The whole point of the story is that he lost his mind 20 years ago, on his “one bad day”, the night his parents died. By starting your demonstration thusly, you are just confirming how little you understand the story.

Aslo, read the script.

Oh course. I always wondered why the laughing stopped but the siren kept going when it seemed like the laughing would keep going too, or why Batman is laughing with Joker, after what he put Babs and Commish Gordon through. The answer is that Batman loses it himself and finally lets go and kills the Joker. Because Batman is really serious, from the first pages of the book, about eventually either himself or the Joker will die and probably both of them, in the end. It’s about how far Joker would push it until Batman couldn’t rationalize not killing him and he genuinely wants to stop that from happening.

There’s the line from Dark Knight Returns, “all the people i’ve murdered by letting you live.” It’s true…Batman’s code of not killing the Joker means more will die, and he’s responsible by not killing the Joker, one man. It’s why the “not killing” thing is so vague in the Dark Knight trilogy. The whole “I won’t kill you but I don’t have to save you” thing…when it’s really the same thing. It’s Catwoman who has to save Batman by doing the right thing and blowing Bane to smithereens. In the real world, the bad guy has to be stopped and if putting him in prison or an asylum doesn’t work, you use deadly force. Cops today shoot people dead for far less provocation. We send drones to kill whoever might be in the sights because they might be bad guys. We call our soldiers “heroes” for doing this. What the fuck do we care if Batman or Superman kill someone? Because we think it’s noble to let a maniac like the Joker live only to kill again and again, even if he’s crazy?

But those last panels of Killing Joke…I thought it was just a cinematic type effect where the sound of certain elements is muted one by one. But the laughing stops because Batman just gave Joker the talk where he wanted to put an end to their conflict and Joker says no, it’s too late for that and he tells a joke about “this situation.” Joker thinks it’s funny and since Batman has decided to end it, he can laugh about it too, since he’s himself been pushed to that point by the Joker. So the siren continues, then the siren is turned off because the cops (I guess it could be an ambulance) turn it off because they could see what was happening in the headlights. And then there is silence and the light is turned off and it’s the light from the joke and Batman is the one who turned out the light. And Batman himself is dead because the Joker pushed him to break his code, his promise to his parents. So the Joker in the end won. The Dark Knight Trilogy touches on this…Bruce Wayne is afraid of what Batman would have to be to stop “people like him” and Lucius Fox is shocked at the lengths he’s going to to catch the Joker. But although he “didn’t have to save” R’as al Ghul, Nolan still has Batman save the Joker because he has to prove to the Joker that his way is wrong, and that Gotham City is worth saving.

The Killing Joke explores the inevitable conclusion to their conflict, and Joker doesn’t want to kill Batman because he’s “just too much fun” but Batman has it within himself to kill the Joker out of his sense of justice.

Alan Moore wrote the last Batman story and I don’t know why I never saw that before, I guess I couldn’t bring myself to that conclusion, because I too had put Batman on this pedestal where he wouldn’t really kill the Joker. DC wouldn’t outright let that happen, because the Joker is one of their most popular characters, which is why Moore did it on the sly, knowing it was a one-off story, never intended to be part of continuity. But Morrison’s right. It happens off camera, but the laughter is stopped, once and for all.

GUYS. IT HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVEN VIA MOORE’S SCRIPT THAT MORRISON’S INTERPRETATION IS NONSENSE.

Stop entertaining nonsense just because your master Grant Morrison farted it out.

Sorry, Grant. Much like the Joker, it’s just you.

Alan Moore is on record saying that the script you are all referring to is bogus. Check out the link yourself. Hopefully this’ll shut Penguinofcrap up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtc9SWWhrF4

Nuff said

Moore’s script, which he would have had to pass by DC editorial, means nothing. How many times has an author hidden their real intent in a script? Like DC would have let Batman kill the Joker? Not on your life. So there’s no way he would have overtly written it in the script to have editorial change it. Brian Bolland himself implies that the ending has Batman’s fingers moving from his shoulders up to his neck. Sure, he did it jokingly but it’s pretty obvious that’s the ending. There’s no way Bolland would have made that move without Moore. Keep holding onto that script as your lifeline though. This is like all those losers screaming and wailing that Captain America didn’t kill anyone in WW 2.

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2013/08/17/when-brian-bolland-revealed-what-happened-between-batman-and-the-joker-and-the-full-killing-joke-script-alan-moore/

Hey Darthshap – you get that bone I left you in the backyard?

The fact you take everything you read as gospel shows how little you know about the real world. Authors are always hding their true intent in a script. Enjoy the bone. Behave yourself and I’ll give you another treat tomorrow. Stop sniffing penguinoftruth’s arse though. Bad dog!!!

You know you’re wrong when you have to resort to these kinds of conspiracy theories to prove that your view of things are right.

When you have to resort to insults too.

But let us imagine for one second that Moore could have imagined that convoluted plan. Why would he do that exactly? We all know it was not supposed to be canon so killing the Joker would have been no problem.
In 1988, DC had already let Batman throw Ra’s into a sun and have KGBeast starve to death…both in canon.
In 1988, Moore was DC’s golden boy. Had he pitched them a “whatever happened to the dark knight” last Batman story, they would have been even more excited. DC editorial approved a script to a non-Canon story where the Joker shoots Barbara Gordon, then strips her of clothes and takes pictures of it in order to show them to Jim Gordon in S&M gear but showing Batman killing the Joker in a non-Canon story would have been a big no-no…despite the fact that Starlin and Barr got to have him kill villains in Canon.
And all of that why? Moore is not even a big Batman fan. He keeps saying he does not like that story. Do you really believe that if this was the one time in his life he managed to finally “get back at DC”, he would not be happy about it?
I am sorry but this convoluted plan does not make the least bit of sense.

Even script aside, it’s obvious that:

- Batman was holding Joker’s shoulders
- The whole point of the victory over Joker in the story is that Batman, like Gordon, doesn’t cross that line
- Grant Morrison is a hack

Therefore, interpretation discredited.

“There is a serious illness with the people who, when presented Alan Moore’s script that PROVES he did not intend for the Joker to be killed and that it is not happening on that page, that they still believe Grant Morrison because he’s a god to pretentious simps who think he “gets” Batman. ”

If they have a serious illness, what does that make someone like you who appears to have a compulsive disorder to have to post five (or six times since you claim a post has been deleted) to take shots at Morrison and the interpretation? Are you attention deprived?

I think this makes a lot of sense. The Joker had finally done somethign so horrendous, that Batman realises, that there is no way to cure the joker and there is no stopping him.
As a re-compense, in a twisted way, batman gives the Joker a send off, by laughing at his joke. Also i think internally, batman knows that this is the end for him as well, once he’s crossed the line, he can be Batman no More..
I think this interpreation is more powerful and hits you in so many ways, thanks Mr. Morrison, for showing me something, i read Killing Joke in my ‘naive’ comics are just comics days.. n this gives it so much more depth.

I can’t believe how wrong Darthshat and Penguinoftruth (what irony) are, and how desperately they both hang on to the notion that Batman wouldn’t kill the Joker. He’s killed before, especially out of canon which this was written as before they decided to bring it into the DC Universe.
Desperately hanging on to a script page is pathetic – like that was the final version? Scripts are always being revised. Who’s to say that’s the final script. Especially in light of Brian Bolland’s comments to the contrary. It’s pretty obvious that Batman has finally killed the Joker in that last scene.
And the fact that Darthshat thinks Batman was turned insane after the murder of his parents shows how little he knows the character of Batman. He’s not insane at all. He’s driven to make sure that no one else ever suffers the anguish of losing their loved ones like he has. That’s why he’s the Batman, and not the Punisher who clearly is insane. Don’t come off as an expert if you have no idea who Batman is.

penguintruth
Even script aside, it’s obvious that:

- Batman was holding Joker’s shoulders

Well that’s pretty dumb – were they playing “stunned mullets” and pretending to be statues? The scene clearly continues after it pans down to a close up of the rain falling into the puddle, as it was intended. Of course Batman and the Joker are still moving – just like the police cars are getting closer and closer. We just can’t see it, or what they are doing. All we know is that they’re laughing their arses off and then… they suddenly stop. BUT THE SIRENS KEEP MAKING THAT NOISE!!!!! Why did they suddenly stop laughing? Is that last EEEEEEEE the siren or Joker or Batman screaming (Batman in fury, Joker in his death throes.) That’s clearly an ambiguous ending, but one leads to my next point…

- The whole point of the victory over Joker in the story is that Batman, like Gordon, doesn’t cross that line

What victory?
The one where Batman swings through the window and prevents Joker from shooting and crippling Barbara Gordon?
The one where he prevents the Joker from undressing her and taking nude photos of her?
The one where Batman arrives in the nick of time and prevents Gordon from being tortured and almost driven insane by being forced to see nude photos of his crippled daughter?
What victory are you referring to? Because the Joker clearly succeeded in everything he wanted to do but drive Gordon insane.
The whole point of the story is that while Gordon doesn’t crack, Batman does because he clearly has not beaten the Joker this time. If ANYONE beat the Joker it clearly was Gordon, but not Batman. Batman only captures the Joker, nothing else. And Batman’s failure, and his complicity in Barbara Gordon’s crippling and defilement, as well as Gordon’s treament, by allowing the Joker to live time and time again is what drives him over the edge.

- Grant Morrison is a hack

Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. But what are you? No one even knows or cares who you really are. Your greatest accomplishment is what exactly? Desperately trying to be the know-it-all Batman fan? Congrats!!

Therefore, interpretation discredited.

Not at all – Moore himself says that there is no definitive answers in anything he has ever written. That the minute it’s published it’s the possession of the reader. And the reader’s interpretation. So, you’ll desperately love this – you’re right. But everyone else who thinks Joker was killed is too.

But personally, my interpretation is a lot more convincing that yours, especially in light of how desperately you’re holding on to the script (whichever version it is.) You can’t even critically anayse anything – you need to be told what is what.

Try and come up with a critical analysis beyond “I read it in the script, I read it in the script!!!!”

@Jokerisdead
“Desperately hanging on to a script page is pathetic – like that was the final version? Scripts are always being revised. Who’s to say that’s the final script. Especially in light of Brian Bolland’s comments to the contrary. It’s pretty obvious that Batman has finally killed the Joker in that last scene.”
I could agree if the final product was in any way shape or form different from the script. The reality is that it is not. Everything present in the script can be found in the final product.
Not a single thing was changed and you just refuse to consider the interpretative notes.
Do you honestly believe that Moore would change the whole meaning of his story without any kind of changes to the story.

“And the fact that Darthshat thinks Batman was turned insane after the murder of his parents shows how little he knows the character of Batman. He’s not insane at all. He’s driven to make sure that no one else ever suffers the anguish of losing their loved ones like he has. That’s why he’s the Batman, and not the Punisher who clearly is insane. Don’t come off as an expert if you have no idea who Batman is.”

Here, I am not saying Batman is crazy. I do think he is crazy because he is is paranoid, obsessed, suicidal, schizophrenic, self-centered, antisocial, he cannot enjoy anything because he never got over the death of his parents, never having mourned them and IMO the greatest Batman stories actually describe his pscyche rather well : TDKR, Year One, The Killing Joke, Arkham Asylum, RIP, Absolution, Ego BUT that’s not what I’m saying here.

What I am saying is that the book is telling us that Batman went crazy on his “one bad day” twenty years ago. The Joker literally says so : “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! ”
Now, the Joker was wrong about Gordon but he was spot on when it comes to Batman.
That’s why the ending is great because so far, we could keep pretending that Batman was just determined but in the end, Batman laughing is him acknowledging that yes, he is just as crazy as the Joker.
The whole book is about mirrors. It even takes place in a Hall of Mirror. Why do you think Moore wrote that Joker lost his mind on the day he lost his family?
The two characters are both one and the same and polar opposites, hence the mirrors throughout the comic book and the similar origin stories.
In the final scene, Batman both realizes and admits to the Joker that he too lost his mind when is family died.

Jokerisdead –

There is one interpretation that fits within the framework of Alan Moore’s themes and storyline, ie, Batman didn’t kill Joker because Gordon demanded that despite his torture, Joker’s approach to life was wrong, and Batman needs to bring him in alive.

The interpretation of Grant Morrison, that Batman killed Joker, it flies in the face of the story’s themes and message. Batman laughs at the end because he acknowledges the absurdity of the lives of himself and Joker, but he won’t cross the line. It was a momentary acknowledgement of their situation.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and you’re reading too much into it. The scene holds on the rain puddle for the situation to sink in to the reader. Batman didn’t kill Joker. Maybe he will some day, but not that day.

You’re just grasping at straws because your master and king Grant Morrison said so.

The attention deprived part it is, then. Carry on.

“Mike.T
August 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm
The quote from Alan Moore about Killing Joke doesnt surprise me. Give him enough time and he’ll say everything he’s done is garbage. Like the old joke goes:At his funeral he’ll want his name taken off his own tombstone.”

His tombstone will say “Art by David Lloyd”.

Quite Absurd, You could say that it was all a Dream if you wanted too, Doesn’t mean it makes sense.

And this smacks of something pathetic as Grant hates and is raging jealous of Moore and has publicly feuded with him for a long time now, Reminds me of his recent announcement about wanting to reboot WonderWoman(yes that ole Hag) in the face of all the criticizem he is receiving from feminists lately(and I’m not siding with the Dykes) But I do find it quite lame and Funny!!!

When you really think about it, the sirens fade into the panels, while Joker’s laughter just abruptly ends. If there was not meant to be a meaning to it, why even make those last 3-2 panels?

I think you people need to learn a level of interpretation and understanding, even if it is the wrong idea, you close your mind off to it because you disagree and can’t question.

LOOOOOOOL NOOOOOOO.
Its because the police cars apprehend joker

Some of you really should look at the panels not just grab at straws. The weeeeeeee starts at the police and carries from there. Batman’s cape never moves past the line. This symbolizes he won’t cross the line. The puddle on jokers side crosses the line because he already has. Batman reaches out the joker the entire story and in the end jokers hand opens to his after batman finally gets it. Joker understood all along and now batman gets it.

Correction Batman’s foot never crosses the line*

I think that Batman does kill the Joker at the end, it makes way more sense that way. Love Morrisons interpretation. If you can see Batman does one thing out of character before the silence of 1 of 2 laughing. Batman laughs, that is out of Batman’s character, Batman does not laugh and Batman does not kill… Until he finally snapped and does both. He laughs and kills Joker and that explains why there is only 1 left laughing.

I meant at the end there was none laughing, why would the Joker stop laughing all of the sudden? Joker is nuts I am sure he would of continue laughing as he was being restrained by cuffs or stray jacket. Joker has been Killed by Batman

To John
Batman did not kill the joker in the Thr Dark Knight Returns. Please read it again… perhaps two times to be sure… he snapped joker’s neck to paralyze him without the intention of killing him. Joker kills himself. In the Killing Joke, Batman did say that he wants this one to be by the book, and because he dont want to. So, between what you are saying or interpreting along with Grant’s and what Batman said, I believe batman. Always believe Batman. So no, even the last page could have double meaning, it wont be one with batman killing the joker.

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